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Might be about to be let go. What now?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 1GreytWriter, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    I've been in a tough position at work for a while where things aren't going well and I'm inconsistent in my performance reviews. I've mentioned I get them every month, so every 3-4 weeks. Today, my boss asked me near the end of my shift if I had time for a phone call. I did, and suspected it wasn't good news. It turns out I was right on, and he told me he was issuing a performance warning because I still wasn't up to par, even though my more direct supervisor (this was his boss issuing this for what it's worth) had told me last month I was improving. Direct Boss also skipped my latest performance meeting despite me asking him twice if we could have it and him saying it would happen, but it never did. However, he and his boss reviewed my work from last month without me present. Boss's Boss said "We reviewed your work..." and I was just like "I never had a meeting, you know."

    I am a bit stressed out because I know I will have more frequent meetings, be given reading material to go over and I am also expected to show up with questions to ask my boss. I've been at my current job for over four years and in my present role for two, so I'm already at a loss as to what I'll ask. (For what it matters, I'm an editor.)

    I have a part-time job in different communications-related work, and I was considering asking my supervisor if there were any full-time opportunities available. It would mean some sort of pay cut, but it would also help me start over in a new field, get me out of a stressful environment, and let me do something I am excelling it. My other boss likes me and I get good reviews on the work I do for her, as I've eventually taken on increased responsibility over time. And I actually feel I'm good at the work my other job involves.

    However, I obviously have to keep working hard at Present Job in the meantime, just in case Other Job can't take me full-time. I've been searching for about six months and had four interviews/phone screens, but nothing really solid.

    Where would you go from here if this were you in this situation? Grin and bear it with the performance plan? Try to jump to another job ASAP and make a clean break? I am single and don't have kids, in case that helps you factor things in.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think it would help to know what problems the bosses have with your performance.

    Not to be an ass, but you are focusing on things they are doing or their issues but aren't saying anything about what the problems seem to be.

    It could be a job that's a really bad fit. It could be unrealistic expectations. It could be that you need to dig and and do better. It could be that neither job is really your thing.

    But I think it would help if you could acknowledge what needs fixing on your end, own it and do your best to improve.

    Then your options would multiply.
  3. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I hate to say it, but without knowing details, I'd take a hard look at what you are (or are not) doing right. Unless the bosses are just unrealistic asswipes. In any case, I would seriously try to hook on at the other gig. It sounds like it is going much better and is a better fit, even if it less money for now.
  4. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    Sorry I wrote this kind of quickly.

    I do admit that I've been making mistakes in my work and that my new role hasn't clicked with me like I thought it would. I have been working at my job for four years and my current role for almost two. I did have struggles coming onboard, but I figured it was just new job adjustment stuff and that things would pick up and go smooth soon. Only I haven't felt as confident and capable as I view my colleagues being.

    I have also had inexperienced bosses, which hasn't helped, but again I admit that I've been letting things go that I should have picked up on. I don't want to talk too much about it because I don't want to unintentionally identify myself. (Though I can exchange PMs if anyone really wants to know.) I admit I was very eager about the new role two years ago and jumped at a chance for more responsibility and money. Looking back on it, though, I would've asked for some additional time to consider what a jump would've meant.

    I was actually pretty good at my first role. There were mistakes, but never enough to be put on a warning or anything, and I clicked with my boss there as well. I wonder if perhaps I'm one of those people who may not be good at anything really high-level or something.
  5. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Well, you're a writer/editor who can't spell great, for one. I keed, I keed.

    I guess there's no possibility of reverting to your former role? Not everyone is cut out for a lot of responsibility. You should not still be struggling after two years. That tells me you're not sut out for whatever it is you're doing now.

    It's really tough to offer advice on such little info. Are you just not a good editor, are they putting too much on your plate, are you overtired from working two gigs? And what's the story on your screen name? Are you an editor in a writer's body? Maybe that's the problem. Not all writers, I'd even say few, in fact, make good editors.
  6. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Can you return to your old role? If the new role isn't going to click, then that's likely your best option.
    But a lot of things don't click at first. A lot of that has to do with the individual. Not everyone can handle in house promotions. or job shifts, and you may thrive in the same role you are currently struggling with at a different company.
    But yeah,it's difficult for any of us to say without knowing the details.
    I'll say this though, there's very few people that have never had a boss unhappy with them, had a bad performance review, been written up, etc...
    There was one year I was in my bosses office twice and the boss gave me two weeks probation to improve or move on. That was over a decade ago, and I'm still here.
    In today's market, the more times than not, the boss would much rather you improve than them having to find someone else. Hiring new people isn't exactly the most fun thing for a boss. Posting a job, sorting resumes, interviewing, hiring and training costs time they don't like to spend. And then they hope they hired the right person. And to top it off, in today's market, there's not a lot of quality journalists and editors around. The good ones have changed fields or at sports that it's not worth it to them to change jobs. Our last job opening ad has gotten three resumes. THREE. A decade ago the boss sorted through three resumes in the first minute the job was up, and he had over 200 by the time he started to sort and narrow.

