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AIBU to think that I can't succeed in the workplace?

32 replies

Maypoledance · 01/05/2013 19:55

I have name changed for this because I feel so embarrassed.
A couple of weeks ago I was called into my boss's office and told I could resign quietly or they would start disciplinary action against me on the grounds of capability. This was a complete shock and totally unexpected. This was a relatively new job for which I had retrained. I had not been doing anything without supervision, although I had been concerned that the level of supervision I was receiving was not adequate but had not said anything. I had got the impression that when they hired me they made a mistake in assuming that because I was older than someone who would normally be doing such a junior role that I would be able to "hit the ground running" (their words) which I wasn't able to do because I hadn't got the experience.
I decided to resign quietly as that way I would at least have a reference. I took the view that they had decided to get rid of me and would find "grounds" if they wanted to.
This has really knocked my confidence. The reason I had retrained is that I never felt I was any good at my previous career, though at least I hadn't ever been fired!
I think I am probably too passive. I feel that I can't succeed in the workplace. I would like to get another job but feel that I am doing something wrong and that until I identify what it is I will never succeed. Does anyone have any advice?

OP posts:

Molehillmountain · 01/05/2013 20:00

Don't think that this will be the story in every similar work place. I resigned from a job because I knew I would be in a similar position to you if I didn't. I went on, after a break to get my confidence back, to hold a similar position for eight years until my first dc born. Good luck. It feels horrible, beyond horrible I'd imagine, but believe in yourself and know that life will go on and bring better things.


round1000 · 01/05/2013 20:03

That's shocking, most jobs require some element of training before you can work independently! It sounds like you need more confidence in yourself but companies treating you like this is just going to knock all the confidence out of you.


Smartieaddict · 01/05/2013 20:04

Are you sure it was you that was the problem? It seems very odd to suddenly get called in like that out of the blue, surely it would be normal to be made aware there was a problem way before it got to the point of asking you to resign? I wonder if there was another reason they needed you to leave?

Don't be too discouraged, that job wasn't right for you, but you will find one that is.


round1000 · 01/05/2013 20:07

If I wanted to fire someone for lack of ability I would have to show a lot of evidence of training and counselling before my HR dept would even look at it, and quite rightly so! I feel angry for you!


LaGuardia · 01/05/2013 20:10

Not the NHS by any chance, was it?


StealthOfficialCrispTester · 01/05/2013 20:12

Maypole, they sound crap but you are better off out. I left a job which on paper was almost identical to the one I'm doing now. I just did not get what was expected of me - it was as if my boss was speaking another language. I tried and tried and could not do it. I now have a job I love, slightly more money, and have huge job satisfaction - my boss leaves me to get on with it, tells me that I'm doing well,makes use of the stuff I produce etc etc. I did nothing to retrain between the two and am not doing anything different in terms of effort. I just 'fit'. But if I'd stayed in my old job much longer I'd have had a major breakdown in confidence and started to think it really was me - I was useless.


StealthOfficialCrispTester · 01/05/2013 20:13

LaG, my current (lovely) job is NHS....(or was till v recently)


javabean · 01/05/2013 20:16

Sounds like the company have behaved terribly, there is no way that anyone should be treated like that! If you couldn't do the job, then they should have been putting measures in place to train and support you, and you should have known that performance was an issue long before the conversation with your boss. And if you were honest about your experience then their assumptions about your ability to 'hit the ground running' are no reflection on you.

Do you honestly think your performance should have been an issue? Am wondering if there's some other factor involved.


theoriginalandbestrookie · 01/05/2013 20:17

Similar thing happened to DH before that role and subsequently he has done extremely well .Sometimes you just dont fit in an org - make sure your reference isnt a problem .They should not be able to say anything bad as they never gave any formal feedback .Good luck for the future.


Jinsei · 01/05/2013 20:23

Wow! I have had to take an employee through a capability process, sadly ending in dismissal, and it was incredibly difficult for both of us. However, there was a very long period before that formal process started, in which she knew that I had concerns and was given support and training to improve. I cannot imagine calling someone in for a conversation like the one that you have described without having had many more conversations first about why things weren't working and what could be done to put it right.

I'm firmy of the "no surprises" school of management, and think you have been treated very shoddily. Tbh, if one of my managers did that to a more junior member of staff, I'd be wanting to take the manager through capability!

Don't worry OP, sounds like it was a rubbish place to work anyway, and you will find your niche somewhere. Try not to let it knock your confidence.


Maypoledance · 01/05/2013 20:33

Thanks for the responses. No it wasn't the NHS, it was a small private sector firm and local to where I live, which is why I had gone to work there (fitted in with DCs etc). I know they are struggling a bit in the recession and I had realised things were quiet but they really hadn't said anything to me and certainly no one had sat me down and said "this this and this are not working can we try to address this".
They have agreed a decent reference - on the lines that I resigned because I was finding full time work too much to combine with my family and they had turned down my request to reduce my days (which is true).
I suppose I just need to build up my confidence before applying for a new job.

