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Impossible tasks to force senior out of job?

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  • Aug 12th, 2019 11:37 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 29, 2012
2174 posts
542 upvotes
In Hiding

Impossible tasks to force senior out of job?

I'm over 50 and have been working for the same company for 15 years. My work responsibilities have always been reasonable, even if some are outside skills set (IT degree and MBA) and I've received good performance appraisals over the years. Now I've been placed into a urgent project which is in total chaos, no one wants to be on it, one person went on stress leave after a few months. Every morning my manager and director yell at me for detailed plans and deliverables from the team members. It's been 3 weeks now, the participants are all frustrated, I'm pointed to documents dated 2016, no one will give me consistent info and people smile knowingly when they hear I was delegated at the tail end to "fix things up". Wondering if this is a company ploy to suddenly point out my weaknesses (I admitted that I don't have the specialist skills for this) so they don't have to give me a bonus, retirement benefits and trying to force me out because of my age.

Anyone encounter this? What I hate most is that I get told to hide facts, not attend meetings but not tell the chair, and my manager points his hand at my face like 1.5 feet away in front of everyone in our meetings. I worked late and all last weekend to finish a document, and got shouted out again on Monday and the rest of the week. So much so, that I haven't logged into work this weekend at all because I expect demanding emails which are really stressing me out. I've made initial contact with one employment lawyer and have another's number in my cell.

Has anyone encountered this before, and anyone give me some advice? Don't want them to beat me out of retirement benefits that I've been accumulating for so long.
34 replies
Deal Addict
Feb 7, 2006
2294 posts
879 upvotes
Catnippy wrote: I'm over 50 and have been working for the same company for 15 years. My work responsibilities have always been reasonable, even if some are outside skills set (IT degree and MBA) and I've received good performance appraisals over the years. Now I've been placed into a urgent project which is in total chaos, no one wants to be on it, one person went on stress leave after a few months. Every morning my manager and director yell at me for detailed plans and deliverables from the team members. It's been 3 weeks now, the participants are all frustrated, I'm pointed to documents dated 2016, no one will give me consistent info and people smile knowingly when they hear I was delegated at the tail end to "fix things up". Wondering if this is a company ploy to suddenly point out my weaknesses (I admitted that I don't have the specialist skills for this) so they don't have to give me a bonus, retirement benefits and trying to force me out because of my age.

Anyone encounter this? What I hate most is that I get told to hide facts, not attend meetings but not tell the chair, and my manager points his hand at my face like 1.5 feet away in front of everyone in our meetings. I worked late and all last weekend to finish a document, and got shouted out again on Monday and the rest of the week. So much so, that I haven't logged into work this weekend at all because I expect demanding emails which are really stressing me out. I've made initial contact with one employment lawyer and have another's number in my cell.

Has anyone encountered this before, and anyone give me some advice? Don't want them to beat me out of retirement benefits that I've been accumulating for so long.
Welcome to the work world, where professionals are often thrown into unusual/uncomfortable situations. Seems like to me you were on an easy ride for much of your career, and now when you have to do "real work" you're looking for excuses and other people to blame for your lack of work ethic and skills (i.e. "forcing senior out of a job").
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 29, 2012
2174 posts
542 upvotes
In Hiding
Wow what kind of animal are you to judge me like that? I used to work 90 hour weeks with no extra pay for a reasonable employer and have taken on more than challenging projects - 5 people on this project have told their manager they want out, so I'm not the only one. Are you 22 years old and not able to find a job?

You're the one who posted
"I worked at Amazon (Canada) for about 3 months in a finance capacity and quit - they really put you through the grinder in that company. You're basically 'on call' 24/7 firefighting issues all day, everyday...you can't even forget or drop your work for a day without people chastising you. Not worth it."

I guess your work ethic isn't up to scratch and you're a lazy slob who can't handle a few problems 'cos you can't even survive 3 months!
Deal Addict
Feb 7, 2006
2294 posts
879 upvotes
Catnippy wrote: Wow what kind of animal are you to judge me like that? I used to work 90 hour weeks with no extra pay for a reasonable employer and have taken on more than challenging projects - 5 people on this project have told their manager they want out, so I'm not the only one. Are you 22 years old and not able to find a job?

You're the one who posted
"I worked at Amazon (Canada) for about 3 months in a finance capacity and quit - they really put you through the grinder in that company. You're basically 'on call' 24/7 firefighting issues all day, everyday...you can't even forget or drop your work for a day without people chastising you. Not worth it."

