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Old 22 July 2014, 03:35 PM
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Rebochan Rebochan is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2002
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 11,611
No Pretty sure I'm getting fired on Monday

Long story short, I've been having trouble at my job for about a year, almost entirely due to the actions of a single supervisor who's made my life a living hell. Unfortunately, my attempts to get anything done have apparently just made my situation worse because she only became a supervisor because she's friends with the department head despite being highly under-qualified for a position with that responsibility. So naturally, seeking some kind of mediation with him just got me yelled at, and escalating to HR just made things even more hostile. I was also accused of fabricating my documented disability to get out of the performance improvement plan - and this was after I'd already gone to HR well before the performance review to say something about it, plus having notified three different bosses in the department (one of whom had told me he would "take care of everything.")

I was put on a performance improvement plan back in March that had no end date or any real mechanism for me to gauge my success, but stubborn idiot that I was, I stuck it out because even though the management at my company is the chief reason I've been so miserable for the last year, the project has been wonderful and I hate to lose it.

I've been getting weekly evaluations that are largely nitpicking things, holding me to standards the rest of my team, let alone my department, is not expected to meet (in particular, I got yelled at for being a minute late to work two weeks ago - and as this was happening, another co-worker came in almost ten minutes late and received no repercussions), and when they can't even nitpick anything wrong, it's downplayed as "well, you only did decently this week" or "your work was too easy, so of course you did well." I also got taken to task by the department lead for taking additional training in a skill set that was vital to doing my job because he didn't deem it "important". He did, however, get after me for not having access to a system that he and everyone in the department knew I couldn't get access to because a completely different part of our corporation was handling that. Apparently he'd expected me to just keep nagging the higher ups myself, in spite of my being explicitly told it was not my task to do so earlier. I did do said nagging and he was still upset that it took so long in spite of him being included in every single e-mail communication in the organization regarding the number of employees being locked out of vital work functions.

So as of yesterday, during the weekly ass-kicking session, I was asked if I could "explain myself." Since every time I attempt to do so just opens me up to more abuse, I wasn't sure what to say anymore. So I basically asked what was next and was told by my supervisor and the department head "It's out of our hands." Pressed harder for obvious reasons and asked "What's my tasking next week?" "That's not my decision to make, it's in higher hands."

Yea, I don't think I need to read tea leaves to figure out that they're basically telling me "You'll be fired next week."

Frankly, after how awful the job's been for so long, I've been wanting to get out but kept chickening out or getting scared that I'm going to go to yet another company like this one. But now that I pretty much have to, I'm doubtful I'm going to plop into something equally worse and I'll at least be able to get away from the entrenched office politics. We've had a problem for a long time with office cliques and notably people who performed catastrophically damaging actions to the project were promoted largely due to being friends with the right people. So I'd already settled into the idea some time ago that even if I somehow passed this PIP, I wasn't ever going to advance any further in this company.'s going to be a rough week of wondering and waiting. I'd already set aside time to be out of work on Thursday and Friday of this week, and I don't think they're going to be READY to fire me by then. Could be wrong though. And for all I know, they're just trying to put the fear of God into me for a week. If so, well, they're even scummier than I thought and I still won't be staying. If they do, well, at least I have a week to get the resumes out first and make sure I can quickly get onto Covered California...
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Old 22 July 2014, 03:52 PM
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she-geek she-geek is offline
Join Date: 12 April 2009
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 588

Having found myself in similar circumstances early in my career, I sympathize. The sense that no matter what you do, it'll be WRONG is an awful, soul-crushing feeling. For what it's worth, getting away from a toxic workplace will help you escape that, at least.
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Old 22 July 2014, 04:09 PM
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mela681 mela681 is offline
Join Date: 16 May 2007
Location: Duncan, OK
Posts: 1,607

I have been in that situation, too. I was constantly on edge because I knew that my boss was looking for a reason to fire me. When it actually happened, I was incredibly relieved. It was amazing not having to worry about what my boss was going to yell at me for that day. I no longer had to worry about what was going on with the company because it wasn't my problem any more.
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Old 22 July 2014, 07:33 PM
Elkhound Elkhound is offline
Join Date: 09 October 2002
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 10,676

Is there any way you could quit first?
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Old 22 July 2014, 07:38 PM
Aimee Evilpixie's Avatar
Aimee Evilpixie Aimee Evilpixie is offline
Join Date: 20 January 2002
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 12,810
Hello Kitty

If she quits, she can't get unemployment. If she waits, and then they classify letting her go as a layoff instead of firing, she can get unemployment. Often in the gaming/software industry they'll classify letting someone go as a layoff so they don't have to deal with unemployment challenges or possible legal action.
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Old 22 July 2014, 07:38 PM
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Sue Sue is offline
Join Date: 26 December 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
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I was thinking the same thing. The only reason to hang in IMO would be if they let you go in such a way that you would qualify for unemployment insurance. Here in Canada you can't collect that if you quit (in most circumstances).

