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How often do you risk being fired?
Old 05-18-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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How often do you risk being fired?

Let me clarify. How often do you find yourself in an awkward position at work, through no fault of your own, that requires you to choose between doing something your supervisor has requested you to do, that you find to be humiliating, unnecessary, dangerous, or unjust, and living day after day with the resentment and rage that that choice provides, and just saying no or otherwise trying to get out of the task, both of which increase your chances of getting fired? Example : manager knows you hate employee x and therefore assigns you to work with employee x, just to p*ss you off. Would you grit your teeth, and do it, or say something like "No thanks, I won't do it, and I don't think I should have to do it", ans just hope you don't get fired? I know it all depends on how disastrous getting fired would be for you. At my job, I have a "fired / not fired" scenario pop up about every 1.5 years. Sometimes I grin and bear it, other times I say no, and have to risk getting fired!!
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:05 AM   #2
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I have twice resigned on principle. I do not recommend it in general.

However, in my experience, it was better that way. YMMMV.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:10 AM   #3
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Still recovering

I am a pretty easy going person and work very hard at what I do. I have been a part time teacher for over 30 years and generally treated well. However, twice in my lifetime I have not been respected for the hard work I do. I think it is because I am generally a happy person. That in no way equates with being lazy, in fact I take a lot of pride in doing my job well. However, managers who do not know my history often think because I am a happy person I am not working hard. Those that know me let me do my job since I am often the one who they can count on to pitch in when things go wrong.
Twice, I have been underestimated and disrespected. Once, I took it, fixed the mess when his first choice did not work out, and before he retired he thanked me personally. Class act.
The second time this occured was about 5 years ago. I was so close to retirement it almost drove me crazy to think that I did not have to bear his stupidity. I could retire, and leave the craziness behind. I chose to stay, held my head high and did the absolute best job I could. I love my students and my job and would not want to leave my career on a bad note. Again, it turned out to be a good decision. I worked hard, did my job to the best of my ability and my boss gave me a wonderful opportunity just before he retired.
I have come to realize that no matter how wonderful you are, and we are wonderful, things go wrong, sometimes horribly wrong. It is not our fault but if we are of a certain quality of character, we quit the blaming and take responsibility for OUR actions. To heck with anyone else, I will be the best I can be. That is extremely hard at times, but really, it is the only thing that matters in the end. My 2 cents worth.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:15 AM   #4
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I think it matters what kind of job you have....

I worked at a mega for 15 years... I had a few problems when I was in one department... and was always on the edge of being fired... I really liked the work, but not the managers... finally had to move on, but was never fired...

Most of the other times I have not had it come up... I usually do not have managers that want to put me in an position that would create this level of problem...
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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I should remind the board that I am a contractor and that my working world is probably very different from most of yours.

Around 10 or 12 years ago, I was doing some work in a Shell refinery. There were motivational posters all over the offices to the effect that if you had job stress, you should find a way to live with it. Nuts to that, and nuts to unpaid overtime and offensive supervisors.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:45 AM   #6
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I've only done it once and did almost get fired.

In the early 1980s, I had a supervisor that would disappear whenever our manager was traveling. She had a person that would cover for her if the manager happened to call in. Her patsy left the group, so she came to me and told me that she needed me to tell our boss that she was on the phone if he ever called and she wasn't in the office.

I said NO, that I wouldn't lie for her. She got furious and wrote me up for insubordination (made up some crap that wasn't true rather than writing me up for telling her I wouldn't lie).

I was with a union then and my rep stepped in. I had a great job history, so when I told him what had really happened he believed me. He told the company and they agreed to dig further.

Turned out the supervisor had lied on her resume (she really didn't have an accounting degree) and she had an arrest record for a drug bust. Needless to say she got fired.
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Old 05-18-2012, 04:33 PM   #7
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My acid test was always, if I couldn't look at myself in the mirror in the morning, I wouldn't do it.

Fortunately, for the most part I have worked with pretty principled people, wth the exception of my latest part time career with a tax prep firm that I will not name.
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt III View Post
Let me clarify. How often do you find yourself in an awkward position at work, through no fault of your own, that requires you to choose between doing something your supervisor has requested you to do, that you find to be humiliating, unnecessary, dangerous, or unjust, and living day after day with the resentment and rage that that choice provides, and just saying no or otherwise trying to get out of the task, both of which increase your chances of getting fired? Example : manager knows you hate employee x and therefore assigns you to work with employee x, just to p*ss you off. Would you grit your teeth, and do it, or say something like "No thanks, I won't do it, and I don't think I should have to do it", ans just hope you don't get fired? I know it all depends on how disastrous getting fired would be for you. At my job, I have a "fired / not fired" scenario pop up about every 1.5 years. Sometimes I grin and bear it, other times I say no, and have to risk getting fired!!
While it is situational, it isn't unreasonable for a boss to ask an employee to work with another employee, so I think you have no choice but to grit you teeth and do it. You could say that you prefer not to do it (which is different from refusing to do it) but if he says do it anyway your choices are limited.

