Expert Reveals Four Signs That You Could Be The Victim Of A ‘Silent Shot’

Are you quietly fired? (Photo: Getty/

You’ve probably heard of silent surrender – when you’re basically doing the bare minimum at work.

The other side of the coin is a silent shot.

It is the act of pushing an employee out of the workplace; giving them less support and neglecting them to the point that they give up and leave.

“It works really well for businesses,” recruiting expert Bonnie Dilber explained in a LinkedIn post. “Eventually, you’ll feel so incompetent, isolated, and unappreciated that you’ll go looking for a new job, and they’ll never have to deal with a development plan or offer severance.

“Or your performance will decline enough due to lack of support that they can let you go.”

Silenced shots can take many forms, but it’s essentially about not actively dismissing someone and instead using more underhanded tactics to get them out.

“A silent dismissal is when a leader attempts to push an individual out of a company, by making a workplace so toxic that it makes the person want to leave, by using tactics that lower esteem self-esteem, undermines confidence and burns out employees,” Cara de Lange, international burnout expert and founder and CEO of Softer Success.

This toxicity can be blatant – bullying at work, uncomfortable power plays, inappropriate expressions of anger – or it can show up in more subtle ways…think a complete lack of positive feedback, no discussion of your progress, or the exclusion of meetings.

In the latter case, it can be hard to tell when you’re the victim of a silent shot, especially when paired with a typical case of gaslighting in the workplace.

So to help us identify this treatment, Cara breaks down four common signs that it’s happening to you.

Your manager is constantly selecting and critiquing your work

“In any job, it’s natural for management and leadership to offer critical feedback that will ultimately help you improve at your job and advance in your career,” Cara tells us. “Feedback makes us better at what we do and helps us learn from our mistakes so we can improve.

‘Not sufficient comments can actually set you back in your career and stifle your ability to hone your skills.

“But when a manager constantly criticizes your work, picks out minor things you do, and finds ways to diminish your accomplishments, it could be a sign of a toxic manager trying to kick you out of the company.

“This level of hypercritical feedback is the opposite of constructive, and over time it will lower your self-esteem, make you doubt yourself, and lower your confidence, which can lead to burnout and diminished job performance because you’re second- guess yourself.

Side view of young businessman having neck pain while sitting in new office

When was the last time you had a one-on-one with your boss? (Photo: Getty Images/Maskot)

You haven’t had any raises, promotions or even discussions about it

Do you feel like you never get recognized for your work no matter what you do?

If you consistently hit goals and see no rewards for it, you might be outranked.

“If you find that you’ve achieved goals and mastered your role, but haven’t received a promotion or even a raise, that could be another sign that your boss is trying to quietly fire you,” says Cara.

“During your one-on-one meetings with your manager, make sure you have clearly defined responsibilities and goals for your role, and discuss the next step when you’ve met/exceeded them.”

Your one-to-one appointments are constantly being ignored or canceled

Cara tells us, “One-on-one meetings are extremely important for employees and managers to track performance and discuss any issues.

“But if those opportunities to discuss your role are routinely turned down, that’s a manager’s way of saying they’re not willing to invest time with you.”

“A company that sees someone underperforming or not doing well will actually invest more time trying to get that person where they need to be and making sure they’re properly supported.”

You are constantly made an example of

“It’s a relatively outdated approach, not to mention a hostile work practice, but some companies will make an example out of an employee,” Cara reveals. “It might not be as obvious as calling your mistakes, but do you ever make a mistake, only to see a group email being sent out reminding employees not to do that? what did you just do?”

“If this happens repeatedly, it could be a sign that your manager is trying to create a hostile work environment and quietly fire you.

“For example, I remember when this happened to me, my manager used to call that I still had some kind of doctor’s appointment – which I didn’t. had been to the doctor once, then two weeks later I had my routine dentist appointment – but he called it in front of the team, saying I was still out of the office.

Businesswomen talking to male colleague, informal meeting

Don’t accept it (Picture: Getty Images)

What to do if you think you’re being quietly fired

You check off the above signs and your suspicions begin to grow. Now what?

“If any leadership or organization is aware that these tactics are in place and aware of their results, the fault lies with them,” notes Cara. “They risk losing amazing employees, having a negative employer reputation, and effectively damaging the work their company produces.

“But there may also be instances where management doesn’t realize the negative effect these practices are having on you or even doing them, so here’s what you can do…”

Keep a work diary

Be sure to write down exactly what happens to make you feel unappreciated, excluded or hated – so you have a record of what’s going on.

Start keeping an incident journal and write down how you feel. You can then point to those specific examples when you’re ready to talk to your manager.

Meet with your manager

Push for a one-on-one and don’t let your boss fool you. You have the right to be able to communicate your concerns.

Cara suggests, “Provide examples of negative scenarios and how they made you feel, and discuss how you can move forward.”

“A good manager knows that happy employees are good employees and will work to address these issues to make your work experience more positive.”

If nothing changes, it’s time to go

“If your discussion falls on deaf ears, it might be time to consider leaving,” says Cara. “No employee should have to put up with underhanded tactics to get them out of a company.

“In fact, as mentioned earlier, if an employee is not meeting expectations, a good organization will provide additional support and guidance to help bring out the best in their employees.

“Remember most importantly, it reflects badly on the company, not on you as an individual.”

If you get fired quietly, it’s not “giving up” to resign loudly. Put your well-being first and refuse to accept treatment that makes you feel bad – you deserve so much better.

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Expert Reveals Four Signs That You Could Be The Victim Of A 'Silent Shot'

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