Long story short:

  • Was assigned support ticket to work on (as expected as part of my job)
  • A short while after starting work on the ticket, an email went out to my team saying to "Not start working on any recently assigned tickets". As I had already started working on the ticket, I chose to continue and finish it off, and to take this advice for all future tickets.
  • Was then given a written disciplinary in reference to my insubordination regarding this ticket. I have been invited in for a chat tomorrow, which I presume will not be pleasant.

The way I see it, I have two options:

1) I take the defensive ground, try to justify my actions and point out how (I feel) this situation is slightly unfair

2) I apologize for my actions, kiss-and-make-up sort of thing

Please keep in mind I do normally like this job and would like to keep it. What would a manager truly value more in this scenario?

  • 1
    So you went ahead even though you were told not to? Apologise and never do it again.
    – Jane S
    Jan 29, 2016 at 4:45
  • 5
    Assumptions can be dangerous, and in this case you might have been able to anticipate it, since you admit thus ticket was "recent".... but I don't think anyone is really going to hang you out to dry over "I'd already started it, and the note said onlyndon't start new ones, not put ones alreadybstarted on hold." In other words, it it was clearly confusion rather than "insubordination" you should be fine. Though I'm having trouble with the whole stop-work order; I;ve got to wonder what sort of power politics are going on and what fallout is likely.
    – keshlam
    Jan 29, 2016 at 5:25
  • 1
    @keshlam doesn't have to be any politics involved - we don't know the full story, so the stop order may be related to a client not paying their bills or a change in corporate direction.
    – user34687
    Jan 29, 2016 at 11:00
  • 5
    Don't get defensive. Just tell them you read "not start" and it was a ticket you had already started. If they have tell you that is not what it said then just say sorry I misread it.
    – paparazzo
    Jan 29, 2016 at 11:51
  • 1
    @JaneS The OP did what they were told -- for an overly literal interpretation of the order. Filling in the blanks without sufficient context is error prone. (Personally I would have asked for clarification concerning the treatment of tickets I already started working on before the updated instructions) Jan 29, 2016 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


You did something you were not supposed to.

Simply apologise.

If asked (or you think its appropriate) explain why you made that decision and explain why you now understand that was a mistake (if you don't understand why it as a mistake try and get clarity on what you did wrong (but don't press it)).

Move on. It should not be a big deal if you don't do it again.

  • 5
    Even so, a formal, written notice seems a little harsh for something like this (unless you exhibited a pattern of insubordination). I might take it as a sign that my manager genuinely doesn't like me (or a rather harsh, zero-defects culture), and maybe I should start looking...
    – James Adam
    Jan 29, 2016 at 13:22
  • 2
    The e-mail said not to start working on any recently assigned tickets. He didn't. If the sender of the e-mail wanted everyone to stop working on recently assigned tickets, he should have said so. The only possible mistake was not asking for clarification. Will the sender of the e-mail be disciplined for sending incorrect instructions? Jan 31, 2016 at 18:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .