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Thread: Warning email from boss? Confusing.

  1. #11
    Platinum Member mustlovedogs's Avatar
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    You come back and say positive things he said in his email - we cannot possibly give you good advice without full context.

  2. #12
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    Also I'd evaluate how and when and why you shared your mistakes. It almost sounds like you shared the way you would with a friend, not a boss. Did you just want him to know in case he found out on his own or did you want some kind of reassurance from him? I agree with transparency when of course he shouldn't learn of it from another source, or belatedly, but it sounds like you may have overdone it with all your transparency such that he started to lose confidence in you.

  3. #13
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    Originally Posted by leseine7
    I mean... no part of me intends NOT to take this seriously. His email stated that the mistakes were not detrimental to the company, that he doesnít want me to apologize and that I am and have been a careful, organized person by habit. But if I werenít obviously concerned that this email is a legit warning of possible termination, well, I wouldnít be posting here. I also am wary of staying in a job where I canít ask questions on brand new tasks. There is literally no one else to ask but him. The ramifications of making a move without asking could be VERY detrimental.

    In any case, I do intend to speak with him face to face. Iím trying to put my head on straight before doing so on Monday. Obviously that will tell me a lot.

    For what itís worth, I researched it more today, and it is actually illegal as per their contract with me, and the laws around pregnancy and maternity here (in Netherlands) for them to terminate me before or during my maternity leave. Then, when I return, they are required to give me 12 weeks in the office before any termination can be discussed. So, I do have time, but am trying to figure out just how serious all of this is and frankly whether or not I should continue busting my ass with this role if all the back patting is over. Will figure it out.
    Instead of wasting energy researching whether or not they can terminate you during pregnancy, why not spend that energy on the content of his email?

    You continue to defend yourself, talking about "busting your ass" and "back patting". Instead, figure out what the mistakes were, why you made them, and how you can not make them going forward.

    No one in the job market is going to coddle you or pat your back. I'm sorry, but you're starting to sound entitled, and that's a whole 'nother story.

  4. #14
    Gold Member leseine7's Avatar
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    I think the problem with this kind of forum is that it is difficult to give every single detail. Iíve been trying to give as much context as possible without making an utter novel here, and some details did not seem necessary to state.

    I think Iíve stated multiple times that Iím serious about making an improvement in this role and continuing to grow. My point was not that I need back patting but that it is incredibly confusing to meet with someone daily and receive praise to the point of ďwhatever happens after your maternity leave, we want to make sure you feel comfortable to come back and take this leadership role,Ē and then to receive that email. My point wasnít ďoh I want to go pout because I got negative feedback,Ē but to try to determine before Monday (when Iíll talk to him), if this is indeed an email letting me know theyíre counting down the days.

    Iím honestly trying to assess whatís going to happen from here (and yes, if I should just start planning to be let go,) and will in the meantime do whatever I possibly can to improve. But it also has to be a sane expectation, and telling me one day that everyone is happy and then emailing the next that there have been concerns of any level, is alarming to me. I appreciate the harsh feedback and didnít mean to sound entitled. Iím trying really hard to make as much sense of it as possible before I have to face him.

    As for the question about why I brought up the mistakes- I actually wanted to learn from them. My boss has been a great mentor as well as leader in this role and thus far has reacted positively to those kinds of conversations because those mistakes have never repeated again- it was easy to learn from them with some conversation.

    Iíll take all of this to heart and do my best to implement whatever strategies possible at improving on the job, while also planning for the worst that sounds (at least from the opinions here) to be looming. Thanks everyone.

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  6. #15
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    Originally Posted by leseine7
    I think the problem with this kind of forum is that it is difficult to give every single detail. Iíve been trying to give as much context as possible without making an utter novel here, and some details did not seem necessary to state.

