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Should I bail out of my current job or stick it out?
February 15, 2013 12:59 PM   Subscribe

New boss decides, retroactively, I have been doing a bad job. I'm starting to suspect I'm being targeted for firing. Should I bail out of my current job or stick it out?

The timeline looks like this:

1. Boss A says I'm doing a good job. Everything is fine.
2. Boss A leaves company.
3. Boss B swoops in as new boss. It becomes clear that Boss B muscled Boss A out of his position due to disagreements about how Boss A was running things.
4. Boss B says I'm doing a poor job.
5. Boss B tells me to document everything I do down to the most minute detail that anyone, even a new hire, could figure out how to pick it up right away.

Despite repeated attempts to meet the new demands of Boss B, asking for guidance or training etc., I still am receiving negative feedback from Boss B. It's hard for me to figure out exactly what Boss B wants, and the feedback I have gotten has been vague. He has also said he thinks I'm not experienced enough yet. A lot of this looks to me like the familiar "building a paper trail" that precedes firing an employee. Given that Boss A placed me into this position, and Boss B thinks that Boss A made a lot of mistakes, am I being paranoid in thinking that Boss B is trying to get rid of me?

FWIW, I'm not very happy with the company in general and have been looking for another position for a couple of months. I've had some offers – nothing appealing yet, but I'm confident I can land another job without too much trouble. There are some benefits to sticking it out a little longer, notably that I would get some useful experience in my field that I could then apply to my job search. I don't hate my job to the point that I'm ready to quit at a moment's notice, but I don't want to wait around for Boss B to fire me.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Take another job now. Those offers that are coming while you are gainfully employed will not come if you are unemployed.
posted by corb at 1:03 PM on February 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


There are some benefits to sticking it out a little longer, notably that I would get some useful experience in my field that I could then apply to my job search. I don't hate my job to the point that I'm ready to quit at a moment's notice,

Well, there you go, IMO! As the old saw goes, it's easier to get a job when you have a job.

Carefully and quietly engineer your exit. While looking for a job, make sure you have copies of any work products you will need for your portfolio, get personal stuff off of your work computer, learn new skills where possible, discreetly start taking things home, work out, cut back your spending, and pour all of your free time into getting another job.
posted by jgirl at 1:04 PM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Start aggressively looking for another suitable position, and take a second look at the offers that are there. But don't quit your job without another one lined up.
posted by xingcat at 1:04 PM on February 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Agreeing with finding another job while you still have this one.

Frankly the documentation part is also an attempt to box up your job so it can be handed to someone else easily.
posted by Mercaptan at 1:07 PM on February 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Those offers that are coming while you are gainfully employed will not come if you are unemployed.

There's no actual evidence of this being true, beyond a bunch of scare articles during the economic crisis. In my experience prospective employers look at the latest job and literally don't notice whether you're still there or recently left.

It does sound like your current situation isn't going to end well. But there's no need to take an offer for a new job you don't like, only to have to start the process over in six months.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:09 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


My first thought was that either he is trying to get rid of you by documenting everything you do (or don't do), or that he's having you document everything to make the transition easier when he replaces you.

You might be requested to do so much documenting if you were being eyed for promotion, but they'd probably tell you. This is a boss who wants to get rid of you and doesn't care whether or not you're aware of that. Start looking for another job, quickly.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:13 PM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Boss B tells me to document everything I do down to the most minute detail that anyone, even a new hire, could figure out how to pick it up right away.

Yeah, you are on the chopping block. I'd make finding something new a priority. If nothing else, it's almost invariably more satisfying to quit than be fired.
posted by brennen at 1:13 PM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, boss B wants to bring one of his own people into your position, to further solidify his own. Couldn't be more clear. Territorialism like that is one of the more ridiculous aspects of corporate life, but there it is.

Don't quit, but devote most of your time to job hunting rather than trying to please boss B.
posted by ook at 1:14 PM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Boss B is doing you a favor. He is giving you notice to start looking. Take him up on it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:19 PM on February 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's not about you or your work. You were loyal to your old boss. Also, you can refute things Boss B says happened in the past - after all you were there. Having you there is a threat. The sooner Boss B gets you fired that better it is for him.

There's no use in dragging this out because it'll only get worse for you. Find a new job.
posted by 26.2 at 1:22 PM on February 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


A couple of thoughts:

1) Make sure your short term to mid term finances are as well in order as possible. Get your expenses as stream lined as possible NOW in anticipation of having a drop in income.
2) Not sure where you are, but where I am if you quit you are not eligible for unemployment benefits, if you are fired you are. That might be relevant to your choice.

Try to find another job ASAP, even if not ideal. Life is too short to hang around people who don't love you. !
posted by jcworth at 1:26 PM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


In the meantime, if you have benefits and medical issues, take care of that now - teeth cleaning, getting prescriptions filled, that annual exam, etc.

Also get info on COBRA, if this is something that you may be interested in exercising. (I'm making the assumption that you're in the US.)
posted by spinifex23 at 1:32 PM on February 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Make them work for it.

Your story is so common that it's a cliche. Don't feel bad because this guy is targeting you, just do what you do, fulfill his requests, and look for a job like a fiend. This time, TAKE one of the offers!

If you can leave before they fire you...awesome!

