I think my boss just hired my replacement, but hasn’t told me

A reader writes:

I think my boss hired my replacement. I’ve only been at my job for three months, but something doesn’t feel right. I’ll list reasons below:

1. Boss just hired a director’s replacement, and everyone knows except the director. The director and his replacement will be working together in the next few months. The director thinks his replacement was hired for a different position.

2. I have seen resumes for everyone that has been interviewed – except for new hire’s (NH) resume which makes me think boss is hiding it because NH held my same job title.

3. NH went up to boss to talk about project management software (I’m a PM/EA) and he quickly walked away with him until they were out of earshot. I nonchalantly asked if NH was going to help us with project management and he gave me a bullshit response that didn’t even answer the question.

4. NH went up to boss on a separate occasion and asked if he should send boss his project summary and boss was acting weird and said “No, not right now.” I was on the computer at the time going through his emails (I’m his assistant).

5. Boss said NH was hired to work in HR, but I just googled NH and found his LinkedIn and sure enough, he most recently worked as a project manager.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but I am worried. My boss hasn’t given me any negative feedback, but he also hasn’t given any to the director that he’s replacing. How should I bring it up to my boss? I have to ask about it or the worrying will kill me.

Sometimes people ask me this kind of thing and I usually say, “Nah, you’re reading too much into the situation. Talk to your boss, and you’ll probably get some peace of mind.”

In your case, I don’t think you’re reading too much into this. I also don’t think you’ll get any peace of mind if you talk to your boss, because your boss has shown himself to be totally untrustworthy with the way he’s handling the director’s firing.

It’s true that sometimes — rarely — you need to conduct a discreet hiring round. But you don’t bring that new hire on board and have them work side by side with the person they’ll be replacing, without telling said person. And you definitely don’t unfurl this unsavory plan after giving your current employee no feedback and without letting them know that their job is in jeopardy if they don’t make X, Y, and Z improvements. And you sure as hell don’t let everyone else know about it except the person most impacted. (And really, how does that work? Surely word gets out.)

So your boss has already proven himself a terrible boss in this very key respect. Given that, and given what you’ve observed, yeah, I think there’s a decent chance — not a certainty, but a decent chance — that the new hire is your replacement and your boss hasn’t told you yet.

So, what should you do?

Do the things that will put you in the strongest position if you are fired, without doing things that could torpedo your job if you’re wrong.

First and foremost, start job searching. You have an advance heads-up that you might need to be launching a job search very soon, so launch it now. If it turns out we’re both wrong and this is unneeded, then great — you can call it off if you want to.

Second, you mentioned HR, which is good because that means you have an HR department. You might have some luck talking to them. You could say something like: “I know that Bob doesn’t realize that Cordelia was hired to take over his job. I’m concerned that something similar might be happening with my role, based on some things I’ve seen with our new hire, Falcon. However, I’ve only received positive feedback from Lucien. Are you able to tell me what my standing is here?” If your HR department is at all competent, they will be very nervous about telling an employee who’s about to be fired that she’s in good standing. So this could be an interesting conversation.

Now, should you talk to your boss directly? You could certainly say something similar to him. I don’t know that you’ll get a straight answer, but it seems like you should anyway, purely on the principle of the thing. Possible downsides to doing that: It could prompt him to have the firing conversation with you earlier than planned (although you might prefer that). And if you’re wrong about the whole thing, it could make you look a little needy … but you certainly wouldn’t be the first employee to express worry about your job, especially around the time someone else is getting fired. An alternative would be to just ask him for feedback about how things are going, although you’d have to keep in mind that you can’t rely on him for a straight answer.

But mainly, I would use this as a chance to plan: Start your job search, be ready to negotiate severance (“I left a stable job / turned down other offers for this role and was never given feedback or a chance to improve” is a good thing to say in that process), take home any personal files, and otherwise do whatever you’d wish you had done if you didn’t have an early heads-up.

And do allow for some possibility that you and I are both wrong. We might be, so you don’t want to become so convinced this is a certainty that you take actions that will hurt you (like quitting to avoid being fired, or slacking off on your work). But for the next month or two, I’d just keep yourself braced for Cowardly Boss Impact and see what happens.

{ 188 comments… read them below }

    1. AMG*

      I was coming here to say that too. If you lie down with dogs, you get fleas. Your boss has mange and you should find a better place to work anyway.

    2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      Very much this.

      I don’t think I could work for someone who put me in a position of knowing someone was unkowingly working with their replacement.

    3. Anon Accountant*

      Yes. This is a sign of a dysfunctional boss. I’ve worked under 2 bosses that did similar things. Trust me if you are there long enough you will see such dysfunction you could write a book.

      Launch that job search now.

    4. catsAreCool*

      I was also going to say, get away from this boss if you can. This boss is untrustworthy, and you don’t want to deal with that any longer than you have to.

  1. calliopeo*

    I’d certainly heed what Alison said and kick up the job search. I’d hold off on speaking to your boss because given their bad behavior, a conversation with them is more likely to lead to more confusion than to clarify anything. And if Alison has written it here once, she’s written it a hundred times: when managers fire/lay off someone, the most important audience are the remaining employees. This is just not how you handle the situation! All the best OP and let us know how everything turns out.

    1. Artemesia*

      I’d double this. Talking to the boss now about it will accelerate the firing if in fact there is a firing in the offing. So work hard, continue to do a good job, perhaps seek feedback and be working hard on the job search — but don’t broach the replacement discussion with the boss so that he doesn’t immediately fire you. You are so smart to see the handwriting on the wall. I was in total denial when all sorts of activities suggested something bad was coming down — in my case it was a merger in which our entire department was laid off. There were plenty of signs.

  2. GigglyPuff*

    I’m wondering, since you’ve only been at your job 3 months, if you could approach your boss about having a sit-down/check-in to see how things are going, get feedback on your performance. That might also give you an idea of where your boss stands on your performance (if he doesn’t take that opportunity to come right out and say you are being replaced).

    1. NJ Anon*

      This is a great idea. I am just concerned that boss will blow off LW if he really is planning on letting her go.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Which would give her ammunition in negotiating severance if she is fired:

        “I specifically came to you for feedback so that I could be doing the best possible job, the way you wanted. Instead of giving me an opportunity to improve and to adapt to the way you want me to work, you said I was doing fine. I acted in good faith. So I would like a severance package to soften the blow.”

        1. TootsNYC*

          and, I’m curious–what sort of severance package should the OP be ready to ask for?

          Two weeks’ pay? I feel, personally, that this is a minimum. It’s the equivalent of giving 2 weeks’ notice.

    2. OP*

      I’ll definitely do this. I’ve received informal feedback from my boss before, but it’s always been good. Since I am at that three month mark, I will ask my boss about having a sit down that’s a bit more formal. As Alison mentioned, he might not be honest with me, but I can at least have the feedback documented which may help once it comes time (or if it comes time) to ask for severance.

  3. Snarkus Aurelius*

    I don’t have anything to add except: your boss clearly thinks you don’t make use of your five senses and/or your critical thinking skills.  This whole scenario is more insulting than deceptive.

