Really, crying when they fire you is sooo undignified.

We hired a part-time girl at the clinic a few months ago who…well, the kindest thing I can say about her is that her personality, priorities, and work ethic don’t mesh well with the rest of the staff. The most accurate thing I can say about her is the entry I wrote in my livejournal, entitled “I hate her. I hate her a lot.” I dislike her as a human being, and I really, really hate her as a coworker.

Why do I hate her? Well, I hate anybody who’s willing to sit on their ass and watch other people bust theirs. That’s really the bulk of the problem people have with her; she’s bone idle lazy. Every other tech in the building can be running like hell, and she’ll be sitting there eating Pop-tarts unless someone actually tells her to do something specific. By the time I can bite my tongue over the urge to tell her to get her thumb out of her ass and come do something, ask her politely, wait for her to dawdle along with it, and discreetly check to make sure it’s done right, I could have already done it myself a couple of times, and I’d know it was done right.

There are other issues, too, such as her not being very reliable, never finishing what she starts, horning in on other people’s cases when the patient is cute and fluffy and not terribly sick but mysteriously disappearing when some disgusting trainwreck rolls in, and always wanting to leave early when there’s work to be done. I think that for the most part, though, those are all just facets of the laziness issue.

All that’s really neither here nor there, though. The upshot of it all is that she’s at the end of her probationary period, and they’d decided to let her go. They were going to let her finish out the month, give her some time to look for another job, etc. Apparently, the doc who does all the performance reviews got as far as it doesn’t seem like a good fit and it’s just not working out when things got hairy. She started bawling, and arguing about how good a job she was doing, and begging them not to fire her.

I find this sort of behavior jaw-dropping for a lot of reasons, really. First and foremost, while I can understand the urge to cry in such a situation, the idea of humiliating myself by giving in to that urge is simply horrifying to me. It’s just…so undignified. It also boggles my mind that anyone could possibly think she’s a good tech. She can pull blood and restrain, yes, but she still can’t reliably put an IV into a 100# dog with good veins and good blood pressure. She hasn’t learned how to take radiographs on her own, or set up for procedures, or hook up basic monitoring equipment, or a dozen other things we need to be able to do. Last but certainly not least, I simply cannot imagine begging for the privelege of working somewhere where they quite obviously don’t want you.

I’d be willing to bet that she wasn’t too thrilled about the idea of weeping and begging either. Sometimes emotions take over and there’s not much to be done about it. Once when I was fired there was one minor thing mentioned in the exit interview that I had supposedly done that I had never done and it was extremely important to me to make it clear to the person firing me that it wasn’t true. She couldn’t have cared less; her response was something to the effect of “thank you for sharing that.”

Dude, that sucks. It must have been frustrating. I think you are right about the situation in the OP though, emotions take over in a situation like that.

The only time I’ve been fired was about 15 years ago when I worked for a doctor’s office. There had been a rash of thefts occuring in the office, and everyone suspected a particular person. One of the other employees had even seen her with some of the stolen stuff (laundry detergent that was used to wash the patient robes–the employee was carrying it out to her car). However, the doctor’s were willing to overlook the “minor” stuff, until a brand new set of Mont Blanc pens disappeared off of one of their desks. So, they bring in a lie detector thing, which was a computer where each employee answered a series of questions like, “I think it is okay to take small things from my employer for my own personal use. True or False.” Towards the end of this, the questions became even more specific, such as, “I think Employee Jane has taken items from her employer.” It asked that about each employee (including myself), of which I answered no to each, except when it came to the employee whom I knew had taken things in the past. Afterwards, I (stupidly) was vocal about the whole experience–how irritated I was because now everyone suspected everyone, and how was it really beneficial to the office environment? Within a week of the test, the suspect quit and went to work else where. Suddenly, the doctor’s office hired three new employees, who were doing the same job I was doing–only they hired them with their pay $3/hr LESS than what I was making. A few weeks later, I’m called into the office of one of the doctor’s and told that I had “abused sick leave” and was being terminated. Funny thing is though, they gave me a month’s severage package, paid me for the six days of vacation and TEN DAYS OF UNUSED SICK LEAVE I had coming. I filed for unemployment, which they initially fought, but the Unemployment Compensation people (after the hearing) questioned them as to why they paid me for unused sick leave when they fired me if they believed I had abused it. The drs. office didn’t have an answer, I got my unemployment and actually, it was the push I needed to go back to college and get a degree, so it all worked out in the end.

