Given Final Warning at Work

They gave me a final warning at work because I was unprofessional in an email exchange with who i found out today is my boss’ son.

There was no talk of an improvement plan.

I have never been in trouble because of behavior.

I really think this is it at this job and there’s nothing else in my area.

I’m a failure. I suck. I shouldn’t even be allowed to breathe.

I have to toe the line from now on or I’m out. I think I’m out anyway, they are just going through the formalities.

Great news! Sounds like this is just what you need - to get away from those awful people. You now know that they are not willing to work with you to turn things around, which means…

Nothing you can do will change their minds. And you can take a huge sigh of relief, because the writing is on the wall. It says :


Everyone deserves to be treated decently. Not just by others, but by ourselves. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do. Try this: say five good things about yourself. If you can’t think of any, phone a friend. It’s not a test.
Then, make a plan. I think you’ll find you have many opportunities that this job closed are reopening. You can spend more time with your family, you can stress less at work, because you know this is short-term and you can do short-term.

This is a sign, but not a sign of doom. A sign that your trial is almost over, that you have suffered enough.

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Thanks. My mind is racing and I feel like I can’t cope.

I really hate that they went to HR when they could have easily talked to me about it. I honestly don’t think what I said in that email was unprofessional. I kept imploring us to learn to work together professionally.

While I’ll feel better not working at this toxic place, I have a duty to my family. I have to maintain this job as long as I possibly can.

I asked the HR lady what I need to do to keep my job and she just said to act professional. The thing is, I usually do act professional. Well, I act within the culture.

Going there tomorrow is going to be one of the hardest things I have done in a long time. Going there knowing that my little manager guy is out to get me, and that my VP doesn’t really want me, is just gut-wrenching for me.

I think the truth is, they’ve wanted me out of there for a while now and have just enough ammo to justify it. Not that they need a reason in this state, but still.

Just…ughhh - I know there are a lot of things I could have done better, but I think i just reacted to my environment. I don’t know. All I know is, things are going to be very bad around my house if I’m without work, and I make a lot more than average for this area.

I’m intelligent and stuff, but my personality or something has been damaged. I feel ruined.

You’ll make it. You can do this. Sure, it’s less than ideal - the whole situation is pretty shabby. But you’re smart and resourceful - which I can say with certainty because you’re a developer.

Take the night off from thinking about those petty people and their small-minded problems. They’re ants, and tomorrow you’re going to go in and watch them scurry around, like they’re so important, but only you know the secret: the tunnels they’re scrabbling to build are coming crashing right down behind them. Their toils are meaningless and they are too small to see it. But you are a real person, you have more depth and complexity than they can even fathom. You are so much more than they can even dream of being.

I pity the ants of the world, because they can’t break free and see how vast life is and how wonderfully complex people can be.

You will recover from this job, but they will never become anything but the tiny people they are.

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Well, new developments, I guess. Today I was made dev lead for a project by the same manager (the father of the father-son duo). He gave me explicit instructions and expectations (much different than they normally do things around there).

I remained professional and business-like the entire time (which is what I should have been doing from the start anyway). I laughed at a few things he said and every time I did, he gave me this look as if to say, “why are you laughing?” He was very somber today, and I guess he expected me to be.

I emailed this whole situation to my therapist, who knows all about the stuff I endure at that place. He says that universe has a way of correcting itself and sometimes things happen for a reason (paraphrasing).

So, I don’t know what to make of it. My family members think the son put the father up to reporting me to HR for that email.

I also noticed there’s a new, glowing, 5 star review of my company on Glassdoor and the Pros are that there is a new shift towards employees and their treatment. I think I know who wrote that review, lol.

So much drama. I may get sacked on Friday - that’s pay day, but if I was going to be sacked why did he make me the lead on one of our projects.

So, maybe I’m not going to get sacked? I don’t know. Beats me. I do know, though, that I am looking for other jobs. I actually have an interview tomorrow evening already. So, hopefully that goes well. It’s for a PHP job, and I know little about PHP. I think I can figure it out, though.

