Help me be less paranoid about getting fired.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Hi. I'm a 30-something corporate professional. I have been working in an industry for the past 10 years as a middle management professional and have done quite well for myself. I have always been a Type-A, motivated, enjoy what I do, etc. etc. and I think for the past 10 years it definitely has paid off with me moving up the corporate ladder despite changing companies and continuing to grow as a professional and into a career that I love.
Anyway, last year I was working for a company where the internal politics were quite toxic. People withheld information from one another, there was a lot of back stabbing, tons of political drama, and basically, if someone in upper management didn't like you, you were as good as gone, despite work outputs.
Long story short, I was essentially "pushed out" of this company because a person who was my senior didn't like that I tend to think outside of the box and didn't like that although I completed my work, I didn't necessarily do it the same way as everyone else. I tend to challenge ideas at work (gently and politely of course) because I think that there are tons of different ways to do different things, and trying new ideas within reason can pay off all around. Obviously risks versus benefits are major considerations, but if my colleagues are in agreement, then why not? Anyway, things were made to be very difficult on me, to the point where I was bullied, passively-aggressively roped into working long, unnecessary hours, and was eventually put on an entirely unwarranted performance plan. I say this was unwarranted, because typically when someone is put on a performance plan, the plans include measurable objectives - then once that person is able to perform/obtain those measurable objectives then the plan is resolved. Well, none of my objectives were measurable and were completely subjective. Being Type-A this totally threw me for a loop and I was devastated. I felt like everything was out of my control and even if I complied with this "plan", the fate of my job still was in the hands of my senior who didn't like me. As a result, I worked even HARDER to show them that this was not me and that I was a valued employee - to the point where I even created and submitted voluntary weekly summaries of all the measurable work I did that week, my hours worked (despite being a salaried employee) and every output I produced. The result was still to be totally shunned and pushed out of the company. I was an "at-will" employee, so technically they could fire me whenever, for whatever.
Long story short, I found a new job and resigned before they could fire me. I think it was the best choice in that situation. Since then, I've even talked with a few now ex-colleagues who underwent the same treatment, so I know it wasn't just me.
However, I'm now totally paranoid at my new job! I've been there almost a year and received a glowing review in January, a rather large bonus and a small raise several weeks ago, which I should be very thankful for, especially in this economy. My new job is crazy - it's a start-up environment rather than a well-established one like my previous trainwreck-job, so things aren't necessarily black and white, but I also like that because it challenges me. I like my boss. I like my co-workers. I'm happy there!
Right now is a stressful time, and I know that whenever a corporate group is in a stressful time, tempers tend to flare and people get stressed out and say things in tones that do not necessarily match how they feel. That's ok. I've lived through this in past jobs and know how things go. However, I'm feeling quite anxious and paranoid that I'm not doing a good job and am worried that my past could repeat itself. Essentially, my job-confidence is totally shattered. I don't think I've done anything to warrant a performance plan again. I mean, I received the glowing review in January like I said, and for the most part, I'm on top of what I need to be doing as part of my regular job. I produce measurable outputs and if I'm behind on something I try to be honest about it. I've asked my boss to tell me if there is something I need to be doing and/or if I'm deficient in any areas. We've identified a few areas of learning, but that's about it. We are short staffed currently, so my entire team is in a similar situation. My boss and I talk every day (my boss is based out of another state) so communication is totally open. We are in the process of hiring four people to alleviate the workload and part of me is terrified that when these new people come on board I could be "pushed out" - in reality, I don't think this would happen because my company doesn't seem like that nor does my team, so I think it's residual fear from my previous situation. I don't want to feel like this though! I want to be confident in my job!
Please help me reduce my paranoia on something that seems unfounded.