Should I quit my job or should I get fired

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I see this topic from three years ago and am currently going through a similar situation.

 

i have worked at my current company for just under 5 years and have ein unbefristeten Arbeitsvertrag.

 

The Company is pretty chaotic and the company owner is useless (he inherited it from his father but has few leadership skills himself). He brought in a Betriebsleiter last year who unfortunately has been bullying me - a mixture of gaslighting, ignoring requests for help (far too much work for our team to manage, mega stress) and the icing on the cake last week, he arguing with me whilst I was in tears in my office due to the stress. He was blocking the door so I couldn’t escape and kept on and on haranguing me, although I had turned my back, had my head in my hands on the desk and asked him to leave me in peace. This went on for about 10 minutes with three colleagues as witnesses, one of whom asked him several times to leave me alone. Lots of shouting, both by me and him - I am normally a quiet and calm person but was completely emotionally collapsed.

 

I managed to get out of the office past him and went straight to the doctor to get written off sick. I have 2 weeks to work out what to do. I have been applying for jobs for a couple of months but it’s tricky for me with my qualifications not being German and I only want to work part time.

 

my gut feeling is I need to leave to preserve my health (this is my third stress sickness in 14 months, each with him as a significant factor). I can afford to wait 3 months for unemployment benefit, in fact I can afford to give up work completely if I live frugally, but my partner who is German is worried about my CV if I resign. I would prefer to work but not at the expense of my mental health.

 

Alternative 2 is I ask the big boss to let me go. I am not sure if he will, and I don’t know if this is worse for the CV than me resigning.

 

Is me resigning really bad for my CV? Are there any reasons I could explain it to a potential employer apart from being too stressed, as that makes me look like a bad prospect.

 

I hasten to add, in the UK I had no such problems with work and amongst my colleagues in this current job everything is great. We work well together and I am a very good employee for the company, just a personality/style clash with the Betriebsleiter and the boss’s unwillingness to employ enough people so we are not permanently stressed.

 

Any advice appreciated!

 

Auntie Helen

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5 minutes ago, Auntie Helen said:

Alternative 2 is I ask the big boss to let me go. I am not sure if he will, and I don’t know if this is worse for the CV than me resigning.

 

It doesn't sound as if your boss has cause to fire you. 

 

Alternative 3 would be an Aufhebungsvertrag where you mutually agree on termination of your contract.

 

Your Betriebsleiter sounds like an ass and you can't change him. Make sure you negotiate the wording of your Arbeitszeugnis along with your termination. 

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12 minutes ago, Auntie Helen said:

i have worked at my current company for just under 5 years and have ein unbefristeten Arbeitsvertrag.

You may want to check the details of your company pension plan. It should give you some extra pension benefit once you reach retirement age - provided that you have completed at least 5 years (= 60 months, not five full calendar years) of employment.

Now, your current situation may cause you to decide otherwise, but you should at least be aware of this matter.

 

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Lenny made a good point about determining when your pension contributions will vest. You might want to contact one of the free advisory services in your area.

 

 

 

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It's good that you have two weeks. Your GP can extend your medial leave as s/he sees fit if you can convince him that going to work has a bad effect on your health. I would discuss it with him/her asap. So you might have even more time to figure out what to do. Just some ideas: 

- Does your company have a Betriebsrat? (probably not if rather small and run by an owner) or do you have a decent HR department? If so, make them aware of the problem.

- Is there anyone in a position of authority (i.e. direct colleague etc.) that might support you and could help as a mediator between you and the boss? It is probably pointless to try to talk to the Betriebsleiter directly if the situation has deteriorated that much.  

- Are the colleagues who witnessed the situation willing to "testify" and support you? 

Own the narrative before the idiot starts spreading rumours about how you can't deal with a bit of stress etc. 

 

It is usually easier to find a new job if you are currently employed. How is the job market looking for your skillset? Even if you resign, it is not automatically a red flag for employers (at least it isn't for me, if people have a reasonable explanation. Change of ownership of the company and "different ideas about and styles of leadership" are a polite enough explanation). 

I'd say enjoy your time off, take care of yourself, update your resume and browse job sites or ask professional contacts (that you can trust) if they have heard of any openings. If you know a coach that you have worked with before, it wouldn't hurt to talk to them to develop a strategy to deal with the pr*ck in case a situation like that happens again. For me that is absolutely unacceptable and if there is any way to report him for it in your company or elsewhere, you definitely should. 

