Hired-Fired–No Reason!


I recently interviewed and was hired for a very good position. To all appearances it seemed a good company and job. I had worked with some of the employees on previous contracts. The recruiter told me that they had passed on positive feedback, although I had not listed them as references. Additionally the company uses a web based anonymous professional reference tool and ‘personality test’, which he stated gave good feed back. I was being employed in an area that I had no previous experience, but I have a good tolerance for steep learning curves, so it did not seem like it would be a problem. It looked like a great fit.

I was placed on a team with 3 other co-workers (none I had previously worked with), two who were not familiar with the product but experienced in training, and one who was experienced in the product but not in training. The ‘managing supervisor’ ‘handed the project over’ to this consulting team, and disappeared. We had one scheduled phone meeting and a couple of social encounters. Everyone seemed to get along just fine….but apparently I was mistaken. There were some team dynamics, but none that I felt were very serious. Most of these revolved around who was doing what, and how it was done. We had some intense discussions, but there was no yelling, name-calling or anything derogatory said by anyone, it was about how to create the training materials. It all seemed like fairly reasonable discussion. I did request some ground rules regarding interrupting others, but that seemed to resolve easily. We talked, laughed and joked on many occasions. Week three I received a phone call, told not to return to the client, asked about a training tool I ‘refused to use’ and with no other discussion was invited to resign. I really want to know what happened, if for no other reason than to understand what I said or did that prompted such a dramatic response. I sent and email to the three people on the call (HR, the manager, and a second manager) and stated that there ‘may have been something said that was taken out of context, which caused this misunderstanding. Can we please discuss this further?

I contacted one of the co-workers and asked what was going on, but she did not give me any concrete details, except that I was driving a wedge between the team and the client, no details. I told her I was willing to talk about it and work it out. She suggested I call the other team members and discuss it with them. I called and left messages, but did not get any return calls. I called the ‘managing supervisor’ and in the middle of talking to her, she took another call, dropped my call and did not call me back. I called and left a message that I would really like to discuss all of this further to understand what the problems were, what was said or done. She has never called me back. I did not receive any response, until later that day, when with no further explanation was asked to resign. I requested to work in another area, or to try a temporary probationary period to allow me a chance to fix this. These requests were flatly refused.

Either I have done something so heinous it cannot even be discussed with me or there this whole thing is very weak excuse for something else (I could not begin to guess what). I am so confused.

Obviously this does not look very good on my resume…and myself esteem has taken quite a hit. I am just not sure what to do next. I certainly do not want to repeat this scenario again, but am at a loss as to how to prevent it.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.


Confused about what happened


Dear Confused about what happened:

Dear Confused, I can imagine how frustrated you are! Once you have resigned the matter is closed from the viewpoint of the employer. But you may want to consider several general things at this time:

1. If you truly feel an injustice was done, even though you resigned you may want to send a letter to someone in a position of authority in the company to state that the lack of supervision and managerial support may have contributed to this. You might also state that you never received any communication about incorrect actions or problems and that you feel that is unfair to any employee.

A letter like that won’t change things, but may bring problems to their attention, if that is an important issue for you.

2. The one thing I advise everyone in a new job, is to ensure that they document requests for feedback and assistance. I often advise people to send a note once a week for the first few months or so asking, “How am I doing?” in one way or another, without being a pest. That way at least you keep the lines of communication open and can show that you have asked for input about your work.

3. If you ever do find out what happened you might determine what lesson could be learned from it. In the meantime, you may want to be glad you found out early that it was not a good fit for you…or that some aspect of your style did not mesh with theirs.

This is certainly one of those times that will require strength on your part. You know you have skills to offer. I predict this will show that you also have tremendous self-motivation and the ability to overcome frustrations and hurt and angry feelings. Best wishes as you meet this challenge.

Adapting in a new job is each of our challenges. Being made welcome and helped to fit in is the job of those already there. Earning the feeling and spirit of WEGO is the by-product.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.