I'm going to be fired for the first time. Let's have a party.
March 4, 2013 8:26 PM   Subscribe

I have 60 days before I will likely be terminated from my job. Do I quit? What do I do now?

Posting anonymously for obvious reasons. Today I was informed that I have 60 days to shape up or I will be terminated from my position. I have been in the job since November and it's been a struggle for awhile. Basically, I have a lot to learn and I don't really have the time to learn on the job. It's been stressful for everyone.

So I have 60 days. I seriously doubt that things will change enough for me to not be let go after this 60-day period. I'm having a tough time getting from leadership what exactly I need to do to keep my job, and I'm getting so much pressure from above that I am not sure I would want to stay. They also offered me the opportunity to take a pay cut and move into a less senior role that is at the level of my previous job. I left that job because I wasn't getting the opportunity to do a lot of things that I wanted to do. Here, I get to do those things, and I'm not doing them well.

So what do I do now? I am going to look for a new position, probably more at the level of my previous role. Do I wait to be fired? Do I leave and hope that I find something new very quickly? How do I explain this to prospective future employers?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Find another job before you get fired. You say nothing to your prospective future employers about it.
posted by empath at 8:27 PM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

They are effectively saying, "You have 60 days to find another job, on us, to save us the hassle of firing you" in my experience.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:34 PM on March 4, 2013 [18 favorites]

Start looking for another job right now. If, after the 60 days, you don't have another lined up, see if you can take the demotion still and stay there. Keeping yourself employed is the name of the game.
posted by xingcat at 8:40 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

By all means, start looking, but do not quit without a job! If you do so, you won't be eligible for unemployment. (People will probably chime in here and opine that you won't be eligible because of being fired. They are wrong.)
posted by Wordwoman at 9:17 PM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

Definitely do not quit, unless you have another job lined up ("lined up" as in, a written offer letter) and they want you to start immediately. Otherwise, start polishing your resume and doing the usual job-search crap.

If you don't think it's realistic to find another job in your field in 60 days, then you need to start seriously considering taking the demotion. But it sounds like your employer really doesn't want you to do that, TBH, so it'll probably be miserable if you do stay.

And if you do make it all the way to the 60-day point and get fired and still don't have a job at that point, then you'll need to apply for unemployment and possibly be prepared for some level of fighting with your old company to get benefits. There are lots of threads about that on the green, although the specifics will vary greatly depending on where you live. Don't think too much about that right now, as it's premature since you haven't started looking, but just make sure you don't get bullied into resigning/quitting, as that may adversely affect your chances of collecting unemployment.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:22 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Polish up your resume and cover letter, start searching, and start applying. Reach out to everyone you know and let them know that you're looking for a new position because this one isn't a good fit and you're ready for a new opportunity.

I know you're going to be feeling angry/hurt/awful on the inside, but be as professional and on top of your shit as possible at work. Even if you are going to leave, you want to try to leave on good terms. If they do let decide to let you go, find out if you can not have it worded as "fired" in your file so that you can truthfully answer "no" to future job apps that ask if you have ever been fired. You could try to come to some agreement like "mutual separation" or some BS.
posted by radioamy at 10:15 PM on March 4, 2013

Oh man. I have been (sort of) here. It sucks. It totally sucks. I feel your pain. But! Them giving you this time is a huge, honking, RARE opportunity. It's the best possibility considering the situation sucks in general. It'll feel so good when you're working elsewhere. People thinking you suck at your job is toxic air to breathe all day.

I see two divergent strategies for you in applying for new jobs: 1) put current job on resume and spin a really good tale* about why you're leaving now. 2) pretend you've been job-searching since [whenever last job ended]. Personally, I'd go with #1 if you're a convincing and likeable storyteller. My impression is that an employed person with vaguely sketchy reasons for hopping is still in a stronger position for most jobs than someone who's been unemployed for months.

In terms of your current situation, I would absolutely take the demotion and job-hunt like a demon. 60 days is way short in job time. I can't see good reasoning behind letting that clock tick.

