What have I done wrong?

(34 Posts)
GreenBlueTack Fri 08-Mar-19 11:23:57

Named changed for this as following on from what happened yesterday I am really paranoid.

I started working for company, a charity, towards the back end of last year. The team I am in is a new team. We have been asked to work in several projects, one is reliant on on new system being in place. The new system has been delayed for reasons beyond anyone's control. Just for general info, the system is a finance system.

Nothing has been put in place to account for the lack of this system, plus we were given to welcome to the organisation with regards to what we were expected to work on, who is who etc.

As a team we have been bumbling along trying to gain information and make working relationships with people who can help us.

I was asked to go to a conference over a month to give an update in the work we had done to date. I went along, explained we were working hard and were looking forward to the new finance system being put in place as we could move through our work much more quickly.

Last Friday I was told I had passed my probation period. On Monday, my line manager pulled me to one side to say I hadn't passed my probation, they were extending it by a further 6 weeks.

The reason for this is, apparently I was rude at the conference and upset one of the finance directors by saying the finance system wasn't in place yet. They had complained to my senior manager who has sat on this complaint since the conference.

He then contacted my line manager on Monday to relay this message and asked if he should be ending my employment. My line manager was horrified and said absolutely no, that it didn't sound like something I would have done and the most that she was willing to do is to extend by probation whilst she investigated this.

To date, my line manager doesn't know exactly what it is I said or did. My senior manager also doesn't know what I did, he is just relaying that he had complaint sent to him.

I'm understandably upset as I work hard, and I've worked under bad circumstances, making the best of things.

I felt like quitting on the spot, and I am now actively seeking new work.

I am concerned that HR can say that I didn't pass my probation when it comes to references. I'm also not pleased that my work history will show I was in this role for a short time and that it will reflect negatively on me.

Thank you for reading, does anyone have any advice?

OP’s posts: |
TheShiteRunner Fri 08-Mar-19 11:27:13

How horrible! Is the finance director that complained about you somehow responsible/partly responsible for the new system not being in place?

RescueRemedy21 Fri 08-Mar-19 11:32:19

If it's as you say, that you simply said you were looking forward to the new system and didn't complain then I would ask to see the complaint in writing and ask for further investigation. Were there any witnesses to the conversation that can back you up? I would also put your side in writing in response to the complaint.

Lougle Fri 08-Mar-19 11:37:16

That's frustrating for you. In one sense, you could get quite embroiled in the did you/didn't you pass probation and why. In another sense, you don't have any protection over your job until 2 years of service anyway, whether or not you are in or out of probation, so it's inconsequential.

GreenBlueTack Fri 08-Mar-19 11:38:46

Yes, the finance director would have been partially responsible for the system not being in place.

To be honest I had to really scratch my head and think about anything I said about the finance system. It wasn't really spoken about the conference.

I have asked my manager to find out what I apparently said or did. I've also asked that my manager make contact with a senior business partner who attended the conference for their opinion.

Of course if I have done something wrong I'll apologise and accept my punishment. But I genuinely can't remember saying anything!

OP’s posts: |
Meandmetoo Fri 08-Mar-19 11:53:52

If you had it confirmed you have passed probation they cannot say no you haven't and extend it a week later. It depends on how far you want to push that as probation periods mean nothing really unless you get enhanced benefits/more contractual rights once you pass. I'd be having a look at their disciplinary policy to see if this is any different if probation is passed.

It sounds like the fd isn't happy a light was shone on their ineffectiveness at a conference. I think at this stage all you can do is apologise if your comment wasnt taken in the spirit it was intended - everyone working well together under temporary difficult circumstances - and as a new employee you didn't realise it wasn't common knowledge that there was a delay implementing the system (so if it is common knowledge this comment sort of shows how ridiculous the complaint is given everyone knows anyway). And perhaps next time you could run what you will say at these things by your manager to ensure nothing contentious is being said.

At the minute it sounds like you are being treated pretty unfairly but unfortunately with less than 2 years service you have very little recourse here. Unless they are doing you out of a contractual disciplinary process by underhandedly extending your probation but even then there's very little recourse worthwhile.

GreenBlueTack Fri 08-Mar-19 14:16:53

Thank you @Meandmetoo what you have written has given me a great deal of comfort.

I have never been accused of being rude before, it just doesn't go with my nature.

The experience has really made me question the chairing snd their ethos. I'm going to be as "well behaved" as possible and seek other employment.

