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Bellatrix's avatar

Have you ever been written up at work? And how did it make you feel?

Asked by Bellatrix (21146 points ) October 9th, 2011

A colleague of mine in a different area of my organisation has been told by their boss that they are about to be ‘written up’. Apparently she didn’t follow procedure to the letter and this is the basis of the concern. I am unsure of what to advise her to do at this point? Has anyone been in this situation or do you know anyone who has, and what did they do and what was the outcome?

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31 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Not me but in the business I work, they start writing up people as protocal if they’ve been wanting to let them go.

tedibear's avatar

I have not, but I’m pretty sure it’s coming. I work part-time as a bank teller and had an outage about six weeks ago. (My cash was $200 over. After multiple times looking through my work, I can only surmise that I unintentionally shorted a customer on a very busy day. I still feel bad about it.) I think that the only reason the written warning hasn’t happened yet is that they’re hoping I can figure out where it went. :( I’ll let you know how it feels when it’s done.

fizzbanger's avatar

Did she actually do something wrong or is the boss simply looking for a reason to get rid of her?

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, I was once written up for addressing envelopes on work time. A few weeks later, I made a mistake in my work, and even though I caught the mistake before it was input into the system, I still got fired.

Blackberry's avatar

I got a second job at a retail store last year. The other guys and me got along well and we went to lunch together all the time.

One time we went to restaurant in the mall and had some drinks and lost track of time. We were 15 late from lunch.

We didn’t care, because well…..we just didn’t.

Bellatrix's avatar

@fizzbanger I think she just hasn’t been given the training she should have been given. Her boss knows this but is playing dumb I think.

If you have been through this process, what did you do? Did you take in a witness? Could you do this? Did you type up a response? I would have thought she should she get a written document citing her boss’s concerns but I don’t think that has happened.

I (thank goodness) haven’t been in this position and I am not sure what to advise her.

filmfann's avatar

Several years ago, I was one of three veteran workers on a crew with about 10 newbies. I was training large groups of them every day.
One of the newbies had a serious drug addiction (which led to his eventual firing). He would disappear at work for long periods, and was non-productive when he was there. His attitude would change on a dime, for no obvious reason (except the drug use). I told my boss that I did not want to be involved in his training, since it meant I would have to depend on him, and he clearly wasn’t dependable. His absense created problems for everyone on the job.
My boss then wrote me up for not being a team-player. It didn’t matter that I was training lots of other workers.
I went nuclear. I told my boss off, to the point of worrying that I would be written up for being disrespectful. I then remembered sage advice from years before:
“If you hate your boss, how do you fuck him?”
“By doing what they want!”
I no longer pointed out the obvious mistakes my boss made. His productivity dropped, and I was able to transfer to another crew.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I was just written up for the first time ever yesterday. I was 3 minutes late to work because of traffic on the highway from construction and cause my manager took forever to open the door to let me in. I’ve been there for two years and have never actually been in any kind of trouble I was also irreplaceable for much of that time as the only person that knew anything about fish. Recently they hired another fish person so I really think they’re looking for excuses to get rid of me lately.

Bellatrix's avatar

Wow! I am stunned by how many people have had this experience. @filmfann! Sounds like a good plan.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I had no idea it happened so often.

JLeslie's avatar

I have never been written up, but I once had a tough review that sort of threatened my job, but even my boss felt confident it would turn around. The bad review was no fault of my own really, I had been moved to a struggling department and I had to live with the sales of the department which I in a way inherited. I had always had stellar reviews previously. I had six months to correct the problem, or that was it, I would have to be fired. Luckily everything improved and I had another above average score.

I have written a few people up in my day as a manager, and it always amazing me how people tell their coworkers.

lillycoyote's avatar

I’ve never been “written up,” but I “committed” a safety violation once, and the report of the incident was placed in my personnel file.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@filmfann “If you hate your boss, how do you fuck him?”
“By doing what they want!”
Thats actually the philosophy I’ve been taking up lately. Things have certainly been going downhill there since then.

@JLeslie Why would it amaze you that people tell coworkers? Half the time people feel like their in the right over whatever it was they were written up about so they bitch and complain to their coworkers about the evil manager.