*truthful enough to sound candid; fudgeful enough to make you look good.
posted by threeants at 10:20 PM on March 4, 2013

Take this opportunity to network with friends/relatives/acquaintances who are in the same industry, or are in the industry that you're interested in. They can keep their ears open as to various opportunities that might be a better for for you.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:40 PM on March 4, 2013

Agree with all of the above: polish your resume, start looking NOW for a new job. Lock down your expenses in advance: reduce any extraneous expenses, plan for a lower income level before you find that new job.

Depending on your job, it might or might not be reasonable that you still haven't gotten the hang of your current job; it could just be a bad fit for you, and perhaps returning to the previous job (at least for now!) is indeed the best idea.

And just for the heck of it, an alternative reason to fire you: considering the current 'sequester' situation (gawd BLESS Congress!), they might just be looking for any reason at all to reduce their total workforce, and you merely drew the short straw.
posted by easily confused at 3:04 AM on March 5, 2013

Don't quit. Getting fired because you are unable to do the job should not disqualify you from unemployment. So ride it out, keep putting in the effort, and look for another job.
posted by COD at 5:59 AM on March 5, 2013

Well, this is not advice about staying employed or getting a new job, but it is practical advice about what happens if/when you get fired without another job.

1. Don't quit. if you get fired, you can get unemployment. Unemployment varies by state, but you should not jeopardize it by quitting or doing anything rash that your employer will be able to say "Oh no, anonymous came to work drunk every day for 60 days" and thus get your unemployment terminated. Only quit if you have a job that starts immediately, enough cash and savings to live until you do, or if you cant stand it a day longer (which, usually, you can).

2. If you use company email, then make a mirror of it on thunderbird or some other client (you can even just import it all to a gmail account). I don't say this because I want you to steal company secrets or their information, but if you need contacts, personal emails, or have information that you might need to use in a lawsuit later (doesn't seem like the case, but still), then you want to have access to it. I lost my email account before I even got fired and it had info on it I needed. No amount of pleading ever brought it back.

3. If you got fired, you got fired. I have been fired many times (I don't work well in offices, let's say) and no one has ever asked about it. If necessary, you can say things didn't work out. Employers will either care or not, but quitting won't hedge that bet.

4. Document everything. If you aren't getting leadership from management, then if you document that lack of leadership, it might help you (if this is a big company) either get another role or to have some HR help in terms of documenting what you exactly need to do to stay. You can keep emails where you ask directly what that means and the responses. You can have someone else come with you to one-on-one meetings where you ask these questions. You can record conversations (with permission). If you want to stay and you feel you aren't being led, then make it a point to get answers (knowing you probably won't) and then take it up the ladder to find out how you can improve. You will likely lose your job anyway (sorry), but you can be proactive instead of waiting around and letting terrible management dictate your next two months.

This same situation happened to me. It sucks. But management is sometimes shitty and sometimes you have to go under the axe for that. Keep your head up and eat a cheesecake (worked for me) and if you find yourself unemployed, then get some assistance (unemployment) and make a plan and enjoy the time off. Good luck!
posted by mrfuga0 at 6:23 AM on March 5, 2013

So what do I do now?

Do not quit. Start looking for another job. If you cannot find one before you get fired, then let them fire you and apply for unemployment.
posted by spaltavian at 7:40 AM on March 5, 2013

Don't Quit.

Get from managment a step-by-step performance plan. Have them spell out exactly where you are deficient and what you need to be doing to get up to speed.

You are doing this to buttress your case for unemployment. They can't (and shouldn't) put this all on you, they need to meet you half-way.

You may want to take things into your own hands and come up with one of your own.

1. Acquire formal training in the CRM software.

2. Produce the Deliquency Report weekly

You get the idea. Spell everything out and revisit weekly. Act as if you WANT to improve. Meanwhile, beat the bushes for a new job.

If and when you get fired, go to unemployment with your Performance Plan showing that you've done everything on it, and they fired you anyway. Now you can collect unemployment.

Worked for me!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:06 AM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

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