My line manager who delivered the 'must improve' ranking has now left, so it's up to a new manager to continue with it. The union, who I've always felt were toothless, do seem to have something to say about the new system. I suppose it's because I've been disappointed with how they haven't backed me up about my qual, I'm a bit dubious about how they'll back me in this.
You're right though, I'm going about this cack handed. I've been trying so hard to get my work load done that sorting this latest disaster has been way down my list of priorities. I'll put it up a notch or two and engage with them. It can't do any harm. Although, as I said, they're toothless.
This is a bit long so I'll try to keep to the pertinent facts.
I joined a training scheme at work, culminating in a professional qualification, mostly sponsored through work. It wasn't cheap in terms of both time and resources. It was bloody hard work, with lots of sacrifices on my part to ensure I attained the qual and so could use it to further my career, and to repay work with my new skills and experience.
Unfortunately, the goal posts had moved while I had my head down, and with my mentor backing off because of bullying issues (which I thought I'd handled really well by sorting it, getting an apology without involving anyone else), and crap line managers after I had recently qualified, I ended up with neither recognition or reward. I couldn't use my new qual as my grade was too low, and I couldn't get promoted despite it being implicit at the time of applying and an expectation to follow the same path of progress as others who had completed the course before me - a precedent if you like.
I went down the grievance route and was told there wasn't a legal obligation to promote me (but a moral one was neatly ignored). An appeal was dealt with inadequately. I put my concerns to a union lawyer who bent over backwards to find precedents to support the employer, to which on a few points I am bewildered, while others were ignored. I have to accept that the main bones of my arguments were incorrect, and that I didn't have a leg to stand on.
So instead of being a qualified professional I was placed in a dept where I had little experience but some knowledge. Despite being resentful that my hard work and qual was ignored, I have tried very hard to overcome my ignorance and be a good team player. I actually find the work challenging and occasionally rewarding, at others bewilderingly complex and mind numbingly boring. A bit of a dichotomy.
Now, the personal performance review (PPR) has recently changed. It's something like 20% of the workforce WILL be awarded outstanding, 70% satisfactory and 10% MUST improve. It is not just based on achievements but on behaviours.
At the end of July my husband and I made the awful decision to put our much loved dog, our baby of 14 years, to sleep. We were distraught, and although we had earlier decided not to have a foreign holiday, decided for our equanimity that we needed one pdq. The week after the awful event a senior manager (let's call her B) who I thought was a friend (we went way back and she was supportive in my quest for my qual to be recognised) was bombarding me with meeting appointments to which I kept answering 'tentative'. She came over to see me and said not to worry. I explained what had happened but with hindsight remembered her eyes glazing over. I quietly said 'the company can wait', implying that it wasn't personal, but as soon as something was sorted I could commit to her requests. I booked the holiday over the next few days, even accommodating all the dates suggested.
So, to the PPR. From what I can gather, senior managers were gathered in a room and asked whether anybody had showed negative behaviours. Apparently B said I remarked that "I was better than the company". Another manager said I had missed a deadline. The latter remark was later retracted; it was entirely untrue. But I fail to see how what I actually said to B, and the circumstances surrounding it could be so misconstrued. Not only do I have to defend myself and the reasons for my comment, but all the senior managers now have me marked down as having 2 negative marks against me when really I have none. My work achievement is adequate and has not been commented on.
All this behind my back criticism has severely knocked my confidence. The 'must improve' mark is a way for the company to get rid of people. They have to downsize by 15% over the next couple of years and I feel I have been marked as a trouble maker when all I wanted was justice and be able to use the skills, experience and the qualification I trained so hard for.
Where do I go from here? I'm being set up for a fall, aren't i?