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Desperately seeking employment advice, worried sick...

(32 Posts)
Ohgodwhat Fri 01-Apr-16 00:57:31

Hi, really hoping for some advice. I've been knocked for six..

I started at my current company on a temporary contract in June (big national company). My temp contract was extended beyond the initial 3 month timeframe as they were very pleased with my work. I was asked if I'd be interested in going perm if a role came about. I said I'd be delighted. I got on very well indeed with my team and my manager and received great feedback from her.

I was absolutely over the moon when I was offered a permanent role with another team (in ultimately the same department if that makes sense). Everything was going brilliantly, this team is renowned for having a harder time - the workload is larger but ultimately I enjoy the work. Two weeks ago I had a meeting with my manager who said she was very pleased with my work. Happy days.

Today I was called into a meeting to say that she wasn't happy with my work. I'm not hitting targets (impossible to hit them all as certain vendors aren't paying into the accounts which is standard and part of the job. Out of my control. Other team members have the same problem. She has said that im being invited to a meeting entitled "unsuitability to do the job" and I will likely be suspended. I asked if I would be sacked and she said this was likely. I was sick to my stomach and couldn't muster the strength to challenge this.

There are only 2 things which come to mind which could be affecting this:
- last week I made an error. At the end of the business day last Friday I was asked to do something on the spur of the moment and made an error on the system. This was rectified
- two weeks ago a colleague from my old team said that a lady on the team is retiring an my old manager (the one I got along with) said they were all saying how perfect I'd be for this role. Nothing happened so I didn't persue this

I am planning to have a chat with my old manager to see if she knows about anything that has happened here? Is it worth asking if I can switch back to her team. I know that they can sack me without any problem as I have less than 2 years' service and haven't yet passed my probabtion period.

I get the feeling that she is in trouble because we haven't hit target (she says herself that she doesn't know what we all do) and im the scapegoat.

I cannot think straight and am desperate for some advice. If the worst happens, this will look awful on my cv. Frantic with worry.

Ohgodwhat Fri 01-Apr-16 01:01:02

when I say she doesn't know what we all do I mean that she says herself that she is simply our manager in a physical sense - she cannot do our jobs and doesn't understand what we do on a day to day basis. This was not the case with my old manager. She was always very positive about my work and said she "could see me progressing through the ranks at the company". Additionally, another supervisor has said the same thing.

TiredButFineODFOJ Fri 01-Apr-16 01:25:23

If you are now on a perm contract you should be in a probation period, so first of all see what the probation policy says. Being suspended isn't usually part of probation, it tends to be either chance to improve, or bye bye.
Unfortunately if this twunt wants to get you out she can probably do it as you don't have much employment rights, but you were agency anyway, then perm - they look daft in this rather than you.
Sometimes it just does not work out, other employers won't look down on you really.
Also if you do want to fight/go out in a blaze of bother, you could put in a grievance against this manager.

Ohgodwhat Fri 01-Apr-16 01:32:51

thank you so much for your response. Do you think it is worth discussing this with my previous manager?

I am mainly perplexed by the fact that she says that this "isn't a disciplinary meeting" but also says that I will be suspended and will lose my job. It is already a forgone conclusion by all accounts so why wouldn't they just tell me im being terminated and give notice? HR are apparently also going to be at this meeting on Monday?

PastaLaFeasta Fri 01-Apr-16 01:53:20

Definitely talk to your previous manager, they may be able to offer a role and the new manager may be ok with a transfer. Don't worry about the CV, you can make it sound better than it is - role wasn't suited/didn't offer right development etc. It can be added under the previous temp role as its the same company and won't stand out so much.

Stuff like this happens, it may be politics - when it was me I was a bit too ambitious for my manager's liking and they got rid so they could give the job to someone else who was failing in their previous role. DH had similar and spoke to his previous manager who was aware and told him he couldn't learn from the situation, it was political and possibly scapegoating. You can ask for feedback but take it with a bucket of salt as they will construct reasons for your failure if need be. And you are able to take someone in with you if you feel it will help and that person agrees. Take advice from HR but be aware they are not there to help you, they just make sure the processes are followed correctly to avoid legal action. If you have legal cover on your home insurance you may have access to advice by phone, although you already understand how little rights workers have under two years service. Just try to be practical, not emotional (in work), and get the support from anyone you trust and knows you better from your old/current team, and plan your exit so you have somewhere to go.

