Author Topic: Help: Work Stress  (Read 11747 times)

oldtoyota

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Help: Work Stress
« on: October 19, 2014, 08:27:05 AM »
Just wanted to post another update here and at the bottom of the thread to say that I had some scary/tough/important conversations and it looks like things are improving and will continue to improve. In a way, these conversations were my test to see if people would care and the answer to that would determine if I would stay. I plan to stay for now. So happy about this!!

******

Woot. Woot! Changing this to say that all is well. No reason to post anymore in this thread, my friends.

Lots of love to those of who you were sympathetic with my issue and who offered comfort and advice. I will be forever empathetic to others who are/were in a similar situation, and it REALLY HELPED me to know that others had had similar experiences and you/they did to overcome them. Thank you, thank you. You are the best.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 09:23:44 AM by oldtoyota »

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2014, 08:35:51 AM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you have FU money at this point, yes?

Cut to exactly 40 hours. As far as I know, they can't legally require more and refusing to work overtime isn't grounds for firing. (Not an attorney.)

Anxiety medication will help, but it takes time. When I've needed it, the docs gave an SSRI (usually Lexapro, Paxil, or another) plus a low dose of Xanax to take an immediate edge off.

Getting time in for intense cardio and/or lifting will help incredibly. That's why keeping your hours to 40 and NO weekends is critical. Diet is critical as well. Avoid sugar and caffeine. Alcohol in small doses can calm the edge, but it is also a stressor on your body, so don't overdo it.

It might be worth investing in Financial Samurai's "Engineering your own layoff" book. Regardless, look for new employment. Ain't nothing worth that kind of stress.

I've been there. It's awful but medication AND environment change will see you through. Good luck!

pachnik

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2014, 08:39:13 AM »
I've been close to that but not quite there.   I really don't know what to say since I gather that you have a career but I just have a job.  Sorry.  I read your description and my heart goes out to you, Old Toyota.  Taking care of yourself (which includes medication) is the only thing I can suggest.  :(

BPA

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2014, 08:45:07 AM »
Sending you a hug.

I have decided that rather than go back on anti-depressants again (which I only ever have needed because of work), I will take a short leave and then quit if necessary.  It is absolutely fucking ridiculous to me that medication is needed in order for me to function at work.

I feel good now and have December 18, 2015 as my FIRE date if all goes well financially, but if I need to leave before then, I will sell my house and live elsewhere just so that I do not have to medicate myself in order to survive work.

Good luck.  I would look at a leave (disability or otherwise) and then if you can find a creative solution to get there, FIRE.

Just knowing that I have this plan eases my anxiety.

thepokercab

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2014, 10:39:11 AM »
That sucks.  I work on political campaigns, so I'm experiencing the same type of stress/over work right now.  This is my 5th election cycle, and this time of year is horrible.  I was up myself last night, working until about midnight. It was all good when I was single and 22, but now with a wife and kids its starting to get old.   

Personally, if you haven't already I i would go to whoever your boss is and just lay out the situation.  You are overworked and you can't maintain the pace.  Period.  Get it out there on the record. Make it their responsibility, not yours.  Usually, if there is one person or a group who feel this overworked, its generally because of poor management.

My experience in these situations is that there is usually quite the disparity in who is having to put in the extra effort, vs which employees/staff are just skating by.  This creates quite the unequal distribution of work because your superiors, seeing how much work you are producing, tend to want to go to you more and more for results.  Its easier for them to just expect more from you, as opposed to having confrontations with other employees who might not be picking up the pace.  So if that is the situation, go to your superiors, and make them actually do their jobs and manage their people and their workflows.  At the very least, get your situation on the record with HR. 

If in fact, you are the "boss" so to speak, have you spent some time thinking about how your work might be delegated to others?  I tend to be a control freak, and sometimes it can be hard for me to delegate.  When i first had my own staff I did a really poor job at this.  It took me some time to realize that for my own sanity, and for the development of the people under me, I had to actually spend more time delegating work more effectively, as opposed to just trying to do everything by myself.  At first this can seem like a pain, because it feels easier to just do it yourself as opposed to train someone else, but I think the ability to do this is invaluable.  Are you delegating your work appropriately? 

