3 Lost Job... Confused
I've been working since I was 15 years old and have always excelled in every position I've held. I've almost always been offered a supervisor or lead position. It wasn't until I turned 25 that I started having problems. I know that I am a very intelligent person and it used to be that when management was incorrect I was assertive and gave my opinion, respectfully. I've never cursed or raised my voice but I would defend myself it someone made wrong assumptions about me. I'd simply try to explain and clarify where I thought the misunderstanding may have occurred. For some reason when I started working in a county position it seemed for the first time ever that my supervisor and I weren't compatible. Not an issue to me because in my mind I am there to do a job and I can maintain professionalism regardless of a friendly relationship. When I was required to complete an assignment that all new hires complete (with charts, graphs, diagrams and essays) my boss (a 58 year old woman) commented that she did not think that she could do one as well as mine.
Eventually, I was written up several times, justifiably for tardiness (1 of 4 times), in the other incidences however I was written up for work errors from a different department that came to me. Even though I tried to defend myself none of my arguments were heard or regarded in the least. My boss would say rude things or call me into her office and question me about things that I always had and answer for - afterwhile I was tired of trying to be friendly and thought that civility should suffice. She continued wanting to make jokes with me at times as though she had never offended me. I simply spoke politely when it was required and not beyond that. After almost 2 years there I was terminated. It was very hard for me to accept because although I didn't like the job I worked hard and I had never been in the position of being disliked by my boss or fired before.
Within a month I obtained a temp to hire position and was hired on by the company as a Lead 4 months later. At this job, I too, excelled. Before I was ever hired on by the company I became the most efficient person in the department. Total 9 people - most of whom had worked there for 4-10 years. I was the fastest and each time I figured out a better process for completing tasks I shared it with my team and it created a more organized, fluid work flow. When I started I had no car and would sometimes have to walk home at 1 in the morning (1am) - about 2-3 miles past the interstate and busy roads. This is Miami after all. And this would be over-time - a 16 hour day. When I started they were just beginning a transition (system-wise) and I gave my time and effort freely to make sure the work was completed on time. I was recognized by a manager from a northern location who was training everyone at my facility, which is how I was offered the lead position. I got along with that manager famously. But when a manager was hired to take over my department there were a few issues.
On an occasion before the new manager was hired my elderly father had collapsed working construction in home about 5 miles away. In my panic I notified my co-workers and rushed out (without punching out). When I got back the GM confronted me about it and I explained what happened. I was then told that I could not be getting paid for time I was away. I apologized and decided to correct the error by clocking out and working through that period of time. However, the GM never forgot that and when the new manager came she reported this to him. I was very upset and felt like he had already formed a bias against me before we had even met. I knew this because he had called me and my lead into his office and was attempting to ring me out for something and let it slip (in his anger) what the GM has disclosed. When I defended myself he got quiet and could not say a thing further. My Lead also defended me and told me (when we were out of there) how much he liked the way I had spoken for myself and that it was unfair that I'd been treated that way.
My GM further continued the complaints about me also to the Human Resource Generalist who also defended me as we had become friendly and spoken frequently. The GM was complaining because I had encouraged everyone to vote for a particular, hard-working old man, that he be voted Employee of the Quarter - he had never received any real recognition - and everyone agreed that he deserved it. Somehow, the GM felt I was wrong for this. A co-worker of mine who happened to stay late had over-heard the conversation and told me everything. So I went to the GM the following day with my manager (who defended the GM even before we spoke to her). When I told her what I heard was said about me she looked shocked and stuttered and then slowly began denying the whole conversation. I wasn't rude or forceful I smiled and spoke gently and tried to reassure her that she was mistaken about what she thought happened. Only that I felt strongly that this hard-working old janitor, who works more that 80 hours a week with a smile deserved acknowledgment by his peers.
Not only had the GM complained about me to these 2 people but also to that manager from the Northern location who had returned to her facility after my manager was hired. The Northern manager began acting indifferent towards me even though she had not witnessed any of this for herself. The GM reassured me that what I did for the old man was commendable but 2 weeks later I was terminated. My boss claims that the GM had nothing to do with it even though he had just rated me 4/5 - Exceeds Expectations on my yearly review.