Ohgodwhat Fri 01-Apr-16 01:57:15

thank you so much. I'm sorry you have experience of this too.

I will definitely speak to my previous manager. I'm hoping the talk of them wanting me to switch back to their team is a genuine one and I can raise this with him.

PastaLaFeasta Fri 01-Apr-16 02:13:05

Mine was my first job fresh out of uni but they did me a favour really, it's never affected my career. DH's was a few years ago and very traumatic but he kept his dignity and played it out carefully, we got good advice so he got paid off instead - just over the period needed to get rights fortunately. He already had a new job set up too. In both situations there was an open offer to transfer internally during the process.

Hopefully they are doing you a favour too and there's a better job for you - in or out of the company. Your previous manager will give a good reference and you have a good period of recent work experience to help get that next role (I'm five years unemployed SAHM currently volunteering and about to start job hunting so you're in a fab position in comparison). You can't escape office politics but getting on with your manager is disproportionately and unfairly important.

Ohgodwhat Fri 01-Apr-16 02:17:52

Cant thank you enough for your help.

I am quite fraudulently posting on MN because im 25 and don't have kids, I just knew it was a good resource and I was right smile Other forums haven't been half as helpful.
I'm certain previous manager can provide a good reference.
I just feel like this is a massive stumbling block as I was so happy with this job. Thanks so much again.

FindoGask Fri 01-Apr-16 07:57:05

I can't understand how in two weeks this new manager has gone from being happy with your work to telling you you are unsuitable for the post. I would certainly be making that point in the meeting. Sorry to hear this, what a shit situation.

Skittlesss Fri 01-Apr-16 08:21:39

Does your previous manager know about the meeting? Can you go see them for some advice beforehand?
Are you in a union?
I've been through the "unsuitability for the job" process, but mine was due to a physical disability and I had worked there for a number of years so I just got redeployed into a different role.
Good luck x

CosyNook Fri 01-Apr-16 08:22:10

As you haven't been employed there for long I'm not sue where you stand, but try posting on here-

QuiteLikely5 Fri 01-Apr-16 08:27:14


In this meeting I think you should be very nice to them and ask about references. Hear what they say then politely ask if it is better if you resign and would they give you a positive reference?

Although they are acting within the law it appears that they are not truly acting within the law. To claim you were brilliant and then claim you aren't within a two week window sounds very strange to me!

rollonthesummer Fri 01-Apr-16 08:33:32

That makes very little sense. Suspension happens when they think you've done something wrong and they need to investigate it!

I'd speak to your old boss and find out from your new boss what's changed in two weeks?

Sadly, they can do what they like if you've not been there two years. It may be best to try to negotiate a reference if they will give you one--it sounds like there is a problem though.

Princessgenie Fri 01-Apr-16 08:33:38

Quitelikely5 makes a very good point about references.
I would talk to the other manager discreetly and politely and professionally before the meeting and ask if there is any possibility of being accommodated back in their team.
And then in the meeting I would be polite, professional, stand by ground but without being rude or aggressive and then before they tell me I am being dismissed ask if that is to be the outcome and if so can I resign instead.
At the end of the day shitty and unfair as it is everything they are doing is entirely lawful. Unless they are dismissing because of a protected characteristic or they are diacriminating you have no right of redress in the first two years other than a possible breech of contract case (but as long as they pay out your notice period they probably aren't breaching your contract). It's horrid.

wannadancethenightaway Fri 01-Apr-16 08:36:48

Are you in a union? If so, get them in

Fedup21 Fri 01-Apr-16 08:42:12

Though if you resign, I don't think you are able to claim job seekers allowance? I might be wrong on that though.

WipsGlitter Fri 01-Apr-16 08:55:18

It sounds like you are an easy scapegoat for not meeting target. Is there a written note / email of your meeting with you manager where they said you were getting on well?

