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Face doesn't fit

(37 Posts)
WorkWorries13 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:25:37

Hi all, have name changed as don't want to be outed.

I started a new job recently and was taken to one side by my manager last week and basically told unless I start talking to my colleagues more then I'm going to be let go.

She said I'm doing my job wonderfully and that she can't fault it however as it's such a small office then we all have to get on.

There is one particular woman who has taken a real dislike to me and is the self appointed deputy.

I decided to keep myself to myself but again this isn't good enough and I need to interact more.

My question is can they fire me for not fitting in?

MikeUniformMike Wed 14-Feb-18 15:30:42


IfNot Wed 14-Feb-18 15:33:05

God you poor thing. I feel for you as one of the reasons I hated office work was the expectation to endlessly chat and share information about myself. I just want to go and do my job, and go home to my real life.
You should be able to do this too.
Are you still in a probationary period? If so, try to comply, while looking for a new job, just in case. Once your probation is over, no, they would need an actual reason to fire you.

monkeywithacowface Wed 14-Feb-18 15:34:58

I suspect in these early days they can fire you for whatever reason they want. I would probably start looking elsewhere it sounds like a very unpleasant environment to be in long term.

WorkWorries13 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:35:37

Yep, I just want to do my job then go home. Can't be arsed to be drawn into conversations about hair/nails/bollocks.

Am looking for a new job but I absolutely adore my's perfect hours/money etc

WorkWorries13 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:36:12

Am still on probation

ReggaetonLente Wed 14-Feb-18 15:36:31

Jesus. What a nightmare situation.

Do you even want to work somewhere so petty and pathetic? Probably not helpful I know, but I’d have trouble respecting a manager who said that to me.

mimibunz Wed 14-Feb-18 15:37:15

Are you in England? Check the ACAS dismissal process. My understanding is that the employer must follow a formal notification process, they must lay out their justification and allow you the time and support to make the changes they are asking for. Even if you are still within your probation period you have rights!

BlackAmericanoNoSugar Wed 14-Feb-18 15:38:36

They can sack you for any reason or none in the first 2 years AFAIK. I have worked for a company where a couple of time (over the course of 10 years) they let someone go for not fitting in. One of them I don't know why he didn't fit as I didn't have much contact with that team, but the other one was a bit of a relief when she went as what she wanted was to work in a quiet office, but we had a huge open plan set up with quite a bit of associated noise that you just had to learn to block out. Rather than say she couldn't cope with open plan she went all passive-aggressive and was constantly commenting that some people couldn't possibly be doing their work if they were chatting so much and other picky comments about things that were none of her business.

I would do two things, firstly, update your CV and see if there are any jobs out there that might suit you better and secondly start using social small talk. It would only take a total of about 10-15 mins out of your day to say good morning to everyone by name, ask what they're up to at the weekend, remember what they were planning for the weekend and ask if they enjoyed it on Monday. See if you can get to a level of interaction where most of the staff feel comfortable starting a short idle conversation with you, eg while you're waiting for the kettle to boil.

WorkWorries13 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:39:15

It's such a small office that even if we had meditation then I fear the atmosphere would be dreadful. It's a real shame but yes it is petty and pathetic

WorkWorries13 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:41:30

I phoned ACAS and they pretty much said as long as they follow procedure then yes they can get rid of me sad I do say good morning to everyone and ask about their weekend but that's as far as I go.

MrsDilber Wed 14-Feb-18 15:47:46

That's really harsh.

flowery Wed 14-Feb-18 15:55:20

"Once your probation is over, no, they would need an actual reason to fire you."

Nope. As long as they don't dismiss someone for a discriminatory or otherwise automatically unfair reason, they can dismiss for no reason at all within the first two years. Probation is absolutely meaningless legally and the only thing which usually changes when someone 'passes probation' is their notice period increases. No additional employment rights whatsoever and I get so fed up with people who don't have a clue about employment law giving really bad advice.

Seems a bit short-sighted of the company if you are otherwise performing well, but yes they can dismiss you if they want to. Dynamics in a small team can have a significant impact on team performance so if there is a sense everyone isn't getting on and this is having an impact, they are right to do something about it.

What they should do if they are sensible is take steps to improve team dynamics. Failing to do so is commercially daft as it means they'll have to re-recruit, which is costly in terms of actual money plus management time, lost productivity etc, and the new person might be equally not a 'good fit'.

But although dismissing you instead would be commercially daft, it's not unlawful.

WorkWorries13 Wed 14-Feb-18 16:01:03

Thank you @flowery that's very helpful. The manager is a bit of a dick as well. She's been in charge for about 18 months and already 4 people have left.

I have updated my CV and will start job hunting with a vengeance

retirednow Wed 14-Feb-18 19:54:41

I hope you find yourself a really good job where you feel valued and appreciated

Failingat40 Wed 14-Feb-18 22:06:21

Hi @WorkWorries13 I'm in a similar situation in a small (dysfunctional) team where one woman in the office took a dislike to me for absolutely no reason. She complained I talk too much, which was a blatant lie. Then she ranted and shouted and swore about me (in front of me) like a fucking loon.

