Know When You’re On Thin Ice At Work

While most Culpwrit readers are in early stages of their careers, I heard this morning from a veteran PR pro who insisted that I call your attention to The Wall Street Journal article by Sue Shellenbarger. He said reading this article earlier in his career may have helped him avoid getting fired from his first two jobs.

As the headline suggests, employees must be self aware about how they are being perceived by bosses and peers. This self awareness is essential to job success, so set aside some time every few months to assess whether your job might be in jeopardy. If you’re just starting out in a new job, just reading the Journal’s dos and don’ts below will help ensure no surprises about where you stand in the eyes of your boss and colleagues.

Signs You Might Be in Trouble

  • Your boss stops dropping by your desk with suggestions.
  • You’re left out of important meetings you used to attend.
  • Once-friendly colleagues start to avoid you.
  • You never get any feedback.
  • You never ask for any feedback.
  • You start comparing yourself to mediocre peers rather than stars.
  • You’re not sure what your boss cares about.
  • You don’t care what your boss cares about.

How To Avoid Being Blindsided At The Office


  • Find out early how your boss will evaluate your performance
  • Ask specific questions about how you’re doing.
  • Ask for criticism from colleagues who will tell you the truth.
  • Compare yourself to high achievers.
  • Maintain good relationships with bosses, peers and subordinates.


  • Bristle or get defensive during performance reviews.
  • Assume mastery of core job skills will make up for lacking relationship skills.
  • Let yourself become isolated.
  • Ignore neglectful or dismissive behavior by your boss.
  • Surround yourself with allies who won’t give you honest criticism.

One thought on “Know When You’re On Thin Ice At Work

  1. Thank you, Ron, for sharing your insights and raising the article written by Sue Shellenbarger of The WSJ.

    A must read. Best points raised by Sue in the article is:

    “Bosses are often slow to criticize employees who are struggling.”

    Onward and upward we go.

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