Finally, as hard as it is, you need to try to keep work things at work.  If you take it home with you, then it just feels like you are constantly at work.  At the very least, you need to take some time during the day, any time, and just disconnect.  For me, this might be breakfast with the family. Or maybe I just walk on the treadmill for an hour and zone out.  But having some amount of time where you put the phone away and aren't thinking about work is crucial.   

« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 10:40:57 AM by thepokercab »

lemanfan

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2014, 10:56:08 AM »
As I'm in a different country I cannot really give any "hard" advice, but whatever you do I'd strongly recommend that you in addition to everything else also:

1) If you're not doing it already : Start exercising. Just doing the 7 minute thing (google it!) every morning, or just taking a 30 minute walk sometime during the day.  This will affect your health positively almost immedeately. 

2) Meditate.  Just search for "Guided meditation" and you'll find lots of clips and apps that will guide you.  Start with a shorter one, like 5-10 minutes and then maybe move on up to longer.

Just make this a daily priority.  The meditation is a great way to spend a short while of your lunch break.   It will not solve the cause of your stress, but it will make you feel better.

( I learned meditation from http://www.amazon.com/Take-Stress-Out-Your-Life/dp/0738211745/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413737659&sr=8-1 )

KS

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2014, 11:09:21 AM »
I'm sorry, this sucks big time! I have been in a few pretty stressful work situations, and it can definitely take a toll on both your physical and mental health over time, which is so not worth it for any job! A colleague of mine at one of my stressful jobs had similar problems to yours I think (don't know her exact specifics but immune system went out of whack, skin always itchy and rashy, threw up/semi-passed out at work one day, got carted off in an ambulance) and she ultimately went on a medical leave. I think she was still paid via short term disability too, and since her doctor prescribed it as necessary the company couldn't really say no. Not sure exactly how it works but if your situation is really bad, as it sounds like it is, that's something you might want to ask about with your doctor. She was gone for about a month and came back looking and feeling amazing. (Unfortunately it was back into an even worse environment than she had left, so after 2 days back she got her leave extended and sensibly used the time to find a new job though!)

Good luck, whatever you decide to do... It's really hard when you are caught up in it, but all the others' advice about setting firm limits on your time, leaving work at work, exercise and meditation are all good too, as much as you are able. Whenever it gets really bad, remind yourself "it's just a job, it's just a job" and it is not worth destroying your health for it, no matter how important your work may be.

firelight

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2014, 11:10:05 AM »
I've worked in a high stress job and can totally relate to what you're experiencing. Here is what helped me:
Prioritize your tasks, do everything that can be done in 40 hours and no more... If you are pushed to do more, show your priority list to your boss and ask him to prioritize for you. Sometimes the things we think are very important end up being a blip in or boss's radar and vice versa. This will also show him how much work you have on your plate.

Exercise - can't stress this enough. Just walking for ten minutes is a good enough start and doesn't need any changes of clothes or gear.

See the big picture - is the work you doing important in a year's time? In two years? In ten? That'll help you gain perspective.

If your management is not considerate of your work stress, time to look for another job. For the short term, talk to your doctor. If the health issues are due to work stress and your doc can certify it, I think you can take occupational disability leave.

NinetyFour

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2014, 11:16:45 AM »
You may need to be more direct with your boss.  Instead of "I cannot continue to work at this pace/in this environment", can you change it to "I will not continue to work at this pace/in this environment"?

Your health is too important to risk.

Have you tried some talk therapy?  It might help to talk through your difficulties and to seek strategies for dealing with them.  Also, it would be time just for you--away from all the demands on you.

