Imagine this, you are on a six month probation in a job that was difficult to find in the first place. Two months into the job, your boss calls you to his office one day and tells you he is dissatisfied with your output on the job. He wants to cut down on your last three months’ probation; however, he is giving you a month’s grace period to prove him wrong or you are a goner, what would you do? At least he gave you a month’s grace period, so with the little time you have, what can you do differently to fall back into the good books of your boss again?
When employers are looking for people to fill a role in their company, they look for people who fit the job description and have the competence and right attitude for the job. That is why every good company that takes its human resource seriously will make its potential employees go through series of interviews and aptitude tests to prove that they are really fit for the job.
However, two months down the line, if the newly employed person does not show any signs of ‘’stepping up his game,’’ can you fault the employer if he starts having second thoughts? This is what he is thinking to himself; ‘’I made a mistake by employing him, he has to be replaced.’’ And like the old Akan proverb, that says “if a blind man threatens to stone you, then he has a foot on one,” he probably has the ‘perfect replacement in mind’. Or he does not have anyone, but he has concluded you are just not good enough.
By now you know you are sitting on a ticking time bomb and your chances of being confirmed as a permanent employee are gradually fading into thin air. You keep rolling the possibility of filing a legal complaint against your employer in your head in case he decides to terminate your offer. The Labour Act in Ghana, unfortunately, does not state clearly the maximum duration of probation period. Neither does it state if it is illegal to be fired during that time. So what do you do to salvage the situation?
Well, in some situations like this, talking to people who have had bad experiences from terrible bosses. They may give you some not so conventional advice. It is always good to listen to the advice of experts in these matters. Susan Heathfield, an HR management consultant has sampled views from people who were in danger of losing their jobs and what they did to keep them. These are some of their comments;
A guest called Ama advised that you stay neutral in the job regardless of what your boss says outwardly. “Your boss will have you in the team, only if (1) he/she realized “others” need you, (2) he/she feels you have learned during the course of the job, (3) he/she feels your “skills” can be put to use in future. So always try to keep that kind of profile, never assume anything even if you are appreciated on the face.
Emmanuel Ashinaga also shared his experience on the best option in keeping your job. He says, “Put more effort into your job and increase your networking for human relationships and development of new ideas.”
For Guest Simon, “The obvious thing to do is to apply for new jobs as soon as the signs are there. The ideal situation is to be given a severance package the day after your new job offer is confirmed. But even if you cannot achieve this perfect timing, getting out before the rush is always a good idea.”
Guest Mzwood advises that you always have a plan. “No one should work 9-5, go home and that’s it. When you complete your 9-5, work on that hobby that could lead to income. Work on that plan to start your own business. Work on that book you always wanted to write, the college course you would love to teach, a community activity that allows you to meet people. When you see yourself or your company in danger, seek your new position before you lose the old one. Use the time to start your own business venture or to turn your hobby into full time employment.”
These are the sole views of people and how they handled the risk of losing their jobs. However, probation is a period to justify your inclusion on a job. It is like a trial test where you use the opportunity given you to prove your worthiness. After that, your employer has the prerogative of confirming or dismissing you.
In as much as you need the job, you do not have to let your employer feel he or is doing you a favour by hiring you. If for some reason you are made to feel you are not good after you have given it your best shot, you have two options; you either step up or step down.