Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Fired for "Not Being a Team Player"

This email from a reader is quite a common situation in the workplace. Let's hear it from him now:

"Hello Max,

My name is Josh. I am a banker working in a Tier 1 firm and had been at my former job for almost three years. I was fired unexpectedly about a month ago from my VP Asset Pricing position. I was good at what I was doing, stuff like pricing for institutional and retirement investment plans; pricing for Hedge Fund Services and Prime Brokerage client positions and pricing trader position via the End of Day process.

I stress out unexpectedly, because I had very good reviews, had an optimal performance. How did it happen ? I'm not so sure. I had a new boss come in couple of months ago who, from the beginning, said he wanted to clear house. He was telling me "people are riding on coattails here", "clear the deck", then he was "I feel you're the one I can trust here", "You're safe". With the blessings of his supervisors, he actually introduced a concept in our management meetings, that of the "Team Clock". According to him, every team in the department had to have at least three team sanctioned project going on or else they would not be "functioning well".

"Teamwork goes beyond asking for input on what you need for what you are currently doing. You need to show you've included three inputs from your mates on everything you do. That's teamwork." -[Quoted him]

After failing to include that many inputs because there just weren't any to include in there, he fired me unceremoniously. Monday morning, 10 o'clock, and...I was done.

I've done nothing to upset this man except doing my job to the highest level of integrity and professionalism. I did not botch anything he made me do.
However, I did no put up any resistance to this guy.

Yet he let me go WITH THE BIGGEST SMILE ON HIS FACE that day."

Hey Josh,

Too bad for the unpleasant outcome. I cannot give you advice, but I can voice an opinion, and maybe next time you'll act better.

I put bosses into one of two types:

1. Bosses who don't like firing people.
2. Bosses who love firing

Your pal belongs to the latter category. You saw the warning signs from the start. Yet you sat there happily to be his punching bag. He looks like a passive aggressive person.

Team participation is is a very fluid concept. Most cases of "lack of teamwork" I've seen involve corroborated testimony, the termination is not the work of one man.

It was wrong of him to have required a three pointer if the project didn't require that participation. Was this a project that needed team input and you missed it ?

Did he fire you for just one teamwork miss ? Was it the only incident ?

Another question: has the boss developed a punitive 3-team member contribution analysis just for you ? Or was it applied across the board ?

People should develop a contingency plan the moment an unfriendly boss sets in. Once you discover his[hers] hostile intent, you should have a defensive plan.

A few things you could have done:

-Talk to his boss

-Do not deliver the work if it didn't have the 3-pointer. Explain you couldn't get it.

When you go against a boss, you need to have backup. (this is not for your case which you did not dispute, but for others)

Your story shows that unprepared people lose to their bosses.

Be prepared. I'm putting together an anti-boss software for the brain. Stay tuned.

"It's all fun and games until they shoot you in the face" -Roger Sterling

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