Trouble at work


Well-Known Member
On Wednesday this week I was called into the bosses office for a 'chat' which loosely translated as notification that I was being invited for a disciplinary on Thursday. The reason for this disciplinary was the high number of typos and errors in my work.

As a result of the disciplinary I received a written warning and have been given 2 weeks to improve, whilst the compiny will 'monitor my performance for the foreseeable future'. I tried to explain that I've always had problems with reading, copying text, spelling and that even with the spell checker on, I often dont notice mistakes, but the bosses didnt seem particularly interested in my 'excuses'. I spent all afternoon feeling humiliated and hugely stressed by the whole situation!

As mentioned, Ive had issues with this for the past 30 years and I really cant see how a bollocking will improve things but I'm now stressing about what happens in 2 weeks time when I'm still just as 'incompetent'?..

Is it possible that my problems are more serious than a lack of attention to detail and that I could have some level of dyslexia?
It's possible you have dyslexia.

If you have got dyslexia then get it diagnosed as soon as possible, go see someone about it. They can't fire you for being dyslexic, it's under the Equality Act of 2010.

Workplace Summary | The British Dyslexia Association

I've found that the best way to get past mistakes, like spelling errors, is to run a full spell check on everything you type.

Personally, I no longer accept hand markups, and insist on copy being delivered to me - and that it should be wholly checked and properly worded before I even start designing.

Fought tooth and nail to say I'm the designer, not the typesetter, not the editor, not the proofreader.
It's a fair point, Hank, and entirely valid; I also make clear my expectation that copy should be properly proof-read and approved prior to submission - responsibility for words rests with the author and my only job on that score is to make sure I don't introduce any errors.

Dave: a large number of people suffer a level of dyslexia without knowing it, largely due to it having been unfairly viewed as a 'middle class' condition (i.e. as a parent's excuse for a child's shortcomings) for so long. Dyslexia as a condition isn't funded by the NHS but there's some advice on procedures/things to do here which may be useful: Getting an Assessment for Dyslexia | About Dyslexia | The British Dyslexia Association . Whatever your employer says, don't allow them to abandon any responsibilities they might have.
Thanks guys. Whatever's wrong seems to be made worse by stress/anxiety, as despite trying really hard to get everything word perfect, more and more mistakes are being highlighted! I feel embarrassed by everything and its like I've been made an unfair example of and that everyone's looking for a reason to show me up as incompetent.

I've booked in with the doctors for next tuesday but I'm really not sure how/if I can face the office on Monday.

Ironically, I was working on some Four Colours Pixel stuff with a mate in his office from 6-11pm last night without a single error!?
Ironically, I was working on some Four Colours Pixel stuff with a mate in his office from 6-11pm last night without a single error!?

Maybe you are being set up??!!?? :icon_eek:

lol only kidding mate. Try not to worry about it. There are a hell of a lot of people in our industry that are dyslexic and they tend to be better creatively than those that are not. I worked with a girl at my old job who was dyslexic and she was awesome at her job! I think I heard/read there is a link between dyslexia and creative thinking, as they see and think things in a different way from boring old regular people :icon_wink: so it is not a conscience so many sufferers seem to be naturally attracted to the design/creative industry. I probably have some form of dyslexia but I have never seen a doctor about it, as I guess it is not severe. If you have gone on for so many years without seeing someone about it, maybe it is not as bad as you think. It is just that it is being highlighted recently but your narrow minded peers, that its making you worry about it. That's assuming you have it at all!
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I always tell people... I'm a designer not a proof reader...

Im really dyslexic and have trouble spotting my own mistakes on spelling and sentence structure but working with some great people has really helped and I find my self improving all the time.

I dont know the ins and outs of your job but I'm freelance so work all over the place and I have never had a problem I'm just upfront about it...I cant spell!