I’ve done VB.NET, C#, vbScript (does anyone use that anymore?), javascript (if you develop for the web there’s a good chance you use javascript), jquery, etc., etc.

Hey, that sounds great! If they were going to fire you on Friday, they probably wouldn’t make you a team lead.

I’m really glad you’re pursuing other options. Even if they have somehow turned over a new leaf, it’s really easy to fall back into old patterns. It’s empowering to have a choice and not feel trapped.

It sounds to me like the son filed the HR report and the father probably saw it and realized how bad things were, and saw that you were trying. I’m not living the situationbut it sounds like the dad is reaching out and trying to make an effort and a change.

Keep us posted!

And give yourself a huge amount of credit for walking in that door today, and every day this week.

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I saw my therapist yesterday and he got on to me big time. My wife is not happy and insecure about our money since this happened.

She doesn’t see moving as an option since we have children in school here. They’ve made friends and she doesn’t want to move our kids away from them, I think.

So, now I am ignoring everything but just what I have to do at work. I regret that email more and more each day.

My therapist says I have employment issues and that I have a misconception about how the world works and that I have to accept it even though I don’t like it.

Anyway, it’s been rough, and I guess, all my fault. I’m the one that sent that email. I’m the one that acted that way. I screwed up. I made a mistake. I wish I could take it all back.

@muffinman32, world sometimes sucks. If you asked me a couple of years ago, I’d say it sucks always, people are mean and nuts and there’s no hope for life ever getting better. Accupuncture was one step, took some pain away, this then lead to Therapy, which was another major step in my healing. Acceptance is good as well, but how to accept your own failures? How to accept others if you think you’re right and they hurt you?

A couple of days ago, when I asked about forgiveness, @OvercomingMyself reccomended a book to me (thanks again!) - “Feeling Good” by David D. Burns. Despite having a competent and professional therapist, who helped me a ton and whom I hold in high regards, this book gave me additional validation, new insights and more tools to fight some of my cognitive errors. IMHO, it cannot hurt if you grab a copy of this book and work with it.

Btw. I’d like to answer your question about vbScript. I think vb, powershell and bash scripts are the glue that holds our corporate world together. I’m quite sure nobody will ask for vba/vbs in interviews but everybody will be happy to have someone who can read and write/fix some xls/word/outlook makros or vbscript stuff…

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When I was a test automation engineer, I had to teach myself vbScript because that’s the language the tool used. I wound up teaching a class on it to help bring everyone else in the group up to speed.

I have been a C# developer since '09. According to everyone I have worked with, I am very good at what I do.

I think that I let myself get too caught up in other people’s attitudes, and the meaning behind what they are saying.

I experience a ton of cognitive dissonance (I think that’s the right phrase), and then lately I have started to act on it (through words).

I’m not sure they are going to let me go, just as long as I don’t send another email like I did. They need to hire a lot of developers of varying experience and can’t really get one.

Last week, I sucked it up and ignored everything but what I was tasked with doing.

I have an interview with a startup on Tuesday. The benefits are better, but I just have to see if the pay is comparable and if the company is healthy.

I am looking for new cheese; new, tastier cheese.

If the startup doesn’t work out, then I just have to keep trying until I can find another job. I definitely can’t stay where I’m at.

Even if I have to freelance for a while, I think, somehow, there has to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I have to accept my reality and move forward. If I let myself stay stuck, then I will never achieve my career goals, and more importantly, will never be able to be a good provider for my wife and kids.

I was really angry to read what your therapist said. Those kind of “shocking” statements are unhelpful.

I have been thinking about your situation a lot lately. I wrote another article this weekend, about am experience I had in changing my boss’s opinion at my last job. It’s not an exact parallel, but maybe it will have some nugget of helpfulness:

And I have several articles about interviewing, if you get anxious about that. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned those to you before.