In the 3rd and last situation I was out of work for 6 weeks before finally being called to interview for a new position. When I went in I was interviewed by the manager of the department and the Human Resources Generalist. They were both very impressed with my background and disposition. They felt I was very friendly and intelligent, well-rounded and would be a great fit based on my experience. When I started the job there was no comprehensive training program only the other 5 people in the department each showing me the way THEY did the job. The manager, who had also formerly worked in the department also showed me a few things that had turned out to have changed since she had gone to management. She was very nice and easy going and patient. I appreciated that I felt at ease asking questions in that regard. About a week later it was announced that my managers assistant (who had been the manager before becoming pregnant about a year prior) was being promoted back to the position and we would have co-managers - however - the manager that I had come to know would no longer be dealing with us but with the clients ONLY. Okay.
When I started off I picked up pretty quickly on the basics and was going along fine. No issues. Not surprisingly, within less that 2 weeks one of the other girls (the newest on of a month and a half), was having MANY problems and making an irregular number of mistakes, was fired and the entirety of her work was given to me. Why me, I'm not sure. It makes no sense to me but I was confident that I could at least make a big dent in her work after my own was eventually finished. In the amount of time I was given I did in fact not only finished mine but hers as well. I had made one moderate error along the way. Under the circumstances my managed said it wasn't an issue and just to be more careful. Fine. From there that error was never repeated. I created 3 extra measures that I explained to my manager in order to make it impossible to repeat. From there I made 1 more small error that was just the normal learning-as-you-go error. This I corrected and moved on.
To myself and my veteran co-workers I was doing great. About 2 months in there were 4 of us left in the department and complaints about the manager were increasing. I didn't really have any complaints because I had no serious issues with her. She was very disorganized and confused and often didn't remember to get back to us on information we were waiting for but if I could find a way to sort of rectify this on my end I did. Where she lacked I picked up the slack to get the work done. We all kind of had to. The biggest issue with that was that when she didn't get back to you and you reminded her, she felt as though her abilities were being called into question - How do you deal with that? She once told me that I hadn't done something that I had and when I showed her proof she told me that it was disrespectful of me. ???
Even though I didn't like her attitude I decided that I didn't want to lose another job, so I smiled and said please and thank you and anything else I could to seem accommodating. I feel sick thinking about that because that isn't me. And no one should have to feel that way. Anyway, shortly after my 2 month mark, 2 of the ladies I worked with decided they couldn't take it anymore. The nonsensical write-ups, complaints and accusations. They both decided to resign. One gave her written notice and a Tuesday at the end of the day, the next was Wednesday first thing in the morning. This should be a shock as we had just replaced the other worker and the workload was about to get extremely hectic. The replacement had made the same moderate error that I had 3 times already and was not picking up speed fast enough. Not 2 days later my manager and the human resources woman come and get the woman who resigned on Tuesday, tell her she's no longer needed and escort her out of the building. We were shocked. The other resigning woman (who is practically the best friend of the one they escorted out) decides she's not going to wait around for the same fate. She cleans up her desk and tells us all good-bye and good luck with no word or email to my manager and when we all clock out to go home she does as well - for the last time. The next day my manager's asking us all if we've heard from her. Now she's starting to worry about the workload.
At this point we're all heartbroken because these 2 are in their mid-twenties and a lot of fun - we're sorry to see them go and the half empty office feels a little darker. I'm thinking now that I'm pretty close to ending probation and they'd be foolish to lose anyone else under the circumstances. Who'll be left to do the work? So even though we now have our own workload and that of 2 other people (who had a lot because they were more established) I don't complain - I take the work with a smile and work my butt off to get it all done by deadline. And I do. Finally, on the day of my 3 month probation I can start to relax because I finished everything and have started on things that are a little less stressful.
At 4:45pm Human Resources calls and asks me to come to their office. When I do the HRG and my manager are there - the HRG tells me that it is the last day of my probation and they have decided I'm not a good fit for the position. That is was such a hard decision to make and that's why it went all the way to last day. That I am still eligible to work for the company in the future but that I am being released from my employment. I'm still being polite and gracious by the way - but screaming inside in frustration and fear - I have bills and rent to pay and someone depending on me - I'm feeling nauseous and dizzy. I ask why? For some reason the Human Resources Generalist is explaining more than my manager and I can't understand why. If you're firing me then you should explain why. I interrupt the HRG and say I hear what your saying but I'd like to hear what "blank" (my manager's name) has to say. The HRG abruptly says, "Oh... okay." You can tell that it's just easier for her because she's done it so many times - to her it means nothing.
