Almost everyone that has been employed in some fashion has been written up. Be it for using the Internet when company policy forbids it, arriving late to the office continuously, or maybe not performing to your company’s standards, we have all had some sort of “talk or action plan” when it comes to our prospective employment positions.
There are two things you could do when something like this occurs. If it’s not warranted or you feel that the write up is not correct, you could fight it through the policies that are in place at your company or you could sit back, accept the write up for what it is and move forward and work on improving the matter addressed. As a former Human Resources Manager, the best thing to do is to act professionally and responsibly. Depending on the severity of the write up or the reason, acting negatively to the decision to discipline you, or your poor reaction to the news could be the final nail in your coffin.
Here are a few methods or tools that you could use in your workplace after being written up to ensure it does not happen again (and to ensure you keep your job):
- Make sure that you understand the reason(s) for your write-up so there isn’t any misunderstandings. During the meeting to discuss the disciplinary action against you, use words like, “so that I understand, I am being written up because of X,Y, and Z”, or something to that effect. Make sure you are aware of the offense clearly and there are no gray areas.
- Use eye contact and do not interrupt your manager or boss. Looking away or downward may signal that you have something to hide or you are being dishonest. While your manager is talking, do not interrupt. Let him or her get their thoughts out before you chime in and do not raise your voice or show irritability. (do that with a friend or colleague afterwards)
- Understand the terms of the disciplinary action against you. If you are being placed on a probationary period, know what that period is and what they are expecting of you.
- Move forward positively. No one likes to be written up and have it placed in their permanent file, but you won’t win the war theoretically so if you plan on keeping your job, let any negative feelings go as long as you are in the office. Your manager will notice that you are still pleasant to work with and will be more likely to be on your side.
- Do not get other co-workers involved in your situation. Involving others in your write-up (unless they are actually involved and placed in the write-up) is a sure fire way to bring even more drama into a not so pleasant situation. If your friends/co-workers want to go to bat for you, it may do more damage than good.
- Last but not least, if you cannot get past the write up or you simply do not like the predicament you have been placed in, it is time for you to look for another job. You can’t change a bad situation overnight and if this is too much for you, my advice is to give a two weeks notice, granted you can afford to. If not, stick it out until you can. We all have bills to pay.
What are some of your write up stories? Did it end pleasantly or negatively. Let’s converse!