You may recall Mini-Blonde from her guest post last month. Last week, she told me that she had another post that she wanted to write.
At first I was all like, “ANOTHER guest post? Are you trying to steal my thunder?” She then explained what the post would be about, and I was intrigued. It was a story of heartbreak; It was a story of despair; It was a story of a bats*** crazy boss. It was a story worth sharing with the world. (Or at least the portion of the world that reads this blog.)
So here is Mini-Blonde to tell the harrowing tale of how she managed to get fired after two days.
Among my friends, both professional and personal, I’m known to be extremely loyal, dedicated, thoughtful, and efficient. I can quickly turn around high-quality work deliverables. I have the ability to juggle multiple, disparate projects, and I work well under tight deadlines. Sounds like a model employee, right?
Last Monday, I started a new job. I was excited to be pursuing an opportunity that I thought would afford me a lot responsibility and self direction. I came in with energy and enthusiasm to take on new projects.
Last Wednesday, I was fired from that job. How did this happen?
My work flew me out to Nashville for training at the beginning of the week. I walked into the office and before I was introduced to my new colleagues, I was asked to draft a bio for a call that was happening in five minutes. Wanting to make a good impression, I scrambled to pull together something quickly.
After the call, for which my bio was not used, I receive an email asking me to revise my bio as it was not tailored to the client; The client that I was just informed of when I walked in the door that morning. Okay, I guess I should have pushed back on the request for a quick turnaround.
My employer also asked for my notes from the client call. While I was not asked to take notes, I was taking them in order to get a handle of the new project. I sent over my notes and immediately get an email chastising me for not using their standard format for notes. Okay, I guess I should have asked if there was a format that I was supposed to use.
Later, I was asked to produce two documents. Each would take a few hours, but I was reminded by email every hour that they were expecting the documents. Okay, I guess some micromanagement is expected in a new position, but I felt this constant pressure did nothing but reduce my productivity by increasing stress.
I asked for guidance on what should be included in the documents. While their response was to “put my spin on it,” when I finally turned the documents around, I was blasted for being off-message. Okay, I guess these people have unrealistically high expectations about what someone should be able to produce on his or her first day.
While I left my first day upset for not being able to meet their expectations, I returned the second day with a renewed enthusiasm for taking on new work.
That enthusiasm was quickly crushed when I was greeted by a tense workplace, which was fueled by my new boss questioning the professionalism of a person scheduled for a 10:30 meeting that didn’t arrive at the office until (gasp) 10:30. Throughout the day, I heard her question the work of my colleagues and our clients.
Later that day, I get an email that only says, “What are the next steps on the [client] project?” As I had just started the day before, I wasn’t sure. Apparently, I was managing the project. While I wasn’t happy about the way I was informed, I was happy to have the responsibility.
I was working on a project plan for that client when my employer asked to borrow my company-issued laptop to pull a document that was saved on the desktop. I minimized all of the windows and gave her the laptop.
Minutes later, my employer returns asking me to leave. She then showed me an email from my former employer that was sent the previous night.
To my personal email.
She had opened my Internet browser and looked at my personal email while she was borrowing my laptop to view a document that was saved on the desktop. While disturbing, this is legal.
After hours, I had been working on transitioning work from my old job and the email was about that transition. I knew the new firm wouldn’t approve of me supporting work for my previous employer on my own time, but I judged that no conflict existed because the work was different (in both tasks and content) than the work of new firm.
My contract for the firm did not explicitly prohibit me from consulting on my own time. However, that was enough for me to (thankfully?) get the axe.
Even if I wasn’t asked to leave, the end result probably would have eventually been the same. I’ve worked with many people, either as partners, clients, or coworkers, and I’ve never experienced such an environment of distrust, paranoia, and tension. That’s not the right fit for me, and I think it would be difficult to grow as a company and professional in such conditions.
The whole experience was quite jarring, but it has a happy ending. My former employer has welcomed me back with open arms and has agreed to forget I ever said I was leaving. It’s kind of like that episode of Seinfeld:
Except in this case, everyone was on my side. Any desire I ever had to leave in the first place has dissolved, and I’m extremely happy to be back.
We should be thankful that everything worked out for Mini-Blonde. If she was left unemployed, she’d probably just ask me for a full-time job here at The Cutter Rambles. Unfortunately, I’d only be able to pay her in “Likes” and sadly, those don’t pay the bills. (Trust me, I’ve tried!)