Good luck.

oldtoyota

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2014, 11:17:30 AM »

If in fact, you are the "boss" so to speak, have you spent some time thinking about how your work might be delegated to others?  I tend to be a control freak, and sometimes it can be hard for me to delegate.  When i first had my own staff I did a really poor job at this.  It took me some time to realize that for my own sanity, and for the development of the people under me, I had to actually spend more time delegating work more effectively, as opposed to just trying to do everything by myself.  At first this can seem like a pain, because it feels easier to just do it yourself as opposed to train someone else, but I think the ability to do this is invaluable.  Are you delegating your work appropriately? 


Sadly, my staff got sacked. No more staff.

MrMonkeyMustache

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2014, 11:25:44 AM »
When it comed to your health, I really think you have to adk the question: "what is the worst thing that can happend if I refuse to continue working in this pace and how well am I equipped to handle it, and what is the worst thing that can happend if I continue down this road, and how well am I equipped to handle that?"

Life isn't allways worst case scenarios, but I think they should really be concidered.

MoneyCat

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2014, 11:29:53 AM »
I work as a teacher, so I usually work between 55 and 60 hours a week, primarily due to the increase in work load from new government regulations meant to prove that I am doing my job.  I am in the same boat as you and I don't see a way out of it for me unless I change my occupation.

Exercise seems like a good idea, but it's very hard to find time to do that when you work so many hours.  I work on the side as a martial arts instructor, so I get a few hours of exercise in each week while getting paid for it.  Maybe you could get certified as an exercise instructor of some type.

totoro

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2014, 12:11:11 PM »
Sending you a virtual hug.

I don't know what to do exactly but if an employee came to me and told me they were going through this I would do something about it.  I wouldn't rule out going on a stress leave.  If you are prepared to do this you could go to your boss and ask for specific changes or let them know your health doesn't permit you to continue at this point. 

Rural

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2014, 02:59:39 PM »
I hit that point of stress with a disfunctional job once (hives, rash, vomiting, sleeplessness). I left, pure and simple. It was scary and liberating and I slept well that night and have every night since. We struggled briefly and have both been grateful I left for all the years since. There are other jobs, lots of them, and, really, we didn't need anything like the income I was making, but somehow in all the stress I lost sight of that.


Good luck finding your right path. Remember that no job, no career even, is worth your health. It won't come to the "career" level sacrifice, though. Leaving a job never does if you're any good at it, and you are or you wouldn't have a career.

happy

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2014, 03:28:16 PM »
Another virtual hug from me.

Part of the answer might depend on how well the drugs work, how you feel about taking them and whether this is a short-term issue at work or has no end in sight. Personally I'd have a multilayered plan: exercise, meditate, drugs, try to reduce hours, talk to the boss and start looking for another job.   The dreaded talk to the boss has to be done and sooner rather than later. You never know your luck, they may be of some help. It would be inappropriate to take drugs/think about disability etc etc without talking to them first. But definitely weigh up you options first re how much FU money you have, likelihood of getting another job etc and have a plan in case the "talk" backfires and you end up needing another job.

Dr. Doom

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2014, 03:55:11 PM »
OT - I completely relate.  I've gone through what you're describing in one form or another, multiple times in my career.

I didn't see anyone else recommend this, but if you can't take a stress "leave," the next best thing to do is, if you have any vacation at all, schedule at least a full week off (or whatever you have available, if < 1 week) immediately.  Make it clear you're going to be unavail during the break - no check-ins, nothing.  Set the expectation that if they absolutely need you that you'll a) need a phone call and b) expect comp for it. 

And plan something for the time off.  Forcing your brain to think about things other than work (i.e. to "switch tracks") will help you decompress better and faster in a way that sitting around probably won't.  Sometimes even the anticipation of having a break leads to a reduction in daily stress because you can see a light coming up pretty soon.  Even if your plan is to go hiking all day or visit a local museum, get out of the house and do something for a while.  Try not to log onto devices because even looking at a screen can trigger work experiences and thoughts.  I know it can sound silly when you're all geared up about work to go and look at trees or art, but it really does help most people to mentally step away from the corporate grinder.

