Boss Seeks To Document Failure!

Question: to Ask the Workplace Doctors about loss of respect.

Where do I start? I work in a financial institution, and I obviously understand the importance of following policies in regards to loss prevention. Recently, it seems like I cannot do anything right. I get written up for nearly everything, and live in constant fear that every day could be my last. I am an intelligent person with a strong background in customer service, and I consider myself to have common sense. Yet, I feel like I am working for an institution that is looking to document your failures. This is contributing to a negative energy in our office. There are several employees that feel the same way that I do. I am frustrated that I am having such difficulty doing a job that is not difficult, and that does not pay well, and it is crushing my self esteem. I try to remain positive, and learn from my mistakes, but I feel like I have no future with this company because of it.

Also, my supervisor or is very blunt. She comes off sounding rude when you do make a mistake, and she tends to overlook the mistakes of a male co-worker. And when she is upset about something that one of us did, her whole mood puts the office in a really dark place, we all feel like we are dead men walking. I had a “mix up” with my vacation time as well. I am also realizing that in our line of business, the name of the game is cover your you-know-what. Shouldn’t a supervisor be responsible for their mistakes? For example, she told me that I would get 2 weeks of vacation for the year even though I was hired in July. I even questioned it thinking surely, I would only get part of that. “No!” she said, “You get two weeks.” She scheduled me to take my second week in Dec. I had not requested this, as I was not going anywhere. Come to find out, I did not have 2 weeks, and when I came back was told that I would not be paid for the extra day. Had I know n that, I would’ve come to work. She didn’t even stick up for me with human resources, and tell them that it was her mistake for miscalculating my time off. They did pay me, but it counted against me as an absence.

I have considered talking to the office manager about this, but he has no backbone, and does his best to avoid conflict. Also, his behavior is questionable on so many levels that I could write a term paper on it. What do I do? I am a good employee, and I feel like a bad five year old. I am looking for another job. Is it legal for my current employers to tell prospective employers about my issues at work? If so, I may never get a better job. Should I go over their heads to the regional manager and express my concerns? I have been in the workforce for over fifteen years, and this is the first time this has happened to me!!

Signed, Distressed

Dear Distressed:

Where do we start?? Well working for 15 years without a “bad” work experience is like winning the lottery and a tribute to the kind of employee you must be. In a civilization with approximately 1/2 of the marriage’s going south, how much can you expect of a work setting with unseen authority – sometimes making bad decisions, directors afraid of loosing favor with the “unseen” and subordinates; and the rest of us working under supervisors who had little or no training in supervision.

And all of these levels bring their personal problems and negative attitudes to work with them. In the best of circumstances this setting can hobble the very best employees work driving morale down–That is the place where you are working. There a re no easy fixes.

Good news: Your current employer, if contacted by prospective employers, should only state when you began working, when you stopped working, your salary, and if you are eligible for rehire. They should be very reluctant to describe any thing qualitatively about your work because they would have a legal liability if information they gave prevented you from getting other employment.We don’t suggest you go to the Regional Manager with your concerns. If there is this culture of CYA at your level, there is likely the same at the Regional Managers level. Then you will likely be branded as the problem to be “covered up”.

We recommend you regain a positive perspective on this situation. Develop a plan and a network to look for other employment. Line up your personal and professional references, who, if need be, could speak to the challenging environment you have successfully negotiated. Be appropriately candid if asked about challenging working environment. Write a script for this to assure that you do not become overly critical and appear to be a complainer. During your search – while at your current job – recommit to doing the very best work possible – with an exuberant attitude. Rise up to overcome this culture of despair with your own strength. Your renewed attitude will benefit you the most while you are considering other options.

Jack & Elizabeth White, Guest Respondents with HR and Managerial Experience. The Workplace Doctors Looking out for your self is necessary, and doing that is best achieved by commitment to the place you are even while looking elsewhere. That is thinking WEGO.

William Gorden