I can't quit, you're firing me
March 25, 2014 9:00 AM Subscribe
My job is trying to counsel me out for "performance" issues. I think this is unjustified, but either way, the relationship is over. How do I position myself to end my employment on the best terms for me?
posted by maximumminimum to Work & Money (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm working on consulting a lawyer, but in the meantime I wanted to solicit any advice here, especially if anyone has any first-hand experience that might be relevant.
I have worked for my current company (and supervisor) for 6 years. My supervisor is a psycho, but I've generally been able to work around it. I have always been given good reviews for performance, positive client feedback, received promotions, and was even asked to stay 4 years ago after I tendered resignation when I moved out of state. I've been working remotely since that time.
In February, I was given some negative feedback on a performance review regarding deadlines and communication. There were some specific unique projects in late 2013 that did not go as they should have (though all were ultimately successful); I attribute this to poor management, but had already put on my grown-up pants and made plans to change how to handle similar projects in the future prior to my review, so it wasn't a surprise or something that I disagreed needed a change (basically that I would have to step up to be more autonomous on project management in the absence of my supervisor being able to do it effectively).
Fast forward to today, I suddenly got a "final warning" from my employer, specifically outlining several instances where I was showing "unacceptable performance" mostly with regard to communication; the examples given seem bizarre to me (accidentally talking over someone on a conference call, having a meeting run longer than expected) and my supervisor claims they were all raised unsolicited which has freaked HR out (and I sincerely doubt; one of my biggest qualms with her is that she is a fervent liar - even about objective things like telling clients that the company has experience that we don't, etc.). I was specifically told, both during my review and during the "final warning" meeting that the comments in my review were not a Performance Improvement Plan so I have no idea how they believe this to be the next step. I also let them know that I had been working on improving as in my review and I thought I'd made the progress identified.
I expressed, both in the "final warning" meeting and the review comments which I submitted Friday afternoon (and then got this warning on Monday night with my supervisor claiming she had not read my review comments yet) that I believe I am a competent worker (plenty from my boss in my review to support this) and I am willing to do whatever the company needs from me, but I need to gain an understanding of what those demands are in order to meet them if I'm not. So far all I've been provided is that I need to meet all deadlines (? I have a very "professional" ambiguous job and have raised this multiple times as being unclear) and improve communication.
I was instructed, in both my review and my "final warning," that I should consider whether I want to work for the company. I have assured them that I do, but I think that's not the answer they're looking for. I think they want me to quit. (My boss's shit list is pretty serious - she initiated termination proceedings against 3 of 5 employees who left the department since I started; the other 2 left employment due to emotional issues and took time off from work. I'm very familiar with all of these because she had me put together a lot of the "Performance Improvement Plan" paperwork and citations. "First they came for the..." I guess.)
At the end of the day, I'm going to say all this probably means that my employment relationship has become unsalvageable and I need to cut bait.
This whole thing boggles my mind because, while I don't think I don't have room for improvement in managing communication or deadlines (both such rudimentary skills that I don't see how they could claim I don't have them given how long I've worked here), I know I'm an excellent worker and I'm committed to doing well. But at this point it has become political. So, okay, fine, I'll leave. I can't make them think I'm being reasonable.
I've been reviewing some websites and reached out to several lawyers to initiate discussions and I'm guessing my best case scenario is a severance package. What should I ask for? What should I look out for? What should I make sure to mention to the lawyer? What can I expect?
I have both a very large amount of PTO accrued and commissioned sales so I'd hope I'd at least get remuneration for those plus the whole "I can claim I still work there for a while and they will give me a positive reference" thing. It seems abundantly clear to me that a severance package would be warranted given a lot of the history, but anything in particular I should make sure to cite? I am concerned I'm too emotionally close to this to see clearly.
In the "final warning" meeting I mentioned that I had previously been diagnosed with and medicated for ADD (which I was in high school along). I actually had already set up an appointment (for tomorrow) with a psychiatrist a while back to discuss this again. I hadn't informed them before of this diagnosis because I don't want to create biases and wasn't requesting special diagnoses, but given the feedback I thought it was appropriate now. At the end of the day, I don't think this is about me having ADD or being depressed, but I'm willing to leverage those as protected classes if it's useful.
Thanks for any help! Throwaway email is firstname.lastname@example.org