I've been where you are now Rebochan, at least in terms of hanging onto a job when I hated everything about the place I worked. The absolute relief I left my last day there in indescribable and was only equaled by the feelings I had the next day waking up and knowing I didn't have to go into that job ever again.
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Old 22 July 2014, 07:46 PM
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Jenn Jenn is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: Alberta
Posts: 19,477

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
Here in Canada you can't collect that if you quit (in most circumstances).
If you quit because you know you're about to be fired and your former employer backs you up on that, the IE people may be inclined to approve your application. It's considered akin to a hostile environment, I think.
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Old 22 July 2014, 07:58 PM
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crocoduck_hunter crocoduck_hunter is offline
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Location: Roseburg, OR
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This guy sounds like he'd be inclined to lie about that.
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Old 22 July 2014, 08:19 PM
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Sue Sue is offline
Join Date: 26 December 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Originally Posted by Jenn View Post
If you quit because you know you're about to be fired and your former employer backs you up on that, the IE people may be inclined to approve your application. It's considered akin to a hostile environment, I think.
Another circumstance is if you quit because you have been offered a new job but there will be a gap in your employment. In my situation I quit because I was being trained and felt it was unfair to the current employer to have them pay to train me for a job I knew I wouldn't be doing. I guess that doesn't happen all that often but it was a good enough reason for EI to pay me for the weeks between the old job and the new.
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Old 22 July 2014, 09:36 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
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I don't know how similar Canadian EI is to US unemployment compensation.
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Old 22 July 2014, 10:52 PM
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erwins erwins is online now
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,981

Even if you think quitting might still get you compensation, you have to consider whether you want to risk it, or need to possibly expend energy on fighting that fight. In my state, and I think many if not all others, being fired for cause also doesn't disqualify you. It's only disqualifying if you are fired for misconduct (and even then, there are exceptions).

Your story sounds similar to mine, Rebochan. All the people who worked directly with me liked and valued me and my work, including the middle managers. There was basically one person with an agenda of getting rid of me, and they were high enough up that they could just make it happen. The workplace was seriously toxic due to stuff flowing down from on high as well. My therapist actually compared it to being in an abusive domestic relationship, in terms of the ways it messes with your head, your emotions, etc. to be in a workplace that toxic.
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Old 23 July 2014, 12:42 AM
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Esprise Me Esprise Me is offline
Join Date: 02 October 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,719

In my state, and I think many if not all others, being fired for cause also doesn't disqualify you. It's only disqualifying if you are fired for misconduct (and even then, there are exceptions).
That's the case here in California, too (where Rebochan lives). Here's some more info, with examples of employees being fired because no one can stand to work with them (for cause, but not misconduct, so eligible for UI) as opposed to being fired in direct relation to an act of misconduct.
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Old 23 July 2014, 06:44 AM
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Rebochan Rebochan is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2002
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 11,611

Hey guys, thanks for the advice. It's as Aimee says - I'm better off just letting them do the deed since I qualify for unemployment then. Hoping I also see some kind of severance. If not, I'll have to explore legal options.

Speaking of the latter, things got significantly worse for me when I tried to get my ADHD and panic disorder accommodated. I even got accused by HR of fabricating my conditions, right after getting their impartial second opinion no less, and yelled at for being unreasonable for asking for tasking instructions by e-mail and to have more regular meetings with my supervisor (something every is supposed to get in the first place.) Also for asking that my boss stop harassing me all the time. Also got a nasty text from my supervisor after one trashing session from her sent me into panic attacks and I had to go home to calm down. She basically implied that if I didn't go back to work, there would be repercussions.

Honestly, today was better...because...I dunno, it feels like I found a lot of people on my side willing to help me past this. And I've just been so miserable the last few months that this is my best opportunity to fix it. Asking around, my resume is a lot beefier than it was last time I was between jobs and there's still good press for my project, so I shouldn't need to wait too long to line up another job, even with the game industry the way it is. I also have a better network of contacts this time than I did last time.

I did get warned by another co-worker there's a chance they'll boot me out tomorrow given that it would mean they don't have to pay me for the two days off. So...yea, not going to sleep well tonight either

Speaking of therapists, one of them is constantly encouraging me to quit and find another job. The other one feels that way too, she's just a bit more pragmatic and knows I need to pay my bills too.

I guess when I have to get exchange insurance, I'll have to find out if I'll need new doctors too
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Old 23 July 2014, 12:09 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
Join Date: 29 September 2003
Location: Brussels, Belgium (home base: Ann Arbor, MI)
Posts: 1,032

To share my own experience, in a "you will survive" spirit:

I was fired from a very hostile work environment in 2011, because they literally broke me and I was starting to lose my mind as a result. I could get my job done in 6 hours a day max, and 95% of that was on the computer, but the CEO had a weird obsession with "butts in seats" equalling company loyalty and felt work from home, while required, did not "count." So I worked really hard a few hours a day and then screwed around on the internet and took long lunches the rest of the day.

