Rebuildling trust in a work relationship

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by BaileyCatts, May 10, 2010.

  1. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    When I worked in HR (a short time for a lunatic), I packed up my share of desks for employees. I normally did it after hours and terminations were also done with little notice but at the end of the day. The sole exception was an employee had threatened to kill a coworker and had been released immediately (while I had the coworker in a side office during the dismissal).

    I have worked for companies who immediately 'lock down' computer access and escort someone to the door after termination or a resignation. It's to prevent tampering with company product or gather information for a competitor. As a secretary, I actually had it happen to me and they loved me. I was resigning because they were going under and they had actively encouraged me to look around. But the boss explained it best - They'd miss the candy and my comments, but figured I'd be useless for the 2 weeks and they needed the cash. :shuffle: They actually let me finish the day since my boss would have been lost without my straightening out the desk, but all my shredding and trash went to HR with notes.

    Best advice? Go in rational, try to keep calm. Easier said than done, but hold your head high, explain your mistake and thank them for the opportunity to work there. The gossip mill will be churning and the eyes will be watching.

    While you're off today, you might want to look into unemployment laws in your state. See if you can file and see what they can say to any future employers.
     
  2. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    Instead of worrying about your stuff, write down your side of the story so that you can present it tomorrow. Twice now you haven't been able to verbalize it, so take this time to get it all on paper.

    If it's a disciplinary action, your statement can go in the file along with it. If not, you at least get to tell the story your way.
     
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  3. Quintuple

    Quintuple papillon d'amour

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    I know this is a complex, emotional situation, and there are too many things to think about, but I have to echo what others have said: Please try to get your fully-explained, rational side of the story to them. They haven't heard the truth of what happened on your side yet! Even if they take control of the conversation and it renders you speechless, it'd help to be able to put it in writing. If all they have seen so far is your boss' side of what happened, your non-response to the allegations, and if all they get next is that you want your stuff back, there's no chance for them to know that it wasn't even a "moral" mistake of something you did on purpose at the time - it was literally a tiny accident that never happened before and you didn't know you were doing at the time, and it ceased right there. It would just be awful if even there are a million other things going on behind the scenes of this situation, that they don't know the truth behind what really happened during the incident itself. You were able to write to us what really happened - now try to put it in a letter!

    I say this all without HR/legal experience, but I just hope it's all set right. And if they do end up terminating you, yes, remember to take your time to ask to collect the stuff at your desk, that unfortunately the only copy of some of those personal documents are on the computer so could you please have them, and above all else, read what you are signing, know where you stand at the end of it.

    I don't know about legality, but unless they twist this to sound like a one-time-only dealbreaker, they might put you on some kind of probation with an improvement plan. Not that you can really measure "getting along with everyone" improvement or "not making the same one-time mistake" improvement according to those plans.

    Above all, good luck, go in with a plan, stay composed, get everything that you need communicated communicated, and (((hugs))) from the reaches of the innurnet.
     
  4. talulabell

    talulabell New Member

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    I agree with everyone who said "write it down". Write down exactly what happened and make sure you get that info said in the meeting tomorrow. Even if it's too late, you want your side of the story told.

    And it may not be too late. Others would know better, but would they keep a person on paid admin leave if it was just to fire someone? I dont really know (was only fired once, when I was 17, and didnt pay for the pretzels I was taking home from the snackshop I worked at). I dont want to get your hopes up, but at the same time, isnt it possible that they are working on some kind of probationary something or other?

    If it does turn out that you are terminated, tell them that you have your reviews stored on the computer, and would like to get them back (as well as your other stuff). Unfortunately, they might just tell you that anything on the computer is company property, and they might just wipe the thing clean.

    Regardless, good luck tomorrow. Keep strong. As others have said, maybe this is just the "opportunity" that you need to move on to something bigger and better.
     
  5. Auntie

    Auntie New Member

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    I want to add that if you do write a statement keep it concise, dry and factual. I know you are very upset right now and unfortunately your board postings seem a bit "she doth protest too much." So, please don't do a long, drawn out explanation. Personally I would do it in bullet points. Good luck.
     
