Is It Me? Or Is It Something Else?

I have been in the workforce for over 30 years. I put myself through college, and then worked briefly for the company that I worked for while I was in college. I then found a job where I worked for 15 years until they had a massive layoff. At that time, we moved to Pennsylvania.

I worked as a temporary employee for a local company, then was hired full time in their Customer Service area. After about 8 months, I was asked to help in the technical support area, and that position lasted for about a year. The department was restructured, and I went to the Quality department. I sincerely liked working there, but there was a change in managers in my department. He demanded perfection in EVERYTHING. I sincerely believe that I tried my best, but there was always something that was unacceptable. I prepared reports which had errors in it - not because I had put them in there, but because the entire report structure was incorrect (in a minor way). I was told that was unprofessional. I was subsequently told that another presentation I was working on didn't need to be "accurate". What was I supposed to think? Perfect or not? How was I to guess ahead?? I was fired for being late on a report by 20 minutes. I had the report ready prior to the meeting, but it was not in the format he liked. Thus, I had to change it and that took a little time. It had taken me over two hours to get the report to that state, so 20 minutes was not much in the scope of things.

This was one month prior to the banking/mortgage bursting bubble of September 2008. I had worked for that company over 3 years as a full time employee, and 1 year as a temporary employee. I had a short temp stint (occasional work - a few hours, no more) and then I worked for a fellow who installed renewable energy installations. In the interview, he was upfront about his current divorce, family problems, etc. That job was pretty much he&& from the start. I was being taught by the guy's ex wife, we shared space with her business, her employees worked for him on a sub-contract type basis. We moved to a building on the property with an unheated bathroom, cluster flies that appeared when it got warmer, and a boss who had a Jekyll/Hyde personality. I was expected to be his "right hand person", but I was not about to manage his entire life for him. I was let go after I asked whether or not we were moving to a new space. He had been talking about it for weeks, and I'd heard nothing about it not happening. This happened the same day we learned that a customer had declined to continue their project (no contract.) That customer's sister had also been talking to us, and we were waiting to complete her contract. She was not answering any calls. The boss was spending wads of money on the divorce, was forced to have supervised visits with his son, and owed the IRS, the state and the state revenue department money. I guess he had gotten bad news about the move, and when I asked, he went Jekyll/Hyde and told me to get out.

I worked as a temp doing assembly work. That lasted a month. No fault of my own.
I worked for McDonalds for nearly 8 months. I left to get a job with slightly more pay, and more hours. I was to be shift leader at a local store in the evenings. I really pretty much was a babysitter/store associate. I received little training. I believe I spent perhaps 7 hours total in training from the manager. She took the day shift and was generally gone when I arrived. Her communications to staff were often threats of firing (if you don't like it, you can use the door....etc). She showed little interest in getting to know me. I had my duties to accomplish, and in the meantime, I had to monitor the activities of 17-20 year olds (generally). These teen associates were really the ones who trained me. I never got one compliment from this person. I worked with her directly once, for about 2 or 3 hours. At my 90 day review (actually only a 65 day review) she mentioned some things, which I sincerely tried to correct. I was given another 30 days (actually only 25 days) until she told me that I was being let go. Her primary reason was that she said things weren't being done. I had mentioned other's poor performance, and the reluctance of some to take direction from me. As I was not hired from the ranks, I feel that as an outsider, I got little respect. I certainly received no direct training in the "corporate way" from the manager. When I did make suggestions, they were shot down and taken as disparaging her managerial style. She had said at the interview that she "loves her staff, and they love her". That wasn't what I heard. She had three people quit on her while I was there. Her assistant manager, and two store associates.

Well, now I'm looking for another job. I had an interview today, just before I was let go. I'm waiting to see what transpires. I have another on Friday.

My husband currently thinks I'm a failure. I'm beginning to believe it is me....I'd like to see a counselor, but I have no money. I used to make $20 per hour, then $12. then $7.75, then $8.50. Now, nothing.
MichelleKinPA MichelleKinPA
2 Responses Jun 7, 2011

Boy, I can sure relate to your article! I have been in the workforce for 40 yrs now, but the last 15 have been pretty lame! At my peak (in my forties) I topped out at $65k, but only for one year. I was at that job for 5 yrs when they let me go (poor and then I had two more children and didn't work much for several yrs. Since then it's been touch and go, a job here and there, back to school, now minimum wage jobs (miserable) and being let go for messy personal problems I am sure, that affect my work. I am currently suing my ex for not allowing me to see our daughter (I left the state for a job offer, which I was also fired from after a few weeks! After I spent $4000 to move for and now I can't afford to move back...and I have nowhere to move back to since I rented out my house. ) I don't have a husband so I have no job and no money all by myself and I'm looking again. This seems to be a never ending downward spiral, since court dates will cause me to have excessive absences as a new employee. Will this ever end?

Keep your hope up. I just got fired too so I can feel your story. Your first job looks a lot like me. Boss who wants "picture perfect" stuffs and can't stand minor mistakes. Keep your head high because you can't find hope on the ground.