Q&A: Am I Going to be Fired?
Q: I’m not sure what to do. We took over a dept at work,were barely trained, but I thought I was ok as my evaluations were positive. I am the main person on it at night, while it’s split between 4 people during the day. Lately, I feel as though my manager talks to me like I’m an idiot, and avoids my questions. Nobody’s around at night to see all the good I do. This woman who works there and spends most of her time slacking off has been asked to lead training for the rest of the dept! They are now training the rest of our group for “back up” people, and I was not even told.
They baby her when she has questions, while I get ignored. Lately I have been getting less emails. Also, they are hiring 4 new people even though we only had 1 person quit. I should also add that I am pregnant, and will be taking leave..but not for 3 months,and I never take days off.
Just yesterday I noticed she made TEN mistakes that I had to clean up when I got in…) when she doesn’t even know what she is doing, and I work on this five nights a week and know a lot about it. Everyone in the office but my manager has noticed, and always asks me for help when they have questions, not her. Should I even bother mentioning all of the mistakes to a higher up boss? I don’t want to tell, but it is causing a lot of problems for me to come in and clean up her work, and I have gone to my manager who doesn’t seem to care & instead rewards the slacker. I feel I don’t have a job to save anyways at this point anyways.
A: Let me start by saying congratulations on your expected arrival. You are certainly at a very interesting place in your life right now. You are expecting, which comes with its own set of anxieties and pressures, needs, and plans, and you are going through some troubling things at work. There are, however, two distinctly different ways to see the work situation.
On the one hand, you can choose to focus on the less than desirable aspects of what you are experiencing. From what you have written, your department has taken on something new and unfamiliar that you feel you have been improperly trained for. Your shift is undermanned and you carry the weight of the work that takes place during that time. The person who has been designated to train you and the other staff is inept, by your measurements, and you have not been included in the “back up” pool for training for some reason. A significant amount of time is spent cleaning up others’ mistakes and assisting staff members who do not trust their questions will be properly answered by those in charge. You are watching management bring on additional staff as though they are preparing for more openings with no explanation to the contrary. You feel ignored by management and also believe that you are possibly being phased out. Furthermore, it seems that slackers are rewarded instead of those who are who are diligent and actually perform for the company.
On the other hand, you have indicated that your performance reviews, to date, are positive. You have taken on added/new responsibilities and despite being poorly trained, you are ROCKING at it! You are skilled enough to carry the weight of the night shift and have been able to manage your time well enough to clean up other people’s mistakes as well. Although you aren’t a formal trainer, others have noticed you and the way you work and seek your advice and assistance, which proves that you are knowledgeable and have great interpersonal skills. I see great things for your future if you continue to have this strong work ethic and work consistently in this manner.
Your job is only in jeopardy if you change the way you work and respond to others. There are laws that protect pregnant women from being discriminated against and that hold a place for your at your job when you go out on maternity leave. So, if working at the company is what you want to continue to do, it’s completely within your control. Don’t allow the negativity around you to change who you are or how you operate. What I do recommend is that you start tracking and keeping a log of what it is that you do for the organization, your achievements, accolades, the praise you get from customers, co-workers, etc. Then, when you are ready to move into a different role, you can schedule a meeting with your supervisor or higher ups and make the case for why YOU should be selected. This is a much better strategy than listing someone else’s weaknesses to make the case for why they should be removed. Her weaknesses emphasize your strengths and when you are on maternity leave, it will be clear to everyone, if it isn’t already.
If you decide that you do not want to continue at the company, you should certainly make sure to get the names and contact information of the people around who DO see you and your work, as they will make great professional references for future opportunities. You can also use this log of duties to add to your qualifications, skills, and abilities when you update your resume for a future job search.