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  6. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

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    They might do that just to cover their butts while they consult others regarding the case. Or it might just be that they feel it was needed because of her reaction... kinda like mental health day(s).

    My guess (and hope... not that I want you to get fired...) is they did it so they could put together a severance package. If she was just fired on the spot, she wouldn't get one, and perhaps they do remember 22 years of good work. And since she did mention that the company was reorganizing, perhaps they will label it a "layoff" instead of "termination." I know that neither one is preferable, but being laid off looks better to potential employers.
     
  7. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    You were very nervous. It was an automatic reaction most probably.
     
  8. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    Ugh, it sucks that you have to wait yet another day! I am just going to assume they are firing you. It seems that if all they wanted to do was talk to you and tell you "no-no" then they would have done that today, no need to wait until lunch tomorrow. Just tell your side of the story, even if it is after being fired, and don't let them convince you to quit or walk away. Fight for yourself and for the 22 years you put into the company! One, or even two, mistakes should not end 22 years of hard work. Make sure to get your things, even if they have to escort you after hours.
     
  9. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

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    I don't really have much to say, except that I'm sorry that you're going through this. Things will get better. :)
     
  10. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    Another possibility is that cooler heads are prevailing, and telling HR or the boss or whoever that firing someone for one small infraction after 22 years of service and good performance reviews is going to put the company on very shaky ground legally. Even if it's framed as a "layoff".

    IMHO the company would be smart to count the "admin leave" days as a paid suspension, put a disciplinary note on the employee file, help BC and her boss figure out how this is never going to happen again, and move on. But if that's not what happens - *don't* sign anything in the meeting! Take it home and tell them you will get back to them with your decision, and consult with your lawyer (and then find one if you have to).
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  11. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    :eek: She's a grown woman! If she needs a witness for any reason, it should be an employee or someone like than. To take a friend, relative, or spouse reeks unprofessionalism and emotional instability. People shouldn't take relative and friends to meetings at their work, not for emotional support or any other reason. This goes for mature aged, working there for ages employees, and college kids work experience. The work place is a place you need to stand on your own two feet, they're paying you, not your relative.

    Don't forget, they may have a legitimate reason to fire BaileyCatts, she was accessing information that she wasn't supposed to be accessing. And she lied about it. The first would be cause for dismissal in many work places, the latter combined with the first? Not much leg to stand on.


    Spend this time writing the letter of explanation instead of working out what you want to take with you. It will not make any difference to the decision, but the longer you wait (it should have been done as soon as you were sent home IMO), the harder it will be and the less it will matter. You have had ample time now to send the letter/email, have you? You should send it before the meeting. You need to take responsibility for your actions, while still explaining (as unemotionally as possible), that they were accidental.

    (((((BaileyCatts)))))) I really feel for you.
     
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  12. Norlite

    Norlite Well-Known Member

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    I thought it was a very strange suggestion as well, but then I just figured I at first misunderstood and Jen meant have someone drive her to the meeting and wait in the car, or in a close by coffee shop or something. I couldn't imagine she really meant actually attend the meeting with her, or even enter the building. I wouldn't suggest having someone even wait outside for me, if it was me, but maybe Jen was just thinking of how Baileycatts handled this last week?


    Baileycatts, I agree now that your focus should be on preparing for a calm, professional meeting tomorrow. Since you've had this job for so long, it is really your only reference for any future job prospects, and you want to leave with as little trouble as possible, if that's what it's coming to tomorrow.

    Worrying about your stuff probably isn't the most productive use of this time. I'm sure you'll get back anything of value. And whatever the other people in your office might be gossiping about is probably the absolute worst waste of your valuable prep time right now.


    And if you are let go tomorrow, which seems quite possible considering how they are handling this, I agree with those who are saying in the long run, this might be one of the best things that ever happened. For as much as you say you loved this job, and looked forward to going to work each day, it doesn't sound like a very healthy environment. It actually sounds horrible, what with the personality conflicts you've mentioned.


    Get a good night's sleep, be prepared for tomorrow, stay calm and good luck.
     
