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Reeling from being FIRED. What just happened here?

By marysonthego ·
I've been out of the computer business for about 5 years. I thought I was on the hot career track, but life happened. Nuf said, that's not why I'm typing away here for the first time, anyway. After a long, hard search, I managed to snag a little IT job with a small local company. Help Desk for about 130 users. IT department consisted of 4 people total, myself included. We had a server admin - female, a database guy, a manager guy, and then me.

I was excited but nervous about my new job. Having been out of things so long I felt kind of intimidated and worried that my knowledge was way out of date. I figured logic and research would save me - it always had in the past. In that distant past I'd had a stellar career spending 8 years at a huge company where I worked and studied my way to the "buck-stops-here" level of tech support before moving up to development. This was followed by 3 years at another big place where I reveled in doing original Java development. R & D was such fun! But after 5 years doing nothing much more than setting up a wireless network in my house, I was worried about being able to handle support for the XP boxes and Windows servers.
Best I can figure, the people at the new shop were a bit intimidated by my heavy resume. What they didn't realize was that I was just as intimidated by them! Things got off to a rocky start when I discovered the sad state of their SOPs for building new user machines. They used a lot of apps I'd never heard of and between my lack of knowledge and their lack of documentation I spent a lot of time taking notes and asking questions. It took me. I tackled the task of rewriting some of the worst SOPs, until I was told that wasn't my job. I wasn't trying to step on anybody's toes, it just seemed logical to me that the person using the documentation was in the best position to update it. Right from the start the other female in the department seemed to be on the attack. I've worked with lots of different people in my time, but never with anyone so nasty! I didn't believe she meant all the mean things she said at first, and just smiled or shrugged it off. But, you know, it started to get worse. She would tell me to do something, which I'd do, then when the boss came along later and yelled at me that I'd done it all wrong, she denied ever telling me to do it that way. I may be naive, but this was a first. A co-worker who tells you to do things the wrong way then lies about it?

About 3 weeks in to my new job, I finally decided I had to tell the boss what was going on. I'd never had to approach a boss with this kind of thing before and I didn't know how to go about it. In the end, I sent him an email detailing a couple of very specific incidents where I was blamed for nothing more than doing exactly what she told me. Can you guess what his response was? Nothing! I might as well have sent my email to the bit bucket! He never mentioned it at all. It was as though I had used the wrong fork at a formal banquet and everybody knew about it but no one was going to say anything. This went on for a few days until it was time for a review. He seemed very angry with me, and I thought for sure he was going to fire me right then. But no. He actually couldn't come up with anything bad to say about my work other than those specific things I'd put in my email. These he didn't mention at all, and in fact told me I was really keeping that ticket queue down very well. He looked like it killed him to say it. I kept my head up and finally realized that I was in big trouble. I started sending (polite) confirming emails to the other female everytime she gave me an order. I wanted things documented for my own protection. But after a couple of days of that he called me into his office and told me in no uncertain terms that I was to stop sending emails. If I had anything to say to him I should come to his office and say it.

I was fired six weeks into my new job. I was on my way to work Monday morning when my cell went off. It was the HR manager calling from the company to tell me that I was fired. When I asked her why, she said I made too many mistakes.

One other bit of info I should tell you is that the last person to have my job (a guy) was also fired.

I want to know what kind of experiences you others have had in the workplace. I'm sure this is not the worst thing that's ever happened to anybody on the job, just the worst that's ever happened to me!

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Thank your lucky stars you are out of there

by jmgarvin In reply to Reeling from being FIRED. ...

That place sounds like the loony bin. I would bet the other female had some power over the boss and other techs. I would also bet that she had no idea how to do her job. Further, I would take the guess that since you had a clue, you not only threatened her position, but cornered her with her ignorance.

She wanted to get rid of you because you had a clue and knew what was going on.

It also sounds like this was a malfunctioning IT department that had built a castle....you are lucky to be out of there.

That house of cards will come tumbling down anytime and I would bet the IT department is restructured.

Jeez, departments like this give IT a bad name.

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I agree

by andrew In reply to Thank your lucky stars yo ...

I agree. I had a similarly short job once, before being rudely kicked out. It took me a shortwhile to realise how lucky I was, even though it meant a further tough few months. Something else turned up, it always seems to, even if it is not what you expect.

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Clarify Chain of Command

by Wayne M. In reply to Reeling from being FIRED. ...

It is apparent there was something terribly wrong in the situation involved and I want to emphasize the vast majority of the blame would lie with the boss and not marysonthego. I would, though, offer one suggestion for anyone who finds himself in a similar situation, clarify the chain of command.

It is not unfair for an employee to ask who should be tasking him, and do it in person. I do not know if it would have made any difference, but immediately after the SOP incident, the employee should have just asked her boss what tasks she should be doing. It would also be acceptable to have had the coworker make requests to the boss instead of directly. This would have eliminated questions of who was directing the work.

A secondary issue is to deal with people face-to-face. Saving e-mails or copying the boss on everything rarely solves a problem. Though it may be uncomfortable, talk to the boss directly.

All-in-all, though, I have a hard time seeing how anyone can get to a fireable offense in six weeks. There were other dynamics going on, and my advice to marysonthego is to be glad you are out of the situation; it sounds like it was a no-win situation from the start.

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Labor practice

by lizettem In reply to Clarify Chain of Command

Few things wrong:

1. Ensure you have a typed job specification listing your key performance areas
2. Know who you report to
3. Check with superiors when you receive instructions from anyone

In South Africa summary dismissal cannot happen unless you were truly jeopardizing business operations.

You would be given the chance to state your side of the story before your superior and HR manager who would be obliged to listen to you and the complainant.

You could not be fired by cellphone - they have to give you 3 warnings, unless paragraph 1 applies, yet cannot fire you via cell.

You should have the opportunity of regular performance reviews where you clarify your deliverables and the company's expectation.

You were victimised and probably unfairly dismissed in which case a fair hearing would re-establish you in your job, or offer you alternate employment or offer you compensation in lieu.

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Same in Australia

by Steve W Brookes In reply to Labor practice

Pretty much the same procedure in Australia, being fired by cell phone is outrageous, in fact, the whole situation sounds outrageous. In short, in Australia at the moment it would be the boss facing the music if you chose to take the matter further.

Perhaps you could move here, it's nice in the summer :-)

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U.S. "Right to Work" Law

by Wayne M. In reply to Labor practice

Unfortunately, in the U.S., in many states (there is no federal law in this matter), we have the curiously named, "Right to Work" law. This law says that a company can fire someone without cause and without notice. One can walk into the office, be told to go home, and the company has no further legal responsibilities. The rationale behind the name? The law gives the same "benefit" to the employee. One is not required to give notice and cna just decide to leave with no responsibility to the company. Oh, I forgot, there is still the matter of any non-compete agreement one may have signed at the start of employment. Despite the "Right to Work", one is still legally limited for future work based on what is in the non-compete agreement.

The bottom line is the situation described in the initial post was a failure that was probably not worth salvaging. It is best for the poster to forget the experience and look forward to finding a position in a better work environment.

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Skimming the Surface

by Mike Grzesik In reply to U.S. "Right to Work" Law

Your answer only skims the surface of the definition of "Right to work". The employee does have rights, and they come from the company handbook. If this company does have a handbook (with 130 employees, it should), then the terms of dismissal should be spelled out. Most courts will see the company handbook as a legally binding contract between the employer and employee. Only if those rules are violated (or some other laws, based on wrongful termination), can and fired employee take action.

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Also called, "At Will"

by christineeve In reply to U.S. "Right to Work" Law

Just for fun, I thought I'd post this info. I hope it builds upon this great info.

New York is an "At Will" state which means they can hire you and fire you for no reason and no documentation unless they have a company policy against it. Such as an employee handbook with stated termination policies.

At will means so long as you're willing to work there, and they're willing to have you, you can come to work. Unless you have a contract, then you're not subject to "At Will."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment

At-will employment is an employment relationship in which either party can terminate the employment relationship at-will with no liability if there was not an express contract for a definite term governing the employment relationship. Several exceptions exist to the at-will doctrine.

Although at-will employment allows an employee to quit for no reason, it is most often invoked when an employer wants to fire an employee at any time, but there are limitations upon the employer's ability to terminate without reason. Many of these jobs are entry-level ones. As a means of downsizing, say closing an unprofitable factory, a company may fire employees en masse.

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Courts back employees

by IndustrialController In reply to Also called, "At Will"

Even in an "at will" situation, if a company fires an employee and shows any kind of unreasonableness or malice the courts have overwhelmingly supported the side of the fired employee.

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You'll have to post links to this...

by jmgarvin In reply to Courts back employees

I just don't buy it...

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