Taken from ''J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs' - the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the U.S. and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I'm an RN who was recently terminated. The reason given was "communication" and that my "attitude has been bad for weeks." I was sent home twice in the week I was terminated. I was instructed by HR to approach my boss to initiate a conversation. The talk was interrupted by a phone call, so I stepped out of the office. I waited, but eventually left. (It was the end of the day.) The next day, my boss waved my vacation request in my face and said, "You can have your vacation," and then stated that my employment was being severed. I believe that I'm just a scapegoat because my boss had been given poor performance reviews. Any thoughts on what I could do would be appreciated. — Carol J.T.: I'm going to be candid and tell you, based on what I read, that I don't see any way to alter what has transpired. The fact that your HR department was involved and you were sent home repeatedly means that, in short, they covered their bases. As for the way it was handled, your company probably felt they made it clear to you that your attitude was an issue and that they expected you to fix it. Dale: Speaking of being clear, let's back up, Carol, and see if I've got this straight: You have a boss who is struggling with her own performance issues, who twice sent you home, at which point you needed someone from HR to tell you to have a conversation with her, which you then abandoned because it was quitting time. Meanwhile, you had submitted a vacation request. Right? If so, it's time for a tough-love conversation. You seem to have decided to deal with problems at work by working on deciding who to blame — said another way, you have fallen into victimhood. Here's what I want you to understand, and if you do, it will change your life: "Looking for help" and "looking to help" are the two ends of the success continuum. It is up to you where you spend your career. J.T.: That transformation in attitude is doable, Carol. I know a nurse who'd had co-workers writing horrible notes about how much they hated working with her, begging management to get rid of her. She was put on performance review and sent to a career counselor. Fearful for her job, she really paid attention. At first she was defensive, but eventually she started to see how a better situation could emerge if she spent more time understanding and helping her co-workers. Eventually the results were dramatic. She is now a well-liked and respected member of her company, consistently getting top reviews — and most importantly, for the first time, she loves her job! Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
June 27, 2009