update: I suck at my job but am otherwise a delightful person

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer who realized she wasn’t very good at her job but knew her employer really liked her and was hoping there might be a way to make things work? Here’s the update.

My letter wasn’t an exciting one, and even when I sent it, I pretty much knew what you’d say. But it was helpful both to write it out, and to see your response, and the response of the commentators. I knew I had to leave, and that there really wasn’t any saving my job, despite the fact that I loved the company. And, no surprise, in August, I was put on a performance plan. I’d already begun looking for other jobs, even before I sent my letter to you in July, but I started looking in earnest after my letter ran. The week I was put on the performance plan, I had an interview, which actually led to a job offer! It was exciting, but I couldn’t accept because of the compensation package. I worried about that, since my performance plan gave me only 60 days to improve and I know how long it can take for a job search. Just after I turned down that offer, I applied for a state job, even though I wasn’t sure how I felt about the work, or really what it would entail. The compensation was good, however, and hey – it’s a state job! So I applied and figured I’d be weeded out and didn’t think too much of it. But they called! And I had a phone interview! And a couple weeks later I had an in-person interview, which included a little demo of what I’d be doing in the job, which was fun. And then I got an offer! Which I accepted! I started 3 weeks ago, and although I’ve mostly been in training, I’m enjoying it a lot. I hope it works out, but I think my confidence is shaken by my last job, so I feel a little jaded about it. The probationary period is a full year, but I am hopeful.

Interestingly, at my old job, my performance actually improved quite a bit! The day I handed in my resignation, my supervisor said she’d been planning to tell me that the performance plan was going to be extended another 30 days since my performance had improved significantly but wasn’t QUITE up to the standard it needed to be. She was not surprised at my resignation, and continued to be very kind and supportive until the end. After I told her where I was going and what I’d be doing, she even said she thought I’d do quite well at the new job, which was very nice to hear.

So that’s my update. Thanks again for answering my letter, and to the commentators who gave their 2 cents worth. All your advice was much appreciated!

{ 31 comments… read them below }

  1. Myrin*

    What a good update! OP, I’m wishing you all the best for you new job – may you thrive in it the way you deserve!

  2. Lance*

    I’d say this is a pretty good win for you! And if you’re still worried about performance, you’re still early, and, I assume, led by a trainer of some sort… so ask them! Check in with them periodically about how things might be going, both good and bad, and it should give you a good way forward!

  3. Drew*

    This is a great update. Kudos to the OP for being proactive and kudos to the boss for handling the situation perfectly.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Ditto from me, OP. You handled a bad situation very, very well. And your old boss is a gem. I wish you much success at your new place. I think you will have success because you have a great attitude.

      1. Delightful OP*

        Thank you both. My old boss IS a gem, but I think my new situation will be good for me, too. I’m very lucky, and very aware that this doesn’t happen for everyone

  4. Augusta Sugarbean*

    I’m honestly happy for all these updates in which our hero/heroine gets a new job, truly I am. But I am also 100% envious of the hey, presto! new job two months later! stories. My search has been long and discouraging and disheartening I am really hoping that finally 2019 brings a job offer for me as well. It’s long past time I am get far and away from my current dysfunctional workplace.

    Good luck to anyone who is searching! Happy New Years to all of us, every one.

    1. Chell*

      I totally know what you mean. I’m on my 13th month of searching. I don’t even remember how many in person interviews I’ve had at this point and a big fat zero for offers. My current work place is extremely high turnover (as it should be. Two of my co-workers were assaulted on the job in the past three months. And no, we don’t work in a prison.) I would love nothing more than to leave this place in the dust but alas, I like living in an apartment and not on the street.

    2. RUKiddingMe*

      Good luck! Happy 2019 to you as well. I really do hope you get out of your dysfunctional workplace. They are soul sucking I know. Cyber hugs if you want them.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It truly depends on so many variables that you’re not alone in your struggle. It’s industry and skillset and office culture click-a-tude in many ways. Also location location location. I’m in a job utopia now after moving out of a stale old business, no growth area. That change of scenery changed my life career wise.

      I hope 2019 is your happy ending xoxo

      1. Delightful OP*

        I’m so sorry you haven’t found a new job yet. I wish you the best of luck with your search. The new year will be good to you, I know it!

    4. Database Developer Dude*

      Augusta Sugarbean, what general area (city/state) do you live in, and what do you do? I’d be happy to refer you to any open positions in your area at my firm….

      1. Augusta Sugarbean*

        Wow. Thank you. Thanks awfully kind of you. I’m south of the Portland, Oregon metro area. And after a lot of years of front line work in allied health care, I’m really looking for a step back. I’m looking for an admin office job, back office would be favorite. I’ve been at a non-profit for years but I’ll go over to the capitalism dark side in a heartbeat! Thanks again.

        1. Zin*


          Salem Health comes to mind. If you can do it, getting some temp office work in the area you’re looking into can do wonders to facilitate that transition. Someone I know in a similar position recently just came through that. There was healthcare through the agency but it wasn’t great so that’s a major consideration.

          Depending how far South, Good Samaritan in Corvallis. Catholic Community Services recently had a few office type positions posted and Albertina Kerr occasionally does as well.

          I’ll refrain from any further derailing but I’m glad to help if you’d like.

          OP, it sounds like you’re in a much, much better place and that’s the best outcome of all. You sound lovely, as does your previous job and good for all of you for handling it the way you did!

          1. Augusta Sugarbean*

            That’s a good idea. My schedule is actually four days so maybe temping on Fridays would be a good resume builder to show more recent office experience. (My last office job was over a decade ago.) Thank you!

    5. Anonforthis*

      I know right?? I’m really happy for the OP, but I’ve had 4 job interviews in the past year and no offer. What is her secret??

  5. RUKiddingMe*

    Congrats OP! You know, sometimes it’s just not a good fit and it’s better to cut your losses and move on.

  6. Radio Girl*

    I’m so happy for you, OP. I hope you will update us next year with more good news!

    I’m happy your supervisor at the old job was such a good one.

  7. LGC*

    Congrats, LW! I’m really glad that you managed to get into a good situation, and that your old job was so understanding.

  8. Darren*

    Interestingly I’ve known a few people whose performance has up-ticked once they were job searching. It seemed that the worry about losing their job and the stress from feeling they weren’t very good at it was actually making them perform worse then when they were relaxed because they would be moving on in the next couple of months.

    1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

      That’s a real thing. When I finally decided to leave a toxic job and the nightmare micromanaging boss my work got better because I wasn’t second guessing myself every day. I came in and did the best job I could knowing that in three months I was out of there for good. I was happy and it showed, all the pettiness slid off my back because I didn’t let it bother me anymore. Not my circus, not my crazed poop flinging manager.

  9. Even Steven*

    Warm congrats to you, OP! I admire your honesty with yourself, and your realistic approach. And you really DO sound like a delightful person! Just think how happy, delighted and delightful you will be in the new job that will boost your already wonderful positivity by giving you opportunities to shine. Well done!

  10. Under the Axe*

    This is encouraging. I’m in similar situation and have been struggling with SO much shame about it. I’ve been afraid the stigma of being on a PIP would follow me forever. It’s encouraging to hear that that’s not necessarily the case.

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