Another key member of staff who is a narcissistic jumped up twat refers to me collectively with others in the team as 'idiots'

My line manager is chummy with everyone and has zero confidentiality and is too busy WhatsApping and Facebooking the people concerned to actually do her job properly and was more concerned about getting away for her bacon roll when I reported a grievance to her. She actually stood up to leave the room while I was still telling her what had been going on hmm

A big part of me things did them why should I leave and the other part thinks life's too short, just get out.

People are such arseholes aren't they? Karma will hopefully bite them on the arse.

EBearhug Thu 15-Feb-18 00:57:32

As I have been discussing with my own HR recently for very similar reasons (except I'm a 10 days short of my 14th anniversary, so hardly in a probationary period,) there is no obligation to talk about non-work things in work. Pointed out to manager that being told to volunteer personal stuff makes it very much not voluntary.

I asked what work has been delayed or not done because of the way I interact with colleagues - there was a long pause and eventually he said, "it's not just about performing the job, it's about the atmosphere that's created." I sort of agree, but where I have a totally different view of things is that I don't perceive there to be any problem on account of I talk to all my colleagues and do lots of collaborative work with them. I even went on holiday with one of them last autumn. I am finding it utterly mentally exhausting to have to keep talking about this (there have been goodness knows how many discussions in different combinations of me, manager, HR, manager's manager, etc, since my annual review a week and a half ago.) It's making me want to hide in a corner and not speak to anyone at all.

However, you are in a different position, because you've not yet been there two years. I don't know what the answer is. But you're not alone, though I don't know if that's any comfort!

IfNot Thu 15-Feb-18 01:07:31

As long as they don't dismiss someone for a discriminatory or otherwise automatically unfair reason
Right, actual reason then!?
Not "not chatting enough"?

daisychain01 Thu 15-Feb-18 04:08:25

I'm a very private person at work and this thread really strikes a chord with me. The thought of "having to" interact with people (how vague and random is that!) to the point it could have an impact on my employment brings me out in hives.

As a manager, I'd never dream of marking someone down just because they don't do small talk or want to share about their personal life. Especially if their work is good. I'd be thinking, they're getting on with their job, that's um kinda why we're at work. In fact if people are busy and productive it's far better for morale than people chit-chatting about non-work stuff because they don't have enough to do.

Nowadays I've learned to tick the corporate box and be superficially friendly, but somehow manage not to give away anything about me that could be used against me, it's amazing how people can take personal info and do stuff with it. So exhausting, I feel for anyone put in this situation flowers

flowery Thu 15-Feb-18 06:32:37

”Right, actual reason then!?
Not "not chatting enough"?”

No, as I said, no reason at all, or a flimsy one are both perfectly lawful. There are a list of automatically unfair reasons around discrimination and exercising statutory rights but as long as none of those are a factor, they can dismiss for any other reason, however small, or for no reason at all.

WorkWorries13 Thu 15-Feb-18 08:50:27

It's very annoying especially as we work in an industry that requires 100% concentration. The woman who doesn't like me makes lots of mistakes as she's too busy chatting, I had to spend time the other day rectifying this with a very upset lady.

The manager is very pally with everyone and they all regularly go out to the pub (which is fine but shouldn't be the be all and end all)

She also sits in the same office so isn't very approachable. I definitely think it's time to move on but it's such a bloody shame as I'm good at my very niche job.

Mosaic123 Sun 18-Feb-18 17:00:28

Could you just get yourself known as the quiet one? Say that your shy repeatedly.

It seems so sad to leave a perfect job due to this.

strawberrysparkle Sun 18-Feb-18 18:24:41

I really feel for you - I've had a similar situation where I like to come in, work hard and go. I was pulled up for not going to the pub on a Friday night when pregnant as it was seen as 'unsociable'. I don't want to be around drunk smokers when heavily pregnant!

Some people just aren't as sociable as others and that's ok. Unfortunately though they can dismiss you for any reason (as long as not discriminatory) before 2 heads service.

Bluntness100 Sun 18-Feb-18 18:32:59

Yes. They cam just let you go st the end of the probation period If they feel it's not working out.

To be fair to them they have warned you this is what's going to happen and given you opportunity to rectify it. Clearly you're perceived as not getting on with the team. Which is what she's told you. I doubt she asked you to talk about hair and nails, but to simply interact more pleasantly.

If you can't do it, then expect to bd let go. It's that simple. There is no surprises here, she has been upfront with you.

As much as you feel they don't like you, it's clear you also don't like them. So maybe she has a point.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sun 18-Feb-18 18:37:08

She's been in charge for about 18 months and already 4 people have left.
I think this is the relevant information here. Rubbish for you, but honestly if I were her manager I would be starting to ask why...

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