Then my manager says, do you rememember _____ (error 1). I say yes. She says do you remember _____ (error 2). I say yes. Then I point out how those incidents were in the first couple weeks and that I didn't believe I was given a fair chance to learn when I was piled with 3 times the workload. I pointed out that probation is the opportunity to learn the job before being put in a situation like that. My manager says, "Yes, but I also feel that you don't respect me and you don't keep me posted on what you're doing." I say, "That seems strange for you to say since whenever I talk to you or email you I go out of my way to be polite, saying please and thank you and so forth. And since I send you status reports frequently that you have never requested but that were my own idea. Right?" She's nodding the whole time and answers yes. Then she says, "But when I came into the office today you didn't turn around while I was speaking. That shows a lack of respect." My reply was this, "You should ask before you make these assumptions (politely I say this). When you came into the office my back was to you because my desk faces away from the door. _____ (my coworker) faces you and that's why she immediately saw you come in." I was writing down something important and trying to keep track of my thoughts to get it all down properly. You walked in and started talking without saying my name or excusing yourself into the room. I wasn't being disrespectful and I'm sure that no one in the department would agree with that. I've never disrespected anyone here. If you had let me know that you had these concerns before we could have resolved this issue before now." What nonsense is this? I never tried to force those under me to like me - thank God I never had to - but as long their work is done I'm happy.
Again, she's nodding and looking thoughtful. But not at me, looking down into her hands. Everytime I reply she looks as though she's ingesting new information - information she would have had if she had taken the time to ask me prior to this moment.
The respect issue is one that she has had with everyone in the department. Everyone had already discussed how she complains about them questioning her or that they don't seem to respect her. I sincerely believe she is insecure in her abilities to manage - she had stepped down before from this same position and her boss is a L-I-O-N. Back to the room - Again the HRG jumps in to rescue the drowning woman (looking back and forth at my manager and me and realizes that my manager is faltering) and reiterates, "Well, you know like we were saying before, we don't believe that you would be a good fit for the position." My manager is still looking down - thinking.
I realize that with the uncaring HRG there with an answer for everything and just determined to go through with it there's nothing more that I can do. Finally, I interrupt the annoying HRG still rambling about nothing really. Saying again how impressed she has always been with my intelligence and that she sincerely believes that I'm a nice person and in her mind she'd think someone with my background could definitely go very far... I interrupt and say politely, "Do I need to sign anything?" She says no and I stand up and leave.
Let me say that no one (NO ONE) had an issue with the first manager. And her interpersonal skills were stronger. Even though she was younger (about 25) than the other manager (27-31). I myself am 28. The 2 oldest in the department are 40 and 43 (women) and have been there at least 3 years each (with the other manager) - happy before the change.
It is very frustrating for me because everyone else believed that I was doing a great job. My manager had even sent me to assist another department for a week in addition to doing my own work. If my work is shoddy or late why do that?!?!? I had arranged my classes for school in the evening about 30 miles away when I could have gone in the morning about 3 miles away. But to accommodate my daytime work hours... Now only 2 days past the deadline to change that I lost my job. By now I could really scream!!!
The thing that bothers me the most is that I live in Florida. Florida is an At-Will Employment state which means that you are an At-Will employee and you can be terminated AT ANY TIME, FOR ANY REASON OR NO REASON. If your boss has an out of work friend in mind he or she can fire you (find some reason on paper) and get you out of the way to help their out of work friend. Or whatever other whim they feel. It's hard enough without crap like this.
The past 3 years have been like hell for me. Before this I had always excelled in my jobs and I always excel in school. I have also managed others and spoiled my employees to show my appreciation. Out of my own pocket I have spent hundreds and I can't understand what has happened to the world. As hard as things are people don't seem to care about helping one another or helping to keep people working. These things affect you the rest of your life. Every job I apply for is already a battle to get it now I have to be passed over for having been terminated in the past. ???? What can I do?
Sadly, this is my most recent experience. It was never THIS hard. And it shouldn't be...