I've read a few other similar topics here, but mine appears to be fairly unique. I've been at this company for 9 months, we've had the last 3 months working from home during COVID-19 times, and my line manager booked me in for a 'weekly one on one'. We used to have a monthly one on one, but haven't for the last 3 (possibly 4) months. During the first one (this week) she has verbally expressed my performance was not up to scratch, and has asked me to provide an 'action plan' to increase productivity.
This came pretty much out of the blue; to be honest I don't think my performance there has been great for a few reasons:
- It's not an industry sector I have worked in before, so new terms and workflows need to be learned by myself
- It's not exactly a direct match for my skillset, whilst I have been doing web development with PHP/MySQL/jQuery this role is in support for Python/Django/AWS
- The role is very varied and no two problems can be the same, from diagnosing and fixing the AWS database, to diagnosing and fixing the code for an errant XML file transversing through our system
- The pace is very fast, and I must admit there is no time to document what has happened, let alone absorb and contemplate what has happened and why. (their Wiki is in a poor state, old documentation, badly organized)
When they asked me how I thought I was doing, I replied I thought I was doing "ok", not great, not too bad, but their opnion was vastly different, citing some examples which were never mentioned along the way.
When I initially started this role, I had a 3 month probtion, which I passed but with no formal review, nor have I received a letter stating I've passed probation, I think I had 2 monthly "one on one's" after that time, but with no glaring negative reviews (there were some areas for improvement, but nothing that was repeated during the first weekly one on one).
This role is doing support for a small company (~30 employees) which works for a larger company, and I often work long hours, which seems to be expected, as the other support guy is constantly on Slack and we do an after hours support night each third day (with one of the developers). Sometimes these support nights go right through the night, and we are expected to put in a full day after that. Being on call also takes away from my family time, and often leaves me grumpy with the wife and kids, nor do I get time to play guitar (my main/only hobby). Overall the pay is good, but the hours and expectations seem to weigh far in their favour (as my wife is constantly reminding me I'm working too much), and the change in architecture was a bigger jump than I expected, especially at the fast pace where I don't have time to absorb the information.
Overall, the money is good, but my heart is not in it, however I can't afford (as the only breadwinner) to be unemployed, as I've recently been working in contracting, which has good money, but also had some periods of inactivity between the contracts.
Is a weekly 'one on one' and being requested to produce an action plan leading down the path to performance management and loss of employment (in Australia)? I'm kinda distraught at this prospect as I've worked for a long time, but never previously been in this situation.
Thanks for the feedback, just to clarify some of the points:
You don’t tell us why you took this position with the unfamiliar tech stack
I had been out of work for a month or two, the contracts I had been working on had finished (although one keeps asking me to go back for short periods of time) and the lure was FTE over contracting. During my previous FT stints, they required us to take decent breaks and any extra time was noted and bosses would suggest to take time out ...
based on what you’ve told us about the history, it’s likely that you will bear most of the responsibility.
That statement turned out to be correct, we discussed 4 key points fir this week, which I've made inroads into.
Weekly one on ones: not an issue in itself. I regard weekly, or at worst fortnightly, one on ones as an essential part of good management.
As I stated, I've had 2 reviews in 9 months, both times I asked whether there was feedback and there was nothing noted, which is why it came as a bit of a surprise. Both those reviews were pre-Covid times (March 2020, for us in Australia), then nothing prior to these.
whether your employer's mind is made up and they're just going through the motions of an action plan
I think I know the answer to that, but I might just be being paranoid.
For the sake of your family, I'd suggest starting to look around for a new position
I'm already working on that part. I read back what I wrote, and tried to view it as a 3rd party. I'm not happy and struggling, and tomorrow I'll be starting at 3am, finishing no earlier that 2pm, and being on-call from 5pm. That I am not looking forward to.
Thank you for the answers and some clarity.
Adding some online references I found:
For anyone following this, I am no longer employed at the organization as of Friday just gone (28th Aug). They gave me a two weeks notice, just over two weeks ago, and I finished (officially) on Friday. Due to the fact that I had around 35 hours owed from time-in-lieu, I took off the majority of the Thursday and all of the Friday.