However, I remember sitting there when they told me they were “terminating my employment” and thinking, “WTF?”

I agree that it’s not exactly the picture of dignity. I’d be more likely to get all stonefaced and play it super-cool. On the other hand, I can’t really blame someone for reacting to being fired with tears. If it’s really unexpected, maintaining dignity might not be foremost in the person’s mind.

On the other hand, if I got fired from my current job, I’d probably still try to play it cool, but I don’t think I’d be able to conceal the wave of joy and peace that would wash over me. Despite my best efforts, a huge smile would creep across my face and my eyes would betray the overwhelming happiness I’d feel at finally being free. “You’re taking this really well,” they’d probably say, to which I’d reply “Yeah, well. These things happen. So, do you want me to go now? Because I could go now if you want. Seriously.”

Sorry, drifted off into fantasy land for a minute there.

I’ve never been happy about crying at work. It pisses me off no end. But it’s not something that I can control under certain circumstances. The begging, now, that I could control. But there’s a big difference between defending yourself and begging. I WOULD defend myself in a dignified manner (and have.)

They ultimately wound up offering to reduce her hours and give her another probation period, and she agreed to that. I guess that’s a lot of what blows my mind. If somebody told me that I was doing a craptacular job and they were letting me go, then agreed to let me stay just because I was crying and begging, I wouldn’t want to stay. I couldn’t handle working for and with people who thought I was incompetent and wanted me gone. I’d want to cut my losses as soon as possible, and go find a job where they would appreciate what I had to offer, as opposed to just feeling sorry for me.

Unfortunately for her, it’s just a matter of delaying the inevitable anyway. If you haven’t learned in three months that when you volunteer to monitor anesthesia, you have to watch the patient instead of the procedure, or that you can’t just go off and leave an animal in an unsecured cage, another three months isn’t going to get you up to our standards.

They’re letting her stay? :confused:

I assume you will see a 110% increase in her work ethic, right? Otherwise, first time she screws up, she’s out the door?


Poop. I was gonna say that it sounded like you worked at a vet that actually cared about having good staff, but it looks like they’re half-assing it just like everybody else. Not to overtly hijack, but every single vet I’ve taken my dog to has had the worst staff I have ever seen. I mean, even when the doctor is someone you’d trust to perform open heart surgery on your grandma, let alone treat your dog’s paw, the staff just seems to be competing for the STOOPID award.
Disclaimer: I’m sure there are bajillions of hard-working intelligent staff working for vets out there. It’s just that I haven’t actually seen any in person. Ever.

Why on earth would they let her continue to work there? Just because she cried? That’s ridiculous! If she’s not qualified, she’s not qualified.

My sales manager up in SC once had a woman cry during a job interview.

No, we didn’t hire her.

That might have something to do with your being a responsible human being, instead of someone who thinks of a job as a place where she can get paid for just hanging out. If you were the latter (if you can imagine, without severe nausea, that complete a personality transplant), you might cry to keep a job too. Self-respect wouldn’t really be an issue.

Can’t believe the maroons who run your place kept her on.

(Ghanima: maybe I’ve been lucky, but at all the vets I’ve taken my cats to over the years, the staff I encountered all seemed quite competent.)

I’m not sure exactly what the terms are, and since I don’t officially know anything but that there have been schedule changes, I don’t really fancy calling up the vet in question and asking. My understanding is that she’s getting another three-month trial period, during which she will not be considered a permanent employee and will only be working two shifts a week–both of them overnight shifts when things are typically not very busy.

And I have to say, the overnight shift I worked with her, she wasn’t nearly as useless as she tends to be on Sunday evenings. She was fairly good about doing treatments and keeping the laundry moving when I could actually get her to stay in ICU and, you know, monitor the animals that needed constant monitoring. By the end of the shift I wanted a ball gag to shut her up and a cattle prod to get her moving a little faster, but I didn’t have nearly the usual urge to garotte her with a leash.

I think part of it on our side might have been a lack of documentation. It seems like you wouldn’t need documentation of someone standing around when they’re in a probationary period and you’re in an at-will state, but they really like to cover their asses. If nothing else, it helps to have specific instances to point to, rather than vague things like, “Well, you’re lazy and don’t have any technical skills.”