 

Another idea: How badly does the boss need you? If you were to quit, would he try to convince you to stay? Maybe you would negotiate a restructuring where you report to him directly without the Betriebsleiter as an in-between. 

 

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1 hour ago, Lenny Nero said:

You may want to check the details of your company pension plan. It should give you some extra pension benefit once you reach retirement age - provided that you have completed at least 5 years (= 60 months, not five full calendar years) of employment.

Now, your current situation may cause you to decide otherwise, but you should at least be aware of this matter.

 

Hi Lenny, thanks for the response.

 

i don’t have a company pension plan at all. It’s a very small company (30 employees) with no Betriebsrat and precious little plan/structure.

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1 hour ago, maxie said:

It's good that you have two weeks. Your GP can extend your medial leave as s/he sees fit if you can convince him that going to work has a bad effect on your health. I would discuss it with him/her asap. So you might have even more time to figure out what to do. Just some ideas: 

Many thanks Maxie,

 

I have good colleagues who I think will support me, and one of whom says she will attend the meeting with the bossboss with me when I return after sick leave.

 

I would like to give the bossboss the opportunity to find a solution if he wants to keep me there. I can’t myself think of one as BossBoss finds the job of running a company boring and just wants to think up new logos for the company and dream his dreams, thus the Betriebsleiter who takes care of everything. But in my meeting with BossBoss I will approach it from the angle of “is there any solution so I can stay in this company”?

 

We have no Betriebsrat and the HR lady left last month as she couldn’t stand it any longer either. She has not yet been replaced. My colleague who will help me still has the balls to speak to the Betriebsleiter but I don’t feel I can, unfortunately. I don’t worry about discussions in the company about this issue as all the workers know what the BL is like and we are all madly job-hunting, I have lots of support from them all.

 

Job market for me isn’t brilliant as I am a Key Account Manager/Sachbearbeiter but without a German Ausbildung. I speak decent enough German but would prefer to work in English again, as I did at the beginning with this company before my customers changed to German-speaking ones. As I only want part time there aren’t many jobs, but I did find this one five years ago so they do exist!

 

I think you are right, I need to get my stress levels down by having this time off and knowing that I will be leaving at the end of next month so I only have to work another 3 weeks (annual leave booked for my 50th birthday mid-June). I am quite well paid so that makes it a bit harder to leave but what is money if you can’t sleep, have no free mind at the weekend and feel afraid to see your boss!

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What about asking your Hausarzt for a Kur to buy some time? And some sort of meeting with the bossboss to which all staff members are invited?

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That is a good idea fom Jeba. Ask for another sick note and then apply for a Kur. This means you will have about 6 weeks to rethink your strategy and be paid for it. Don’t worry about some of your colleagues having to cover for you, that is one of the tasks a Betriebsleiter is paid to do.   

 

During this time you can search the market for a new job or decide to stay where you are.

 

You could also contact the Arbeitsagentur to ask if you will qualify for unemployment benefit from day one because of your situation. A friend of mine was in a similar situation and didn‘t have to live off her savings at all. I must add that other people left her company more or less at the same time and the company name kept cropping up in the reason for leaving at the Arbeits Agentur.

 

Please think very carefully before leaving without a new job in sight. You said you have no German qualifications and you only want to work part-time and we have Corona too.

 

As Engelchen also pointed out, start thinking about the reference you would like just in case. What are your main responsibilities, have you worked on any projects. Are your customers satisfied with you? The date and reason for leaving is very important. After five years of working at your company make sure the leaving date is at the end of a quarter not in the middle of a month .

 

Take a deep breath, appply for a kur and pamper yourself a little.:D   

 

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5 hours ago, Auntie Helen said:

 I can’t myself think of one as BossBoss finds the job of running a company boring and just wants to think up new logos for the company and dream his dreams, thus the Betriebsleiter who takes care of everything. But in my meeting with BossBoss I will approach it from the angle of “is there any solution so I can stay in this company”?

 

We have no Betriebsrat and the HR lady left last month as she couldn’t stand it any longer either. She has not yet been replaced. My colleague who will help me still has the balls to speak to the Betriebsleiter but I don’t feel I can, unfortunately. I don’t worry about discussions in the company about this issue as all the workers know what the BL is like and we are all madly job-hunting, I have lots of support from them all.