    Everything else aside, do you really want to work for someone who clearly thinks you’re not an intelligent and perceptive person?

    As long as I’ve been working, it never ceases to amaze me what employers think their staff don’t notice. For example, my ex-boss didn’t think I’d figure out she lied to me about not having money in the budget for a raise for me when she gave my coworker a $10k raise instead. (Our salaries were public information.)

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Ha. My boss was constantly surprised at the things I picked up on that were happening right under my nose. For example, I asked him whether a guest reviewer was a candidate for a tenured position. His eyebrows shot up and he asked me, “Why do you ask that?” I said, “Because he was a candidate in our tenured search three years ago, but he dropped out. He hasn’t been an invited guest critic since then, and now all of a sudden he’s invited back as a guest critic at the same time that we’re conducting a search.” He admitted that, “Yes, the romance is back on,” but he was very surprised that I drew those conclusions. I think bosses often don’t think that their employees can surmise things from the evidence at hand.

      1. After the Snow*

        My husband was accused of breaking in and reading files you had no access to because he knew that 2+2=4 and that if you did something a certain way 14 times it was likely you would do it that way the fifteenth too.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I think a lot of times that the bosses aren’t aware that the 2 + 2 is so readily apparent. They think that they are being discreet, and they are, in that they aren’t blabbing it around all over the place. But I think that they forget that people can still gather that something is up.

    2. Ruffingit*

      This is so true. Some employers think we’re incredibly stupid and have our heads in the sand. Did your boss every catch on to the fact that you knew she lied?

      1. Mephyle*

        Did Snarkus Aurelius’s boss lie? It was the truth that she didn’t have $10k in the budget for a raise for S.A. – because she allocated it to the other employee instead. !

      2. Snarkus Aurelius*

        Like someone said so well below…I don’t think she ever cared. The lie was so brazen, what was I supposed to do? Confronting her would be calling her a liar to her face because this was no mistake. I’m a pretty savvy person, but that was not a situation I wanted to navigate, and I think she was counting on it.

    3. NJ Anon*

      So much this. We used to ask ourselves-do they not know we know or do they not care that we know.

      1. TootsNYC*

        They might be counting on you choosing the path of professional, selective amnesia. And they have deniability (“we never actually said”). If that’s the case, then no, they don’t really care if you figure it out; they just don’t want it to become An Official Thing until it is, and they’re counting on your professional discretion.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          LOL! Yes, I’m sure they’d love it if you had enough professional discretion to pretend not to notice someone else got a $10K raise when you were told there was no money for raises.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      One of the first jobs I had, the boss decided there was a thief in the store. One by one, she put $5 extra in the till. If we did not come up over by $5 then she had her thief. Several problems with this. After a few people come up $5 over everyone else catches on. Additionally, she had to come in on her off hours (uncharacteristic of her) and put the money in the till. I was standing ten feet away from her when she put the money in my drawer. I guess I couldn’t see her do it???
      I left her a note, “Here’s your $5 bucks back.” Never heard another word about it.

  4. Jwal*

    I wonder how somebody could work in a job knowing that they’re lying to the person next to them about the fact that they’re going to be replaced?

    I don’t mean morally (although i’d certainly feel weird about it), but I mean it just must be a really awkward situation. And then imagine that current employee gets let go/is fired and you have to sit there whilst they pack up and leave. On top of that the boss has to keep lying and risk getting found out.

    It just seems like a lot of unnecessary stress to put everybody through. I can’t really get my head around it!

    1. Solidus Pilcrow*

      Not to mention that it’s a bad retention strategy. If I were the replacement employee, I’d be seeing big red flags about how performance issues and firings are addressed, in addition to the rampant passive/aggressive behavior of the boss. I would have absolutely no trust in the boss. Who’s to say my new co-worker down the road isn’t going to be *my* replacement? As they say about getting into a relationship with someone who cheated on their SO – if they’ll do it with you they’ll do it to you.

      1. Ruffingit*

        THIS. Seriously, this is what came to mind for me immediately for this situation. Why on earth would you take a job where this kind of thing goes on? It’s like cheating with a married man and then being surprised when he cheats on you. Really??

        1. Artemesia*

          I think people who do this have swallowed the cool aid dished out by the boss. ‘This was a terrible employee, very disruptive and unprofessional and we need to be able to hit the ground running with a replacement, so while it is awkward, we need to have you on board before we give her notice.’ i.e. you are special, this person is uniquely bad as an employee rather than ‘we are inconsiderate twits who treat staff like garbage.’ A naive new hire might just shine with specialness rather than intuit that it is a systems issue.

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            Yeah but then your first weeks in the job go by and you notice this coworker isn’t bad at all and begin to wonder…

        2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          Assuming the new hire is in fact the OP’s replacement, the new hire might not have realized that until after starting. At which point many people would be kind of stuck – new hire may have left an old job, or may have been unemployed, and needs to be at this new job. That is one key difference between dating and hiring – you don’t need to be in a romantic relationship, but many people do need to bring home a paycheck.

          The fact that the new hire keeps bringing up stuff that raises alarm bells for the OP in also makes me believe that the NH doesn’t/didn’t know that there was supposed to be secrecy around their position. Or, alternately, knows, but dislikes it and is trying to drop hints to the OP so they’re not blindsided…

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Yeah, the new hire could be set up also. I have been that newbie where the boss says, “Oh and I am trying to fire Jane. But don’t tell anyone.” I knew the job would not last long.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        Whoa that’s a great point, in these situations do they usually tell the new hire they’re replacing someone and to keep hush? That’d feel beyond weird if I were that new hire and I’d feel horrible, followed by wondering if they do that to anyone they want to let go including me.

        1. Rater Z*

          I’m very late to the discussion.

          Yes, I was a guy who was hired to replace someone and they did tell me that. The others working with him also knew the old guy was on the way out. We just didn’t know it would be six months before they finally got rid of him. I never knew all the details but I wasn’t surprised after being with him for that length of time. He was a “nut” in a away. I did learn some things from him about the background in my line of work of figuring freight charges. Without wanting to boast about it, it turned out I was a much better worker for them than he was. Quasi (their nickname for him) was there about a year. I finally left after seven years to move a lot closer to my wife’s family in Alabama. When I turned in my resignation letter to the supervisor, their first reaction was to ask what it would take to get me to stay. I worked there from 1989 to 1996.

          An interesting side note to this is that, a year before, I had been out of work and called this company to see if they needed someone with my background. Unfortunately, I talked with HR and the answer was no. When I was hired, I mentioned it to my new supervisor. He said they would have grabbed me then if they had known about me.

          I also went thru it on the receiving end. Where I was working in 1970, they brought someone in to help me. Four weeks later, he turned out to be my replacement. A month after that, the industry went on strike for two months, the replacement moved back to South Dakota to help his father run an auto dealership and I got my job back. Two months later, I moved on to another job. Ten months after that, the old job contacted me and asked if I wanted to come back. They went thru three people in my position in those ten months. I went back and used the opportunity to learn how to figure freight charges and never regretted it. The boss and I couldn’t stand each other but they just forced me to do great work and over the years it showed.