Millbram Fri 01-Apr-16 09:08:13

Do you not have a union rep? Get them involved- thats what they're there for! Do not take this lying down and do not accept any suspension without the employer providing complete written breakdown of their reasons for picking on you out of a team that are generally underperforming

Princessgenie Fri 01-Apr-16 09:18:38

The union will not assist unless you are already a member. You cannot usually join part way through a dispute and get them involved. And they will probably say that there is nothing they can do as the company are not breaking any rules.
It's not about 'taking it lying down' or being picked out of an underperforming team. They are absolutely allowed to do that - you have less than two years service, so whilst there is a process to follow there's very little you can do.

Haffdonga Fri 01-Apr-16 09:31:09

it may not be coincidence that this is the beginning of a new financial year. Sounds to me like your manager is looking for an excuse to cut her numbers for the new year's budget. Nothing you can do about internal politics, I'm afraid.

If it comes to it, it's true you may not be able to claim JSA if you choose to resign but if you explain that you were given the option of either resigning or you'd have been dismissed the Job Centre should accept that as not voluntarily leaving the job.

On a CV, as you've not finished a probabtion period, I'd call it the job a 'short term contract' . I know you didn't expect it to be short term, but if it ends that's what it was in effect. If asked for reasons for leaving on an application form I'd just put 'end of contract'.

Don't be a pushover. Ask in the meeting politely for an explanation of how your work can have gone so suddenly from excellent to unsuitable in a 2 week period. Ask why you weren't offered training or support to improve in the 'weak' areas. Ask about references. Talk to your previous manager.

Good luck - all is not lost.

wannabehippyandcrazycatlover Fri 01-Apr-16 09:40:16

This will likely be a probation meeting in which they will terminate your employment if they have expressed dissatisfaction with your work. Unfortunately you do not have many rights as you are still within your probationary period.

I would have a chat with your old manager. It's worth a shot surely?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 01-Apr-16 09:41:27

What did you do with the information that someone on your old team was retiring? Nothing at all? I wonder if they'd hoped you'd apply because you're more suited to the job there, and that's why lots of people mentioned it to you.

Also, how critical was the error? I'm glad it was rectifiable, but was it enough of a mistake that it could have them doubting your abilities? Have you already told them that it happened because it was the end of the day on Friday? (That's a bit of a concerning reason, to be honest!) Are you trained to do the thing that you did wrong and have you been offered any training since?

Suspension is usually used when something has gone wrong and they need to investigate, and then you'd have disciplinary meetings. Are you being suspended so that they can investigate the error that you made, and then going to a meeting to discuss whether you are suitable for the role as a result?

The only real way that this makes any sense is if that error was pretty worrying for them and it's undermined all of the good things that they thought about you. Essentially saying that they did think you were good and that you'd progress, but the error plus not hitting your targets together means they have totally reversed that opinion. Or, that this is what they are going to claim to has happened, for political/financial reasons.

It's definitely worth speaking to your old manager to see if that job still exists, and if they will support you through this process. There's some excellent advice on what to do in the meeting up-thread, too.

Good luck. This must be horrible to have hanging over you.

TiredButFineODFOJ Fri 01-Apr-16 12:11:47

I agree it's worth a word with old manager. Maybe she will be able to get you back in her team, if not right now then in the future.

Agree with pp advice about being calm and professional in the meeting, although I would add that you should ask to me accompanied by a colleague (just for the support and so they can see what management are up to) and I'd act the wide eyed innocent/ out of the mouths of babes at the start of the meeting "so I'm here to be suspended and I'm going to lose my job, that's what manager told me this was about" HR at this point should have a minor breakdown if they are any good. If they don't react, they are rubbish/evil and they are not going to help.

Skittlesss Fri 01-Apr-16 12:17:11

Just want to add - don't go to the meeting on your own - you should be allowed to take a colleague in with you. Is there anyone who could do that?

badtime Fri 01-Apr-16 12:25:38

My first thought was that this has something to do with the end of the financial year and scapegoating (or, more charitably, budget management for next year).

It sounds like it is political rather than performance related.

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