I guess your work ethic isn't up to scratch and you're a lazy slob who can't handle a few problems 'cos you can't even survive 3 months!
Yeah, except instead of whining about my job I went and found another one - and didn't blame it on my age or lack of skills like you. Why don't you go do the same? Oh that's right, a lazy "senior" like you is probably pretty unemployable...
Sr. Member
Nov 22, 2017
715 posts
422 upvotes
Communication with higher ups and documentation is key in these instances. Do you feel that you have what it takes to complete this project? If not, then you need to send your higher up an email and let them know why you are not the right person for this. If they put up a fight start making demands, i.e. in order to complete this i will need this and that person with this and that skillset to help me. You need to start making demands and pushing deadlines with upper management.
Newbie
Nov 2, 2016
42 posts
23 upvotes
winner2000 wrote: Yeah, except instead of whining about my job I went and found another one - and didn't blame it on my age or lack of skills like you. Why don't you go do the same? Oh that's right, a lazy "senior" like you is probably pretty unemployable...
I think the assumptions and attacks are uncalled for. The OP asked for help not criticism. Does it make you feel superior to put someone else who is already struggling down?

To the OP: I agree with the above in saying that communication with your boss ad managers is key to resolving your situation.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4908 posts
3812 upvotes
Catnippy wrote: Wow what kind of animal are you to judge me like that? I used to work 90 hour weeks with no extra pay for a reasonable employer and have taken on more than challenging projects - 5 people on this project have told their manager they want out, so I'm not the only one. Are you 22 years old and not able to find a job?

You're the one who posted
"I worked at Amazon (Canada) for about 3 months in a finance capacity and quit - they really put you through the grinder in that company. You're basically 'on call' 24/7 firefighting issues all day, everyday...you can't even forget or drop your work for a day without people chastising you. Not worth it."

I guess your work ethic isn't up to scratch and you're a lazy slob who can't handle a few problems 'cos you can't even survive 3 months!
Ignore him. Clearly, he doesn't know much about life or people. In fact, feel sorry for people like him. Hilarious, his username is winner lol ...seems anything but if he has to unnecessarily attack/direspect/judge strangers on the internet.

As for your question at hand, my initial reaction was that they're in a bind and they've identified you as their go-to guy (perhaps because of your seniority, skillset, etc.) and their frustration is actually misdirected anger at their own incompetencies for getting into this mess in the first place. Most project are not planned for properly and go off the rails and this is what ends up happening. It's true you may be the scapegoat - if they do end up letting you go, I'm convinced it would be a blessing in disguise...do you really want to work for an employer that treats you like that? Seems very disrespectful. What kind of company do you work for since you mentioned retirement benefits?
Deal Addict
Nov 30, 2011
1033 posts
405 upvotes
GTA
It happens. It happened to me (@ 52). 10 years in and I was assigned the project no one else wanted or had the bandwidth for. People often asked me who I pissed off to get this project. The role was to implement 3rd party software, internally across multiple functional areas. The vendor was immature in this particular industry so dates kept getting pushed. Myself, my VP and another VP were all canned when the project did not go live as anticipated. We all sued, to various degrees, for wrongful dismissal and won. It wasn't the ideal situation but at the end of the day I am much healthier to be out of that toxic environment.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
35744 posts
21855 upvotes
Center of Universe
winner2000 wrote: Yeah, except instead of whining about my job I went and found another one - and didn't blame it on my age or lack of skills like you. Why don't you go do the same? Oh that's right, a lazy "senior" like you is probably pretty unemployable...
You're one of those guys huh?
I bet you're the least liked amongst your peers.
Deal Addict
Feb 7, 2006
2294 posts
879 upvotes
vkizzle wrote: You're one of those guys huh?
I bet you're the least liked amongst your peers.
Yep, I'm definitely one of "those guys" who doesn't whine on the internet about how my job is hard or how I'm being targeted because of my "age" and instead goes out and does something about it. Guilty as charged.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 10, 2005
9810 posts
3353 upvotes
Catnippy wrote: I'm over 50 and have been working for the same company for 15 years. My work responsibilities have always been reasonable, even if some are outside skills set (IT degree and MBA) and I've received good performance appraisals over the years. Now I've been placed into a urgent project which is in total chaos, no one wants to be on it, one person went on stress leave after a few months. Every morning my manager and director yell at me for detailed plans and deliverables from the team members. It's been 3 weeks now, the participants are all frustrated, I'm pointed to documents dated 2016, no one will give me consistent info and people smile knowingly when they hear I was delegated at the tail end to "fix things up". Wondering if this is a company ploy to suddenly point out my weaknesses (I admitted that I don't have the specialist skills for this) so they don't have to give me a bonus, retirement benefits and trying to force me out because of my age.

Anyone encounter this? What I hate most is that I get told to hide facts, not attend meetings but not tell the chair, and my manager points his hand at my face like 1.5 feet away in front of everyone in our meetings. I worked late and all last weekend to finish a document, and got shouted out again on Monday and the rest of the week. So much so, that I haven't logged into work this weekend at all because I expect demanding emails which are really stressing me out. I've made initial contact with one employment lawyer and have another's number in my cell.

