At an old job I used to work, I had a really good track record. At one meeting in particular, one of my bosses said that I was one of the only employees on staff that had such a stellar record. As she explained it, that meant I routinely did an excellent job and got recommendations for a job well done, was never late, and the anonymous staff evaluations of me had been positive. The same year, I got my third raise, and was over the moon about it. They were also finally talking promotion which could not have come at a better time in my life.
But then on one fateful day, an employee had a traumatic incident happen to her before work, and when I innocently inquired why she seemed so upset, she came to my office and fell apart. I mean, what would you do in that situation? Shove her aside? I couldn't do it. I've always maintained that I'm a human being, and sometimes stuff happens that should take precedent over just getting the job done like a cog in the machine. As a result of this office visit, we ended up having ONE client complaint on our public website about how it was the worst thing in life that they had to wait an extra five minutes for us to open up.
Our social media director then alerted the big wigs, as it was his job to do, and the next thing I know, we're having a heads will roll on the chopping block meeting. Every single head of every single department including myself was being called in to stand trial at this thing including people who weren't even involved or didn't even work that day, which I found odd.
Before this meeting could happen, I made it up in my mind that I was a damned good employee, and clearly I was, and if this was going to be the one thing that got me fired, I wasn't going to just roll over and be fired. I pulled out my sword, fully prepared to jump on it, and I called the highest rung in the food chain, and fully owned up to my part in it, and said, I would step aside rather than just let other people get yelled at. I thought that was it for sure for me. I was halfway down the hall to my office in my mind, packing up my stuff and saying goodbye, but all I heard on the other end was thank you for calling, but we will see you at the meeting at 10am.
Again, weird. I get to this meeting and round this table, the head of all departments starts firing bullets from her gun at every department. She starts bringing up stuff that literally had nothing to do with the incident at all. By the time she gets to me, everyone to the left of me is now totally rattled and caught off guard, some even holding back tears. She doesn't say anything to me other than to inquire to others why no one thought to call me and ask about my tardiness and thanked me for calling her personally. No sooner had she done that, she kept going, chastising another manager, and another department. It was crazy. Everyone left that meeting shell shocked.
Later that day, eight people were fired. None of them being me. I was so shocked and understandably, so were they. According to my inside source, our head was looking for her moment to get rid of the riff raff (her words). These were people who had all had prior infractions and such and she was sick of it and wanted to clean house in one fell swoop, because she felt the heads of other departments weren't keeping in quality staff, so she did, almost ruthlessly.
I'm telling you right here and right now, don't give your company or your job any reason to fire you. I think my clean record and perhaps my honesty, was the only thing that prevented my firing, but if you have anything on you like constant tardiness, that can give your boss, a company and/or HR a license to fire you just like that because legally in case challenged, they have to be able to prove your inability to do your job correctly. You may not think those five times you were late matter much or those two disagreements you had with staff were being monitored, but companies keep records of that stuff, and when they call you in and chat with you about it, they are definitely putting it in your file as proof. Don't be caught off guard or give them any reasons to kick you out the door because if they want you gone, they will make it a priority to watch you like a hawk, literally like a bird of prey, until you provide the last nail in your coffin.