JLeslie's avatar

@uberbatman That is exactly what they do. They are bitching about their manager. But, at the same time the gossip flies behind their back about how that person is marked and being watched, about to be ousted. The gossip happens because the employee himself told everyone he was written up.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@JLeslie This is true. People are quite stupid sometimes.

desiree333's avatar

Yes, I got a bad mark on a phone check. I work at a call center. Since that is not enough to get written up, my boss made up a ridiculous excuse that I am “monotone” and “unfriendly” on the phone. Sounded like she was describing herself….she is so rude to customers.

When we asked how she gets written up since shes the boss, she said “oh I don’t write myself up, I just remind myself to try harder.” How is this fair?

Nullo's avatar

I have been written up three times, with varying degrees of severity. At work, a write-up of sufficient severity prevents you from advancing for 364 days. The most recent penalty period just expired late last month. The crime: leaving a cartload of rotisserie chickens (literally about 50) outside of the freezer overnight. I was worried that my job was on the line, when they first addressed me. As part of the writeup process, I’m supposed to give a statement. My statements are flowery, formal, and as bizarre as I feel that I can get away with. I use as many polysyllabic words as I can – I’ll make them up, if possible, from the Latin and Greek that I’ve archived. See, most of my co-workers are not of the intellectual persuasion, and writeups always leave me feeling belligerent.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Nullo LOL. I am having a great deal of fun imaging your “statements” and you being belligerent and not at all happy with having to put up with that nonsense. Thanks for the smile. :-)

Brian1946's avatar

@Nullo

“The crime: leaving a cartload of rotisserie chickens (literally about 50) outside of the freezer overnight.”

Do you think that you deserved the writeup for leaving out those chickens?

global_nomad's avatar

I work at a call center at my school (I’m the annoying kid who pesters you for donations to the University) and though I’ve never been written up, plenty of callers have. Mostly for not following protocol as you’ve mentioned. In my opinion it’s used as a learning tool, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get fired. The supervisor just has to have some consequences for the callers who aren’t following procedure. Or else none of us would push through those uncomfortable calls, trust me.

fizzbanger's avatar

@Bellatrix Perhaps the boss will not follow through with the write-up, and they’re just addressing an issue with an empty threat instead of communicating.

Personally, I’ve had a job where I got written up 5+ times over the course of a few years for screwing up colossally (retail management), but my boss liked me and considered me to be a valuable employee. The write-ups were a formality to appease the higher-ups. I knew I should have been fired.

However, with another job (temping at a local government office), some people got “written up” for being late and others managed to sneak in all the time. When budget cutbacks happened and positions were eliminated, the people with the most written reprimands in their file were let go.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t know @fizzbanger. I have suggested she speak to the HR department to get a little more idea of the procedures for these things and see if she can take in a witne… sorry support person.

Some amazing stories here! Thank you all for being so candid.

lillycoyote's avatar

It’s really hard to say what is going on here, not knowing the particulars. I know, in some cases it is, as others have mentioned, the lead up to someone getting fired. If they want to fire someone, they will want there to be some history in employee’s file to justify the firing, just in case it it contested; they are covering their asses. It could be your colleague’s boss covering her own ass. If your colleague’s error was serious enough that it came to the attention of her boss’ bosses, her boss might just want there to be a record that she did something about it and nothing more may come of it. Unless your colleague’s boss has a history of “writing up” people, I doubt it’s personal. And it may just be a straight up, run of the mill disciplinary action that also may come to nothing. The write up will be added to her personnel file and that will be that and things will go on. Being on the receiving end of any kind of disciplinary action at work is never fun or pleasant, and can be kind of embarrassing if justified and infuriating if unjustified, but sometimes it happens and it isn’t always the end of the world.

lukiarobecheck's avatar

Yes, I was. I was not selling enough iPods, and MacBooks at Apple and I got written up for it. They told me I had a month to turn it around. It was a time when management was going through a shake up and they were really trying to get rid of a few of us on the sales team. (Short background story, I was trying to move to a different city to be with my fiancee, and was distracted with that. That’s why my sales numbers were lagging.) The interm manager was very willing “in theory” to help me make my numbers, in any way she could. However, in practice, it was a different story all together. What I did was bust my ass day in and day out. I pull everything around and they kept me. I left shortly there after, on my own terms. It was extremely satisfying knowing they wanted me gone, and then quitting on my own terms. But it hurt being written up. I felt like such a failure. I was in the wrong profession anyway. But that was a while ago, and I’ve moved on.