On her side of it, I think part of it is that getting fired from here would really put a damper on her career plans. She plans to go to vet school, you see, and spends a lot of time talking about what specialty she wants to do when she graduates. (Her treatment of getting into vet school, making it through, and getting into a super-competitive residency program like zoo medicine as if it were fait accompli is a major :rolleyes: issue for a lot of us, who realize just how competitive this stuff really is.) As such, she needs a good letter of recommendation from a practicing veterinarian, and she was probably banking on getting extra points with the admission committee for having her letter come from a specialty clinic like ours. Of course, a vet who fires you for being lazy and incompetent isn’t going to write you a recommendation, nor will being fired from a tech job look good on a vet school application.

The other part of it, I think, is that she’s completely self-deluded about her abilities. The poor kid (listen to me, I’m a whopping 6 years older than her, but she really does seem just horribly young to me) honestly thinks that she’s really doing a good job. She thinks being able to get a catheter into a 90# dog sometimes is being “really good at catheters.” (The night she wanted to try putting a line into 7-week puppy, I nearly had a stroke.) She really does think only having to ask the vet three questions about how to do something is knowing how to do it. I think she truly believes that standing in ICU with your back to the seizure watch patients reading a textbook about exotics is adequate monitoring.

I almost feel bad for her, because she’s in for such a world of disillusion. But then she leaves for her second smoke break in three hours while I’ve been trying to get a chance to go pee for the last two hours, and I don’t feel bad at all.

Is your vet really hard up for help?

Can you tell him how much harder it is on the rest of you because she’s not pulling her weight?

Frankly, I think you’d be doing her a favor to pull her aside and telling her the facts of life. She’s clearly delusional about her capabilities and she’s going to get a rude awakening when she’s denied work at the San Diego Zoo.

I work with two people who are as lazy as your coworker. One flat out admits it, but I swear the other one has absolutely no clue that he is lazy and incompetent. I don’t know how these people delude themselves but I’ve seen it more than once. Maybe she just doesn’t know how bad she really is. I am not suggesting that you tell her. It would do no good at all.
I guess these people find a niche somewhere eventually in some job where their uselessness goes unnoticed or ignored.

It sounds like chica is just clueless about things.

Some people need others to list out expectations and chores, and no matter how long they’ve been working a job, they still act like a clueless newbie. They see everyone working purposefully and on their own, but they are unable or unwilling to do likewise.

I’m kinda timid and shy, and I could see myself being the awkward, not-doing-anything, not-fitting-in person in situations where I wanna be, but I just don’t belong. Sounds like this girl, despite her aspirations, is not cut out for being a veterinarian.

Do you think an intervention before this could have helped? I’m not talking about everyone ganging up on her in the breakroom, but more like a polite pull-aside by an individual like yourself, basically to give her a heads-up. Maybe she should have known she was fucking up, but if no one was giving her direct feedback, then of course she’s going to be taken aback by the firing.

As for crying, I can’t fault people for that. Tears spring to my eyes the moment I feel like I’m in trouble (“monstro, come into my office please” is enough to make me cry). I don’t usually bawl in front of others, but I can’t help the tears. The begging and pleading, however, was over-the-top.

We’re pretty hard up for people willing to work those particular shifts, yes. It’s hard to find people who are willing to work third shift for only two shifts a week (one of them on a weekend) on a long-term basis. And we really do need a second person on the overnight shifts, so that when an emergency comes in, the doctor and one tech can work on it and still have somebody monitoring ICU.

I’ve thought about saying something, but she’s not going to listen to me. She knows everything already. Just ask her and she’ll tell you. (No, really. You ask her if she knows how to do something, and she assures you she does. Then she goes and asks a doctor how to do it.) I think the only thing she’s going to listen to is one of the doctors telling her, “Look, you suck. You just plain suck. You’re the suckiest bunch of suck that ever sucked.” And even then, I don’t think she’d truly believe them.

The only consolation is that her rude awakening is likely to come sooner rather than later. Her odds of getting into vet school are, um, less than stellar, especially with a firing from her only tech job on the record.

Worked for her!

My sales manager up in SC once had a woman cry during a job interview.


I once had a candidate start crying during a job interview. No I didn’t want to hire her, but I was outvoted.

She turned out to be pretty good, and has been successful in her career.

At the same time, we hired a cool, confident, polished, highly poised candidate who wound up in the hospital with bleeding ulcers three months later.

Sometimes you never know.

Unskilled and Unaware of It

I dunno, I may try that next. Being qualified, competent and personable doesn’t seem to work for me, why not squeeze out a few tears?