    2. Roscoe*

      My guess is that they were probably somewhat misled about whats really going on. They may just think they were brought on to do this job and have no idea that the boss plans for them to replace the other person.

      1. MLIS holder*

        That’s my guess, too. If the boss can’t tell OP she is being replaced, I can’t imagine he’s open and honest with NH.

      2. Kyrielle*

        I think this is probably the case – otherwise NH would know not to approach the boss about these things while the LW was in earshot. I doubt the boss clued NH in either.

      3. Ruffingit*

        I hope that is the case because otherwise the person who would take that job has some major issues of their own.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Some people live in a world where stuff like this is normal. If you are totally convinced this is what you have to do to survive, then you see no other choices. The first few jobs I had my coworkers were very jaded because of stories like this. I saw crap that lead me to believe maybe this is how work places are. I could feel myself growing jaded, too. Then I decided to look for something better.

          1. Clinical Social Worker*

            Yeah, I agree with you Not So NewReader. Sometimes people have been in toxic environments so long that toxic behavior becomes normal, and they perpetuate it themselves just to survive. Maybe the new employee is new to the workplace too and has to take this job because they don’t have the luxury of a longer search.

      4. Sunflower*

        Yup -if company is being shady to OP and other current employees, no doubt in my mind they are playing the same game to the new hire

    3. Anon Accountant*

      I think they’re uncomfortable but need the job and benefits. They may feel awful about it but feel like it’s out of their control and worry when it’ll happen to them. People sometimes tolerate a lot when they need the income and benefits until they find something else.

    4. OP*

      To make it even more gross, we recently had a conference and my boss asked the director that is being replaced to come forward so that he could thank him for all his hard work. I’m sure this was his way of making sure the director doesn’t know he’s about to be on his way out.

        1. Ann Cognito*

          +1,000,000. What a terrible situation to put someone in. I really hope someone gives the Director a heads-up on what’s potentially coming.

      1. SusanIvanova*

        The director of my ex-team (we’ve all been laid off) sent out an email to the whole division including a section with a link to a review of our product and congratulations to the “whole team”. *After* the layoffs, so it wasn’t even misdirection.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        That is sick, just sick. These are not pawns on a chess board, these are employees, real people.
        I always say if you are a nasty person and you don’t have friends, you have to have a lot of money. I can’t see this guy having a friend any where in the world. I hope he has a lot of money.

  5. animaniactoo*

    My company used to be infamous for doing this. The most nervous-making thing that could happen was having someone hired to “assist” you in your job. 80% of the time, the assistant would be taking over within 2 weeks. Fortunately, they’ve moved beyond doing this now.

    1. hbc*

      I’m just imagining those poor people in the 20% category. Assistant wondering why the heck the senior employee is so squirrelly, senior employee doing all the prep work for a job search and bringing home stuff, wondering if and when the axe will drop. Brutal.

      1. OhNo*

        At that point, I’d imagine the other 20% probably ended with the “assistant” taking over when they found a new job. At least I hope so. I can’t imagine sticking around for very long in a position of where I never know if someone is around to help me or replace me.

  6. LD*

    Snarkus Aurelius,
    Did you happen to mention that to you boss? A blatant lie should be exposed, if just to let her know you know.

    1. Snarkus Aurelius*

      Nope. I mean…confronting her would mean calling her a liar to her face. There’s no other way around it, and there was certainly no gray area or plausible deniability. She was counting on that, and she was right.

    1. Jerzy*

      An early contender, but I agree. What a jerk!

      I would be very tempted to drop an anonymous note to the director about what’s planned.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Me too. In fact, I would not only be tempted, I’d actually do it. This person deserves to know so they can plan their lives accordingly.

    2. LQ*

      I had a horrible flash to what if this boss and the boss who made the coworkers do all the dirty work of having difficult conversations with their coworkers were the same boss and he made the new person fire the OP.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I think these types of bosses should wear dunce caps on interviews so we can easily identify them and renege immediately. Think of the time we would save.

  7. GreenTeaPot*

    Yes, step up that job search. Sock money away. If this is how your company handles HR matters, then there is a culture of dishonesty and deception. It will manifest itself in other ways as well. You probably don’t want to work for an organization with dubious ethics.

  8. Always Anon*

    This is a great example of employees seeing how the boss treats others on their way out the door. I couldn’t trust the guy knowing that he was being so underhanded with another employee.

  9. some1*

    I’m not sure if you can count on HR being honest with you, but I would count on them tipping off your boss.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      Yes, this. Our HR people call to warn managers whenever a direct reports goes to them with a problem about said manager. One guy alerted HR to fraud during his exit interview – he brought documentation with him. The HR person shredded his proof and warned the manager that people were “onto him”. That HR person was a disaster and I’m pretty sure she was fired for various reasons, but still, I was flabbergasted that her reaction to proof of fraud was to warn the perpetrator (they were friends).

      1. Adam V*

        What. The. Hell.

        Please tell me that guy went straight to the owner / state board of labor as appropriate.

          1. Chinook*

            “Yeah, NEVER EVER give people your only copy of anything!”

            Yup – I have watched enough cops shows and mysteries (and sit-coms) to know you always show someone the copy and keep the original in a safe place in case they pull the “you HAD a copy” stunt.

            1. TootsNYC*

              You put one copy in a manila envelope and mail it to someone you trust, and label it “open only in the case of my death.”

              Or, “do not open,” and then you can take the unopened envelope in w/ its postmark.

        1. Cathy*

          I had copies of my proof of a serious work situation at home as well as in my file cabinet at work. (also copies with a friend, in a safety deposit box, etc.)
          When the day came for The Meeting, I brought in my home copy, and checked my file cabinet. Shockingly, those copies were missing! I went to the meeting, and when the Internal Affairs officer smirked at me and said “Well, I don’t suppose you have any proof, do you?” I hauled out my extra set of paperwork. His eyes bugged out and I smiled sweetly at him “Surely you didn’t think I would keep my only copy in my file cabinets here, did you?”
          To say the meeting did not go as planned would be a serious understatement LOL

          1. Cathy*

            One of our pharmacists didn’t like the other one (seeing as they had rejected his romantic overtures) and decided messing with the returned narcotics supplies was the best way to get them fired. Unfortunately, I had occasion to also deposit returned narcotics in the cabinet and I reported to TPTB the day I found the cabinet completely empty.
            They then thought they would have me take the fall by saying I never actually turned in the drugs in the first place. My documentation showed I had indeed placed them in the locked cabinet and I had had the presence of mind to have all my documentation signed/dated by a witness each time.
            End result: I kept my job. 2 pharmacists were fired and escorted from the facility. Internal Affairs held on to their job by the skin of their teeth and declined to ever speak to me again. That part truly broke my heart.

