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I’ll try to explain my situation as breed as possible. I’m currently an apprentice software developer.

I was made redundant via phone call early November. It was for me a complete surprise as the company has been doing well (pandemic considered.) and nobody had mentioned a word about possible redundancies in the business.

I then get a phone call the following day from my boss who critiques my work from the past three weeks even going as far as calling me lazy. I’m upset by this and try to explain that I’ve done my best and that I had heard no complaints of the work I had produced from my team leader/mentor or manager so assumed everything was fine otherwise I would have tried to remedy this.

The next day I receive another phone call from the same boss offering me a job with a different company where he would be my boss directly instead of team leaders/management in between.

I attempt to decline the offer but this is met with “you’re really going to throw all this away.” and effectively waste both of our time.

I had discussed this with family who said I should be grateful to be offered another job in this climate.

I now no longer feel I am able to do my job. I requested two weeks off over Christmas to reflect on how I’m feeling and if I’m being truly honest with myself I don’t think I’m happy.

I make just enough with side hobbies to sustain myself financially.

The contract hasn’t been signed yet and I was wondering if these are just insecurities that will pass and take the job or if I should search for another one instead.

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  • You asked for time off from who, the company that made you redundant during a long grace period? So you determined you "weren't happy" with what - your firm that laid you off? How does that affect the question you have? – mxyzplk Jan 5 at 23:58
  • I’d asked for “extra time” to consider the offer of the new job. Not extra time from the previous one. Although the boss is the same person in both companies. I hope that makes it clearer? – GhastlyCode Jan 6 at 0:05
  • OK, by the "two weeks off" you mean two weeks to consider the offer, and by "don't think I'm happy" you mean happy with... The offer? – mxyzplk Jan 6 at 0:07
  • Yes and by don’t think I’m happy I mean with the work environment and how I was handled with the redundancy. Also with the added insecurity of being fired if I do accept this offer due to how he perceives my work. – GhastlyCode Jan 6 at 0:11
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Terminate all communication with your former boss and strive to forget that he exists.

The best anodyne for the bad feelings generated by this experience is the good feelings you will accumulate by finding a new job and doing it well.

You can afford to remain redundant while you find a new position. You need to find a job that you know is a good deal for both you and your employer. To preserve your own mental health you must avoid taking a job that you feel grateful to get.

Your former boss is a mendacious toxic manipulator and he needs you to feel bad about yourself.

Either he thinks you are a good worker and is lying when he calls you lazy, or he thinks you are lazy and is lying when he promises to pay a fair wage and otherwise treat you decently.

Either he really got angry when you tried to decline the offer, which is what a bully always does when he is thwarted, or he is pretending to get angry, which is just another way of bullying you.

A person who acts like that is someone you don't want in your life at all, much less in your workplace.

If you continue to converse with your former boss only bad things will happen.

You will discover that lying and bullying are not the only weapons he is prepared to attack you with. He may proceed to threats, false bribes, insults. You will discover that all his offers or entreaties are designed to work by making you feel inadequate and unworthy.

If you receive a good job offer and he finds out about it, he will launch a veritable blitz campaign to prevent you from taking it*. He probably will not risk telling your prospective employer not to hire you, so he will have to work through you, by feeding you reason after reason why you can't possibly succeed at that job.

Worst case, he may talk you into working for him. This may be the greatest risk. If this happens, I'll start a pool to guess how long you'll last, and another to guess how long you'll need to recover.

Finally, if you continue to associate with your former boss and his companies, you may eventually discover that he is the instigator of the action that got you made redundant in the first place. Believe me: if this is what really happened, you are much happier not knowing.


* I know you Brits are famously not afraid of a blitz but there's no reason why you should endure one.

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Walk away, in fact scratch that, don't walk - run, sprint away as fast as you can.

Some things:

  1. They were paying you less than the minimum wage for an apprentice (it should be £4.15 per hour if you are 16 or over)

  2. The old "redundant from one company and hire at another" is straight out of the dodgy company practices textbook. It's a way (amongst other things) of eliminating your protections that come with continuous employment.

  3. Giving a speech about how allegedly "crap" you are and then offering you a job is so-called "negging" and straight out of the lame pick-up artist textbook. Make you feel worthless and you take even a crappy offer.

  4. Getting angry when you refuse their "generous" offer is patently absurd - and is a furtherance of the same "tactic" above.

You state you can sustain yourself financially there's no reason to take this job - it will only do you harm. Tell them to take their "job" and politely suggest they shove it somewhere the sun doesn't shine.

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If he thinks you are lazy and do poor work, why on earth would he be offering you a job? Something here is not above board. It's possible he's looking to get you at a steep discount to exploit you - heard you were being laid off/decided to lay you off, called you up to neg you, offer you a job at a "great rate... for you, now unemployed and lazy employee." Big red flag.

You need to have a good two-way interview with him where you ask the questions you need to ask to understand the position, why he thinks you're a fit given his comments, how he plans to manage you and measure your success, and so on before you accept the job (as you would with any employer). In my estimation it is unlikely this is a good situation but making assumptions without gathering enough information is a classic career blunder only recommended on Workplace.SE.

You should also be interviewing for other positions during this period instead of treating this as your only other choice.

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  • This is what confused me when he got angry that I’d tried to decline the offer. As surely you wouldn’t want a person like that on your team? It’s also probably important to note that my pay went up from £3.90 to minimum wage in September as I’d completed my first year. Although he said he’d honour the minimum wage in the new contract. – GhastlyCode Jan 6 at 0:09
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    I assume minimum wage means something different in the UK because it's usually hard to be paid below minimum? And yeah, so when there's confusion ASK. He's the only person that knows for sure. – mxyzplk Jan 6 at 0:12
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    In other news, at least in the US the idea someone working a software developer would be making minimum wage is psychotic and if you can even basically code your way out of a paper bag there are gig jobs available online that will pay you way more than that per hour. – mxyzplk Jan 6 at 0:19
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    I disagree with the second paragraph of this answer. Further conversations will only result in OP becoming more and more upset as he discovers all the other toxic mendacious weapons this manipulative jerk has in his quiver. – A. I. Breveleri Jan 6 at 1:02
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    I'm surprised that no one has told him to contact high-level HR, his previous immediate boss, or any other high-level people at his former employer. If he's firing competent software developers so he can hire them somewhere else and get a commission on the transaction, his current employer needs to know this immediately! Internal sabotage is very difficult to stop if no one else knows about his conflict of interests. – Stephan Branczyk Jan 6 at 5:26

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