Nullo's avatar

@Brian1946 I’m pretty sure that it did constitute a health code violation. It worked – I haven’t left a single bird out in the open since.
I suppose I deserved something, since I did break a rule that I knew about.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Nullo, Maybe you did deserve the write up, but I am still enjoying the image of your flowery, formal, even bizarre, statements regarding the unfortunate matter of the rotisserie chickens. So sue me, I’m getting a kick out of it. :-)

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MissAusten's avatar

I’ve been written up twice, both at the same daycare job. The first time wasn’t for anything I did; it was another teacher’s mistake. Since I was in the same room, center policy pretty much forced my supervisor to write me up as well. She did note details on the paperwork to make it clear I wasn’t really responsible. The other teacher had a child wander off. When I came into the room with my group of kids, I asked her how many kids she had and that’s when she noticed one was missing. He’d seen his mom walk by and ran down the hall after her.

The second time was complete bullshit. Same place, different supervisor. I’d come back to work after maternity leave and was not getting much sleep. My son was colicky. The teachers I worked with were also moms or soon-to-be moms so when the kids in our class were napping we always chatted about our kids, our lives, etc. Naturally I shared stories about my colicky, grumpy baby. One afternoon my supervisor took me aside and wrote me up for looking too tired. I was so surprised I didn’t even know how to react. I think I just nodded a lot and tried not to cry. I’m such a wimp. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got because I knew it was a crappy thing for her to do. I requested a meeting with her and HER supervisor. I calmly asked if my lack of sleep had been affecting my work performance in any way other than me just “looking tired.” My boss couldn’t come up with a single area where I was slacking off or making mistakes. The best she could come up with was, “Well, when you look tired people feel like they have to do your work for you.” But…no one was actually doing my work for me and she was forced to admit that. Her boss made her take the write-up out of my file. A small victory. I learned to keep my sleep problems to myself. Even though my son didn’t sleep any better, I stopped talking about it. A few weeks later my boss said to me, “It’s so nice to see you more rested!” I learned a very important lesson from that experience. And I still get mad thinking about that woman. She screwed me over in a bunch of little ways before I finally quit that job. A couple of weeks ago she emailed me to ask if my husband could offer a relative of hers any work as an artist. It made me rather happy to say no. :)

Billy_Strauss's avatar

Yes, I have also been written up. The main thing is never sign anything. Ever. Tell them you cannot sign anything w/out your lawyer being present. Also don’t admit anything.

Always ask why there are two of them present but you must be there alone. (there are always two members of management present at these idiotic inquests)

JLeslie's avatar

@Billy_Strauss Not always. I wrote up many people without a third person in the room. The only time I had HR present was when I had to fire someone. Having a third person can protect the person being writeen up as much as the manager. I see no reason the employee can’t request someone else be there during the conversation, a fourth person who the employee might want present.

At one point my manager was being a total bitch to me, not writing me up, but obviously pushing me to want to quit. When I went above her head, or tried, I actually invited her to be in on the conversation, and she got to her manager first, and the manager avoided me and asked HR to handle it. When I finally sat down with HR, my manager, and me; it was obvious my manager still thought her actions were fine, trying to point out where I had been a bad employee in her opinion. But, after the meeting things really changed. It became obvious HR put her back in her place.

Incoherency_'s avatar

Hell, I was fired from the post office, you lightweights. ;-p

I had it coming though- I ditched work for about 6 weeks and went up north to SF for the Summer of Love, people!

Luckily I was living with my parents, so I was able to get by okay on unemployment until the phone company (AT&T/Pac Bell) hired me. Again luckily, I was hired by a huge, regulated utility and was able to join a good, strong union (Communications Workers of America).

Bellatrix's avatar

Was it worth it @Incoherency_ ? The Summer of Love vs Working in the post office… no contest from where I’m sitting :D

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