OP’s posts: |


ideasofmarch Fri 08-Mar-19 14:43:17

Ah, the finance bod has had their inefficiency pointed out to everybody by a subordinate, and they are smarting from the indignity. Big cheeses don't like being in that situation, and they have lashed out - at you.

You need to explain to your line manager exactly what you said about the new computer system, in what context, and what prompted you to give the information. Presumably, at the meeting you had to justify why things were not yet as they should be? There's nothing wrong with that at all.

GreenBlueTack Fri 08-Mar-19 15:39:39

After reading through the advice on hear and talking up my friend, I have decided that at the meeting next week I will ask for information on what it was I said or did that has generated this complaint.

Only when I know what it that I've done I will comment further. It's hard to defend/ apologise when no one seems to know what I did to offend the finance person.

Reflecting, I do think they have jumped the gun with regards to my probation period as they have acted without knowing the full story.

OP’s posts: |
Coronapop Fri 08-Mar-19 15:40:10

IME charities are not well managed organisations. I think you are right to look for another job. I have no doubt that 'ideas' is right about your comments about the finance system reflecting badly on some high-up who didn't like it. If you have it in writing that you passed your probation then that should not be changed later. Keep the document.
You could raise a grievance or when you leave you could write to the Trustees of the charity about your experience.
I feel for you stuck there until you get something better, which I am sure you will.

swingofthings Sat 09-Mar-19 07:04:48

Ah, the finance bod has had their inefficiency pointed out to everybody by a subordinate, and they are smarting from the indignity
If the conference include key stakeholders, which usually is the case, then as a manager, you are e pe Ted to represent your organisation, not just your team. Making out that a particuslt team has been limited in what thry could because of the failure of another team, even if only hinted out, is quite unprofessional.

Being a manager is knowing when you can say things and when you don't. Saying that, you should have gone over your presentation with your manager first. Don't resign, things like this happen, it's part of the learning process. The Finance manager is not happy now, but will forget all about it when the system is in place and they'll onto something else. Speak with your manager and listen to what they say after the investigation. We all make professional mistakes, it's no big deal and certainly not worth resigning.

daisychain01 Sat 09-Mar-19 12:38:40

I went along, explained we were working hard and were looking forward to the new finance system being put in place as we could move through our work much more quickly

I'd keep looking for a new job, OP and take your skills and contributions elsewhere.

If you stated fact in the reasonable manner your above post suggests, that some precious snowflake of a senior manager couldn't take, and was happy to kick out at a new employee, I honestly don't rate their culture.

Punishing you by extending your probation which denies you certain elevated rights such as increased notice period, is a low-down thing to do. What harm to their organisation did you actually do, other than highlight what a key priority a finance system is, rather than you all having to muddle along inefficiently. That's being a responsible manager wanting the best for the organisation

SarahSnowdrop Sat 09-Mar-19 13:00:03


Nothing put in place
No welcome to the organisation with regards to expectations, introductions
Bumbling along
Trying to gain information
Trying to make relationships
Passed probation period then extended a few days later
Being told you were rude at a conference
Senior manager sat on complaint about you
Senior manager's initial response is to sack you
Senior manager didn't communicate exactly what it is you did wrong

It's not great is it?

Probationary period is a two way thing. You don't have to stay with a rubbish employer in the same way that they don't have to keep on a new member of staff. I would challenge what has happened but be incredibly professional about it. However, I would vote with my feet personally.

Had a very similar thing happen to me years ago involving a very difficult boss. Very diplomatically told him that he wasn't the sort of boss I wanted to work for. He was a very well known powerful person who was used to getting his own. It clearly wasn't what he was expecting to hear! grin

ForgivenessIsDivine Sat 09-Mar-19 13:05:18

Do look for another job!! If you end up moving, you can say that you were taken on to do a job that required a Finance System that was not in place, you were unable to do your job effectively and felt it more appropriate to find another job than continue with the situation as it was.

GreenBlueTack Sat 09-Mar-19 13:49:32

Thank you for all of your replies. The situation doesn't feel as raw as it did a couple of days ago. I'm now in a position where I'm angry and find the whole situation absurd.

I will absolutely be voting with my feet, and on their imposed punishment of a extended my probation with out carrying out a investigation, I only have to give a weeks notice.

I'm booking an appointment with a recruitment agency and telling them I am available for a long term temp position almost effectively immediately.

