My boss wants me gone -- what do I do?
Dear Evil HR Lady,
I am looking for some advice regarding being let go from a job. I have been with the company for one-and-a-half years, and I was told back in March that I just was not a good fit and they were unsure if I would remain. I should mention that this was bonus payout time and that when I asked if I was getting a pro rated bonus the HR director told me yes. I am just holding it for now -- when I asked again a couple months later I was told by her she would work on it.. Since then there has been no communication from my boss, who is the HR director -- no discussion. She avoids me. I have [gone] to work every day since then not knowing if I will have a job the next day, along with being subjected to sorting through resumes for my replacement, watching as they interview candidates and so forth.
Last week, two employees who work in administration for the owner of the company said to me, "I hear you are done at the end of the year." I sent my boss an email asking to discuss what other employees said to me. She denied it, said that is not her plan. She agreed to meet with me yesterday and told me to take today and Monday off to process all this and that next week we will meet and determine an end date. I know she wants me to resign to make it a clean termination on her end but I have no intention of doing that.
Any advice you can give me on how to handle this, how to get my bonus and compensation?
The bonus from last March you were supposed to get? It's not happening. If it was going to happen, it would have happened back in March when the payout for everybody else happened. It is a lost cause.
However, your boss sounds spectacularly wimpy, so this is a huge advantage for you. I mean, seriously, a boss that hides from you? Furthermore, a boss that is also the director of HR and hides from you? If I were her boss, I would have fired her when she first started in on the, "I'm working on your bonus" thing. Why? Because it was a lie designed to avoid her having to say something difficult, which was, "You're not getting a bonus this year."
- Forced to resign: What are your options?
- Can I just clean out my desk and leave?
- I messed up. Should I resign or wait to be fired?
She wants you to be gone. She's way too wimpy to actually fire you. You are currently screening candidates for your position. (How weird is that? Simply screen out any good people, and you'll never get replaced!)
This gives you a huge advantage. First of all, you should be actively looking for a new job. You should have been doing so from that first meeting in March where she said you were not a good fit. And since you review resumes for a living, I'll presume you know how to write a good resume (if not, read "How to write a resume that gets the interview").
However, I'm a bit concerned that you are not doing this and are just counting on the wimpiness of your manager to maintain your current job. This is a big mistake. One morning she'll find someone to replace you and you'll be out on your ear. These managers eventually do gain the courage, and when they do it's not pretty. They tend to be the types that escort you from the building and tell you how awful you are, even though your work was good enough to keep you on for months and months while trying to replace you. (If you're truly awful, there is no point in keeping you at all.)
So, your resume is awesome. You're looking for new jobs. You're actively interviewing and your networking like crazy, right? You're going to professional meetings. You're talking with everyone you know. You're taking additional training when you can and your volunteering for new projects that look good on your resume.
Good. Now, you go to your boss and say: "I know you are looking to replace me. Why don't we work out a deal? I'll agree to work through the end of March, and train the new person. In exchange, I get the 2012 bonus (which should be paid in March, based on last year), a severance payment of four weeks (or more if your industry has higher severance payments), and you agree not to oppose unemployment." She may be willing to agree to that immediately.
If not, you negotiate up and down and sideways. She wants you gone. She doesn't want to fire you. As your boss and an HR director, she probably has the authority to do all of this without much hassle from her management. And you should ask for this. What you'll end up with may be slightly different, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if she's relieved to agree to this. This gives her a way out of this situation without conflict, and without doing something painful (for her).
Don't just sit there waiting for the ax to fall. You make a plan. There are many things you cannot control in this life, but don't give up control of more than you absolutely have to.
Have a workplace dilemma? Send your question to EvilHRLady@gmail.com.
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