Workplace Have you ever been let go before?

sheishollywood

LiveLaughLove
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Nov 29, 2006
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Where the water is
Just wanted to do an open discussion on people who are dealing with unrealistic leaders or bad management...

I've had some situations since my new manager started. I work in project management and I'm use to being flexible. But I feel as though I am on the brink of being fired/let go because of the insecurity of my boss. I know when to pick my battles and when to bite my tongue, but he's so unprofessional that every time I do I feel like he's going to respond "oh, you don't agree? Well it's my house my rules. So here are your papers, good bye!". I'm already full on looking, but I'm afraid I won't find something before he pulls the plug on me. My colleagues (who are also looking) and old bosses tell me that I shouldn't worry about getting fired from a "nut job", but it still doesn't sit well with me because I work so hard.

Here are some of the things he does are that are unacceptable:
- He books meetings with us and doesn't show up. Then he comes and finds us hours later and we're all busy either presenting to clients or going to meetings and he sends out condescending emails and threats stating that these meetings are a must-attend and that it is completely unacceptable for us to not take these meetings... Uhm? We were waiting on stand by for him for an hour and nothing. I think us working is more important than us going to a meeting that he called and didn't show up to.

- He makes inappropriate jokes about females. He's not even old! He would make comments like "well, you're a women you should ____" or "see, you women always complicate things" or things along those lines. He once told me he thinks I should get "knocked up" already. ??? (I'm in my 20's and... NO!)

- If he doesn't want to hear what you're saying he will call you a liar. Even though you provide proof and facts to back up your statement.

Has anyone been in this situation? I've never been let go of anything before and I feel terrible. I know that he is not professional, but even though he's not, I feel that getting let go (even by him) is a bad thing... I just hope that I find something before he decides to go on another rampage.
 
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juneping

couch potato-ing
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Jun 11, 2007
17,801
908
NYC
i have witnessed it happened but not to me.
do you have a HR dept? regardless, you should document this.

eg. when he didn't show up at the meeting, send him an email stating the fact that you've been waiting for 15 minutes and you cannot do it any other time of the day b/c x-y-z. do everything by the book.
and as far as i know he cannot just pull the plug on you b/c he would be at the wrong, unless he owns the company. i am leaning towards he's trying to lit the fire and then he has the excuse to fire you.

document document and document. GL!! i know it's very horrible to deal with ppl like that but just keep your head down. and limit your discussion of looking for another job to min. you don't want that to be used against you later.
 

athena21

Member
Aug 8, 2011
486
9
I've never been fired or felt like I was on the brink of being let go. But to the OP, I completely agree with juneping in you need to document everything that's going on with this guy. If you have coworkers who are willing to do the same, that would be even better. How long have you been with the company, and how recently was this guy brought in as your manager? I know as a manager myself, I sometimes come in and feel like I need to do a sweep of staff to get a fresh start, but this guy sounds completely unprofessional. While I don't typically suggest going over your boss' head, I think this is a rare situation that you and the rest of the staff should bring up with the next higher in command.

Even if he is trying to get a brand new staff in place, he's going about it completely wrong by not even giving people a chance - and how are you supposed to respect him as a boss when he doesn't respect you guys enough to show up to meetings HE called?
 

sheishollywood

LiveLaughLove
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Nov 29, 2006
4,377
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Where the water is
Thanks for the response. This is the first time I've ever dealt with this myself... He's only been with the company for 2 months. He is the manager for all of the western region so he's not in my office a lot. He bullies through email, which I have documented. I don't know how he could get upset with us for not showing up to a meeting, when we were the ones that showed up and he didn't. I have emails from his assistant one hour after saying "ok, he's ready for you to call now". I do have everything documented.

Unfortunately, I think going up levels will be useless. Our executives are fairly aloof to what is going on as well. They too are not that professional. My VP, who is one level up from my current boss came to my office when I first started. She only had to remember one name and she couldn't... and ended calling me "the new girl". Nice. So I don't think escalating the situation is going to make it better since this place was falling apart before he started. It just got 10x worse. I've been with the company for 2 years. Previously, my old boss was amazing. He fielded a lot of the abuse from our executives and their "scare tactics". Now that he's gone, it's come on full force and people are jumping ship left and right. It's a very negative environment...

