23

My mind is going crazy. I work at a Music School as a senior administrative officer; all my boss' phone calls go to me and I re-direct them. My boss has always been nice, never really raised any red flag about my performance. But something strange started to happen. For the last couple of months I have been receiving these phone calls about my boss trying to get in touch with foreign worker agencies.

Today that call came again and my boss was in the office to take that call. I asked her, "Are we hiring?". She said, "It's just for a teacher position." I was at the photocopier when my boss printed a form with a big bold title of my position. She took the sheets away quickly. What do I do now? Am I getting fired anytime she finds someone to replace me? I don't even want to work anymore.

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  • 9
    We have no way of reading minds. We do not know what your boss is up to. It can never hurt to know what your rights are. Can you just be fired? Do you have a CV that is up to date to apply for a new job if that happens? – nvoigt Oct 27 '16 at 19:06
  • 7
    Simple question: Should I be worried? Is this my job you're hiring for? – Chris E Oct 27 '16 at 19:24
  • 2
    Also consider this: your boss knows you receive phone calls. Would someone be bold enough to risk you getting a phone call about replacing your job? Plus I assume there are more people than you and your boss at this Music School. Could they be hiring a Foreign Musical teacher? Why would they need to replace you with a foreign worker? Why not hire someone locally? – Dan Oct 27 '16 at 19:35
  • 2
    Could be bad for you, could be very good. Perhaps you are about to be replaced by a cheaper H-1B worker, or perhaps you are about to get a H-1B worker assistant. - You should ask. – A. I. Breveleri Oct 28 '16 at 3:40
  • 3
    Phone or get someone to phone, enquiring after that job. Find out if you're working alone or in a group. – bye Oct 28 '16 at 8:20
39

There are three fundamental/unshakeable facts to your situation:

  1. There is nothing you can do to prevent being let go. Hence, your anxiety.

  2. You are the only one who can shape your own future. You and only you can look for another job.

  3. nvoigt (thanks, nvoigt) wants me to add that in every state of the US except Montana, we have what is called employment at will. This means that your boss can let you go for any reason except discrimination against protected groups, or no reason at all.

I suggest that you take ownership of your predicament:

  1. Make sure that your resume is up to date.

  2. Start making employment inquiries. The fact that someone is interested in hiring you will go a long way toward reducing your anxieties.

  3. Keep an eye on your budget. Now is not a good time to seriously overspend.

  4. Build up your cash reserve if you haven't done so already. Simultaneously, cut down on discretionary spending.

  5. Once you have your cash reserve built up, pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible. The idea is to keep the monthly payments down to a minimum.

  6. Keep looking and interviewing, making sure that you stay on your boss' good side - you want to use her as a reference.

  7. Think positive. The prospect of being laid off or fired is making you available for new career opportunities you might not otherwise meet.

  8. The sooner you start, the more likely your period of discomfort ends sooner.

Being busy looking for another job is bound to work out much better for you than being seated at your desk, stewing in anxiety and resentment. Looking for another job is a constructive activity. Stewing in your own juices is not. At this point, you are totally powerless. Whether you get to keep your job is totally up to her. I never liked being at the mercy of total strangers - it's not a good feeling. I'd do anything to avoid getting that feeling, including looking for another job. It's admittedly not a great situation. Don't fight it, work with it until you get to a better place. When the handwriting is on the wall and the walls are closing in, don't look away. Read what's on the wall and do what you have to do.

Good luck to you.

  • 16
    As no country is stated, you may want to put a disclaimer for "Your boss can let you go for any reason except discrimination against protected groups, or no reason at all.". That's a very US-centric view. Good answer otherwise. – nvoigt Oct 27 '16 at 19:58
  • All good advice – Kilisi Oct 27 '16 at 21:15
  • This is a great answer. Nice to see. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 27 '16 at 22:00
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    It's a nice answer, but to a question "I am being replaced, what do I do?". It's not clear that this is the situation. Although things do look grim, I think the 1st advice should be to cool the head, and recon the actual state of matters. Nonetheless, the above question should be asked if it wasn't yet. – luk32 Oct 27 '16 at 22:58
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    This is mostly a good answer but you missed the very important unshakeable fact that, "You have no idea whether there is any problem and have incomplete evidence." You have to deal with this anxiety in any job and should be at least a little prepared to be fired at any moment. This answer pairs crisis against emergency response, instead of usual risk against usual preparedness. – user42272 Oct 28 '16 at 3:47
15

For all you know, the forms with your position on them could have been about something entirely different from the hiring - even about getting you a pay increase.