            1. Craving Clam Chowder*

              Why was the Internal Affairs officer taking the whole situation personally / trying to hide your evidence?? Isn’t it their duty to be impartial in matters like this (I laughed as I typed this because “how in the world could someone in a position such as this be anything other than impartial and upright???” heh)

              Can you elaborate more? lol

              1. Cathy*

                IA had this weird mind set that all nurses were inherently not trustworthy. They absolutely salivated over the chance to get one of us fired! Backfired on them because *this* nurse wasn’t born yesterday LOL

      2. Anna*

        Ugh. I just got laid off, along with almost half of my former team and several others, and HR and the management team were definitely on each other’s side, not the employees. One of my friends, who also got laid off, was leaving early the day she was laid off because her grandma was in the hospital so she sent a note to her team letting them know she was leaving. Turns out the head of her team (who knew she was being laid off) sent HR a note so HR was able to grab her to lay her off quick before she left to see her dying grandma.

        HR looks out for management, especially in the case of my former company where HR was super good friends with the CEO and several others. They don’t look for lower level employees and they certainly don’t look out for anyone they know is about to be fired or laid off.

        1. Michelle*

          When my husband was let go from his OldJob, his manager sent out an email to the rest of the team letting them know. Only, she sent that email before telling my husband, and accidentally CC’d him on the email. While we were at the hospital because I was having a baby.

      3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        That’s when you make copies and take them off-site.

        Had to do that once. Came in handy.

    2. AnotherHRPro*

      I agree. HR will not be honest with you, but how they respond can be telling. They absolutely will tell your manager about the conversation, so if you go to HR, be aware of that. HR will probably respond with questions. Something like: “what makes you think that?”, “have you asked your manager about your performance?”, “who told you that NH Director is replacing Current Director?” I highly doubt they will tell you anything, but may ask your manager to talk to you.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Agreed but isn’t that the point? Then boss knows she knows and she’s not a dummy and he should feel pretty squirmish until whatever’s gonna go down goes down

    3. Jadelyn*

      I think that’s going to depend on the culture of the organization – if OP’s boss is an aberration in an otherwise-sane work culture, then HR would probably be grateful to be alerted to this behavior (although the fact that it’s happening at a director level as well as OP’s level may mean they’re at least aware of it, if not actively in on it, depending on how they run their hiring processes). I’m in HR at my org, and there have been times where we only learned about something shady a manager was doing because an employee made some innocent comment in passing that made one of us perk our ears up and go investigate; in those cases, we’ve been super glad that our people spoke up, even inadvertently, so that we were aware of and could put a stop to bad management practices. But if this kind of practice – hiring before firing – is widespread, then yeah, HR is just going to tip off the manager and probably accelerate the timeline on OP’s replacement.

    4. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.*

      Agreed. HR is not there for employees, they are there for the company.

    5. LQ*

      I agree, but I also think that if you’re willing to risk your boss knowing that it will give you a lot of information. Though really, if it is true you should be looking for a job, and if it isn’t true you should be looking for a job. Either way, this stinks.

  10. AnotherHRPro*

    OP, you should start a job search immediately. I also think it is fair to ask your manager how things are going as it is totally reasonable at the 3 month mark to want a sit down conversation to see how your transition into the organization is going. You should document the conversation as well. Right after the meeting write a memo/email to yourself that summarized the conversation. Something like, “as a follow-up to my request, today I met with Boss to discuss my progress and performance to date. Boss indicated that XYZ… ”

    I would not raise the issue with the NH possibly being your replacement as I don’t think you can trust what your manager tells you at this point. And if you are not correct, it may make you look insecure and cause Boss to question your judgment. For what it is worth, if they did hire someone to replace you in this manner, that is very crappy. Especially since they just hired you. Three months in, and to already have a replacement working there seems very odd. They would have had to start looking for the candidate about the same time you came on board.

    If you do end up losing your position I think you should absolutely request severance just as Alison recommended.

    1. AnotherHRPro*

      This actually makes me wonder if a restructure is about to happen and they are going to shuffle people around and change job responsibilities. Actually, maybe I just hope that is the case because if it isn’t and the OP is reading the situation correctly it just makes me lose a little more faith in company leaders.

  11. Long Time Reader First Time Poster*

    OP, do you have any friends yet at your new job that might tip you off? If *everybody* knows about the director being replaced, there’s a good chance there’s word on the street about YOU.

    You can hint around — next time you’re one-on-one with somebody you think might know, mention that you’re thinking of making a major purchase. “I’m considering buying a new luxury car, I’ve always wanted one but now that I have this job I can really count on being able to afford it. I don’t know, what do you think?” and see if they flinch.

    1. Ellie*

      Yeah, this is probably the avenue I would pursue in the OP’s situation.
      I used to work in a small office where the boss was very conflict adverse and secretive with information and at some point we just ended up with a combination of personalities where we just… started disregarding her desired level of information control on the sly if it made sense. Our boss was never happier because we always aimed to get her the outcome she ultimately wanted, which she never got before because she would keep important information from the people who needed that most. I think she would be horrified if she knew how open we were with each other, but it was really just run-of-the-mill collaboration and communication. Maybe she just thought we were all mind readers?

  12. TAG*

    The OP mentions being an assistant and a PM. There is a reasonable possibility that the boss needs a dedicated PM but has no plans to terminate OP’s employment. I also question how everyone “knows” that the director will be terminated. Also HR could need a PM as well. Keep an open mind as you ask questions of HR or the boss.

    1. Applesauce*

      I was coming here to say the same thing about the PM/EA position possibly becoming two separate positions. We don’t have much information on the OP’s job history. If she was an EA without PM experience, it’s possible that she didn’t perform the PM duties as well as expected, or maybe the manager just didn’t have time to train her properly and needs to bring on someone who already has that experience. The manager might be hiding that from her, although it’s equally cowardly.

      1. OP*

        I worked as a PM before this. The job was advertised as a combined PM/EA because my boss only needs about 10 hours a week of help from an EA. If he is splitting the roles, as Sunflower said, my boss should be upfront about it.

        1. Applesauce*

          Ah, that sucks then if you were to become full-time EA when you only expected to be ~25% EA, but that would be all the more reason he would skirt the issue. Even if this is true and you aren’t losing your job but shifting duties, I agree with most commenting here that your boss is bad .

    2. AnotherHRPro*

      I really hope this it. The situation still wouldn’t be being handled properly, but this makes more sense. If OP is both the assistant and project manager it would make so much sense to split the roles. I wonder if the OPs job was a newly created position or has it always been a split role.

    3. Sunflower*

      But why wouldn’t the boss just tell OP that? I’m trying to think of a reason why the boss wouldn’t be upfront about it if this was the case. OP said they asked if NH would be helping out with project management and the boss completely skirted the answer. Seems super fishy to me even for a very dysfunctional organization.

      1. Applesauce*

        I think the boss could still be trying to avoid confrontation in that situation. PM roles are typically more sought after than EA roles, so I can see where telling the OP that they’re now going to have EA-only responsibilities would be a hard conversation to have. (It would be a relief now that the OP has been freaking out about losing her job, but the boss wouldn’t know that).