    Just focus on your mistakes and make a noticeable effort to improve. If your focus is finding a new job, your work at your current place will continue to suffer and you ill soon be needing to find that new job anyway. All your energy has to be devoted to improvement.
  7. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    The last part of joe's advice is key. Don't let anything distract you if you really want to improve in this job, which is why I asked if you are tired from your other obligations. And you have to try to have a positive attitude. Another red flag is you say you've had inexperienced managers. That is not helping the situation, I'm sure. If they aren't really helping you improve, maybe you could relay that to someone who needs to know that.
  8. Are you overextending yourself by working two jobs?
  9. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    I've mentioned that twice now. Seems like a real possibility to me. But if you like the other job, then what do you do?
  10. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    I'll see what I can cover here before settling down for some sleep...

    -My username was kind of a bad attempt on wordplay. I owned a couple of retired greyhounds when I made it up. (One has passed, but I still own the other one.) However, I will admit I was hoping to be in more of a writing-related role. That's where that comes from. I ended up in editing because writing jobs were tough to come by and I just figured if I was good at writing I could pick up editing. Of course, it was never really my dream.

    -My boss did not mention reverting back to my former role as a possibility. He said that they can take action "up to and including termination." I can ask him if it's something to be done, but he didn't present it that way. I've actually considered this on my own, before the warning was issued.

    -I am feeling tired from working two jobs, but the grind of my regular job has also worn me down. We all know this is a 24/7 business. I've had shifts in the past that run until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. I'm not on that schedule anymore, but it left me feeling like I wasn't well-rested. I've put in time on every major holiday. I know you're all going to say I should've thought about this before walking into journalism, but I honestly thought it was fine because working in sports media was my goal, and if it's your goal, you put up with most things like bad hours. Even this year, I am working every major holiday...Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's. Some of my coworkers are getting 2-3 holidays off and they are less senior than me. My boss, however, feels he made a fair schedule.

    Finally, something that hasn't been addressed: My goal was to eventually work in media relations for a sports team. Several months ago, I talked to a contact in that field of work who really encouraged me to consider the downsides of that situation. I mean, he seems to like his job enough and be successful, but he was the first person who didn't play it up as "Most fun I've ever had!" and was really honest about what it took. I thought a lot about his words and began to have doubts this is where I wanted to be. This was also about three months before the second gig materialized.

    For a while, I've just had my doubts that I'm going to have a long career in journalism and that I might be better off making a shift to a communications/marketing job with better hours. It's just been hard to get a job like that. I have goals to work on my writing portfolio so there are non-sports clips in it, as I did a lot of sports writing. I have my social media work. I want to start a blog. I would even volunteer at a nonprofit to do more general communications stuff. Things like that.
  11. There are three separate issues. First, you are likely underperforming in your job. The managers may be looking to nudge your way out. What types of mistakes are you making?

    Second, do you what you why to do for a living? You seem to switch gears frequently. Finally, how are conducting a job search is likely ineffective. What does your resume look like and do you mention sports? Do you tailor resumes and cover letters for each application, and spend more than 20 minutes on an application (some dude here once complained about the 20 minutes of his life spent for each application)?
  12. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    My mistakes more or less come from overlooked things in the stories I edit, like typos, comma usage and so forth. It's not great to do that as an editor, no, but I'm at least grateful the issues don't lie with interpersonal communication or working well with other departments. I've actually gotten some compliments in the past for my editorial judgment and how well I seem to work with everyone. My warning just lies in cutting down on errors, not "doesn't play well with others" or anything that's interfering with team dynamics.

    I can't say for certain if my boss is trying to push me out, but I do know he skipped my last performance meeting whereas others received them.

    I have been a little bit jumpy career-wise, but it's starting to slowly make sense what I should be doing and what kind of jobs I need to look for. I don't really know what specific industry to hop into, but I'm starting to realize what I'm good at and what kind of work I should seek. My job search spreadsheet is a mix of social media jobs, writing, Internet marketing, etc. I try not to apply really outside of my realm, but I have applied for two writing positions. One of which was only part-time and my schedule didn't fit with what the employer wanted, and another I didn't even get an interview. I do try to spend some time researching the employer and calling out what attracted me to their posting/company in my cover letter.

    I hope I'm covering everything possible. I'm just trying to stay anonymous, you know, on the off-chance my employer pops up over here.
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