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Already almost fired from new job

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After being fired from my job and being unemployed for four months, I finally got a new job that I started last week, which I'm out as trans to and presenting as a woman at. I thought things were going great up to today, I like the work better than my previous job, and my co-workers and supervisor have been way nicer to me than at my previous job.


However, today, I had a meeting with my rep from the recruiting agency I work through, and it turns out that I'm somehow one strike away from being fired. Why? Apparently, because I'm nodding off during work and not taking enough notes. Well, not only did no one that I actually work with give me any negative feedback during my six days, but I was explicitly told on my first day that there would be three warnings before any termination. Apparently these breaches are "severe enough" that they skipped over the first two warnings, and if I don't show improvement during an unspecified time period, they're going to fire me without any additional warning or feedback.


I was nodding off a bit during the first couple days, but I started taking caffeine and that helped me stay more alert, and I don't think I've had any problems since. But it's still precarious because my depression medication causes insomnia, so I often don't get much restful sleep. I tried weaning myself off of it some time ago to see if I still needed it, and I started sleeping a lot better, but my mood worsened, so I'm back on it again. To make matters worse, they just bumped me to an earlier shift starting tomorrow, so I have to wake up, shave, put on makeup, and commute even earlier than I was before, and I can't have even one day where I'm tired or else I'm out, no adjustment period.


I also haven't been taking many notes in a physical notebook, but that's because I just can't take notes and listen or watch someone teaching me something at the same time. I've been taking notes on my computer as I try to perform a task instead. And I didn't even have a computer for my first three days, so there wete no useful notes I could take that I would have absorbed since I couldn't get into the applications that I'm using.


This all after just six days. Just... what the heck is up with this? I don't have any way to even get useful feedback from my supervisor because she specifically went through my recruitment agency contact to tell me this instead of talking to me herself. I thought things were going wonderfully, but apparently my boss is done with me already. At least this is probably better than my last boss, who was constantly asking for my input and then either calling me insubordinate for disagreeing with him or calling me a faker if I agreed.


No one here has been honest with me about my performance or their warning/termination process. I'm starting to wonder if someone doesn't want me there because I'm trans. I interviewed as a man, then when they offered me the job, I told my supervisor I was trans, and she seemed fine with it. But then they bungled my name in their system even though I tried to make sure they got it right before I started, and they're supposedly jumping through hoops to try to get it fixed, and not everyone is getting my pronouns right. I thought this was innocent, but maybe they're just sick of it. Maybe once they saw me in a skirt and a thin, squawky voice, they thought better of it.


This just sucks. I don't know what to do. I'll just do my best and hope I last. I can't afford to lose another job.


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Carolyn Marie

I'm sorry that you're going through this, Lucca.  I think there are some things you can do to try and fix things:


1.  Ask for a meeting with your supervisor and go over what you've been told by the recruiting agency, to make sure that its accurate, and to hear it from your supervisor directly.  They should have done that to begin with.


2.  Be honest about the situation with your meds.  It's not great that you need to discuss your medical treatments, but if you don't they won't understand what you're going through.


3.  Talk with your doctor ASAP about your meds and ask if there is something they can prescribe that doesn't have the fatigue affects that your current med has.  Tell him/her that fixing this problem is urgent.  Once you get the new meds, tell your supervisor.  That will show that you are determined to fix the problem.


4.  Explain to your supervisor about the issue with note taking.  They'll want to know that you are addressing the problem.


5.  Ask you supervisor to please let you know directly if there is anything else that concerns the company, and that you want to have better communication with them.  That will show that you want to improve and stay out of trouble.


You may be right about the trans issue, but I wouldn't discuss that with them.  They won't admit it if its true, and they won't like that you suspect them if its not true.  You can't change what's transpired, but I think you would have been better off being up front with them at the interview.  Supervisors and managers don't like surprises and they may have issues about your honesty at this point.  All you can do is try to fix what you can, and hope for the best.  Good luck.




Carolyn Marie

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I probably would've been better off telling them at the interview, but my other interviews with me as a woman didn't go super well, so I decided I was just going to get a new job as a man because I was desperate at this point. But this company gave me such a good vibe at the interview that I decided it was safe to come out prior to starting, and my HRT doctor was pressuring me to go full time, so I didn't want it to look like I was making excuses to her to not commit to transition when I thought could get away with going full time, which is my eventual goal anyway.


I'm a bit scared to have a meeting because my supervisor seems to be deliberately avoiding having to talk to me, and because I don't quite trust myself to not start crying during the meeting. Also, this supervisor seems to be a bit... unstable herself, she asked for anonymous suggestions for how she could improve her performance from us one day last week, and then the next day during an unrelated meeting, she started crying, and said that she was asking for the input because she's afraid of being fired by her boss, and wants to know how to improve so she doesn't lose her job. I wasn't sure what to think about this, because it seemed kind of inappropriate for a manager to beg their employees for help in not getting fired by their own manager when the employees' aren't the ones at risk.


I also have a pretty bad experience with discussing my medical situation with my bosses at my last job, they didn't really believe me when I told them about my situation with mental illness and just thought I was lazy and badgered me about it until I started crying in a couple meetings.