        FWIW, ~10 yrs ago, I was in a situation where I took a new internal role (an individual contributor at a high level), and then 3 months later, they hired someone else to do my job, too. In this case, he became my boss and the situation was transparent, but it still sucked and I wasn’t happy. I wouldn’t have taken the role under those conditions, and I still kick myself for not trying to go back to my old position when I first found out. All that to say I can see why a boss would be hesitant about dramatically changing a new hire’s job 3 months in. I don’t think the boss should behave that way if that was the case, but I see how the situation could develop.

  13. Interviewer*

    Clearly the boss needs to string you along for a reason. Either your boss stinks at conflict, or having difficult conversations, or he’s waiting for you to pick up the cues and leave on your own. I’ve actually dated jerks like this. It has never worked out. Good luck to you, OP.

    1. MommaTRex*

      That sounds like a Seinfeld episode – trying to sabotage a relationship so that the girlfriend/boyfriend has to break up!

      1. Charity*

        Or even worse, moving in the new SO before the old SO even knows that the relationship is over, and hoping that they take the hint and leave on their own. I keep expecting the new guy to start sitting at the OP’s desk, wearing her clothes, eating all of her food in front of her, and having joint access to her email account.

  14. Laurel Gray*

    Nothing to add here but my sympathies for the OP. This sucks and if your hunch is right, it sucks (or it should suck) for NH. There is no way in heck I am accepting a job to replace someone who is still on the job and has no idea I am their replacement! So if this is what is going on, I don’t know where the NH stands but going along with a boss whose lack of transparency is this blatant could create some type of career karma I wouldn’t want.

  15. Solidus Pilcrow*

    This may be just me, but I get the feeling that this boss is not firing based on any particular objective performance measure but is practicing some form of favoritism/discrimination. He hasn’t provided any negative feedback because you are performing your job adequately, but he wants to squeeze you out because he just doesn’t like you for some reason. This could be anything from cliquishness, to the “good ol’ boys” network, to nepotism, to he doesn’t like “your kind.”
    If you think this may be a possibility, I recommend getting out. At best he’s unprofessional, at worst he’s discriminating.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Maybe, but it’s unlikely to be “doesn’t like your kind” if the boss is also the one who hired the OP (unless the OP’s “kind” wasn’t apparent at hiring). I think it’s a lot more likely to be “not happy with the OP’s work but lacks the managerial skills to give feedback directly.”

  16. OP*

    OP here. I should clarify that I work in a small office of 20 or so people and our HR dept consists of one person who handles matters for our field employees (mostly related to payroll and benefits), so I can’t talk to HR about it.

    I know I need to look for a job, but I’m worried hiring managers won’t take a second glance at my resume. This is my second job out of college and I left my previous job after a year. They had me working 60 hours a week on a 32k salary (in LA!). So that short stint combined with me leaving this job after 3 months won’t look good.

    1. fposte*

      What’s the alternative, though–being freaked out and waiting to see if you get fired? It’s not going to hurt you to look for a job, after all; it’s that it may make it harder for you to find one. If you find one, then the problem’s solved.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Exactly. If you do get fired, you’ll be in this position regardless. Better to start now and get a head start. If it turns out you don’t need it, great.

      2. some1*

        Also, I would think just what they are pulling with the director would be a good enough answer to the “Why are you job searching [after only 3 months]?” interview question.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Eh, probably not. “I’m leaving because someone else is being fired and doesn’t know it” is going to raise too many questions (there could be legitimate reasons for it, it could be a rare instance, etc.).

        1. Craving Clam Chowder*

          You’re already smart for using this site, so tailor that cover letter and resume per Alisons advice. It never hurts to have an up to date well-put-together resume even if it turns out that you don’t need it yet. So do both things – begin your job search just in case – it can’t hurt. And ask for a 3 month one-on-one and see if you get any valuable feedback and then document everything. Best wishes

          A side note: I really wish someone would give the director a heads up. lol

    2. TootsNYC*

      I think you could spin 3 months more easily than 6 months. The job wasn’t what you thought it would be, and you’re going to leave; you know they have the manpower to handle your departure. And you don’t know how long it will take, so you’re looking now.

      You might need to figure out how to phrase it so that you’re able to answer “How was it different from what you expected?”

      But you can also say: “I smell a restructuring in the air, and I want to work somewhere more stable.”

    3. themmases*

      Leaving sooner could actually be better for you because once you find a new job, a 3-month placement is the kind of thing lots of people would just leave off their resume.

      I think it might be especially beneficial to leave before you (potentially) get fired at this early date. Being fired around month 3 says “this person didn’t pass their probation period”. Leaving voluntarily around month 3 says “this job wasn’t as advertised”– which is perfectly true since I doubt most people would knowingly work for someone like your boss. Also, it’s quite common for people to start looking around if they know or suspect that their director is leaving.

  17. videogame Princess*

    I don’t think you’re paranoid–there’s a chance you might be wrong, but I don’t think you’re paranoid. That being said, don’t let this affect your performance, or else it could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve done that before. Instead, take Alison’s advice.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        We have intuition to use to protect ourselves. I think OP is making very good use of her intuitive skills.

  18. Former Usher*

    It’s perhaps not directly relevant, but I experienced almost the reverse situation. A new hire was replacing me on a high profile project, but hadn’t been told at the time she was hired. I knew from the time of the interview that she was being hired to replace me on the project, not work *with* me on it. Shortly after she started, I met with her to discuss my transition off of the project and discovered that no one had told her that I would be off the project. Awkward.

    1. JMegan*

      I was in a similar position when I announced my mat leave. I was part of a team of two people, and my colleague had already announced her leave. We’re in Canada, so both of us were planning for a year – there would have been a period of about eight months where both of us were off.

      TPTB seconded an internal person to cover my colleague’s leave, before I announced mine. Then when I got pregnant as well, they decided not to replace me, but to have the internal person cover both positions. But rather than management telling the new person about the sudden change in responsibilities, they left it to my colleague and me. “So, remember how the plan was that you would be covering Wilhelmina with JMegan supervising you? Well, turns out you’ll be covering both of us with no supervision. Surprise! Have fun!”

      That was…awkward.

    2. Student*

      I had that happen to me, where I was supposed to take over a task for a person who was leaving, but nobody told me he was leaving until the very last moment. It was terrible and awkward. I kept probing for information, saying things like, “This task doesn’t really seem to require two people, what’s my role here supposed to be?” to the person I was replacing. I’m sure he must’ve thought I was a completely horrible person for that, but I had no clue his contract was not being renewed, the project manager never even hinted at it, and he didn’t say anything to give me a hint until several weeks had passed. Even then, I just thought he was moving to a different project – which happens all the time – until someone else told me after he left that his contract hadn’t been renewed.

  19. Rusty Shackelford*

    I was in a similar situation, where we had several people performing the same job in different locations. Someone was hired and trained to work as a “floater,” but then it was revealed that the person who trained her was being moved into a new position in the head office. I could never wrap my mind around why they would do it that way. In your case, if they’re doing what you think they’re doing, it’s sleazy, but at least I can see why someone with no morals or common sense would think it’s a good idea.