Has anyone encountered this before, and anyone give me some advice? Don't want them to beat me out of retirement benefits that I've been accumulating for so long.
1. what is your role on the Project?
2. do you have a history of saving projects?
The leader of the past may have been a person who knew how to tell, but certainly, the leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask. -Peter Drucker
Jr. Member
Nov 14, 2012
129 posts
33 upvotes
Toronto
Is this project some high level executive wet dream? If so you need his peer to put an end to it, the key here is not to say no yourself but point to the person saying it.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 29, 2012
2174 posts
542 upvotes
In Hiding
Yes, I do have a history of saving dysfunctional teams, but not projects on which I have the wrong skills. No, actually the executives know something is wrong, but no one will tell them about the chaos. I went way deep in my due diligence to uncover what is wrong, but there's no time to rectify everything because morale is at an all time low. I did create a strategy for going forward which was accepted, but the deadline is too tight to rally the team with a detailed delivery plan so we'll focus on critical mandatory tasks to completion while surfacing the risks. Found out end dates were given without consideration of vacation dates, contractor terminations, and role backup/skills transfer. Anyway, I now believe that they'll get the same person who went on stress leave to continue leading the project and I'll focus on injecting efficiencies to meet the commitments.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
35744 posts
21855 upvotes
Center of Universe
winner2000 wrote: Yep, I'm definitely one of "those guys" who doesn't whine on the internet about how my job is hard or how I'm being targeted because of my "age" and instead goes out and does something about it. Guilty as charged.
You must be a millennial.
Op is part of an aging workforce that studied and earned a degree, while your mom was still breastfeeding you.
Technology advances very quickly and it's up to the employer to provide the necessary training or reimburse employees who goes back to school and updates their education to be more relevant.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 10, 2005
9810 posts
3353 upvotes
Catnippy wrote: Yes, I do have a history of saving dysfunctional teams, but not projects on which I have the wrong skills. No, actually the executives know something is wrong, but no one will tell them about the chaos. I went way deep in my due diligence to uncover what is wrong, but there's no time to rectify everything because morale is at an all time low. I did create a strategy for going forward which was accepted, but the deadline is too tight to rally the team with a detailed delivery plan so we'll focus on critical mandatory tasks to completion while surfacing the risks. Found out end dates were given without consideration of vacation dates, contractor terminations, and role backup/skills transfer. Anyway, I now believe that they'll get the same person who went on stress leave to continue leading the project and I'll focus on injecting efficiencies to meet the commitments.
They don't need to set you up to let you go. I believe their intentions are genuine and they truly believe that you can help the project.
The leader of the past may have been a person who knew how to tell, but certainly, the leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask. -Peter Drucker
Deal Addict
Feb 15, 2012
3587 posts
3171 upvotes
Toronto
my senior director, who was around 55, was forced to retire. they didnt try to put him in some complicated project to can him but instead they did the opposite. one by one they started taking projects away from him
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User avatar
Mar 10, 2005
9810 posts
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dracolnyte wrote: my senior director, who was around 55, was forced to retire. they didnt try to put him in some complicated project to can him but instead they did the opposite. one by one they started taking projects away from him
No such thing as a forced retirement. He was probably packaged out.
Last edited by blexann on Aug 4th, 2019 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The leader of the past may have been a person who knew how to tell, but certainly, the leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask. -Peter Drucker
Deal Addict
Feb 15, 2012
3587 posts
3171 upvotes
Toronto
blexann wrote: No such thing as a forced retirement. He as probably packaged out.
well yeah, same thing, except they would announce it as a retirement. hence forced retirement
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2017
1190 posts
956 upvotes
Hi OP
Here would be my recommendation. Communication is defiantly key but there are few essential components missing.

First I would start off asking your management what their expectations are of you and why they feel previous people were unable to deliver. I think you need to level set what they want.

Second, I would do an assessment of the project, who’s been doing what, what’s worked, what has not worked

Third identify high level deliverables on what the end state looks like in 1,3,6 months. You can then focus on what’s immediate vs what’s needs planning

Last assess your resource requirements. What can you do vs need help from either direct employees or shared resources.

What may be happening is a few assumptions on both ends which is causing the confusion and frustrations. Walk in with an open mind, try to understand what they want of you and then assess whether you are the right person. I wouldn’t count yourself out. You are tenured and maybe tapped on the shoulder to help out. Don’t throw in the towel so quick. But don’t be afraid to ask for help.

As a tech and data executive today, I can honestly tell you my team (good or bad) has always been my crutch and we always figure out a path forward. I couldn’t do it without them and ask them for help when needed all the time as I do with my management team above me.

Good luck
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2013
2355 posts
718 upvotes
New Brunswick
Op, I would contact a lawyer. It sounds like they might be trying to construct dismissal you.

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