I am currently employed in the US as a felon with a fairly specialized technical skillset who was lucky to have found employment after many years of search. I was hired with the help of an executive who was a family friend of mine who has left the company last year. I've been here working for almost 13 years. Things were going well until fairly recently when some new management arrived and decided give me some tasks that had never done in my career (I am very specialized). I failed to complete these tasks in time and for the next few weeks, I was being constantly asked by various levels of management about my status. Then suddenly, the following happened in order:

  • I stopped receiving status update calls
  • My 1on1 meetings have been cancelled or rescheduled to far off into the future (one was scheduled to begin on 2030)
  • Projects I've been assigned to for years have been reassigned to other less experienced staff. I currently am assigned to no projects
  • People often stopped talking or leave the break room when I enter. I am often ignored in our internal chatrooms.

Now I am familiar with the concept Oidashibeya, but is it a real thing or is there another reason for this to actually happen? To clarify, I have been "banished" for around 10 months. I don't plan on ever leaving this company due to the difficulty of my legal status and for the fact that COVID makes face to face meetings difficult.

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    Some states protect the privacy of former felons (this protection will also depend on the exact profession you have). I'm sorry to say, but you really need to find a job in one of those states and move there. Also 13 years is a very long time to stay with one employer, I'm sure your skills and experience are worth more on the open market. PS: If this is your real name, you may want to contact the mods so you can change it. These kinds of posts show up at the top of google searches. Jan 15 at 23:48
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    Thanks, writing this was a lot for me and reading this makes feel you may be correct. This is not my real name, just something I made up randomly. Jan 15 at 23:59
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    Have you tried asking your management directly? Did you try reaching out to your sympathetic former executive? If so, what did they say? Jan 16 at 0:43
  • Normally I could walk to my bosses or someone's desk and they would be forced to deal with me. Now my boss ghosts me instead, which is why I can't ask her. Why they won't banish me, as I mentioned in my post, it is possible it's because of Oidashibeya Jan 16 at 19:04
  • @JoeSchwartzie For what it's worth (i.e. not much :) ) you sound like a person who has learned his lesson and is in an unenviable situation but, things could still be much worse. I agree with Hilmar's (and Kilisi)'s answer. Start looking for a job. If you held a job somewhere for 13 years, it shows you are a good employee. Maybe you could get a reference from that executive friend of yours who helped you find that job. It could help when finding something new with a "competition" - I bet there are companies that do the same sort of work around :)
    – mishan
    Jan 18 at 15:50

I'm sorry for your situation, that's a really tough position to be in. This is a Q&A site, and the only actual question I found in your post was:

but is it a real thing or is there another reason for this to actually happen?

It's a real thing. It's often called "managing someone out the door". It happens when the company doesn't want you anymore but either for administrative or legal reasons doesn't want or can't outright fire you. The idea is to make it so unpleasant that the employee will quit on their own. Typically it's more subtle : freezing or shrinking compensation, less important and more mundane assignments, reduce interactions, etc. It's also called "constructive dismissal" and it's illegal in many jurisdictions. However, unless the company is blatantly obvious about it, it's almost impossible to prove.

The question that you didn't ask: what are my options?

This is a bad situation. The company doesn't want you anymore but you have an extremely strong incentive to stick it out. It's a lose-lose situation and everyone is unhappy.

I think it would be useful to explore the legal angle, just to understand what your options there are. You didn't mention a location and labor law varies A LOT locally. It seems obvious that the company wants to fire you, but they don't. Why not? Is there a legal reason that prevents them from doing so? Are you in a protected class? Do they get some sort of subsidy or benefit from keeping you around? Does their current behavior qualify as "constructive dismissal" in your local legislation ?

Your best shot is to find someone reasonable in your chain of command who would be willing to talk to you. Make a few suggestions of work you could potentially be doing that makes your own existence less miserable and is useful for the company, but still maintains distance. This may involve broadening your skill set or downgrading your work to something more menial. Since you have no projects assigned, you should have plenty of time to learn more things and get out of your current niche.

There is also no harm in starting a job search in the background. Yes, it's hard and difficult in the moment, but it's worth a try, you have the time to do it and nothing to lose.

  • Thank you for adding in the part of "what are my options". I didn't even know to ask that question and I know people would immediately dismiss me because of that. This is very useful, I will try to reach out to someone(s) who may be sympathetic about this Jan 16 at 19:11

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