I agree with many of the other points by other responders (mental adjustments, learning to push back on management, simply cutting your hours and allowing yourself to miss dates that you know very well are unreasonable) but in particular want to underscore the  exercise thing.  Combining the 7-minute workout with some walking outdoors helps just about everyone feel less stressed.  I get my exercise in the morning before the insanity of the day starts because you know for sure you can make time available.  The effect tends to last all day anyway.

Hopefully you'll be able to decompress a bit during this time and re-evaluate. 

But the vacation will be a short-term patch.  Longer term, you'll need to either adapt yourself to the job in a healthier way by making changes in your daily routines and relationships with others -- and that includes management.  If changes aren't effective, it may be time to start interviewing/looking for something else but in the meantime it's worth a shot. Worst thing that happens, they're unhappy with your refusal to work ridiculous hours.  I guarantee this result is preferable to your employer than you up and quitting.

Long term, no job is worth your health.  Health problems are not easily fixable.

>> I wish I could not be so conscientious. My friend said that is part of my "problem." I am a good and fast worker, as some of you suggested, and so I think I am getting more than my fair share of work.

Probably.  God knows this has been true for me in the past. 

It's like this:


Also, have you read the Pffft post?

lifejoy

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2014, 05:41:11 PM »
Six months ago I was in a job that sucked out my soul to the point where I was HOPING to get sick, just so I could stay home. Ugh.

Baby steps: can you walk or bike to work? It'll clear your head. Pack a delicious and nutritious lunch, even if it costs more. Eating Cheetos won't make you feel better. A fancy salad and pumpkin soup with watermelon for dessert? Could do wonders. +1 on the meditation suggestion. Use guided meditation on YouTube, or go to yoga (they even have very easy, meditation-focused classes!) if you're new to meditation.

Get an exit plan. I ended up quitting because the job was messing up my motivation to succeed. See if you can fix the problems, but if you can't - get out before you're sucked dry.

Hugs all around :) And google "cute bento lunch" if you want some fun/adorable inspiration!

amyable

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2014, 06:26:20 PM »
I wish I could not be so conscientious. My friend said that is part of my "problem." I am a good and fast worker, as some of you suggested, and so I think I am getting more than my fair share of work.

Ugh--I can totally relate to this.   I don't have a job where I'm given a set amount of work, but I'm a school counselor, so during college application season, I could work 20 hours a day and still find something else to do.   

mariejm

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2014, 08:00:20 PM »
Get out. Jobs are replaceable. Health is not. Sounds like your boss is using you.

Sarita

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2014, 08:05:39 PM »
Hi--- I'm in HR.  You can visit your doctor, describe your symptoms, and ask him/her to support a medical leave for you via FMLA.   If s/he agrees, then contact your HR/Benefits department and ask about the paperwork you need to fill out.

If it's medically supported, you can legally take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for FMLA.  Many companies will have short-term disability coverage or allow you to use sick leave/vacation leave so you can be paid during this time.

I recommend taking time off first, and then evaluate your options (including whether or not to take meds-- personally, I would use that as a last resort).  It's hard to make sound decisions when your body is going haywire.

Trust your symptoms.  I have seen, time and time again, how stress can wreak havoc on one's body.  It is something to be taken seriously.  It's amazing to me how 'sick' people leave an organization and then become well once they are out of a toxic situation.  Your body understands what is going on before your mind does.

Best wishes, and please take the best possible care of yourself.

Cwadda

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2014, 08:10:18 PM »
The fact that you haven't gotten laid off and a lot of other people have is saying you're a great worker with a lot of value. Start looking for another job. Once you have the ability to move, either change completely or start putting up boundaries at your current job.

The fact of the matter is things will never change until you begin making boundaries. If your boss(es) have fallen under such intense workaholism that they can't understand boundaries then that only confirms that you should leave and you know you've made the right decision - and don't look back.

In the meantime, exercise. I've found that exercise gives you more energy and it relieves stress.

legacyoneup

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2014, 08:11:02 PM »
Medication can't be a long term solution. Why was your staff laid off? Is the company not doing well?