    I think Iíve stated multiple times that Iím serious about making an improvement in this role and continuing to grow. My point was not that I need back patting but that it is incredibly confusing to meet with someone daily and receive praise to the point of ďwhatever happens after your maternity leave, we want to make sure you feel comfortable to come back and take this leadership role,Ē and then to receive that email. My point wasnít ďoh I want to go pout because I got negative feedback,Ē but to try to determine before Monday (when Iíll talk to him), if this is indeed an email letting me know theyíre counting down the days.

    Iím honestly trying to assess whatís going to happen from here (and yes, if I should just start planning to be let go,) and will in the meantime do whatever I possibly can to improve. But it also has to be a sane expectation, and telling me one day that everyone is happy and then emailing the next that there have been concerns of any level, is alarming to me. I appreciate the harsh feedback and didnít mean to sound entitled. Iím trying really hard to make as much sense of it as possible before I have to face him.

    As for the question about why I brought up the mistakes- I actually wanted to learn from them. My boss has been a great mentor as well as leader in this role and thus far has reacted positively to those kinds of conversations because those mistakes have never repeated again- it was easy to learn from them with some conversation.

    Iíll take all of this to heart and do my best to implement whatever strategies possible at improving on the job, while also planning for the worst that sounds (at least from the opinions here) to be looming. Thanks everyone.
    You're missing the point.

    Yes, he's saying that he wants you to come back from maternity leave, and I assure you, he very well knows that he cannot threaten your job while you are gone. You didn't have to research the legal issues, as I can assure you, he knows, from a legal standpoint, the issues.

    He is also, at the same time, sending you an email letting you know that he's well aware of detrimental mistakes.

    These are two separate things.

    It's like a parent telling a child who just broke a vase that they still love them, but that throwing the ball in the house was a mistake. These are two separate things. The love doesn't just vanish, but the child better not throw a ball in the house again. Maybe a strange analogy, but there it is.

    Focus on one thing: you are making mistakes, and he is aware of them. Either work on not making them, or worry about your job once you are back. No, he can't fire you while you're gone, but he can fire you once you're back.

  7. #16
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    So LHGirl I think that is a great analogy and not strange at all.

    Leseine I realize it seems like an about face. I think your boss realized on reflection that he might be misleading you with all his accolades and wants to set the record straight in writing. Also it could be that someone out of the blue expressed interest in your job so now he wants to make sure he has a paper trail in case he wants to replace you. Certainly have a talk on Monday. My strong suggestion is to do very little talking and lots of very careful and objective as possible listening.

  8. #17
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    I think you need to discuss with him the process of how he would like you to pose questions for a brand new task that you haven't done before. This seems to be causing you the most anxiety and he listed some of your questions under "mistakes," so I would detail your position on that, how you were asking for clarity on a task that had not yet been performed, and ask him how you should go about obtaining feedback on tasks you haven't done yet so that everyone is confident in your ability to execute them.

  9. #18
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HealingLight
    I think you need to discuss with him the process of how he would like you to pose questions for a brand new task that you haven't done before. This seems to be causing you the most anxiety and he listed some of your questions under "mistakes," so I would detail your position on that, how you were asking for clarity on a task that had not yet been performed, and ask him how you should go about obtaining feedback on tasks you haven't done yet so that everyone is confident in your ability to execute them.
    These are my thoughts, exactly.

  10. #19
    Gold Member leseine7's Avatar
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    I realized that I never replied to this thread. I thought I would take a minute and do so now (several months later), I'm on maternity leave and have a beautiful baby girl, and all is going well.

    The short story is: I was not fired from this job, and was in fact promoted before I left for my maternity leave, but I did learn some good lessons.

    I do want to say, I was surprised by some of the nitpicking and criticism I felt I received in this thread. I was extremely vulnerable when posting my fears after receiving that email, and felt like I was somewhat torn apart and almost could not manage to say the right things (for example, for not stating every single detail of his email, stating my perceptions and having them be taken as fact, very black and white reactions to the subject matter - e.g. "You screwed up. He's telling you that. Better prepare to be fired"). Was I a bit defensive? Yes, absolutely! It's hard to seek comfort and rational thought from a forum at a time when what you probably need most is reassurance, only to be somewhat scolded for "making mistakes" and hearing you're going to lose your job, and having all your fears laid out as a definite outcome. I'm not sure how constructive that is, but it's also clear that I was not thick skinned enough in that moment to handle those reactions.