Regarding technology and languages - some companies do care about which languages you know, but some want to know that you have solid principles and can learn. I usually aim for the latter, since those companies tend to have more realistic expectations.

Thanks. I’ll check that out. I’m not really anxious about interviewing, but I’m concerned that this start up might not be secure enough for my wife and kids.

Right now, all I want is out (on my own terms). I figure if the pay is close to what I make now, I’m going to try hard to convince my wife that it’s a good idea.

I’m in my car at work right now (lunch) and just cried non-stop for 15 minutes. If I just didn’t press send, everything would be okay.

…if I never pressed send…

No, it wouldn’t have been okay. You were unhappy and stressed or before you pushed send. The conditions at your work caused your internal balance to skew. You pressed send for a reason, and maybe you were trying to send yourself a message more than anyone else.

And look, you got it! Job well done.

Just because you feel crazy doesn’t mean you are.

Very true. I think I had a level of relief when I pressed send. But I was not even close to prepared for the response.

I figured they would just be like, “hey, that hurt my feelings. Cut that out.”

I still have this job. So as long as I can keep on doing my best, I should still be able to bring home a decent income.

I think one of my major concerns is that I’m not going to make as much or be in as secure of a job if I go or am let go.

I can’t give up, but sometimes I wish I took up a trade like welding or something. My state sucks for tech jobs.

I have always struggled with communication. If I feel stressed, disrespected or if a situation is unfair to me, I find it difficult to have an honest face to face about it. So raising an issue by email seems easier.

My golden rule is: I can always send it tomorrow morning.

I always sleep on it. 90% of the time, when I read my draft after a cool down period, I realize I’ve been too harsh or that I’m only adding fuel to the fire and not focusing on resolving the issue.

The problem with this statement is that it’s not a fact. Sometimes our feelings are based on what we perceive as fact instead of what we know as fact.

Good luck with that

The thing is, intellectually, I knew not to send that email. I think that’s what is eating me up. I knowingly put my livelihood and my family’s well being in danger because I wanted to let it all out.

The email I sent is not unlike a lot of emails that used to circulate. So, they did what they did and now I’m in a situation.

However, I used to be the one advising people not to send those kinds of emails. And now I’m the result of it. I let my emotions get the better of me.

I feel like I have no choice but to look for another job. The place I’m at right now really need people and are having a very hard time finding anyone.

Moving is not an option per my wife. So, if this job doesn’t pan out, then I will probably have to change careers. That actually doesn’t bother me, though.

I was originally a music major before I switched to computer science (forever ago). I won’t go back into music, but I probably will look into academics. Maybe teaching like one of my sisters does.

I’m mainly just bummed because I did something wrong and I knew better the entire time.

Ever since that day I have run every scenario I could think of through my mind. Luckily, my wife could make close to what I make.

I can’t let myself feel helpless and like there is no future. If, for some reason, I lose my job, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll just have to find something else to do.

It is going to suck donkey balls if I am, though.

Anyway, life is a journey. I’ll get this thing figured out one of these days.

So if you could go back in time and prevent yourself from sending that email, would you be happy at work ? Would that work environment be less toxic ? You have to forgive yourself.

I can understand that change is hard. I’m currently between jobs and worried about money and I don’t even have children.

It looks like you have your priorities straight. If you find a better job, you’ll probably look back at this situation differently and realize it gave you motivation to make a change.


Yeah, the company would still be a toxic workplace if I didn’t do that. My therapist told me today that I need to focus my energy on finding another job, not lamenting the fact all of that happened.

He said that ever since he he has known me that I had described a toxic workplace and that my crying spells achieved the same result as me being a little bit aggressive in an e-mail. He said that my body was telling me it hated the place I work.

Now, it’s cliche to say that everyone hates their job, so I don’t want to rely too much on that.

I crunched some numbers, and if worse came to worse, I think my family and I could get by while I searched for another job.

I’m doing everything I can at this point to keep my job until I can find another.

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