I am already convinced that I want to make a move in company. I just hope I do it before he does his clean out. It is no longer the same company I joined 2 years ago.
 

pr1nc355

Orange Pyramid
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May 24, 2006
5,009
77
I've never been let go of before, but I've had to deal with unreasonable managers. Unfortunately, the worst people for the job end up in those high positions. It seems to me like your manager is very well aware that he's being unreasonable, but is being this way in hopes that the people he doesn't want working for him end up quitting. I guess it's working, since you're reporting that people have left since he came to power.

I also get where you're coming from when you say you can't leave yet, as you don't have another job lined up. All I can say is to just hang in there. Document all incidents, and no matter how stupid or upsetting, just do as your boss says, unless what he's asking is clearly illegal or unethical. Try to get witnesses for as many incidents as you can. I don't know how things work in Canada, but in the US, you can get fired for not following management's orders, and your manager seems quick to do this. Even if he gives you the wrong info, be very careful not to tell him he's wrong and ask what you can do to fix your "mistake". You have to be very careful how you word things. You may have to actually apologize for things not your fault. As you can tell, my experience with these kinds of managers hasn't been good and was full of lots of pride-swallowing.

And whatever you do, DON'T stoop to his level. If he yells at you, resist the urge to yell back. GL...hope things turn around or you can find something else soon.
 
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sheishollywood

LiveLaughLove
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Nov 29, 2006
4,377
22
Where the water is
I've never been let go of before, but I've had to deal with unreasonable managers. Unfortunately, the worst people for the job end up in those high positions. It seems to me like your manager is very well aware that he's being unreasonable, but is being this way in hopes that the people he doesn't want working for him end up quitting. I guess it's working, since you're reporting that people have left since he came to power.

I also get where you're coming from when you say you can't leave yet, as you don't have another job lined up. All I can say is to just hang in there. Document all incidents, and no matter how stupid or upsetting, just do as your boss says, unless what he's asking is clearly illegal or unethical. Try to get witnesses for as many incidents as you can. I don't know how things work in Canada, but in the US, you can get fired for not following management's orders, and your manager seems quick to do this. Even if he gives you the wrong info, be very careful not to tell him he's wrong and ask what you can do to fix your "mistake". You have to be very careful how you word things. You may have to actually apologize for things not your fault. As you can tell, my experience with these kinds of managers hasn't been good and was full of lots of pride-swallowing.

And whatever you do, DON'T stoop to his level. If he yells at you, resist the urge to yell back. GL...hope things turn around or you can find something else soon.
Thank you. This is what I'm afraid of! He has already threatened a bunch of us saying "if you don't like it you can leave" but now it feels like he is purposely telling me to do things or trying to set me up for failure so he has a reason to fire me.

I agree, I would never yell back. It will be visibly hard for me to bite my tongue from everything but I will do it. My office is quite small and every single person that is left knows I am being mistreated. I am the only female in my office as well. The other guys have watched and has approached me to let me know that they have my back. They have also had their issues (missed meetings etc) but not to the extent of mine. So it does feel reassuring that others can support my claims... but I just feel awful that he has it out for me. I honestly don't know what I did... In fact when he walked into the company, I was doing very well for him and still doing well. I have made up my mind to change companies because I know I can't work with someone like him and I'm certain, for whatever reason, he doesn't want to work with me. I guess my pride is bruised because I do work hard and I have this guy who doesn't even know me or how I work going to fire me and I haven't done anything wrong.
 

lara0112

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Dec 11, 2006
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wow, that is about as unprofessional as it gets, and I do not use this phrase easily. sorry but working in the US sounds not much fun if someone can fire you for their unreasonableness and unprofessionality.