    What I WILL say about the advice received here is that it helped me see that I wanted to be sure the worst possible outcome did NOT happen. I took very much to heart the positive and negative responses to what I wrote here and went back to work the following Monday braced for the worst. Maybe my actions can help someone else who is going through a tricky time at work, so here's what I chose to do in response to my boss's email:

    1. First of all, I printed it off, read it, re-read it 100x and made sure I understood what mistakes I had in fact made. Most of them were very small (my boss had said in his email that the mistakes were not detrimental to the company, but "unlike me" and that he wanted me to rest up, and I took that to heart), and first-time offenses, so I made a game plan for how to avoid ever making those mistakes again. I still have the email saved in my desk as a reminder.

    2. I emailed my boss back before the weekend was up (I'd received that email Friday just before close of business), saying something along the lines of: "Thank you for sharing this with me. I would love to sit down and discuss these topics with you in person on Monday morning - let me know what time will work for you!" (Reason being: an email can be read and analysed for days, and a meeting in person can be way more straightforward).

    3. On Monday, he came right into my office and started off by saying he hoped the email was not misinterpreted as concern about my performance, that I was doing a great job and there was no question of that, and that he genuinely wanted me to know I could take some more time to rest. Whew. That was a relief. I had been burning the candle at both ends conducting interviews to build our staff, as well as building out our operations systems, and I was (I know this even better in hindsight) extremely tired doing all of that while pregnant.

    4. In spite of his initial positive remarks, I responded that I wanted to be sure I understood how to avoid any concerns like this in the future, and I proposed taking a couple of online courses in my off time to help me have a better handle on some of the areas of the business I had yet to learn and wanted to be more confident in (I'm sure it won't surprise you to know that those were also the areas I had made the minor errors in). I also requested a second communications coaching with our coach on staff, with whom we all train when starting (most of our senior staff take multiple coaching sessions, and I was due for one). My boss responded glowingly to this, recommending some programs that had helped him and setting me up with a second coaching. I also heeded his advice to take a little time off by keeping it to a strict 9-5 day instead of coming in early and staying late. I'll admit having the extra half hour or so on each end made me feel a lot more focused and calm.

    5. The second communications coaching I took was amazing - I went in vulnerable and wanting to build confidence no matter what state I was in - pregnant, not pregnant, sick, healthy, what have you. That coaching changed my life and gave me some wonderful tools for battling self doubt and anxiety. I also took the courses I had mentioned to my boss and began building my skill set slowly, taking on more responsibility in the areas I had been nervous about (and thus, asking far fewer questions to my boss and taking charge more).

    By the end of the spring, I had hired my first direct report, and was given a glowing review by my teammates and my boss. I'll return to the office with more direct reports when my maternity leave is up and feel empowered and grateful for how things worked out.

    Anyway, I thought I'd come back here and update because it feels good to lay it all out, and because it's another outcome. Yes, it's possible when a boss writes you that he/she has "concerns" that it's step one to removing you from your job. But your reaction TO that email can make all the difference in what happens next. I think if I had reacted defensively to my boss, or gone in dragging my heels and anxious, I would have probably had a different experience in the 6 months that followed. Taking stock of where things had gone "off" and choosing to dive in further made my relationship with my boss much stronger, my dedication to the work I do even better and my confidence in myself higher than ever.

    Anyway, there ya go. Hope this is helpful to anyone having a tough period in a job, or is (at least) interesting to read!
    Last edited by leseine7; 06-19-2019 at 07:21 AM. Reason: Confusing wording

  11. #20
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    Congrats on your baby and promotion!!!

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