    Anyway. Yes, it’s going to be awkward job-searching after only 3 months, but it’s going to be even more awkward job-searching while unemployed after having a job for only 4 or 5 months. So you may as well jump into it now.

  20. Elizabeth West*

    I just want to say how much I enjoy Alison’s names for the players in these little scenes. Bob, Cordelia, Falcon (!), and Lucien. The picture in my head of that office is priceless.

    And it may be some obscure reference of which I am not aware, which makes my version all the more entertaining. :)

      1. Manda*

        I took your lead after my letter was published last year and I always refer to my boss as Fergus in emails and texts to friends in the know – it amuses me greatly. This makes it difficult for me to relate when other people are also called Fergus by Alison so the wider the name pool the better!

  21. voyager1*


    Are you still in a probationary period as a new hire? Honestly part of me thinks you haven’t been working there long enough to know the dynamics of your office. Also there is the possibility something is going on above your pay grade. I see no reason to be paranoid, but at the same time a job search can’t hurt and frankly if you are going to get fired not much you can do about it anyway. Do your job, collect your check and if you get fired so be it.

      1. AnotherHRPro*

        If your probationary period just ended, after the new PM was hired, then I now doubt they plan to fire you. If they wanted to fire you, they probably would have during the probationary period as process-wise it is normally easier to do. You should still go ahead and start your job search because you may not like whatever their plans are and the whole thing is still sketchy. Good luck!

    1. southern gal*

      my very thought while reading this… three months – isnt that still probationary?

      if so, you may want to review policy – some companies can fire you in that probation period without any cause. or you have a chance for a review at certain times or at end of probation. again depending on your company’s policy.

      he may have told HR he would tell you but his management sucks frankly so who knows whats going on.

      start the job search… and check policy.

      this stinks
      good luck !!!

  22. HardwoodFloors*

    It makes sense that this is happening in a twenty person office, odd things do happen when the organization is small. Maybe the OP was the second choice and the first person offered the job turned it down and then a month later said they wanted the offer after OP’s hiring occurred. And the boss decided they wanted the ‘first place applicant.’ I once worked at a dysfunctional small company where they changed the person who supervised me without telling me. I thought I was working for the other boss and then after a month the ‘new’ boss fired me.

    1. Former Usher*

      I agree the smaller employers can be strange. I worked for one that I like to describe as “big enough to have policies, but small enough not to follow them.”

      1. LH*

        That quote is the best description of working for a small company I have ever heard. Are you sure you didn’t work for my employer? ;)

    2. Lia*

      I know of a situation where something very similar happened.

      Employee was up for a promotion, didn’t get it, and started job searching. She landed a promotion-level position at another agency within 2 weeks (she was really good and should have gotten the promotion at the original place, but there was a strong bias against internal promotion) and handed in her resignation. Within 6 weeks, old employer decides that hey, if Old Employee can get a promotion elsewhere, and she is apparently rocking it there, maybe they could woo her back. And they did. And New Hire got tossed out 2 months after hiring in favor of the old-now-new person.

  23. Cautionary tail*

    I was offered a position where my first task would be to fire the person they brought me in to replace and fire his team of people. My second task was to be to hire a whole new team and immediately create a high-functioning team.

    When I called the hiring manager to respectfully decline the offer I was told that I was the second person to decline. Bullet dodged.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yep, it’s a trap. A person I know was a high ranking person in a fairly well-known company. His company gave him lists of offices to close and people to fire. LISTS. Well, the story did not unfold without tears, of course. And when he was done, Fairly Well-Known Company fired him.
      I cannot believe he was well liked in the company and I have difficulty believing people did not look at him and see the Grim Reaper approaching them.

      The truly sad part. he was a nice guy basically. And he was totally blindsided by the firing and he was totally devastated. If you talked to him you could see that a part of him had died.

  24. Anon For Now*

    I manage a small group of people in a larger company. Person A and Person B were hired within two weeks of each other. Person A excelled and Person B was not so great. I hired Person C, brought them up to speed, and let Person B go.

    Person A was paranoid that he was going to get fired for about 5 years. I had to constantly re-assure him that his contributions were valued and very important to the company. On a Friday afternoon he made a minor mistake and it took us about 30 minutes to recover from it. Monday morning he brought in his company issued phone, laptop, and software and laid them on my desk. He said, “how much time do I have?” I was completely flabbergasted.

    We eventually worked through it all. There were other issues at play, but frequent reassurance and what should have come across as confidence boosting made no difference. Sometimes, you are just paranoid.

    1. videogame Princess*

      Did you bring in person C as a way to give person B a chance? Did you warn Person C? These are things that might have altered Person A’s perspective.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, unless person B and C knew about the arrangement, this isn’t paranoia, this is extrapolating from relevant data.

        1. Windchime*

          Yeah. About a year and a half ago, 10% of our office was laid off on the same day. Boom. They were all called to a conference room and told their positions were being eliminated. Most had been there for years; one was just a few months from retirement. She even had a “Retirement Countdown” on her whiteboard, but they let her go instead of letting her retire.

          People are still gun-shy and suspicious anytime there is talk of re-org. And now we have been bought out, so despite reassurances that there will be no layoffs for at least two years, people are understandably nervous and suspicious.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            A plant went out in my area. The first people they let go were the ones closest to retirement. The plant was the major employer for an entire town. It was a nightmare.

    2. Chris*

      It may just be their personality, but it’s also worth looking at how, exactly, you were assuring them and boosting their confidence. I certainly don’t trust a word out of management’s mouths in terms of “you are valuable to the company” because often that sentence is followed by “but we’re going to cut your benefits and give ourselves a raise”. As mentioned above, the audience of a firing is important to note. It would be worth thinking about your process, and whether what you think it looked like is really what it looked like to person A.

      Or they’re paranoid. But trust and appreciation needs to be shown, not just frequently mentioned via business phrases

  25. maggiethecat*

    Oh OP this just happened to me! Was assured for 2 months that new hire working alongside me wasn’t my replacement but to show them how to do everything I do. I started job searching and was just laid off a week ago and now NH is doing my job… In my case I was new mom that returned to work and was then sexually harrassed. I think they wanted me out of the boys club! Thanks to another STEM firm for not being cliche. Hopefully this isn’t the case with you! :/

      1. neverjaunty*

        Definitely worth consulting with a lawyer, at a minimum to make sure you know your rights and can take steps to protect them.

    1. Craving Clam Chowder*

      Um… Hi Ms. Feline, please seek legal counsel on your recourse here. I was sexually assaulted at work when I was much younger and didn’t know what to do about it, and the company did a piss poor job of handling it. I was scared to go to work every day – as all they did was move my assailant to another building. Looking back now, I should have done a lot more than I did. But at the time I kept thinking about how my filing a police report/getting him fired etc would look on ME. (I have since unlearned the things that made me believe that I would be stirring up trouble by defending myself after-the-fact)

      At the VERY least I should have consulted legal counsel because of how poorly they handled the situation and the likelihood that it could very easily happen again, i could have prevented it from happening to somewhere else there (as he remained employed there)

      I was so miserable at work after that, that I ended up getting let go eventually as I stopped caring about my job and was more worried about watching my back.
      As this was a very large pharmaceutical company I also probably could have sought financial recompense as well, and won. They, however, went under a bit after that.

