Threatened To Be Fired

Question:

I was recently pulled into the office by my manager and supervisor, and was threatened to be fired because they said I was dragging ass. They said it was because I have a new boyfriend. I am the longest working employee. Also I have no write ups. Only one verbal warning. Can you please help me?

Signed,

Warned


Answer:

Dear Warned:

Take the warning seriously. Did you ask or already know what they meant when they said you were “dragging ass”? Were you texting, emailing, or phoning him during working hours? Were you gossiping to coworkers about what you and he did last night? In short, how did they know you had a new boyfriend? You must have brought your personal life into the workplace. And that is not for what you were hired! To make this point: Have you shown as much enthusiasm for your work as for your new boyfriend? So look in the mirror and I don’t mean to say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?” Don’t look in the mirror to primp for your boyfriend. Face up to what you have and have not been contributing to your job. How many suggestions have you made lately to cut wasted supplies, cut wasted time, cut wasted energy and cut wasted money? What have you done to make your coworkers’ jobs more effective and easier? Are you centered on you or on others? Do you cheer them on? Do you know your customers; those inside and external to your workplace? Are you concerned about the quality of what you deliver to them? Doing your job is not about you; it’s about doing what needs to be done to add value to your work organization. Have you talked with your supervisor and/or manager about your performance and the topics I have addressed? Get the point? They see you as to what you attend. Might it be past time for you to stop thinking of your job as just a job and ask if you are on a career path? Of course you can see this warning of firing as unjustified; after all as you say you have only had one verbal warning and no write ups. You can be defensive–thinking they have no right to criticize you for having a new boyfriend. I say, “That would be a big mistake.” You can see your supervisor and manager as adversaries. They might not be perfect, but again I say, “Seeing them as enemies would be a big mistake.” If you could learn from this, you will thank them for this reprimand. Or if you don’t see the writing on the mirror, you may get a pink slip, and then you will learn that new, better jobs are not easy to find after you have been fired. What will you do now? Take inventory of your performance? Examine what is the quality of your service and work you produce? If your job requires writing, spell check typing; something that you didn’t do when you sent us this question and I had to do before posting it. Knock off the gossip. Find something to applaud that others have done. Don’t be stingy with please and thank you. I know some of this advice sounds childish, and of course, only you can know if I have made uncalled for assumptions about your performance. However, this it’s free and you can do with it as you please.

Finally, I propose you think and speak to your supervisor and manager as coaches. Seek their advice. Don’t make a pest of yourself. But after two weeks of seriously attending to your job, meet with one or both of them and tell them that their warning has caused you to think of what you are doing to make a difference in your workplace. This should then open up a conversation about how long you have been employed there and what you want to do with the rest of your working life–where you are going and where are you now on your career path. And if you see your superiors as your coaches, you will think of yourself as a member of their team. Then you will understand that working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. If any of these thoughts make sense, do send us a follow up to let us know what you do over the next couple of weeks, and not incidentally, whether or not this boyfriend is worthy of you and you of him, the important thing for you is to be able to be self supporting.

William Gorden