As others have suggested, check the organizations job postings.

Otherwise, keep your resume up to date but carry on doing your job well. If you stop working now, you will get replaced even if the hiring search had nothing to do with you.

8

I don't see any reason NOT to simply ask your boss. Like this:

You: "Excuse me, do you have a minute?"

Boss: "Yes, come into my office."

You: "May I please close the door?" [Lets boss know this is a sensitive topic.]

Boss: "Sure. What's up?" [You close the door and sit down.]

You: "This may sound strange, but it's really bothering me, and I'd really appreciate a direct answer. Since I receive phone calls and messages for you, I've noticed you are working on some personnel changes. You mentioned you were looking for a new teacher, but I thought I saw some paperwork with my position title listed on it. Is there something I should know about my job performance? If there's a problem, I'd like to address it. I really enjoy my job and I'd like to make sure I'm doing it to your satisfaction. Or maybe I've misjudged the situation?"

At this point your boss will either tell you straight up, or you will be able to tell if you are getting a snow job (indirect answer, hedging, etc.) Hopefully you will have a nice heart-to-heart and find out that you are perfectly fine. But if not, at least you'll know rather than stewing in anxiety and prepping your CV.

If you (or anyone) can't be honest and direct, in a respectful manner, with your boss, and have this honesty and directness met with the same (after all, I'm assuming we are all adults here), you should find another job: one where you will be respected as much as you are expected to respect your superiors.

Good luck.

  • 3
    Both the nature of the hiring and the transaction involving the OP's job title may be confidential matters that should not be discussed with the OP. Don't over-interpret a refusal to answer. – Patricia Shanahan Oct 28 '16 at 3:06
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    -1 because I really don't like answers that don't respect the simple fact that to some people, holding onto a job is important. – user42272 Oct 28 '16 at 3:44
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    Plus Patricia's comment. I hesitantly agree the employee can be direct, but should not corner the boss into an answer. If the boss continues to evade, take the hint. They decide which of their business is your business (and if you don't like that, repeatedly quitting jobs will probably not change anything.) – user42272 Oct 28 '16 at 3:45
  • @djechlin: I don't understand your -1. Yes I agree that holding on to a job is important, but either the boss explains the situation (and the OP can leave happy, or start looking for a job in earnest) or they don't (in which case the OP can start looking for a job in earnest). – Martin Bonner Oct 28 '16 at 7:52
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    @djechlin I don't understand your objection. I don't see how the proposed course of action endangers the OP's job. Not knowing is likely to be affecting the OP's job performance ("I don't even want to work anymore") so getting a clear answer seems like the right approach. – user45590 Oct 28 '16 at 8:15
4

Realistically there is not a reason to print a form with your title if it is about replacing your position if she is dealing with foreign worker agencies. That would be email. There is a good chance you are not getting fired. But you cannot eliminate the chance you are getting fired.

  • Anxiety is not going to help
  • Not performing at your fullest is not going to help
  • I like the point from Vietnhi (+1) about conserve spending

There is lead time in getting a new job so get a good polished resume. But don't panic. Learn the job boards. Apply selectively and hopefully get at least one interview under your belt. I would avoid recruiters until you do get fired / laid off (and you might not) as if you turn down offers that are at your pay or lower they may lose interest in you. I would avoid job fairs as then it is likely to get back to your current employer.

0

If at all possible, for your own peace of mind, it couldn't hurt to check your organization's Job Postings section to see what's what. If it is indeed for your position, don't panic; just start to discreetly look for other opportunities as Bill W said.

This is a delicate situation as well, and not exactly something you can just go to your boss about. Perhaps they're trying to simply hire a second Senior Administrative Officer, but there's no way for us to know that.

-1

You have to keep doing your best at the place where you are currently working; you don't want to provide a reason to be let go. There can be many reasons for the what you glimpsed on the paper, you don't know that you are about to be fired. However, it is still a good idea to update your resume and start discretely looking for a new job.

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