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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 Having been out of things so long I felt kind of intimidated and worried that my knowledge was way out of date.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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Keep your spirits up

by tfrench In reply to Er... fired?

I was a Support Manager and then Project Manager for a small IT company from 1998 - 2002. In 02, I was "downsized" (in reality I pissed off the wrong person) and out of work for 4 months. With two teenagers, it was important for them to see me daily applying for jobs, learning, doing everything I could to keep moving on. It was hard somedays as the ecomony was not that great in mid 2002. The short version is I ran into an aquantance who hired me into his company as the Business Manager responsible for HR, IT, and accounting. We are a small company (14 employees) but I have a lot of responsibility and freedom to do my job(s). It was a tough time in 2002, but the payoff has been a much better job, much higher pay, and a high degree of satisfaction. Remember, you have to eat, but money as you have discovered, is not the primary factor in workplace happiness. Be glad you found out early, can move on, and do it without a hole in your resume. Ask the probing questions during the interview as it is your opportunity to find out what is going on in the company as well their opportunity to see your skills.

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Dale Carnegie

by wgreen In reply to Er... fired?

Would the Dale Carnegie or some other "how to work with people" course couldve helped?

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You say to-may-to ...

by Too Old For IT In reply to Er... fired?

... I say to-mah-to.

Either way, "kicked to the curb" is "kicked to the curb".

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Take this as an "opportunity"

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

Hi:
Who is to say exactly what happened and what was said behind the scenes that led to you being fired.

I have been fired from one job and had a contract cut on me but in all cases I have taken it as an opportunity to learn from.

It is easier said than done but look back at it and try to see the silver lining. From what you say you obviously have the skill and the ability so make sure that you are telling people about that and getting those points across.

It falls under the old line of "Look after No. 1".

If they could not see the value that you were bringing to the organisation then it is their loss.

Good luck.


-Mark

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Be Happy You're Out

by Steve W Brookes In reply to Reeling from being FIRED. ...

I really feel for you, it's not a nice thing to happen to anybody. Thankfully it's never happened to me but I have been in a similar situation - I chose to leave before things got too bad. No boss has the right to yell at an employee, I don't care what the situation or the reasons - it is plainly unacceptable in todays business world.

Egotistical and self important bosses are best left well alone, the same goes for the other employee who obviously has issues with her own security. It may seem bad for you at the moment but you'll look back at it and realise it is actually a blessing in disguise.

Good luck to you finding somewhere a whole lot better.

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about being fired

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

Hi over there.
A couple of weeks ago I was fired too, after almost 13 years as the IT manager at the organization. It was not a matter of me as a person nor about tech skills, it was just political. The board of directors changed and most of the new ones didn't like how the previous ones had done things. I had to obey them, what else could I do? That led me to be unemployed.
But future seems promising. Keep your arms up !!!

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You too?

by tabby80 In reply to about being fired

I was fired mid-October from a monthly contract position (notice mid way through the month). No reason was given, they did not pay severence nor did they pay out the entire month that I was contracted for. In fact, I had to threaten legal action to get paid for the two weeks I actually worked.

Although this was my first firing I would have dealt with it a lot better if they'd followed the rules. Even so, I think I'll be better off without them. I'm going to take a job at a call center until I get back on my feet (my landlady decided to remove my place of residence while I was unemployed - I'm out at the end of the month - Merry Christmas, now get out), then I'm jumping back in with both feet.

Good luck to all the rest of you looking for jobs too!

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Small Office

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

Small IT shops and good SOPs are rare. Small businesses have two goals, reduce costs, increase revenue. Not much different than any other size firm except where the line "enough is enough" is drawn. A small business with tight margins seeks harmony and peace among its small staff. They was no harmony, no peace, so someone had to go. This decision to fire you doesn't have the feel of being personal to me, just business. I certainly understand how personal it feels to you though. I've been in similar situations, unfortunately for my boss I was the most skilled, so letting me and my knowledge about the "inner workings" go would be much tougher. In one respect you're lucky, six weeks is easier to swallow than the years myself and many others have endured. Your story is exactly the reason why I ventured out on my own. I'm my own boss now and wouldn?t you know it, my old boss had to hire me back at consultant rates. This is actually working out much better because we both are seeking the same goal. When you're on the same page, it's wonderful. My advice, don?t try to make nice or gather "evidence", just do your job. Use your own common sense and stick the skills you know best in every situation that's applicable. Show your worth by earning a certification, building a test network, or listening before injecting. These silent activities will propel you professionally. You'll acquire skill while earning respect from the right people in the office.

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Well stated

by IBM5081 In reply to Small Office

I have worked in large, huge and now small. Regardless of your technical skills, you will be graded on teamwork and ability to work smoothly with others, regardless of their ability. No matter how much chaos exists, the rest of your peers have learned to put up with it and even leverage it. They don't WANT to improve it, it's fine just like it is.
The lack of adequate documentation and skillsets is not considered a deficiency by management. The technicians have learned how to turn it to advantage - it's easy to be a hero in a background of folks with little incentive to improve.
I'll bet that you would have found that they did not pay for performance, had you remained in the group. If a manager cannot come up with decent reasons to terminate you, he is clearly inadequate to execute a valid performance review as well.
You narrowly escaped a deteriorating situation that was already in a downward spiral.

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Reeling from being FIRED (Recovering)

by Dave Shaw In reply to Reeling from being FIRED. ...

I've been in the IT field as a full-timer for over 12 years now - not counting my time supporting systems in the military. I've worked myself up to becoming a very respected Infrastructure Architect, Conference Speaker, and a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional). After almost 8 years as an independent contractor, I took a job offer as the Director of a team of Engineers and Technicians running a military NOSC. That lasted 2 years and was a great experience.

I was then pulled away from that to a smaller company that wanted a "High-Powered, big-name architect" they could headline to thier customers. From the beginning, things were a bit troublesome. I led one project for seven months (which was a stunning success) then was assigned to a migration project as one of about 10 small team leads, since the company didn't have any design projects available at the time. To make a long story short, it was one of the worst-run projects I've ever had the misfortune to be associated with. (Your tax dollars at work) I asked for a transfer to another project and away from the VP who was responsible. The next day I was asked to phone into a conf. call that afternoon. It was short. Today is your last day of work. Please send us your keys and we will send you your pay and severance.

Wow! I'd never been canned before!

So now what? From my perspective, being an employee was overrated. I really didn't like putting my life into the hands of people who knew less about their jobs than I did. I went back to independent contracting and am glad of it. I'm back to choosing my own jobs, working when I want to, and taking responsibility for my own actions once again.

Moral? There is only one difference between an employee and a contractor: The contractor *knows* when he will be fired!

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