[...]

 I am quite well paid so that makes it a bit harder to leave but what is money if you can’t sleep, have no free mind at the weekend and feel afraid to see your boss!

 

Looking at the entire picture I believe:

- BossBoss doesn't care about retaining worker bees, that's why he hired the Betriebsleiter

- Betriebsleiter is making a major power grab by "cleaning house" = bullying out *everybody* and hiring his friends

- You are especially a target because of your good pay - Betriebsleiter wants cheaper workers tied to him!

 

To use the immortal words of Alison Greene from "Ask A Manager": "Your boss sucks and he won't change. I'm sorry."

 

Meaning I would get written off sick as much as possible and find a way to get out. Don't sign anything they present to you without talking to a lawyer!

And - this bullying is called "Mobbing" in German, and is very definitely illegal.

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Thanks Metall.

 

My BossBoss has a plaque on the wall of his office that says “love it, change it or leave it’ which is pretty much a summary of my options. Option 1 no chance, option 2 tiny chance, so not much hope. 

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Auntie Helen, you have my sympathy. I have a similar ass in my workplace. None of the co-workers like him. I think he's actually a bad worker himself. He's supposed to delegate, support, inform, train, and work alongside us in a congenial way but he seems frequently out of his depth and on a daily basis berates  or tries to belittle someone on the team like he has some harassment quota to fulfill. Talking to the boss about him hasn't led the boss to move him to another of our filale either. We are stuck with him until his x number of months with us are up. He's a young, ambitious refugee so I think the boss is trying to give him a good chance in Germany, which is noble and well meant, but comes at the expense of the rest of his workers. We have new hires so it's not some weird boss trying to get a middle man to mob out workers to try and save money in corona time either.

 

Morale in the place is like everyone is on gaurd when the guy shows up in case they find they are on his secret hit list that day. Who will get humilated, betrated, in front of customers/coworkers or hey, just alone one on one with Mr. Tantrum today? Does he have a spinning dart board in his home that has every worker's name on it? He throws a dart as the board spins before heading to work and hones in on that 'darted' person. Eine meanie minie mo! This guy needs to quit, not any of us. We are staying like a wall and he can't break us down! Don't let that ass in your workplace get you down either. 

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9 hours ago, Auntie Helen said:

personality/style clash with the Betriebsleiter

 

whatever you do, please DON'T cite this as the reason for leaving your job.  I have read that this is a big red flag for prospective employers.  You think you're being diplomatic by not writing "my boss was a huge asshole" but without knowing you, all they see is that you don't know how to get along with others.

 

That being said, please get out of there!  My heart goes out to you so much.  I know the deal.  Furchtbar.  And I never even had to sign out sick.  So you're really suffering.

 

You can make up any old shit for why you quit.  In your place I would even be honest if pressed for details.  The leadership changed hands at some point and took a turn that you felt didn't leave you any room or prospect for advancement.  You can say it was too far from your house, took too much time away from your needlepoint, whatever.  Just don't say the thing about the personality clash.  I wish you sooo much luck and please please look after your health above all.  Fuck that asshole.  Do what you need to do.

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2 hours ago, cybil said:

secret hit list

 

oh no.  I have worked with people like that.  It sucks to be sure but remember to breathe, breathe, breathe and keep in mind that they are already way worse off than you.  Happy and fulfilled people don't go around torturing others.  Little comfort in the moment, I'm sure, and I have also gone toe to toe with such assholes even knowing that it is futile and a waste of time and peace.  Best way to handle people that landed on you for their daily harassment target is to smile and wish them a great shift or lay your hand on their shoulder and ask them if everything is OK because they seem REALLY stressed out and it shows.  I don't usually advocate passive-aggressive approaches but sometimes you are forced to beat them over the head with your point in order to get your point across and you would never stoop to the level of actually treating your co-workers badly so are left only that as an alternative.

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And sometimes if you treat people you don't like nicely, they turn around and respond positively. It doesn't always work, but it still leaves you feeling better than if you treat them badly.
I don't mean you have to pretend they're your new bosom buddies, just show them the same friendly demeanor you show others.

bosom buddies

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8 hours ago, dessa_dangerous said:

 

whatever you do, please DON'T cite this as the reason for leaving your job.  I have read that this is a big red flag for prospective employers.  You think you're being diplomatic by not writing "my boss was a huge asshole" but without knowing you, all they see is that you don't know how to get along with others.