We worked with contractors in Russia and India and as a result I was often in from 4-5 am until midnight. Then we had a gem called "stay late Thursdays" where we were all required to work until 1-2am in exchange for the CEO ordering a couple of pizzas. Anyone going home before midnight, let alone at normal time, on a Thursday was severely reprimanded. Every week.

My direct boss, a more reasonable person, convinced me to move over there from my corporate job (which was boring as hell, but paid well, had benefits, and didn't expect anything awful from me) because he knew I was a fast and efficient worker and could handle both tech and customer-facing roles. Over time at the new job, we had several chats about the fact that I was clearly headed for a nervous breakdown and he kindly offered to give me 3 days off to "deal with it." (Vacation days? Zero. When my best friend suddenly died, the CEO went into a tirade about how she would have been happier that I went to work as expected vs. her shiva. Even though I gave 5 days notice).

One day I went into the office at 3:30 am after having left after midnight (it was about 20-30 min on the subway) for a meeting with Russia. The meeting went well, but then around 9 am, three fresh-faced youngsters turned up, claiming to be new hires. My 3 bosses were all out in Utah on a ski vacation and I was the seniormost employee around. When I called my boss to ask what the hell, he said "I'm slaying some pow, I don't have time for your complaining. Just train them. They're our new junior sales team."

I told my sole employee (I'd had to fire 2 of my team of 3 to save costs months earlier) that I'd had enough of their BS and I was going to just jump out the window (Manhattan skyscraper).

He called my family and I ended up on a psych ward for 10 days. The day I was released, my boss asked me to meet him in a public place and informed me I was fired for missing too much work.

Within the next 2 weeks, all of the non-management employees resigned or were fired, the company re-named and re-incorporated itself, they sought a B round of funding under a new name, and suddenly 4- FOUR - men were hired to cover my role (I know 3 of them well, so I was privy to the details). That clearly says to me that they knew they were taking advantage of me and my work ethic.

I was denied for both unemployment and Medicaid. I lived off savings and paid out of pocket for psychiatric care until Obamacare came around. Doctor visits didn't happen.

I spent the next few years moving around constantly and being self employed as a consultant (i.e. no benefits). I know it varies by state, but under the ACA I got some really excellent insurance for what I consider a huge bargain ($200/mo, $500 deductible, covers everything I need) so I am an enormous fan of the ACA. Much cheaper than COBRA, plus it includes dental. I've been moving around pretty much constantly so I can't comment on the keeping doctors piece, though the doctors my ACA insurance covers don't seem sub par to me at all (I recently had to have eye surgery and everyone seemed top notch).

I'm sorry, Rebochan, but it sounds like this is a toxic place and while unemployment always sucks, hanging onto an awful job until you start to self-implode is worse. You'll find another job, and in time, hopefully find your dream job (maybe not right away but someday).

You'll know what to look out for now, and hopefully not end up in such a toxic situation again. And, your resume is fatter.

FWIW, my ex-bosses at Hell Inc. gave me rave reviews/references because they knew (a) I was actually good at my job before they wrecked me and (b) they know my firing was illegal and I could sue if I wanted to bother.
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Old 23 July 2014, 05:43 PM
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Rebochan Rebochan is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2002
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 11,611

Welp, they did in fact do it today so they wouldn't have to pay me for the vacation time.

I was...surprisingly at ease in that meeting. I knew what was going to happen, I just wanted it over with.

Probably gonna feel all kinds of things for awhile. Frankly, I'm more scared of what to say in my next job interview if they ask why I was let go.
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Old 23 July 2014, 05:51 PM
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UEL UEL is offline
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Ottawa/Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 9,109

Well, you've got a solid sounding board and support section here.

Best of luck in the search for a new job.
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Old 23 July 2014, 05:55 PM
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Chloe Chloe is offline
Join Date: 13 September 2004
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 39,316

I'm sure we'll all be happy to collaborate on a script for you that is 100% true but frames you in the best possible light. Just let us know when you need it.
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Old 23 July 2014, 06:16 PM
dfresh dfresh is offline
Join Date: 11 November 2005
Location: Oxford, PA
Posts: 4,120

Be sure to reluctantly admit that the old employer was a front for child porn selling Nazis, and you tried to stop them, but got caught. That will impress future employers.
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Old 23 July 2014, 06:42 PM
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Alarm Alarm is offline
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Location: Nepean, ON
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Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
Be sure to reluctantly admit that the old employer was a front for child porn selling Nazis, and you tried to stop them, but got caught. That will impress future employers.
Not Nazis, drug-dealers sending funds to I.S.I.S.!
Don't Godwinize the issue.
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Old 23 July 2014, 06:54 PM
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Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
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Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,411

Sorry this happened. They are going to pay out the vacation time aren't they? Every company I have ever left has written me a check for unused vacation time. That's they very least they owe you.
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