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being moved into a position you are not qualified for, you did not apply for, and were unable to succeed at.

by jmw
(Cleveland, OH)

I was hired as a technical writer by an insurance company in Ohio. After one year the company reorganized and I was put in a Problem analyst role. When asked if I thought I could do the job, my question was "what is the job?"

At the time they couldn't tell me what my daily job duties would be, and they couldn't give me a job description, because it was a new position they were creating.

They told me there was no position available for a technical writer, so I accepted the position and said I would try.

I worked very hard to understand how to do the job. Other people in a similar role had extensive experience in IT and incident management. I had to learn data analysis, I took a training seminar and worked at home to come up to speed.

Within six months I was really struggling. I had frequent discussions with my manager about how the job was not in my area of expertise. My manager agreed and began contacting other departments to see if a technical writer position would be available. Nothing came up, the only technical writer work was being given to contractors and temporary employees.

I continued to struggle. I was repeatedly reprimanded for not performing well. However nowhere was it documented on what tasks needed to be performed, or how to do those tasks. I relied on asking fellow employees. More often than not, I was reprimanded for things that I was completely unaware were "wrong", until my manager criticized for them.

I was told "name" insurance company can't afford to carry people who are a bad fit for the job. I was a bad fit, I knew it and the manager knew it. Every manager I had will say that when I am given a technical writing task, I do excellent work. I looked for job posts and I pleaded with the manager to find another position for me.

In my last weekly manager conference I walked into his office and he
had the paperwork to start the warning process for poor performance and eventual termination. He had been working with his manager and the HR representative to prepare for going down that path.

I was devastated. I was demoralized, and I realized that I was on the road to being fired. When an employee is in the performance warning stage, they are no longer able to apply for other positions in the company and they are not eligible for rehire.

I resigned. I could not make up for the lack of a few years of incident management experience in a few months. In my exit interview I clearly stated that I lacked the background and experience to perform the job, so it is documented.

However, I did not document some of these things because it never occurred to me that I would be able to apply for unemployment.

Most of the conversations with the manager were in private, so I can't prove what he said.

I have appealed denial of benefits on the grounds that the employer failed to provide training to do the job. Also, I was placed in the position, it was not the job I was hired to do, and I did not have prior training or experience to do the job.

I am still appealing and keeping my fingers crossed.

Hi jmw,

I think you need to focus on the fact that what you were hired for disappeared as an option and that the new position was not "suitable work".

Your basic problem with this argument is that you kept at it for 6 months.

So maybe the combination of no prior training or experience, the employer's refusal to provide training might help you prove that the "new position" was unsuitable work for you.

I ..... don't know .. I think I'll cross my fingers for you .. maybe even my toes.

Irregardless of my hesitancy .. it never ever hurts to at least try .. an unemployment hearing can always have potential to be a learning experience.


Comments for being moved into a position you are not qualified for, you did not apply for, and were unable to succeed at.

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Feb 05, 2010
Sure I suck at it. The other option was to quit.
by: jw

I am appealing on the grounds that it was not suitable work in addition to the fact that they did not provide training. However, Ohio law speaks to allowing the employer time to remedy the situation. Ohio law also mentions the the employee did everything they could to preserve the job. I did that.

I feel the fact that I stuck to it and tried to get moved into another position before giving up and quitting shows that I was giving the employer adequate time to remedy the situation, and I did as much as possible to preserve the job.

When I appealed I read the law they cited and copied the section that the determination of work being "suitable" also depends on past training and job experience.This is where I think my chance will be. It was unsuitable, and I gave the employer plenty of time to provide training and I also provided plenty of time for them to remedy the situation by providing me with a suitable position.

I would think that this would be more acceptable than resigning without giving the employer a chance to fix it and not trying to preserve my employment by demonstratimg my willingness to tru to work it out. The only other option was to quit much earlier, and I am sure I would not get unemployment if I had done that.


The problem with proving work was unsuitable after any length of time is that there is this notion that a person would be able to tell fairly soon after accepting work if it isn't suitable to their experience and training. The longer you stay, the more it looks like acceptance

But since the employer eliminated the job you were experienced for and then tried to fit you, a round peg into a square hole, and not offer anything to help you succeed even after you asked for help it might work out for you.

I wish you success with your appeal .. and I of course would like to know how it goes.

If more people would report back on how their appeal hearings went .. it might provide more valuable practical advice that anything I could ever say.

Feb 25, 2010
by: jw

I did find some documents that I worked on while I was in the job and one was a work sheet for job responsibilities. When I took the job they did not give me a job description or a definition of my responsibilities because the job was new and still being defined. The document I found was from June, and that is the point at which I approached the supervisor about needing to transfer out.

So the discussions about the job not being suitable for me started early, and the reason I stuck to it was because the supervisor told me he was trying to locate a position for me to transfer to.

It wasn't until it became apparent that they could not offer me another position, and that I was headed for being fired for poor performance that I quit.

I spoke to a person at unemployment about it, not in her official capacity, but as a friend. She agreed that I had a good chance of getting it. She also mentioned that she had heard similar horror stories about the same employer, so she was not surprised to hear my story. I'm still trying.

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