OP posts:

StealthOfficialCrispTester · 01/05/2013 20:35

No! Keep your confidence! Address issues on your capability and performance if they are ever raised in a professional manner
Which this was not. It's perfectly obvious they wanted rid (guessing costs...) and this was the easiest way without the need for redundancy. How long had you been there?


Maypoledance · 01/05/2013 20:43

I had been there just over a year.

I think what is worrying me is that perhaps I allow people to bully me (my mother is very difficult - someone I know who knows my mother well is a psychiatrist and says she thinks my mum has Narcissist Personality Disorder). I have bought a book on assertiveness but just wondered if there any other tips on standing up for oneself.

The weird thing about this job is that it is one I never would have taken if it hadn't been for the DCs. I have really strong academic qualifications, much better than most of the people I was working with and a lot of them were really not that good at their jobs (eg forgot about meetings, said they would do something and then didn't do it etc).

OP posts:

Jinsei · 01/05/2013 20:45

OP, did they give you feedback before you decided to resign on what exactly was the problem with your performance? Do you agree with their judgement? Are there skills you could be working to improve? Or do you think it was just an excuse to cut their wages bill?


IfNotNowThenWhen · 01/05/2013 20:47

OP, this is total bollocks. As others have said, there is NO WAY it is kosher to suddenly spring this on you, and ask you to resign. Something else is going on here.
In a proper job, if you were struggling to learn the ropes, it would have been flagged up, and extra training and support provided.
You would have been told there was a problem, and given a target to meet, further to any other action.
It's not you. Seriously. It's them.


Maypoledance · 01/05/2013 20:54

I think the trouble was that they brought me in to replace someone who had left who had about 10 years experience and I think that because I was the same age as her they somehow thought I would just be able to take over where she left off.
At interview I made it quite clear that I had only just finished retraining so I did not misrepresent myself in any way.
They did provide some training but at no time did they say anything in an informal way about a need to improve.
A couple of things had gone wrong - but in both cases the work had been done under supervision and in both cases when I asked my boss what could have been done differently she just shrugged her shoulders and said she didn't really think anything could have been done differently "these things happen."

OP posts:

maddening · 01/05/2013 20:58

but did they enter in to any discussion about where you went wrong and why this was the first time you had been made aware of such issues? All seems deeply suspect.


IfNotNowThenWhen · 01/05/2013 21:03

Ah. OK. I think your boss in in the shit and needs to pass the buck. And they should have said something, if somethign was wring in a formal way btw. Any warning should always be formally issued.


IfNotNowThenWhen · 01/05/2013 21:03

wrong! sausage fingers!


Maypoledance · 01/05/2013 21:08

I'm really grateful for your replies and I do genuinely think I was badly treated. I'm not saying my performance was perfect but I was doing my best in difficult circumstances (my boss only worked part time so when she wasn't around I was supervised by her assistant who often told me to do something different from what my boss would subsequently tell me to do).

I think the crux though is that I think there is something about the way I interact with people that makes them treat me badly/take advantage of me in the workplace and I was wondering whether anyone else had any thoughts on this because right now I feel terrified that if I get another job the same thing will happen again (I have been bullied in jobs in the past although never fired).

OP posts:

kim147 · 01/05/2013 21:26

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maypoledance · 01/05/2013 21:39

Thanks Kim, sorry to hear you are in the same boat but also good to know I am not the only one who feels like this.

OP posts:

inabeautifulplace · 01/05/2013 21:41

It sounds to me like they are struggling financially and identified you via whatever means as the best person to let go. Those means may involve competence, but just as likely to be because you'd cost them the least amount of money/hassle.

The 1 year of training followed by the ultimatum would be the biggest sign of this - if someone isn't performing then you'd give them support and guidance to get what you wanted. Unless the underlying reason was not your performance, but something else.

Sorry you've been treated badly. There are all sorts of companies out there. Many understand that a happy, motivated and challenged workforce is essential to successful business. You'll find one at some point.


Iamsparklyknickers · 01/05/2013 22:09

I would guess financial reasons are the real issue as well.

Small company rang alarm bells for me, some - not all - aren't run with any regard for HR law or procedures and work very much on the basis of what the owner feels will work personally and with the rationale that most people won't challenge them with the law. I've seen people employed into positions that disappeared after they'd been 'let go' purely because another way of distrubting the tasks had been found.

Unless you feel up to it and could take the financial hit I wouldn't suggest that's a route for you to take - but instead count your blessings and move on.


LifeHope11 · 01/05/2013 23:03

I agree that you have been treated very poorly and without any regard for established good practice. Any disciplinary action would normally be expected to follow previous informal discussions about specific performance issues, performance improvement plan etc - not come out of the blue like this.

PLEASE do not feel embarrassed, they are the ones who should be embarrassed and ashamed at how they have acted. Situations like this are sadly quite common so you are not alone, you are well out of this organisation. Out of interest - did they give you any kind of payoff? Given that you were pressured to resign in this way this might be appropriate, at least pay in lieu of contractual notice.

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