I will not be working for somewhere that has such a bad work culture. My line manager has assured me that she knows I work hard and that I am good at my job, and this ridiculous situation sounds nothing like me at all. She has backed me all the way.

I'm tempted to write to to the trustees when I leave to notify them of the culture, but that comes from a place of anger right now, I'll do the right thing and see how I feel when I leave.

OP’s posts: |
ideasofmarch Sat 09-Mar-19 15:13:21

At the meeting, I presume that you had to update them on the progress your team has made, and they needed to know why that progress has been impeded. If you hadn't explained that it was a software implementation issue, they would have assumed that the incompetence lay with your team. Instead, you had no choice but to explain that the problem lay elsewhere. You were caught between a rock and a hard place, weren't you?

GreenBlueTack Mon 11-Mar-19 10:44:02

I just thought I would give you an update, please excuse any typos I feel sick with anxiety and rage.

They are calling into accounts two case of "bad" behaviour, the first stems from my first day when I said I didn't agree with having to use my own personal phone to take work related calls, I was told that I had to. I asked them to provide a phone for me, they still haven't and I'm still having to use my own phone, not all the time but a couple of times a day.

The second which is what I started this thread about, my manager has tried to carry out an investigation but still can't find any evidence of the alleged incident taking place. She has said she is not happy at all and is contacting HR for advice.

The first incident is being cited that I am an unreasonable person therefore the second incident must be true.

I'be has good feedback from everyone I've worked with so far.

I think it's best for me to quit, or I am I being ridiculous?

OP’s posts: |
Meandmetoo Mon 11-Mar-19 11:10:59

How I'd handle this depends on how happy I was there generally with the role/business. It does sound like they are being very heavy-handed, but your manager seems to have your back which is great. If I liked it, apart from this situation, I'd probably just see what happens.

Fwiw I had something similar when I had started a new role. Apparently I was "moody and unhelpful" (this was after my second week when I was being asked questions I had no clue about so me not being able to immediately answer got me that description). I never thought I'd be able to move past it or that anyone else would. I ended up staying for 5 years and proved fairly quickly that once I had the knowledge, I was anything but moody and helpful. It still stung to think about, but I wanted to try and work through it because I loved the job (and it was only down the road from my house!).

Sorry this is happening to you. Male pride has an awful lot to answer for doesn't it angry

GreenBlueTack Mon 11-Mar-19 11:25:06

Thank you @Meandmetoo, I'm not happy here as it is. They are so disorganised, I spend too much time at work as it is, let alone thinking I've got to watch my back

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Mon 11-Mar-19 13:07:37

Green it doesn't change my opinion from my earlier post, that you'd be better off trying to secure something else. They've thankfully shown you very early on what they are, as an organisation.

And to add, when it gets to the point in any employment where they're scrabbling around trying to find 'a reason, any reason' then you know it's not worth salvaging the situation.

If they decide to part company, don't forget you have employment rights only insofar as they must pay your contractual notice period, and any accrued statutory holiday.

Can you get some contracting work so you can leave ASAP. As your time there was so short, you could easily scrub those few weeks off your CV with no negative impact.

Notwiththeseknees Mon 11-Mar-19 13:12:26

They sound awful and unprofessional. I can't add anything helpful, but I hope you either get it resolved to your utmost satisfaction or find another job where you are appreciated.

GreenBlueTack Mon 11-Mar-19 15:12:33

I've handed in my notice, my manager has told me that she is sad about this due to all the good things I've done here, she was going to get in contact with the HR team to say she refused to extend my probation due to such a wishy washy reason.

I've never quit with nothing to go to before, I'm scared and liberated!

This is my first job with a charity, I don't think I'll work at one again if they are all like this.

Just need to keep my head down for the next week and wrap up the work I've been doing. I've asked them to pay my accrued annual leave in my final pay check.

OP’s posts: |
ideasofmarch Mon 11-Mar-19 15:36:03

If I were you, I'd write to the Charities Commission and tell them what has happened.

Luckingfovely Mon 11-Mar-19 15:51:30

I'm glad for you that you've handed your notice in. I would certainly be making a formal complaint in writing about how you were treated and your reasons for leaving. Calmly and professionally, but honest. And copied to several of the most people in the organisation.

For what it's worth - the charity sector is the absolute worst, most unprofessional sector that I have ever worked in. Left following an actual nervous breakdown from the way they treated people. Never, ever, again.

Luckingfovely Mon 11-Mar-19 15:53:11

*most senior people

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