I have zero advice but just wanted to send you my support and wish you good luck in finding a new job hopefully very soon!
 

pr1nc355

Orange Pyramid
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May 24, 2006
5,009
77
^^Yes, it's called insubordination. Typically what happens before someone gets fired for it is the employee's behavior is written up in a performance improvement plan (PIP). On it, there's usually something like "fails to follow management's orders", which is grounds for reprimand, and if it happens enough times, the company can use that to justify firing someone, claiming the employee was warned about it, and the PIP is written proof of that. When someone is appointed a supervisory position, it's very hard to take it away. Management has management's back. Unless you can clearly show that what a manager is asking from an employee is illegal or unethical (and maybe not even then), employees are expected to follow orders from management. I've heard of some cases where the employees lucked out by getting their managers fired cuz they were able to prove that carrying out the managers' orders were detrimental to the operation itself (clients complained and took their business to the competition) or that the managers were corrupt. But this is pretty rare, and most people end up leaving the job once they get the PIP. Here's a case where a tpf's sister got one from a manager who treated her unfairly: http://forum.purseblog.com/career-and-workplace/is-it-better-to-resign-or-be-fired-769650-2.html

The PIP is sometimes unfair, and sometimes, it's downright false. However, it's frequently used, and employees who are let go because of it have to take extreme measures to contest it (like sue the company), so it's not usually worth it.
 
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ILuvShopping

★☆★★☆★★☆★
Jun 4, 2007
23,822
3
Iowa
it's a manager like that that sorta got me 'let go' from my part time retail job years ago. although the manager will tell people i quit, which is fine by me. whenever i talk about it i just say 'i left'. but he did send me a termination email lol

basically the jist of it... i had worked at this store for almost 7 years. this new manager came in (after i worked one manager for those 7 years). he was a bit of fresh air... younger... more 'fun'.. laid back.... until about 3 months in he started getting SUPER inappropriate. he would threaten people.... and then ask me who i thought needed to be fired (i was in NO position to give my opinion on who should be let go) and just a bunch of other stuff like cursing at employees in from of customers. people were getting upset and as someone who had been there the longest (7 years was a REALLY long time to be working there) I was very protective of the business.

so in our policy manual it says that if we have problems with the manager then we could contact the store owners (local place, not chain). So i did. I sent an anonymous letter and email. and somehow the new manager assumed it was me, even though I sent it on behalf of nearly half the staff. but whatever.

so then he started to attack me. telling people there that he was going to take me off the schedule and make me beg for my job back. basically screw around with me.
so i had enough, emailed the owner again from my personal email (at this point he knew the manager and I were having issues) and said i wanted to have a meeting with him and the manager. he said ok. then i got more word of the manager running his mouth again.. that the owner didn't care... bla bla bla.... the owner was a coward and stopped responding to me, the manager told me to come in and talk to him. i told him i wouldn't without the owner being there. the manager basically said 'well he told me to take care of it so i guess if you won't come in to talk to me then you're done working here'

and i said ok!

i heard from my co-worker friends that a few months later he said he felt bad for all that happened and was sorry, but he was such a dbag. he only lasted maybe 6 more months and then he 'mutually' left the company (i think he got caught stealing money - which he originally put the blame on someone else). and then they started begging me to come back. which i didn't.


now would i do that in a full time job situation?? i have no idea...
 

Jesssh

Member
Jan 20, 2012
6,493
201
Try not to react emotionally to his shtick. You may be feeding his desire to make inappropriate comments. You plan to leave so maybe a poker face would be helpful. If he persists in the inappropriate comments, make a distracting work problem related statement or ask a work related question.

As far as booking the meetings, I deal with clients in this way. (You have to decide if this is appropriate for your boss situation.) I often follow a booking up with an email that says something like "Just confirming our meeting on (date) at (time, timezone if phone call) at (location). See (or talk to) you then!" Then if they miss the meeting, about 1/2 hour after, I may send another email that says something like "I'm sorry we were unable to meet at our scheduled time today. Please let me know when you would like to reschedule. I look forward to discussing (topic) with you. Thank you, (your name)" maybe followed by the original meeting confirmation email with any replies.

Be strong! (on the inside) You can find a way to get along with him temporarily and not sacrifice your confidence. Build up your linkedin profile, that should help your confidence. He will notice if your confidence level changes significantly. Don't underestimate the power of interpersonal energy and body language, posture, even silently you can claim respect. (Hope I didn't lose you there. ;) )
 

sheishollywood

LiveLaughLove
O.G.
Nov 29, 2006
4,377
22
Where the water is
Some people just shouldn't be in management! And it's unfortunate that the owners were too afraid to do anything... it's their business! I feel the same with my execs. Managers tend to have managers back... in my situation I feel my boss stance is "well I personally didn't hire her" so however he treats me is how he wants to treat me. And I think my execs feel the same but in the same token they did personally hire my boss, so of course they would naturally have his back over mine.

