How to handle an impending layoff/ failing a trial period?
August 12, 2013 10:03 PM   Subscribe

I didn't do well/ the job didn't work out well for me during the trial period. How do I handle the impending layoff/ going forward?

I think I may be let go from my job soon-- my hint is that they are interviewing someone for my position, but mostly that I haven't been doing great at my job. My trial period is coming to an end.

The job is project management. After working for a while, I came to see that someone with a greater skill set would be much better than me at the position/ add more value for the company. The company hasn't told me/ let me go yet.

How would you handle something like this? I know I need to look for work, but what should I say, if anything, to my company? They might feel awkward letting me go-- but I am not offended. Even I can see that someone who can has another skill set would be much more valuable to the company. How do I make this as easy for my employers and myself?

My more general question is how to handle when the trial period shows that you aren't suitable for the job? And is there anything you can do to salvage the situation?
posted by ichomp to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Get a hold of any computer stuff you may need as far as flash drives can help.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:05 PM on August 12, 2013

If you're certain that you're being replaced due to performance reasons, but otherwise on good terms with your employer - you can engage with it. Put it on the table, get performance feedback and see if there's exit processes they can offer you in terms of job transition. Other than that take it on the chin, brush up the resume and job hunt?

The positive of the trial is you haven't wound up locked into a position where you know you're not performing. "Not suitable" is an ok outcome and you sound like you're ok with that. Good luck!

Also avoid the "get usb drive, steal content" reply by oceanjesse because that might take it from "poor job fit" to "criminal prosecution", especially in project roles.
posted by analoguezen at 10:15 PM on August 12, 2013 [6 favorites]

First and foremost don't make up people's minds for them. What if they're hiring someone to help you, not replace you? You don't know for sure what's going to happen, so hedge your bets by continuing to try your best at being a good fit for the position and spend some time each day prepping your resume and thinking about how you might explain what happened at this job to another potential employer. Demonstrate that you have integrity and that you aren't just going to bail because you think your ship is sinking.

And if they are replacing you, when the time comes, don't apologize for any of your actions. You could say, "I understand that this position necessitates a different skill set than the one I possess. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explore this position at your company. I have enjoyed my time here and would be grateful for any feedback you have to offer me so that I can go forward and develop as a project manager. Are there any specific areas I should seek training in?"

Then see what they say and work on those things.

You are not worthless just because this job wasn't a good fit. That's the whole point of a trial period. It happens. You'll move forward and succeed elsewhere and soon this will just have been a big learning experience.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:25 PM on August 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

Sorry, I didn't mean my comment to read as "steal things that don't belong to you", but if you have anything on your work computers that might be useful down the line even if only to refresh your memory, now is the time to get a copy.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:26 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're on prescriptions and/or need to see the doctor/dentist, get those squared away now. This is assuming you have insurance, of course.

Also, update your résumé, if that hasn't been done lately. Good luck!
posted by spinifex23 at 10:26 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can call a performance review as a proactive person. No need to mention you think you'll be laid off. Just sit down with your boss or peers and say, "I'd like feedback on the first few months and I also would like to talk about how we can work together better. Do you have 30 minutes later this week?"

Also, start lining up interviews, though.
posted by michaelh at 10:34 PM on August 12, 2013

oceanjesse - didn't mean to be too blunt but either way it's still IP theft. If he was found transferring anything off a company asset for personal use, especially when exiting the company, it's going to end badly.
posted by analoguezen at 10:36 PM on August 12, 2013 [5 favorites]

It's (slightly) possible if they like you but don't think you fit in this particular position, that they might be interested in switching you to something else rather than getting rid of you. Are there other positions you'd like which might have availability?

If you are not happy in this position anyhow, it might be worth (at the proactive performance review you are going to have, per michaelh above) mentioning that your skill set might be better match for Position X and that you'd be interested in transitioning.
posted by nat at 10:54 PM on August 12, 2013

My answers...

1)... as an employee:

Be graceful. You don't sound like you're taking it personally, so keep that up. If it's not the right fit for you, then it's not the right fit. Continue doing the work, until you are told that your service is no longer required. Don't listen to gossip or anything else. Note it, but don't let it drive any of your decision-making. When (if?) it is your time to go, accept it gracefully. Let the employer lead, and believe that they are making the best decisions that they can for their business.

2)... as an employer:

It's never easy when a person and a role don't fit. As an employer, all you have are your people. You tend to care about them a lot. When you see that it's not a great fit, you know what needs to be done, but it doesn't make it easier to do. It really helps if those conversations can be had on a rational, business basis. As in, the employer has to achieve certain targets and goals to keep the company going. It's not about meeting one person's needs, but meeting everyone's needs – staff, customers, investors, etc.

I don't think it hurts to check in with your manager. It can be a quick chat. "I just want to check how things are going, maybe we can find a time for that?" You don't want to force their hand by pushing them for answers or trying to do their job for them, rather you want to create the space for them to say something difficult, if something difficult needs to be said.
posted by nickrussell at 11:04 PM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

It sounds like you already don't feel useful or appreciated there. Regardless of what your company does, you may want to move on. Honestly, I'd start applying while I am employed and then when talking to prospective employers, focus on why you want to join the new company, not why you are willing to leave the other company. When it does come up though, I think you say it wasn't the right fit. Rather than make it about your skills being insufficient for the job, make it about the job not utilizing your skill set or matching your career goals. I'd start searching immediately. But hey, if you will be entitled to unemployment benefits and you want a break, that's an option too.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:29 PM on August 12, 2013

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