I have two high-achieving women that give my errors to management when they see them.  I know because they receive a call on what I’m working on and then I see supervisors looking at that case just no notes.  I take the time to learn my job and become faster and more accurate.

Now I’ve been placed on a Performance Improvement Plan.  How can I ensure management that I am a great employee but take longer to get there? I explained in my interview that I am not quick with new software and they hired me anyway because I was exceptionally qualified for the position.

Since I don’t know what your job is, it’s hard to say how important errors are. If you’re a nurse, errors can be fatal. Everything else can be somewhere along the lines of horrifying to no big deal. I’m guessing this is somewhere in the middle–not the end of the world, but an expense for the company.

So, what do you do? Listen to your boss and ignore your co-workers. They haven’t said anything to you directly, and the errors you are making are real errors. If they were lying about your errors that would be a different thing, but it seems like they are not–they are simply pointing them out to the boss. Now, if others are making the same errors and you are being targeted, then that would be a bullying situation, which would need to be dealt with, but it seems to me like the problem here is you’re making errors.

Some people can pick up new software quickly; others take an awful lot of time. You’re in the latter group and you knew that and explained that when you were hired. However, managers sometimes get anxious when someone isn’t up to speed rapidly, even if, logically, they knew it would take a while. Hence, the PIP.

So, take a look at your plan. I’m guessing it’s for 60 or 90 days (hopefully the latter). Go over everything on it and double check your work every day. Ask your manager for feedback. If you have a question, ask your co-workers for help. Tell your manager you appreciate her spelling out the areas you need to work on and that you are going to ensure that you work hard to meet your goals. Make sure you meet with your manager weekly to discuss your progress.

The PIP is the time your manager is giving you to learn the software and get up to speed. There’s no law that requires her to do that (although company policy probably does). Take it as a really painful blessing.

And, in addition, I, the queen of typos, am going to warn you against typos. Every “I” in your email was written in lower case. That indicates it’s not a typo but a habit. While I’m not your boss and I have no idea who you are in the real world, if you’re sending emails like this at work, even if your other work is picture perfect, people will get a bad impression. The occasional typo happens, glaring errors should be fixed before hitting send.

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12 thoughts on “My Co-Workers Tattle on Me

  1. With learning software it may be that you are a visual learner meaning you need pictograms (with screenshots) of steps rather than written instructions to help you learn. It might be worth asking for this type of help. If that works for you it may be that you are neuroatypical learner (have difficulty with sequencing etc) and it might be worth exploring that more.

    1. Original poster here. Thank you for your responses. So much of my job is decision making as well. I try to do everything I can for my customers instead of letting them do parts of their own plan. I’m just getting a better grasp on these issues and where to push back. The position forces you to take calls when you finish one interaction so I feel as though I keep getting more cases and tasks and cannot get to the ones I already have.
      The early and late shifts have more administrative time because the call volume is slow. I’ve mentioned this before so when calls are backed up I can’t GET to my work and I try to hit on a case quickly. If you enter a case in the wrong sequence, you ‘break’ the work flow. Then since I’m behind, it’s hard not to rush and make seemingly careless mistakes.

      To reply to Carl, I am a visual learner. They are only now putting procedures into place and I have been using it. So you hit the nail on the head.

      Evil HRLady. My i’s weren’t capitalized because I used my cell phone and turned off autocorrect so my i’s didn’t capitalize themselves. My thanks to you. I was under the impression that many have abou Improvement Plans, they are just a way to document when firing is really on their mind

  2. I’d add to Carr’s point above that if your employer doesn’t have directions like that, it would be helpful for you to document it that way yourself. This doesn’t have to be a complicated thing. Just open word, press the “print scrn” button on your keyboard (usually located in the top row on the right) to capture the screen you need to remember, and then paste into word. Just having those visual reminders to go back to will help tremendously, especially for tasks you don’t do daily.

    1. Yes, if you KNOW you need an extra tool like a cheat sheet, don’t ask for it. Make it yourself. Check the software publisher’s website for training material or reach out to their help desk. Don’t be the guest at the table waiting to be served! Jump up, survey the buffet table, and help yourself!

      1. Quite often the person who needs the cheat sheet can’t make it themselves especially if they are neuroatypical or it would take them an excessive amount of time. The onus is on the employer to make training materials available in ways that are accessible to those that need them. You can guarantee OP is not the only visual learner in her company.

  3. It may also help to get some specific feedback from your boss about whether (and how) your mistakes are directly impacting your co-workers. The tattle-telling on the part of your coworkers is childish – unless your mistakes are impacting their ability to get their tasks done.

    Maybe a better understanding of how your part of the work fits in with the bigger picture or the ripple effect it has on other coworkers will help you understand better.

  4. I would also note that it’s possible her other co-workers are being affected by her mistakes, receiving complaints/pushback, etc.

  5. The Queen of Typos, that far-away Grecian isle,
    Casts her eye, putting every missive on trial;
    A dangling participle here, an Oxford comma there,
    Watch out troubled writer, beware, beware;
    Lest your errors cause your writing to be shady,
    And you suffer the gaze of the Evil HR Lady;
    Who has a warning so good and so true,
    That the better you write the better for you;
    Capitalize those I’s and make it snappy,
    Because good grammar will make your boss happy.

    1. Thank Chris, working on it. Had a job at the largest healthcare provider in the US for almost NH successful tenure and they preferred shorthand in their system notes.

  6. Well, things did not go how I’d hoped today. Boss who wrote PIP said I had left a notebook on her desk (I don’t think so, my desk is the where my notebook was). I had jotted down issues I felt hindered me in getting things done. Like a journal of system issues on one particular day. This was to help see problems better and would never have seen the light of day. Her and the VP spent quite some time putting out stats and probing me as to who did this and who said that? It was a 4 page typed displayed with grafts etc. Ugh! I was completely blindsided. I told her that I don’t recall leaving imy notepad there but if I did, I wish they had not read them and responded to them. I know everything is proprietary and the CAN do so, but should they have?

    Evil, do you really believe Performance Improvement Plans are altruistic and given to retain me me? My research on it backs up how I’m feeling. I do believe my days are numbered. I know I have 110% put forth my best efforts. I just don’t want go through another training. Am I doomed?

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