TL;DR: I was hired to lead a team, but they were fired shortly. Company can't afford replacement now after 9 months.

I applied for and was accepted for a lead role at an online retailer in London I was told that I would be managing a team of two others, both of whom already worked at this company and both I met during the interview process

The first 2 weeks went as planned. I found my feet and I introduced some workflows with my team. However, during second week I was told that both my team members would be let go - effective immediately - due to their poor performance prior to when I had joined

As it was my first fortnight on the job I did not protest, and the blow was softened by the fact I was promised we could recruit for at least one of the positions I had lost.

This was 9 months ago, I still have no team. The company has been dragging their feet and are now "struggling to find the budget" for that additional role

I feel embarrassed having to tell people both within the company and those external about what happened. Should I just suck it up and keep pushing for the budget to be signed off? Or should I start looking for somewhere else to work after this short time? If so, would other employers see this as an acceptable reason for leaving?

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    So in other words, you were hired to take over the jobs of two guys. Are you happy with what you're doing now? Overworked? Being productive/effective? Feb 23, 2020 at 21:48
  • 1
    @DarkMatter I enjoy the work I do and I am being productive, not particularly overworked either. However in answer to aaaaaa, yes it bothers me that I was lied to, and I am asking how do I prevent myself looking like a pushover if I stay
    – hale-bopp
    Feb 23, 2020 at 22:07
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    "I am being productive, not particularly overworked either". So you're not doing the lead job you expected, but it sounds that if you can do both ex-persons work, they were just dead weight. You need to be busy before you can appeal for extra help.
    – PeteCon
    Feb 24, 2020 at 2:55
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    The other two were not fired for their performance. If that were true then the company would of hired two more people already and would of not told you that ONE position would be replaced. You should look for another job and with offer in hand demand a raise and call them out on it, in a professional manner.
    – NDEthos
    Feb 24, 2020 at 15:04
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    Low performance from before you were hired? Seems like bait and switch to me. Feb 24, 2020 at 17:19

5 Answers 5


If you have been hired to lead a team and then the whole team gets fired and not replaced, that sounds like a pretty valid reason to leave. You could not fulfill the role you were hired for without a team, after all.

  • 3
    +1, but OP, I would be REALLY careful about the timing. The job market in the UK in general, and London in particular, is extremely busy right now because of IR35 (UK tax legislation) and most of the contractors are playing "musical chairs", many looking to move into permanent work. With the exodus of many, now is a great time to move, but there may be hundreds of applicants for each position. Make a decision; stay or go, then either do so now wholeheartedly, or wait another 4 months for things to settle down.
    – Justin
    Feb 24, 2020 at 8:17
  • If you don't want to fill the role you actually have, that is. It's not a reason to leave by itself. You only have to leave if you want to leave.
    – user253751
    Feb 24, 2020 at 13:22
  • @user253751 depends on what the OPs longterm plans are. If he, for example, wants to switch into management, accepting his current role could easily turn out to be a career-setback and thats a reason to leave by itself, atleast it would be for me.
    – d_hippo
    Feb 24, 2020 at 17:42

It’s absolutely a good reason to leave. The company must have known the situation before they hired you. So nobody can blame you.

But your question is whether you should leave. To decide that , look at the job as it is. Ignore the embarrassment. The embarrassment isn’t yours, it’s your employer’s. How is the pay, how is the work, is it stressful, do people demand things you can’t deliver without a team, or are they happy with what you achieve without overworking yourself. Will you get a decent raise at the end of the year or will they refuse because you are not leading anyone other than yourself?

You should consider how good or bad you feel about your work situation, and look for something better more or less in the background. Having a safe job means you are in a good negotiation position when you look for a new job.


Given that you applied for and were offered a job leading a team of two people, I'm assuming that you have either previously been working in a managerial/leadership role, or you were intending to move your career in that direction?

If that is the case, then spending these last nine months not leading a team is either a backwards step, or at best, a lack of forward movement towards your career goals.

For that reason alone - without getting into any issues like "they lied to me" - it would be perfectly reasonable for you to start looking around for a new position that does fit your career goals.


Others have said it I would agree it's time to leave. I would add that the longer you stay in this position then the more normalised this becomes ergo the company basically can use this as way to cause you to have accepted a demotion.

So in employment law (UK) there is something called constructive dismissal which means that the company changes your job such that they make you leave. In this case they have changed your job from leading a team to a normal worker. Unfortunately when it comes to constructive dismissal if you actually start doing the job then your rights are pretty much waved in that you are implicitly accepting the new job.

So in this case I would definitely think about leaving just for the fact that the longer you stay the more likely they can just state that this was your job all along. I'm not sure of your background but if you seen a CV/Resume with a move from a Team Lead back to a non Team Lead how would you look at that ?

Given it's been 9 months it's actually a bit late for all this but the advice for moving is the same I believe.

Something similar happened to me and I worked with the company for many years after (now left). So this advice is based of my personal experience.


Question seems formed in a way that if read the wrong/taken to the extreme could be interpreted as you asking for people to give you permission to resign. This is up for you to decide: You were hired to do X, your employee gives you corresponding job title "X-person", then you find out that for reasons outside your control, your are doing Y - can you leave? Of course with a note that you might like doing Y so no. Should you feel guilty or blamed for leaving? No, you did nothing wrong.

From my experience working in the UK though, which I think makes your question UK specific: this has happened to me twice and it is one of the reasons I have stopped being an employee for the time being.

There are two things I have observed: First is that contracts are kind-of a formality and do bind the employer as much as they would in other places. They hired you as a manager, now you have no one to manage. In other places HR might contact you and ask you if it is OK, if you want to relocate to another store, whatever. Here it seems that the employer believes that they "own you" rather "being in an agreement with you" as long as you work. Huuuuge generalisation but true. So your employer does not believe that you really should be managing anyone it seems. Remember here people do not complain, do not trigger procedures, professionalism means smiling to whatever is being thrown at you and sending your CV away.

Second I have seen this as a tactic to hire a good employee. You hire them as a manager for people that will be let go. Officially they are managers maybe get better payment. Then these people leave - they knew that before - so the "manager" needs to keep the department running aka do their jobs. With that you have a good subordinate, with the responsibilities of a manager working for two. This person will be there for a while because leaving will look bad on their CV. Either way your problem is at least temporarily solved until then.

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