  13. heckles

    heckles Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to request that you clean out your desk yourself, then you also need to protect yourself by getting a receipt/letter from them that you returned everything belonging to them in working order. Get the receipt/letter while you still have their keys or some other property of theirs in your hand. Shady employers have been known to falsely claim that an ex-employee made off with some workplace equipment, especially when said ex-employee has filed for unemployment and/or the parting was under bad terms which is how this deal sounds.

    I second the other sentiments that you be very careful what you sign. Don't fall for the line that, "You're only signing this list of accusations to verify you received them." Nuh-uh.
     
  14. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

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    Best of luck with the meeting tomorrow. I hate that you are having to go through this. But looking on the bright side....at the least the waiting will be over tomorrow. You should know one way or another. There is some comfort i knowing vs. the unknown.

    I hope that it works out for the best for you. However, if it does come to termination, it is not the end of the world. People have survived worse for centuries. You never know what is waiting on you just around the corner. It might be a better job...a new adventure...meeting the people you've always wanted in your life. Sometims things happen in life to get us out of our comfort zone and force us to make the changes that make us the happiest in the long run.

    Try your best to remain calm during the meeting and get your side of the events out. If they want you to sign anything or demand some sort of decision on the spot from you, calmly tell them that you have not been in this position before and would like some time to think about it. You can even say you want 24/48 hours to consider it. They have kept you waiting for an answer so the fate of the world won't be in shambles because you won't sign something immediately.

    If they do announce that they are letting you go, it is appropriate for you to ask about how they will respond to inquires for references. They don't want to have you out there saying bad things about them and vice versa.
     
  15. mrr50

    mrr50 Well-Known Member

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    I've had to terminate people over the years. My gut reaction to this is that even if they do not fire you, find something else. I agree that they are trying to slow things down and cooler heads are prevailing, but this is a giant ball of shit.
     
  16. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    Great ideas here. Seems we have a couple of key "to do" items.
    - Be calm and professional
    - If you will be staying (probably on probation), thank them, then read your written statement and give it to them for your file. Then clarify the return to work rules and the process for getting off probation.
    - If you are being fired, they will give you papers to sign, including your COBRA notices. Make sure you understand the process for signing up for COBRA. DO NOT waive your COBRA rights until you are absolutely sure you will not need to sign up. Then, read your statement of circumstances and hand it to them. Finally, ask these questions. 1) May I have a copy of the termination notification that is going to the State unemployment office?, 2) How will the company handle requests for verification of employment, 3) May I make an appointment to get my personal belongings from my work area?

    I can't stress enough to stay calm and professional. Take deep breaths and make sure you FOCUS on what's being said. They're not looking forward to this meeting, either. When it's over, you want them saying "Well, she handled it professionally."
     
  17. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    I am, and haven't we passed the point of professionalism here? The ship has sailed and Baileycatts has said that she's not feeling very emotionally secure. I rather think that HR have that idea from her being in tears and the nurse coming to care for her.

    If it were me, I'd take a lawyer friend in, or even a lawyer, and would have sought legal advice last week. I wouldn't take a friend in, either. But Baileycatts has said she's not coping, not eating, not sleeping, can't stop crying so I don't agree with Angelskates at all in this case. There's professionalism, and there's common sense. Anything that helps her to pull through the meeting is fine, since she (and everyone else here) seems to be expecting that she'll be let go.
     
  18. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    No. She still hasn't been fired, and even if she is, how that is taken by the employee is important - for references, for word of mouth, and for life. She's had time to regroup, if she needs the nurse, or even a friend waiting outside, then perhaps, she should take some counselling for coping methods. I'm serious - learning to cope with situations such as this is a life skill. The first time, it was a shock, the second, she's had time to prepare. The reality is, the workplace is not a place for friends and relatives to be offering you support.

    If BaileyCatts absolute needs someone there for support, I would suggest them parking a block away or something, as Norlite said. There is something to be said about people who are fired and don't handle it well - whether that be by crying their eyes out, or getting violence and defensive, and neither look good. Professionalism doesn't end with the job. It's a life skill. BaileyCatts wants to keep a good impression for a reference, but also because word of mouth and news travels.

