Gone After 12 Years
I have worked in the secretarial/office support field for almost 40 years. I worked for my former employer for 12 years, doing the same secretarial/office support work. Last April, 2008 at my annual review I was told that I was being put on a “performance improvment plan” (read “probation”)because my work was “not up to firm standards”.
This was news to me as for the past 11 years I had always had satisfactory reviews — I worked with a number of bosses/managers over the years, helped train new support staff as they came into the firm, even worked with new managers as they came on board to get them familiar with how things worked. I learned all the new computer programs, office proceedures, etc. as they were implementd. I had almost perfect attendance for the entire 11 years, didn\’t ask for special considerations, scheduled my vacations when fellow employees with families (I\’m single) liked to take theirs (i.e., summer, holidays) and a couple of times even re-scheduled my time off when a co-worker asked so that they could have vacation when they wanted it.
Firm policy was that in situations where there was a problem with an employee\’e work performance, procedure was to first verbally inform them of the problems/issues and provide a period of time to work the problems out. If that didn\’t work, a written warning was issued, again with a period of time to straighten things out. Then, if both of those solutions didn\’t work, the employee was put on probation for a period of time (30 days) and if that did not work out satisfactorily, then the employee was terminated.
I DID NOT GET A VERBAL OR WRITTEN WARNING, ONLY PUT ON THE “PERFORMANCE IMPROVMENT PLAN” (PROBABTION) WITH NO WARNING AT THE 2008 REVIEW!
I worked through the “performance improvement plan” for the 30 days and after the 30 days, continually tried to get a determination of my status from my supervisor. I was continually put off, until finally in December, 2009 (7-8 months), I was told that everything was “just fine and I didn\’t have anything to worry about”. During this time, I had the sinking feeling that I was being, for lack of a better term, “set up”.
Fast forward to February, 2009 — the firm began implementing a “restructuring and staff reduction” program. About 20 people were terminated, mostly secretarial and support staff, with a couple of department managers thrown in.
Needless to say, many people were very scared. As my next annual review was coming up (April, 2009), and given what had happened in 2008, I thought I\’d be a little proactive and meet with my supervisor to see if there were any issues that I needed to address regarding my job performance.
Well, I got my meeting and guess what??!! I was told (again!) that my work performance was not satisfactory and that I was being terminated!
I reiterated what had happened the year before (like they didn\’t know!) and the fact that I was told by this same supervisor, that I had satisfactorily worked out whatever issues there were and that I did not have to worry about anything.
My supervisor said that in the short span of 3 months or so my job performance had deteriorated and that I was being terminated. I asked why I wasn\’t informed of this “deterioraing job performance” and she didn\’t answer me. At that point I knew that my feelings last year of being set up were true. For the life of me, I don\’t understand why they did this to me — why not just lump me in with the other staff that had been laid off? Why ruin my work reputation!
I have my own theories as to why this happened and they have nothing to do with my work performance (read age). The lesson I learned from this is that I will never trust people in the work place again. When I get lucky enough to find another job, I will do my level best to to do a good job, but I will be looking over my shoulder when it comes to managers/supervisors for the rest of my working career! Being a good, loyal worker is worth nothing — employees have to look out for themselves!
This post was submitted by Pam.