But im afraid spell checker wont always help. Contact dyslexia support groups or organisations and get advice but be up front at work:)

You need to find a structure that helps not hinders stress is the worst!
I find PDFing things reading then printing them out reading them, not rushing
Writing down stuff and saying it aloud (you might look like a weirdo nut who cares!)
Swap with a work colleague ...could you just have a scan of this and I'll scan your stuff :)

But do get help, I went on for 27 years with no help and it was such a relief when I could just say its okay my brain just sees stuff differently :) and in design thats helpful
I am awesome at spelling and grammar* BUT proofreading my own work is a no-no. I always get someone else to check it - client, husband, colleague... printing out is a really good idea. Reading the work from the wrong end, ie backwards, so that you aren't reading it and filling in or assuming, but looking at each word - a proofreaders trick.
Don't get stressed about it - you're not stupid or lazy and your company really should have given you a verbal warning (or some help!) before taking this route.
*My grammar on forums isn't always up to scratch!
I hope things go OK Dave, from what I can see on here your written English is at a far higher level than the average population (just spend a few minutes on Facebook for an example of that!) For them to sack you they would need to have a "reasonable" justification to do so. So look at the errors they are highlighting, are they minor or major errors? Are they "reasonable" enough to highlight the issue? If not then they are committing a crime!

If you work in an organisation run by some Jobsworth then it may be a sad (but increasingly common) case of constructive dismissal. My sister went through it recently in her previous company, they would pick up on every mistake but never offer anything as support, always just another bollocking. They even started watching her desk and keeping a diary of the time she arrived. A minute late resulted in a further bollocking..... you get the general idea!

In that situation there was only one solution, hand in the notice and move on! A year later and she is earning more than ever, bought her first house in a new town, always happy, loosing weight and doing very well. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise!

Consider your options, loosing your job is never nice but could you be better off else where?
I've been signed off sick by the doc for 2 weeks and he's requested that I attend another appointment before returning to work.

I've decided that this could be the push I need to make the leap into full time self employment and am just trying to work out a plan of action before doing anything.
Thought a further update was in order...

Having been signed off for a further 4 weeks I decided to hand my notice in. When I went into the office with my sick note and my notice, my desk and mac were gone, so I'm assuming they'd decided that they'd achieved what they wanted to.

Unfortunately, because we have an 8 week old and a 6 year old who both need feeding, I had to take the decision that now just inst the right time to go full time self employed. If I'd had some savings to prop us up with for the next 4 or 5 months then it would be different but with little more than 2 months worth of food and rent money in the bank it's too much of a risk.

With my confidence so heavily dented, I've considered lots of different avenues and have applied for a number of non design related positions, all to no avail! It seems that many employers consider someone who's only ever worked in design as unsuitable for anything else. This has lead me back to applying for design roles, with a focus on web design positions and to my surprise, I'm getting a lot of interest (including some from the usually elitist creative recruitment sector). I've attended 2 interviews so far, have had 2 firm job offers made to me within hours and have 3 more interviews this week! I had a call yesterday from the director of a firm begging me to fit him in today as he's so keen to meet with me!?..

All this attention is great for morale but it does make me worry that I've maybe over sold myself in my CV?
Don't let the fact that you have a great CV and experience behind you be a downer for you - you can never oversell yourself on a CV, if you're confident that you can do the work then it will be on your CV that you have those skills.
Thanks for updating us bigdave, it's great to hear that things are on the up! This whole phase may turn out to have been a blessing in disguise ;-)

As the other guys before me have said, don't worry about the CV, just go for it and show them how good you are!
Good to hear the update Dave. This looks like a case of unfair dismissal if they've got rid of you while you are sick...I know you're probably thinking 'Good riddance to bad rubbish...' The only way to progress is to push yourself beyond your comfort zone - or as a friend says 'Wash the dirty dishes, not the clean ones'. Good luck - you'll be fine. I do believe that things that you might think will be disasterous often turn out to be great!
After 3 job offers I've accepted an in-house position with a company in Leeds. I'm going to be working as a web developer along side the company's senior web developer, so it'll be a fantastic opportunity to learn new things and hone my skills. On top of this the money is a real step up from my previous salary! The only downside is the commute is well over an hour each way.
Today is my first day at the new job. :)

They've bought me a new macbook pro and for the first time in over a year my chair doesn't wobble!!
I've run into issues already! The IT company that do all the support for my employer are refusing to give me admin privileges on my computer as its a 'security risk'. Thats a right pain in the bum on a mac as you cant so much as fart without it wanting the admin password!
I had that before - the best way forward is to make a request to the IT department about 5 times a day to do mundane tasks that you could easily do yourself.

Install fonts, plugins, extensions, and anything else you can think of. If you need a few programs installed ask for each one to be installed every few hours individually.