If your boss was asking you to do something that was legally or ethically questionable (like in the other post of asking someone to lie for them) then you would have a reasonable basis for refusing.

It sounds like boss is playing you or baiting you.
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:04 AM   #9
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He told the company and they agreed to dig further.

Turned out the supervisor had lied on her resume (she really didn't have an accounting degree) and she had an arrest record for a drug bust. Needless to say she got fired.
Way cool! Once in a while there is justice in the world.

While I've never been in the position of being asked to do something unethical DW did once leave a job because they wanted to um, "depart from generally accepted accounting practices". She and the CPA she worked with both quit.

It took about five months but she did eventually get a much better job.
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:59 AM   #10
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Looking back over my 20 year career, I was threatened either with termination... transfer... or change in responsibility 4 times in the last 12 years of employment. On one occasion I was even fired for 10 minutes (before the person who "fired" me realized that they didn't have the authority do to so.)

Working as an in-house contractor for high profile "principals" I was left with a perpetual target on my back. My peers & I were the easiest for the account's own employees to deflect blame on... and we worked for a company obsessed with maintaining the account relationship over their associate's wellbeing.

To have been at this one account for 13+ years was a testament to the degree at witch I was willing to prostitute myself and accept a regular barrage of abuse - no one else on my team lasted that long.

Today, few things give me more pleasure than to meet at the office (in shorts and teeshirt) prior to a lunch date... and see one of the managers who tried to fire me (sometimes I go out of my way to pass their dingy little office). When they ask how I like retirement (dripping with insincerity)... I just grin and reply "It couldn't be better - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT)."
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Old 05-20-2012, 12:14 AM   #11
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Wow. I see I'm not the only one in this boat. Thanks for the responses.
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Old 05-20-2012, 12:20 AM   #12
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>>> It sounds like boss is playing you or baiting you. <<<

Yeah, I know.
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Old 05-20-2012, 12:36 AM   #13
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I never disagree with the boss. In the example of being assigned to work with someone I don't want to work with, my reply would be 'sure thing boss!' Then I'd go do what ever it is I think I should be doing. If he asks why I'm not doing what he told me to do, I fend ignorance. Either I thought I was doing what he told me to, don't realize what it was he told me to do, or something along those lines. My boss probably thinks I'm an idiot-savant; I'm so good at what I do and so bad at following his directions.
Remember, no confrontation, no anger, no malicious or subversive action. Just a smile on your face with the thought I'm doing exactly what my boss wants needs me to do.
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Old 05-20-2012, 04:18 AM   #14
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I have never risked getting fired.
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt III View Post
Let me clarify. How often do you find yourself in an awkward position at work, through no fault of your own, that requires you to choose between doing something your supervisor has requested you to do, that you find to be humiliating, unnecessary, dangerous, or unjust, and living day after day with the resentment and rage that that choice provides, and just saying no or otherwise trying to get out of the task, both of which increase your chances of getting fired?
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Old 05-20-2012, 05:54 AM   #15
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I've had tenure at my university for 10 years, so I have no risk of getting fired unless I do something egregious (which I won't). Although the academic tenure system is certainly not without its critics, it has served its purpose in allowing me to be as forthcoming and aggressive as I need to be in exposing situations where error or general stupidity reign. The political situation in academia can be brutal and there are many, many days I'd love to be out of there (hence my lurking on this forum) but as a single woman with no other sources of income I am extremely grateful for the security tenure provides.
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:58 AM   #16
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I have always valued "doing what's right" over my job safety so I have knowingly set my self up to be the proverbial "leaving to pursue other opportunities twice."

Deleted details. I said way too much.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:04 AM   #17
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Wow. I see I'm not the only one in this boat. Thanks for the responses.
Sorry... I realized that I was so busy venting (sigh) about my past life, that I didn't really offer any advice.

1 - Be good at what you do, taking on as much responsibility as possible, and make sure people recognize this. (No one is irreplaceable, but the better you are at what you do... the harder you'll be to replace. The last thing your boss wants is more work.)