If you get fired before you find a job, oh well, you're no worse off.

Also, while documenting all those proceedures, document EVERYTHING that Boss B is doing.

If it's possible, is there a level above Boss B, or someone lateral that you can talk to? Even HR. Not because I think any of these people are helpful, but because it will help your case.

If you can get in with HR, here's what you say. "I'm really concerned about losing my job. When I was working for Boss A, I received glowing reviews and great feedback. Now that I'm working for Boss B, it seems that he's very unhappy with what I'm doing. You can understand how this situation is confusing and upsetting for me. What should I be doing to work with Boss B? I want to be successful here and based upon recent feedback, I'm really, really concerned."

HR won't help. They never do. BUT. It's documented. You went seeking help, and either you got it or you didn't. Make a note of it. Time, date, who you talked to. Follow up with an email. Print it, keep it, forward to your private email.


Make an appointment with Boss B. This will suck so hard, but do it any way. "Boss, I really want to adjust so that we can work together. I know that Boss A had a different approach, and since I worked with him, my work product and processes are tailored more to him than to what you want. I would like some concrete steps that I need to take so that my work meets with your approval. Can we work on a document that we can both sign off on (literally) with specific actions that I can take?"

Again, note the date, time, who you met with and follow up with a detailed email. Print and send a copy to your private email.

Once the document is worked out and signed by you both, forward a copy to your HR contact.

The follow up looks like this:

On Day/Date we met to discuss X. We agreed that in order for me to succeed that I need to:

1. Re-structure the Framistannie Report so that it mirrors the Thingamajig Report.

2. Document all existing processes and save them to the network drive. (If you want to really screw them, do it, but password protect the documents.)

3. Cross-train on Elaine's monthly reports and train her on my reports so that we can back each other up.

Whatever, it's all mental masturbation anyway. You are just screwing with him anyway. It's fun! But now he's got to document shit and work on things and basically write fiction in order to build a case to fire you.

When you get a new job, you can approach Boss A with a proposal. "Boss, I know you'd rather have someone else in my postion. I'm not happy here either. How about you lay me off with X weeks severance? That way I can collect unemployment and find another job that would be a better fit?"

He'll jump at it, especially since you've backed him into a corner. He doesn't have to know you've accepted another job.


If all of this sounds really scary and devious, remember. Don't FUCK with Bunny.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:35 PM on February 15, 2013 [45 favorites]


I like Ruthless Bunny's advice. Passive aggressive but still professional CYA and you're not doing anything unethical or illegal.

Another thought...any reason you cannot speak to the manager/director of the department?

And also....any reason you can't look for another position within the same company? Not sure how big your employer is but if they're a big enough company maybe you can make a lateral move to another department? Do you have any friends in other departments you can contact on the sly and see if anything's available?
posted by eatcake at 1:47 PM on February 15, 2013


Take one of the other offers.

If you lose your job before you are offered another, you will be reliant on your current boss for a reference. It is not true that it is illegal to give bad references.

You may be being targeted for firing. You are as good at your job as your boss says you are. It is not necessarily hard to find a job while unemployed, but it can be very hard to find a job after being fired for doing a poor job, which your current boss is 100% free to say is the case.
posted by tel3path at 1:53 PM on February 15, 2013


Don't leave your job without a firm offer lined up.
posted by radioamy at 2:16 PM on February 15, 2013


I like Ruthless Bunny's advice and try to contact your old boss and use him as a reference, not the current asshat.
posted by shoesietart at 2:16 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are you me? At the end, all I could do was stick it out until they let me go. Wait for them to make the final call so that you can collect unemployment. It's different in every state, but here in CA if you quit of your own accord you can't collect. This should be a big motivation to find another job before you leave.

As long as you have your current job you can afford to be picky, but you do have some urgency here so do your best. Could you contact Boss A and see if s/he can help you find something?
posted by bendy at 2:29 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ruthless Bunny speaks the truth.

Find another good job quickly -- because, yes, Boss B is clearly documenting in preparation of replacing you -- but there's no reason why you have to make it easy on him. He wants to document? Make him document.
posted by stowaway at 4:03 PM on February 15, 2013


My experience matched your timeline, steps 1 through 4. I started looking, very seriously, for another job. To my surprise, step 5 was a neutral/favorable performance review. I had made a sincere effort to please Boss B. But a few months later, the axe fell and I was out a job.

So I'm in agreement with most of the above advice, especially ook's and johnnygunn's. Your days are probably numbered, and it's really not worth staying. Better opportunities await you!
posted by Snerd at 4:04 PM on February 15, 2013


2. Document all existing processes and save them to the network drive. (If you want to really screw them, do it, but password protect the documents.)

Do NOT do this (the password thing). That type of thing is very likely a firing offense in and of itself and, as odd as it may seem, similar incidents have been grounds for criminal prosecution of employees/former employees in the past under various computer crime/fraud/abuse statutes. (In the USA, anyway.)
posted by Juffo-Wup at 4:34 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Came in to say what Juffo-Wup just said (curses!)

But also wanted to add that if you did password-protect them using the MS Office password-protect feature, there are plenty of online applications that can crack the code.

So not only will you look bad for trying to password-protect the file, it wouldn't really be protected all that long anyway.
posted by bitteroldman at 1:29 PM on February 16, 2013


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