I am not looking forward to today... they will all be in the office for the next two days. I know how to handle myself with class and not give them any more reason to come at me. But he's starting to make things personal and I'm hoping that he will try and keep a tight lid on it for the execs and not try to make me look like a fool. I think if I would to bring up any of the things he's done, I would just look catty.

it's a manager like that that sorta got me 'let go' from my part time retail job years ago. although the manager will tell people i quit, which is fine by me. whenever i talk about it i just say 'i left'. but he did send me a termination email lol

basically the jist of it... i had worked at this store for almost 7 years. this new manager came in (after i worked one manager for those 7 years). he was a bit of fresh air... younger... more 'fun'.. laid back.... until about 3 months in he started getting SUPER inappropriate. he would threaten people.... and then ask me who i thought needed to be fired (i was in NO position to give my opinion on who should be let go) and just a bunch of other stuff like cursing at employees in from of customers. people were getting upset and as someone who had been there the longest (7 years was a REALLY long time to be working there) I was very protective of the business.

so in our policy manual it says that if we have problems with the manager then we could contact the store owners (local place, not chain). So i did. I sent an anonymous letter and email. and somehow the new manager assumed it was me, even though I sent it on behalf of nearly half the staff. but whatever.

so then he started to attack me. telling people there that he was going to take me off the schedule and make me beg for my job back. basically screw around with me.
so i had enough, emailed the owner again from my personal email (at this point he knew the manager and I were having issues) and said i wanted to have a meeting with him and the manager. he said ok. then i got more word of the manager running his mouth again.. that the owner didn't care... bla bla bla.... the owner was a coward and stopped responding to me, the manager told me to come in and talk to him. i told him i wouldn't without the owner being there. the manager basically said 'well he told me to take care of it so i guess if you won't come in to talk to me then you're done working here'

and i said ok!

i heard from my co-worker friends that a few months later he said he felt bad for all that happened and was sorry, but he was such a dbag. he only lasted maybe 6 more months and then he 'mutually' left the company (i think he got caught stealing money - which he originally put the blame on someone else). and then they started begging me to come back. which i didn't.


now would i do that in a full time job situation?? i have no idea...
 

sheishollywood

LiveLaughLove
O.G.
Nov 29, 2006
4,377
22
Where the water is
Thanks for this. This one initial meeting he missed was a recurring weekly meeting that is with the whole team. He has missed separate meetings which I would follow up and be flexible. I don't know if he gets ticked off when I say "oh, I have to meet with a client at x time but can we do it at x time". My job is to work with clients... so it's very confusing that he would be upset for rescheduling a meeting he missed when I had another booked with a client (MY JOB!!). The ones he missed as a group, we were in constant communication with his assistant. It was very much like "oh x is on the phone at the moment, but should be on the call with you guys in a few minutes". Ok, we wait and wait. I email her and CC my boss "please let us know when you're available, we're on standby for our x o'clock meeting". An hour later the assistant emails me with my boss CC'd and says "OK, he's off now. You can call". By that time, it was only me and everyone else had their other meetings to get to. I called in and he was upset that the rest couldn't make it. I mean, we're in project management aka time management. And if he's suppose to be teaching us the basics of how to conduct ourselves in a professional, client focused manner, he is definitely not showing by example.


You're so right! I'm so ready to get out of there that I have to remember that I have the control with how it goes now. The crappy thing is that we're suppose to be at a retreat next week that's a 8 hour travel day away. I don't think I can find something by the end of the week even though I have tentative meetings. I just want to get out of there so bad... But you're right. As long as I am there I have to be confident and not let him break me down. I just never experienced someone like this before. Extremely passive aggressive and someone who really is either delusional to their own mistakes or thinks it's completely OK to be this way because "he's the boss".
Try not to react emotionally to his shtick. You may be feeding his desire to make inappropriate comments. You plan to leave so maybe a poker face would be helpful. If he persists in the inappropriate comments, make a distracting work problem related statement or ask a work related question.