    If I were BaileyCatts, I would have sought counselling (both for coping skills and possibly career/life) rather than a lawyer last week, and written this initial letter of explanation BaileyCatts first asked about, as well as looking into unemployment benefits and the like. It doesn't sound like that letter has been sent, and to me, this is a problem. I certainly wouldn't take a lawyer or lawyer friend in, I wouldn't suggest taking anyone in. What would be your reaction as a boss?

    BaileyCatts knows she hasn't handled this well from the start, but she has a chance to redeem herself in some small way by regrouping and going to the meeting prepared. To me, that means going it alone, composed, as calm as possible, and with a letter of explanation already written, and preferably already sent.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  19. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Without question - if they do not fire you, you have to start looking for another job, immediately.
     
  20. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    You are in my thoughts.
    Stay strong and calm.
    You are not alone.
     
  21. Bev Johnston

    Bev Johnston Well-Known Member

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    My company terminated someone a couple of Fridays ago, and they offered to let him come in on Saturday to gather his things to save him any embarrassment he might have felt over the situation. Unfortunately, he opted to pack his desk right then and there and be disruptive to the office on his way out. Sigh...

    Crying and getting emotional does nothing but fuel the fires and make them think, "Wow, we're glad she's gone!" Whatever happens, hold your head high and walk out of there with some pride.
     
  22. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    This has really struck a cord because I have had very similar experiences when I first started working.

    At the end of the day you might be the best worker in the world but it doesn't mean a thing if only you know that.

    What counts at the end of the day is how you come across to other people.
     
  23. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    There was a book that came out a few months ago on traits of successful people - and the author's conclusion was that what other people thought of you was the most important factor in acheiving success. Having the *right people* think you are skilled or work hard is crucial to opening doors, moreso than actually being skilled or working hard.
     
  24. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    At the same time, you have to come across like you're actually competent and not just a good salesperson who only talks about him/herself. Many scientists, unfortunately, are the latter. Which is why it was so refreshing when a speaker came into our workplace and seemed really genuinely interested in our work and at the same time it was clear she was at the top of her field because she was so knowledgeable.

    You have to approach it via collaboration, not "I have to remind everybody what a great job I'm doing," because people can see through that. But collaboration definitely means being able to talk with other people, not being closed in. A company is not a one-person show. If you're self-employed, you can do that. :) But if you're working with others, you have to be open.
     
  25. joeperryfan

    joeperryfan Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, my first work experience was pretty much like that, I learnt that it's much more important to seem like you are working hard than to actually work hard and be competent, I've never been very good in the pretend department so I didn't play the way I should have i just did my work without bullshits. Lesson learnt, now I work for myself but if that ever changes I'll know in advance what to do.
     
  26. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    I think it's more than that. The people who get the best reviews and advance fastest at our company fall into the "competent and helpful" category. They are seen by their peers as people who can be counted on for genuine help in a crunch, for useful information, and for getting work done without disrupting the entire organization. Those that get pushed aside may be very competent, but they don't come across as people who pitch in. Many of our most introverted folks are seen as key contributors, mostly because they make their knowledge available and stay aware of where there skills may be needed. They may not stand on top of the desk and yell, "I can help", but they are noticed!
     
  27. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Further to what Aceon said above, it's not one or the other - it's both. To get ahead, in most cases, you need to be good at what you do *and* be a team player who contributes positively to the greater good.

    In a previous position where I managed a branch office of a larger firm, my staff knew that two key factors were at play in their performance reviews (and thus promotions and raises): how well they did individually, and how well the company did. They were actually measured on how much they helped others do a good job, as much as what they contributed on their own.
     
  28. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    Been thinking of you all day. Hope you are doing OK!
     
  29. Braulio

    Braulio Well-Known Member

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    Same here, had been thinking about your situation today, hope everything┬┤s fine for you!
     
  30. Gypsy

    Gypsy Watching the Leaves Change!

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    I am thinking of you as well!!

    HUGS!!!