I was used as a scapegoat, demoted and put on a performance improvement plan due to a toxic PM. Half a year later, the tables seem to have turned, and his boss wants to talk. I don't know what to say.
posted by anonymous to work & money (30 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
My former project manager was a spineless bully who lied about my performance to cover up for his own problems. Half a year ago, thanks to his "recommendation", I was put on some improvement plan - as a simple developer instead of lead, with another team. Since then, I've flourished, inofficially taken more responsibility than I ever had, solved some really hard problems, and saved the company almost 400k with a weekend project.
Meanwhile, my former team is dissolving, projects are failing, and the golden boy has lost his shine. Rumors are that he was put on probation.
And on Friday evening, I just got a call from his boss who needs to talk.
Big Boss was really, really nice. The week before, I had already gotten an unexpected bonus (which more than compensates the wages I had lost), and some shiny gadgets, and on Monday, I was invited to lunch by upper management. He personally thanked me for my work (multiple times), scheduled a long one-2-one and told me to think about what I wanted to do in the upcoming months.
In his Outlook invite, the agenda is "Past misunderstandings, second chances, next years' projects."
I'm very, very anxious about this.
The last time he scheduled such a talk, I was almost fired. Which won't happen, but still, I don't know how to act any more.
I don't want to discuss what went wrong too much. I can't do so without blaming people and pointing fingers, and I've been hurt and humiliated, and my trust was betrayed, badly so. I had been working 70-80 hour weeks for months, and more than once, coworkers have asked me why I didn't simply quit.
I had no choice at that time. I'm a single mum and I was paying the debt my stupid ex made in my name (debt-free for two months now! Yay!)
I also really don't know what I want to do in the future.
I don't want to work with my former PM any more. I know that they'd have the perfect project and definitely need my expertise. My former coworkers have requested me, and most of upper management probably agrees, but I can't do this any more.
It would end in a disaster again.
I don't care much for my current projects either, even though I'm good at them, and people know. As I've demonstrated with my last project, there's a lot of potential for possibly very business-relevant topics, but this was never meant to be a permanent position (for me!), and doesn't utilize my knowledge at all.
I'm struggling personally, I have trust issues and need much more feedback than I used to. I feel much better now that I've been pulled away from that toxic environment for a few months, but I'm not happy.
Things need to change. I want to stay in this company for now (despite all the things that went wrong, I like the people and the products), but we need to find a solution.
I just don't know what that solution should be like.
How do I talk to him about the past while staying professional?
How can I quickly figure out what I want - and what can I reasonably ask for?
And if the worst happens - I'm asked to go back into the old situation - how do I best deal with that?