      1. Craving Clam Chowder*

        prevented it from happening to someone*

        they didn’t go under, the locations in my town did/were closed. But the statute of limitations I’m sure (or am I sure, as I never got legal advice? ha) have long since run out.

  26. Izzy*

    “Discrete hiring rounds” are tough to pull off. At my last job, t
    he head honcho decided to split one position into two. Before telling the incumbent about his plans, he conducted a “discreet hiring round.” He posted the job on one of the two principal job boards for our field. As if we wouldn’t ever look at this board, or have friends who do. It blew up very badly when someone found out about the posting and asked the person about to be replaced why he hadn’t told anyone he was leaving. That was the first he had heard about it. He was furious, confronted HH, who tried to back pedal and play it off but his credibility was shot. The new hire (who may or may not have known about these shenanigans) had an uphill battle for acceptance. It was messy.

  27. TootsNYC*

    One other “getting ready” thing to do: Look over the last 3 months, and see if you can identify any colleagues who saw good work for you. Make sure you get their full name, title, contact info in your records. And find them on LinkedIn. Connect with them there if you can–connect with everybody, in a big wave, maybe, so it’s not that terribly noticeable.

    Then, maybe you can ask them to speak as a reference for you about your work *on that specific project*. Esp. if they seem like the sort of person to think it’s kind of lousy to treat people the way your boss is treating you.

  28. CatLady*

    This pretty much happened to me a few years ago. Company brought in a receptionist then had her be a PA on a large project while I helped with the regular project workload. Eventually I had to train her on what I did, and then they fired me. Five years ago, and I’m still salty about it. I agree with everyone by saying start that job search! I find it’s always good to keep your options open.

    Anyway, I also had a short-term job of about 3 months or so that didn’t work out after being at the previous position for 2 years. I don’t think employers mind that kind of stuff as long as there is an explanation for it. I hope all this works out for the best! I know all my various jobs have improved me one way or another regardless of how they ended. Good luck!

  29. Not So NewReader*

    OP, please come back and let us know how you are doing. I think you’re smart and you have good intuition and those two characterisitcs will carry you through this. You’ll be in a better place very soon.

  30. Shelby*

    I had a boss who was very obviously interviewing other people for my job. She thought she was being subtle but I knew for at least a month that she was trying to replace me. As if I wasn’t going to notice the people about my age in full black suits sitting in the lobby with leather portfolios on their laps looking nervous. Our office only had seven people in it! I also noticed that the lobby people would disappear into her office (with the door closed- a rarity) and then go to the office of another guy who was slightly above me. The people never went into the office of the senior associate who loved me. She also left resumes sitting around on her desk. The whole thing was comical in hindsight.

    1. Ruffingit*

      What ended up happening with this? I hope you were able to leave to a new job before they gave you the boot!

      1. Shelby*

        Around this same time my assignments skyrocketed (whether that was because she was planning to get rid of me and didn’t care anymore if I burned out or was looking for a good excuse to fire me for not being able to meet insane expectation or whether it just happened that work picked up, I’ll never know) so I was working almost around the clock and on weekends. Not great for a job search so I didn’t find anything before she found my replacement. She ended up firing me on the day after my birthday which also happened to be the day I came back from two days sick with the norovirus (only two sick or vacation days I had ever taken). Oh, and then my pet guinea pig died that night. However, I still had friends on the inside and learned that my replacement cried every day for three weeks becaue of the workload and then quit.

  31. Melbot*

    Oh my gosh – I remember feeling like I was about to get the boot. What a horrible feeling! I’m sorry you are feeling this.

    The best part is they had me train my replacement.

  32. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    If the boss has hired your replacement — but not taken action against you as yet – then, you’re the insurance policy in case said replacement doesn’t work out.

    In any circumstance, start looking. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you gave your notice and the replacement wasn’t ready – or wasn’t capable.

    1. Zahra*

      I was fired before my replacement was totally ready (and no, I did not know she would be my replacement). What happened? They had to come back to ask me to produce a monthly report until their new platform can produce it. It’s not a hard report to produce, but it requires a lot of institutional knowledge and there’s a lot of manual manipulations. It’s been a small but steady side-business for the last 6 months.

      However, my last job didn’t work out (I was let go during the probation period) and I’ve told them that I will stop producing said reports once I find a new job (with a reasonable notice, so they can put a plan B in place).

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        “I was fired before my replacement was totally ready (and no, I did not know she would be my replacement). What happened? They had to come back to ask me to produce a monthly report until their new platform can produce it. It’s not a hard report to produce, but it requires a lot of institutional knowledge and there’s a lot of manual manipulations. It’s been a small but steady side-business for the last 6 months. ”

        Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! That is, in SOME instances.

        I was laid off from a job – “RIF’d” – yet, my “replacement” was completely unable to do the job (long long story, let’s not go there), and someone else was calling me four times a week or so – to walk him through
        everything. As it turned out, it was the wrong thing to do. I was on a job hunting trip and they left a number of messages on my phone box.

        When I started working elsewhere – I had to stop doing it but quoted them an evening rate, for which I would be VERY happy to work for as a contractor – the calls stopped.

        1. Zahra*

          Yeah, I’ve helped them for free for about an afternoon (but then, they paid me a week, plus my severance, plus whatever I was legally entitled to, so an afternoon was nothing I really resented).

          After that, when it became clear that they needed more help, we settled on an hourly rate, which increased at the beginning of the year. Their new platform was supposed to be online by January 1st (and it isn’t, for various reasons, their own client being a good part of them). Still, I want to get back some free time, so I’ll stop when I get a new job. I’ve agreed to give them 2-3 weeks notice (depending on when in the report production schedule that happens to be) and to train (again) my replacement at their convenience between now and me finding a new job.

  33. Anna*

    A similar thing happened to me in my first job out of college, which turned out terribly for a number of reasons (I clearly was too inexperienced for what they originally hired me for, the company had crazy turnover, my first boss was in Belgium and I was in the U.S., etc.).

    I had been moved into a different role from the one I’d been hired to do, and I didn’t particularly care for the move or the work I was doing there nor was I given any guidance or feedback or reviews. At 6 months I finally got my boss to give me a sort of review, which I didn’t think went great but did provide feedback that was actually quite helpful. However, shortly after that I noticed a job posting on the company website with my job title. I asked my boss about it and he just said he assumed it was to help me out, however I did start casually job searching at that point because I wasn’t real happy there anyways. Turns out a couple of weeks later the VP of the department pulled me into her office with HR and I was “laid off”. My boss there later sent me an email saying he was “shocked and dismayed” that I was gone, which I’d maybe believe because neither him nor my original boss there were even in town when the VP let me go.