2 - Be consistent with your core convictions. (If managers know that you are unyielding with your core ethics, they are less likely to drag you into their unethical requests.)

3 - Reach in ALL directions of the organization/clients/etc. to develop allies. From the mailroom to your peers to the veep's office. (The more people who "like" you the more secure you're likely to be. Pay special attention to people who may not like your boss.)

4 - Focus on your health. I almost always spent my lunch hour exercising. (I was fortunate enough to work on a building with a gym/showers.) More than anything else... this helped with both my stress and ally development.

As for working with someone you didn't like, I always remind myself of the phrase "Don't be a problem... be a solution." If I couldn't think of/or suggest a way to complete the task without the other person, I'd smile and be the best dang team member I could. I wouldn't go out of my way to make the other person look good (or bad), but I'd make sure the project (or my part of the project) was completed well.

Finally, realize that there are some situations that are simply out of your control. On one occasion, I was (nearly) fired because VP "A" (my department) told me to spy on VP "B" (another department, but who headed a project I was assigned to). As you can guess, VP "B" found out... confronted VP "A" who, in turn, promptly fired me. Fortunately... VP "A" didn't have the authority to do this and VP "B" was my ally.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:47 AM   #18
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Firings are rarely for the cause claimed. People are not fired for NOT following an unethical or illegal assignment. I once had a boss who tried to fire me by hacking into my computer and visiting porn sites and having photos on the PC. When I was called into the office they showed me printed copies of the photos. I asked them to show me the file dates and times they were put on the computer. The file dates and times indicated I would need to have been in the office on a Sunday morning around 2:30am. From there it was an easy thing to check the badge readers, security cameras, etc and realize it wasn't me. They wouldn't tell me it wasn't me, but someone else, they only questioned how someone else hacked my password. (Still trying to blame me.) I told them if they EVER showed me porn photos while I was working again, I'd file charges through my lawyer and union. Now I was the victim and it was documented that I was a victim. Anything else past this point would easily be construed as vindictive by a jury I would think. About 6 months later the boss was reassigned to a non-supervisory position as a project manager and I was promoted into another department.
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:10 AM   #19
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My boss didn't actually make me work with someone I dislike. I was just using that as an example. But he has displayed very hostile behavior towards me at times, doing whatever he can to harass me. He went out of his way to improve the work environment for my coworkers (better equipment), but not for me, and made sure I knew that he could also give me the better equipment, but chose to delay it in my case (with a slimy smirk and a chuckle). Every time I asked him when I would be getting the new equipment, and get the coworkers to stop laughing at me, he would say "next week", again with the sadistic slimy self-satisfied smirk.
He wanted to isolate me from my coworkers and humiliate me. Of course I resented it. I finally stopped asking about the new equipment, and I finally got it, but someone else at the company gave it to me.

This sadistic manager suddenly left the company, and we had no manager for several months (and things went on just fine with no manager in our dept!) and then he came back , much to my dismay......

I tried to avoid him as much as possible, but he is back to harassing me again. It's like some sort of Twilight Zone episode. Really weird. I called the appropriate folks above him, because I promised myself I would not make myself suffer the daily simmering resentment and loathing, if this sick guy were to start up the harassment again.

The higher level folks were reassuring, and the harassment is supposed to stop now. So far so good, but now I'm on their list of "problem employees" no doubt.
I love my job, excpet for the commute, and I don't think I should have to quit, and find another job, just because of a sick manager's emotional problems. (Although I can understand why anyone would)
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:16 AM   #20
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Firings are rarely for the cause claimed. People are not fired for NOT following an unethical or illegal assignment. I once had a boss who tried to fire me by hacking into my computer and visiting porn sites and having photos on the PC. When I was called into the office they showed me printed copies of the photos. I asked them to show me the file dates and times they were put on the computer. The file dates and times indicated I would need to have been in the office on a Sunday morning around 2:30am. From there it was an easy thing to check the badge readers, security cameras, etc and realize it wasn't me. They wouldn't tell me it wasn't me, but someone else, they only questioned how someone else hacked my password. (Still trying to blame me.) I told them if they EVER showed me porn photos while I was working again, I'd file charges through my lawyer and union. Now I was the victim and it was documented that I was a victim. Anything else past this point would easily be construed as vindictive by a jury I would think. About 6 months later the boss was reassigned to a non-supervisory position as a project manager and I was promoted into another department.
Good for you, Skipro3, I'm glad you successfully fought back! Too bad you had to go through all the stress.
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