 

That being said, please get out of there!  My heart goes out to you so much.  I know the deal.  Furchtbar.  And I never even had to sign out sick.  So you're really suffering.

 

You can make up any old shit for why you quit.  In your place I would even be honest if pressed for details.  The leadership changed hands at some point and took a turn that you felt didn't leave you any room or prospect for advancement.  You can say it was too far from your house, took too much time away from your needlepoint, whatever.  Just don't say the thing about the personality clash.  I wish you sooo much luck and please please look after your health above all.  Fuck that asshole.  Do what you need to do.

Thanks for the advice. I know it is deeply unwise to say anything negative about the leadership, so I will have to suggest it is a desire for a new challenge after five years, combined with some rearrangement of roles within the company.

 

I sort-of made the decision yesterday that I will resign at the end of this month, following a meeting with BossBoss a week before to give him a chance to change things (which I don’t think will happen). My heart felt a little lifted and my general mood improved, which gives me a gut feeling I have made the right decision for me. I had a job interview last week with a recruiter and should have one with the company themselves this week so that gives me a little hope. I have even bought a car to give me the option to go for jobs further away (at the moment I cycle the 5km to work).

 

I am a strong believer in looking after my health and not taking this stress when it isn’t entirely necessary. My German chap is from a different culture and I think feels resigning is perhaps not the best idea, but he will support my decision. We are from completely different work climates and it shows, although he has much more experience than me and is a big cheese. But my health is more important than not slightly damaging my career, which is nearly over anyway.

 

Many thanks to you all for your advice and support.

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The gap in the CV is very much a German thing, they seem to be terrified of having a gap, and yet, I know lots of people today who are taking a break from their jobs and before getting a new one.  You need to get your strength and confidence back, and then you can either tell the Betriebsleiter and/or BossBoss, calmly, that you will not be spoken to that way, that you will continue with your job, but you need to be left alone to get on with it, or, you leave and find something else.

 

Your health is so much more important than this job. Doors closing and other doors opening is so true, and often situations like this are a sign that something needs to change. Either the company change, but if you feel they won’t, then you need to change something.

 

I feel so sorry for you. Take your two weeks sick leave and build your confidence back up. For whatever reason, this man bullied you and that cannot be allowed, or accepted.

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I'm sorry to hear this Auntie. Been there.

 

Everything Tap said.

 

But I would not do them the favour of saying "or else I will leave". Why give them so much information (and by extension power. Keep 'em guessing) ? And it sounds like a threat. And limits your options if you feel you have to be true to your word. I'm guessing you are that sort of girl.

 

Unfortunately idiots in positions of power are not thin on the ground, and there is some danger of jumping out of the chip pan and into the fire - especially if you have a tendency to attract their attentions simply by being damn good at what you do. Tall poppy by any chance?

 

The biggest lesson I learnt whilst working in a teuton environment was to say "no." Firmly. Without apology. Or smiles. That way they know you mean it. Otherwise known as setting your own limits. Because they won't. They'll just keep taking as much as you will give. Different culture. Indeed.

 

Understaffed? Management problem, not yours. Do what you can in good conscience but not more.The fact you are overloaded is not a reflection on your capabilities. (I left one job and they gave my work to FIVE people... ) Leave stuff undone. Miss a few deadlines. You are only human. As long as you keep delivering the goods, they will not employ more staff. Your colleagues need to do the same. Or the game of hot potato will begin.

 

If they cannot have a civilised conversation, I would calmly leave the room. I so regret not doing that on a couple of occasions. Although the bully physically blocking the door provides an anecdote, have to say. I once had (one of) the boss(es) beating his breast like a chimp claiming I was his property, sorry, his secretary. My next job was better, but eventually the same old procedure kicked in. And the next one the same. Office politics. Group dynamics. Guess it must have been me :lol:

 

I know how hard it is to dig in your heels. And hindsight is a wonderful thing. Sometimes walking away is the right thing to do and indeed your health is far more important than the salary slip. Please don't let them intimidate you though. Moving on is an option, but not obligatory. You feel better already, because you have decided to take control.

 

Good luck.

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Good for you Aunty Helen, you've taken control over your life back and that's the best thing you could have done.  Take some time now to enjoy your life, and I'm quite sure, something will turn up when you're ready.

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