As far as booking the meetings, I deal with clients in this way. (You have to decide if this is appropriate for your boss situation.) I often follow a booking up with an email that says something like "Just confirming our meeting on (date) at (time, timezone if phone call) at (location). See (or talk to) you then!" Then if they miss the meeting, about 1/2 hour after, I may send another email that says something like "I'm sorry we were unable to meet at our scheduled time today. Please let me know when you would like to reschedule. I look forward to discussing (topic) with you. Thank you, (your name)" maybe followed by the original meeting confirmation email with any replies.

Be strong! (on the inside) You can find a way to get along with him temporarily and not sacrifice your confidence. Build up your linkedin profile, that should help your confidence. He will notice if your confidence level changes significantly. Don't underestimate the power of interpersonal energy and body language, posture, even silently you can claim respect. (Hope I didn't lose you there. ;) )
 

Jesssh

Member
Jan 20, 2012
6,493
201
Well, if he is the boss, then in theory he gets to decide if he wants you to cancel a client meeting. What I would probably do is ask him, "I have a meeting scheduled with (client) to discuss (topic). I can cancel it, but that would (describe negative impact). My recommendation is to keep the meeting with the client, but it's your call. Would you like me to cancel it?" Then you have to come up with an array of apologies to get yourself out of client meetings. It's a skill, an art.

You sound like you know what is best, and you may know what is best, but he may feel threatened by your placing him below the clients. In theory, your boss is your client, because he is directly responsible for paying your bill (your paycheck). That's just how I see it from out here in Internet-land, you would know better how the company would see this.

Bottom line, whoever owns the company that pays you gets to call the shots. When you own your own company, you can run it your way. Otherwise you do it their way (in theory, of course).

ETA: Honestly, I am extraordinarily flexible when it comes to meetings, and so are many of my clients. We always use the down time to get work done on the computer. I have learned to "go with the flow" and not take anything personally. (Even if it's meant to be personal, I don't take things personally, instead I figure out what needs to change, then do that.) I can tell you that some clients have repeatedly made me wait hours for them; others didn't show up (not often, though). I just figured out how to use my time effectively and not waste it getting stressed.
 
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sheishollywood

LiveLaughLove
O.G.
Nov 29, 2006
4,377
22
Where the water is
I agree. I work in a fairly large company so he isn't directly 'paying' me. If I were to escalate this, I would think our execs would be upset that 1) he wasted an hour of our time where we could've been actually working and 2) never would they want us to cancel a meeting with a client because of a weekly team meeting that should've taken place at the time it was booked for.

Missing a client meeting, at my company is perceived as bad because that's about 60% of my duties. 60% is making sure I get enough face-time with the client so we know what the plan is for each quarter and what the expectation the client has for the projects we work on. By me missing a client meeting, I'm not doing my job. And for him to allocate over 2 hours of our time when the meeting could take half an hour is a bad use of time... it's just communicating this above that won't go over well.


Well, if he is the boss, then in theory he gets to decide if he wants you to cancel a client meeting. What I would probably do is ask him, "I have a meeting scheduled with (client) to discuss (topic). I can cancel it, but that would (describe negative impact). My recommendation is to keep the meeting with the client, but it's your call. Would you like me to cancel it?" Then you have to come up with an array of apologies to get yourself out of client meetings. It's a skill, an art.

You sound like you know what is best, and you may know what is best, but he may feel threatened by your placing him below the clients. In theory, your boss is your client, because he is directly responsible for paying your bill (your paycheck). That's just how I see it from out here in Internet-land, you would know better how the company would see this.

Bottom line, whoever owns the company that pays you gets to call the shots. When you own your own company, you can run it your way. Otherwise you do it their way (in theory, of course).
 

Jesssh

Member
Jan 20, 2012
6,493
201
Can you just have a confidential talk with your boss's boss? I used to get to know the boss's boss when we were co-located. Not the personal stuff, just express concerns (unemotionally) that you are being asked to cancel client meetings and you feel that it would negatively impact your performance and company revenue and customer satisfaction. And what would your boss's boss recommend that you do to improve the situation.

Maybe you can think of something positive to say about your boss so it doesn't come across as complaining. Or even something like "I know he's busy doing important work for the company...."