I'll ask for a meeting with her tomorrow and follow your suggestions and try my best, I guess I don't really have anything to lose since it looks like I'm being fast-tracked out regardless. I just can't believe the audacity of them skipping over the "three strikes" system they told me about on the first day, that doesn't make me very hopeful.

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Carolyn nailed it Lucca.  These are exactly what you need to do. 

Showing your concern for any poor performances, even if you were not aware of them, and conveying the urgent and determined desire to make sure it gets corrected asap by you is one thing a supervisor will respect.  This is taking ownership of your performance, duties and ability to follow company expectations. 


Then be super diligent about any and all of your duties.  Give them no cause to think il of you in anyway work related.   I asked for appraisals as often as I could to make sure I was on track with their expectations.  Sometimes they are not clear or you understood them differently then they do.  It takes a second in passing and does not always require a closed door meeting.


I have no experience with the medication you have to take to be healthy but that is an excellent way to explain your use of them and explain the side effects BUT also make sure to include plans to manage this in a positive and determined way.  Supervisors don't all have the answers nor the time in most cases and they do they want to feel like they have to babysit every employee with every issue.  If you have identified an issue and come up with the solutions on your own that is a major step towards pleasing those that need to be pleased at your job.

Being new should give you a bit of slack I would imagine but I also have no experience going threw an agency that places people.  They are under a different set of rules and conditions and it seems they always have a no reason needing clause.  Its the agency that has to make sure the folks they send are what the company wants and needs.  In the companies eyes you are a dime a dozen.  Its sad to say but that how they see it in my opinion.  Those that accell in their positions do get hired but they seem to have to prove themselves ten fold over some of the others that are full time.  Not fair I know.


Ok yes you may of pulled a quick one on them interviewing as male then then coming out immediately afterwards.  Though coming out immediately was your best play with that vs hiding it..

Some would consider this to be dishonest at a management level.  Also some employees may feel you "cheated your way in" over others too.  Who knows what others feel or think and its mostly BS but it matters over all for moral and productivity.

If your situation has caused any of this to drop then it is most likely they are trying to oust you on those grounds alone.  Remember dime a dozen.

Companies care about the bottom line and try very hard to remove anything that effects it negatively.  Its not right nor fair but it is business.


I may be reaching with all of this but I have been in the workforce for 30+ years now in various manufacturing plants and companies and at various levels of management as well.  I always start as common entry worker and work my way up.  Reputation is everything on being viewed as a hard and productive worker within a company even if you are full time.  I have seen and heard a lot of what you are talking about before.

I hope your state has good laws protecting trans and harsh laws against discrimination.

I hope this blows over with a nice conversation and this is all behind you hon.

Good Luck!





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Ok, so, I had a really nice discussion with my manager, she was very understanding and made it clear that I wasn't actually in danger of losing my job, and even went the extra mile and made it clear that she'd be on my side if anyone ever treats me badly because I'm trans, and I didn't even broach the subject myself. Turns out we have a lot in common, and even take the same anti-depressant, so she understands. So I think my job is fine.


Apparently, though, managers at this company are forbidden from talking directly to their employees about performance issues unless the employee initiates the conversation first, so all feedback about performance has to go through HR. My boss wanted to talk to me directly, but couldn't. From what I can tell, my HR contact asked my boss about my performance, she got the impression that it was way worse than it actually was, and came up with the "you're one step away from being fired" bit on her own, without consulting my supervisor about it, all while implying that it would be improper for me to ever talk directly to my boss. Like, what the heck's up with that? I've never heard of any corporate policy so obtuse.


Needless to say, I don't trust the recruiting agency anymore, or my contact specifically. She pulled this little stunt, and is also the one who screwed up my name in the system after I gave her the correct one, not to mention being generally unprepared during my orientation. I mean, she's even younger than me, she's brand new, and I'm one of her first clients, why the heck does she have the authority to threaten me like this?

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Carolyn Marie

Wow, I am both relieved to hear the good news, and incensed at the ineptitude of both your agency and the company.  Like you, I've never in my life heard of a company where supervisors are not allowed to talk directly with subordinate employees.  That's just nuts.  :blink:


Anyway, I'm glad that you've cleared the air and know what the rules of this game are.  I wish you all the best with those nincompoops (with the exception of your supervisor, who seems fine).


Carolyn Marie

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Holy mackerel, I was a supervisor / administrator for the State of California, and it would have been my fanny on the firing line if I had NOT TOLD and employee they were falling short of what I and the Department felt should be happening at their employment level  I would also have been in the doghouse with my supervisor if I did not tell them what they were doing right or even better.  Let's hope this evens out for you.  Do get your medications under control just for your ability to have a good time in your life. 

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Yeah, I have no clue why things are this way. It seems that my supervisor can talk freely to me as long as I initiated contact first. She's turned out to be really great, I'm just suspicious of everyone else in and around this company now :/.


It's also possible that some higher up manager who I've never actually met talked to the agency about me and made an ultimatum, and neither I or my boss knows about it. That would be really awful, but it wouldn't be the first time I was fired by someone I'd never actually met despite receiving good feedback from my immediate supervisors.


At least if I can do good work for a couple months minimum, if someone else does decide to fire me, I have my boss as a good reference.

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