    All along I hadn’t really gotten any negative feedback, nor where my job responsibilities ever entirely clear. The only feedback I got was that I could be more assertive, which ended up being very helpful as my boss recommended a good book on it, but I didn’t view that as enough of a reason to let me go. 2 years after I was let go from that company there was only maybe 1 or 2 people still there from when I was there, so that’s a decent indicator of how that place was run.

    All that is to say it sounds like this company isn’t run well anyways, so regardless I’d start looking to get out.

  34. Friend Of Jesus*

    I have been working as a Pharmacy Clerk for the past five and a half months. I was sent fo one week of training plus 12 hours of online training before setting foot in the Pharmacy. My first pay check after starting in the Pharmacy was at the rate of $13.67 per hour. Prior wage as a booth customer service/ bookkeeper was a the rate of $9.00 per hour. The company I work for was haphazzard from the beginning. There was basically no real training just a few hours of online modules to complete and acknowledge upon completion and after four hour I was taken to the booth. I had an employee talk while she worked and said take notes you are going to need them and at that time was informed I was a bookkeeper/booth customer service employee. After a few hours the employee said I.m out of here and good luck. I had no true understanding as to how to count the safe and was respondsible for maintaining eight registers and the needs of those cashiers through out my eight hour shift. At the end of the night I totaled the thousands of dollars and locked it in the safe. I was told the following day that I did good since all the money was there. I received and additional couple of days with another new hire whom had been doing the job for a couple of months and I worked with yet another employee who had been there for a couple of years. Both employees had their own concept of how things were to be done, but neither were very helpful since they wre in a fast paced hurry to complete the tremendous amount of duties within their shift. I went home in a panic every night for the first week. I was finally trained by the lead bookkeeper and things started to make since and fall into place in my memory bank, After one month I was finally able to stop shaking and do my job with confidence. I was told no one receives training here it all trial by fire. I was told that a position had come available in the Pharmacy and thought to be a perfect fit. I asked a few questions like what is the pay? We don’t know the Pharmacy manager will have to tell you that. What does the job entail? Oh not too much , just checking out patients, taking out the trash stuff like that. I said yes I want the job. Shortly there after the Pharmacy manager came to talk to me. She stated this position is a Monday through Friday 10:30 am to 7:00 pm. I asked if this were set hours? Yes they are she replied. What is the pay rate? I don’t know yet since this id a new position they have just created. She went on to say you’ll be sent away to training for one week before you can start. I happily accepted the job. It took over a month before anyone new what was going on and when I would be going to training. The head had no idea what the hands and feet were doing. I finally completed training and started working in the Pharmacy. Prior I had received verbal warnings from a pharmacy staff member whom said if you want to work in hell come on in but I warn you the manager is a huge problem and she will make your life a living hell. For my first month the manager was out of the country and though it was a lot to learn, way more than checking out customers at the register and taking out the trash. But in like of receiving a pay increase made the job worth it. My job description continued to grow. By the time the manager returned I at least had grasp. It wasn’t long before she was riding me every day. I was never able to clock out at 7:00 pm but I figured it was over time so no complaints . Not even a month after the manger was back I was taken the back room while I had a long line of customers to attend and the manager had a two page outline of complaints about my work. She started off with I don’t think the Pharmacy is a good fit for you. I think you need something artsy someplace you can be creative, you don’t want to be here doing the same boring things every day do you? I was taken back.. I am not artist per say and I told her I loved my new job and wanted to do everything possible to keep my new job that I had trained so hard to have. I looked at her outline and defiantly couldn’t agree with all she had noted since the many mistakes were not being made by me alone. I asked her if she intended to fire me. She answered yes that what all this is for in writing and if I have to do this again there’s going to be big trouble. She went on and on for fifty minutes. To the points of putting me in tears. I returned to work and tried my best to shake it off and be care not to make any errors. She began pointing out every detail even though no mistakes were happening and I got to the point where I wasn’t focusing on my job for focusing on what she was going to say or do next. It wasn’t two weeks later I was in the back room again with yet another several page outline, this time with lies about things that I had witnesses to prove differently. I again after almost an hour and a backed up line returned to my post trying to see through the tears with the echoes of I told my boss and I want you fired. What I had observed was she herself was not able to perform her own tasks in the time needed and we were loosing customers at a fast rate. I was told I was going to receive a written warning from corporate and by this time I was realizing she was nothing more that a work place bully and I reported this to the store manager, who in return contacted HR. We were right in the mist of a computer system switch out and I was again sent to training. The new system is excellent and user friendly During our go live week we had outside trainers come in for one week. During that week I was told that in the new systems they are getting rid of the clerks and hiring more Techs( more bang for the buck. I realized that my manager was aware of this new strategy. The prior new strategy was to reduce the budget by hiring clerks at a cheaper wage and get rid of the Tech wages. But with the new software they realized that clerks were not the way to go since we can do everything but fill prescriptions so now they are stuck with me a clerk and we are union. Not so easy to fire me. After I talked to upper management a sudden change came and she was transferred to another location. And low behold the very tech who had warned me got promoted to manager a few days before he became a license Pharmacist. One week after he took over we were informed that all hours were to be cut in half. I was more than concerned about making ends meet since my debt ratio had increased with my earnings. I hoped it would be temporary and we are now being asked to solicit new business while at work. For the past twelve years I held the position of VP of Marketing in the state I had moved from. I relocated because I became a grandma. I have been marketing and bringing in new business. Even though my new manager if discouraging me stating we can’t handle the customers we have now much less more. I told him I need my hours back so I’m working extra hard to get new business. And I’m thinking about his statement “well that’s never going to happen” is making more and more since. This past Thursday 2/22/2016 he said “not that I don’t enjoy working with you , but to be perfectly honest having a clerk instead of a Tech is useless to me” “just being honest here” . Yesterday he told me that my wages are going to be cut, that I’ve been being over paid. He said that I have been receiving starting wages for a Tech and not for a clerk. And on a regular basis he makes statements like I have no idea what took place before but…..and he is fully aware that the previous manager was trying to fire me. And I had confronter her about the statement the outside trainer made about getting rid of clerks to have only techs. I have received $13.67 for five and a half months and no wear on my paystubs does it say Tech or Clerk. Can they really cut me back to $9.00 per hour. The previous manager new what my wages are and the Pharmacy payroll person and I discussed my being a clerk and my pay rate. I have been seeking back pay owed for the last two months. Now that I have laid out the meat of my situation I need help from an outside perspective. My union rep has taken two months and still not gotten my back pay. Now this new twist of we are taking your pay away??? From $2,179 before taxes to $960, before taxes and union dues my rent if is almost my entire check. They excuse is we made an error sorry???? the Payroll person for Pharmacy quit Friday, which explains why she didn’t email me back when I again asked for my back pay. What’s really going on here?

  35. Gadfly*

    I came across this by following links–Please someone tell me there is an update that just wasn’t linked? Please?!

  36. Issa*

    Something similar is happening with me now. I’ve started Job searches each time I’ve thought I was about to get fired (I’m not the brightest employee) and never had to accept any offers. Then they hire someone else to ‘help’ me with my job in a manager position without telling me for two weeks. I only learned three days before she started and now I’m training her. How common is this?

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