What field / role are you in? Maybe someone on the forum knows of a similar opportunity in another organisation.

catccc

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2014, 08:24:19 PM »
Your job should not have you resorting to medication.  Such a sad and unfortunately common story.  I have also experienced heightened anxiety due to job related stress.  I never went on medications for my ailments, but I did just get sick a lot.  (Like colds and sinus infections and other random stuff, probably just due to an immune system that wasn't doing it's job due to stress and lack of sleep.  Due to my job.)

I echo others that have suggested you get a new job.  I know you don't want to reveal too much, but are you in finance or IT or some similar line of work where you can just work with a recruiter to get a new position, even a contract/temp one if you can't find a permanent position right away?  I think you need to get out as soon as possible, even if the new job isn't ideal in some ways. (temporary, contract, long commute, lower pay... all those things are better than being physically and emotionally ill from work stress.

Nyarlathotep

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2014, 08:41:06 PM »
I know that feeling... Never been quite to the point of breaking out in rashes or lose of apatite but anyways...

Something needs to change.

Remember THEY DO NOT OWN YOU and you can quite literally do whatever you want to do.

 I would suggest getting your self down to 40 hours and bust your ass during those 40 hours and do your best to leave your work at home. I know that is easier said then done but it needs to happen. If you do not lift or run yet I would highly recommend both of those. Physical activity can cure quite a lot as far as stress goes. Running shoes are not too expensive and an Olympic weight set could be bought off of of Craigslist for pretty cheep.

This should help you get started if you were to get into lifting.

http://scoobysworkshop.com/

Begonia

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2014, 09:43:13 PM »
Like so many people have said, this is no way to live. I left my job after 9 years this summer, and it's amazing what a difference it makes psychologically and physically to be free of self-important, mediocre hierarchies. I felt trapped because I needed the money, so I made a one-year plan and 'stached cash so that I could transition to my side hustle full time, which I proudly managed to do within the last few months. I'm still trying to get my feet on the ground and, slowly but surely, things are coming together with my new business. I have FU money, which was key to leaving.

I can also totally relate because I've also went the medication route for work-related stress. It was a great short-term solution, but it's not sustainable, nor should it be. Now, when I feel stress, I ask myself if this is what I want my new life to be about, and the answer is always no, and then I get scrappy and Mustachian and I find a way to hack the situation. The hardest part is deciding to make the leap, but you'll be SO much happier, healthier when you do. If I did it, so can you!



mm1970

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2014, 10:34:20 PM »
At work, there is panic about a lot. I am keeping details cryptic on purpose.

The bottom line is that I am now working 10-12 hours. Here is what I have experienced:

  • Rash on my face that won't go away
  • Nearly vomited during a conference call
  • Dread every work morning
  • Insomnia: Thinking about spreadsheets most of the night
  • Weight loss: Having trouble eating.
  • Skin feels constantly itchy
  • Hands trembling. Difficulty breathing at times.

So, basically, I am having some panic attacks and increased anxiety. I have gone on medication to see if it can help.

On another thread--started by a different overworked person--someone mentioned how the last minute and unexpected requests can cause PTSD because you are always waiting for that next phone call or email and sensing danger all the while.

What should I do?

Can I take FMLA to get better?
Should I go on disability?

I am now at a point that my health is really a mess and the requests keep piling up upon one another. I am working 10+ hours per day and partial days on the weekends. We've laid people off so I am doing that work on top of new increased requests.

I am not suicidal. However, I don't know how I can continue at this pace of work. I mentioned it several weeks ago to my boss. The boss said it was expected. However, the boss has more recently come around to seeing that this work load is insane.

Please advise! I am truly desperate.
Boy that sounds like my entire last year.

I'm not sure you will like my advice, but here's what I did -
I cut back on work.
First, I got sick.  Really sick from being so run down.  Out of work for a week sick, prednisone and antibiotics sick.  Took a full month for me to get back to normal.
Then I decided to take time to relax and meditate.
- I started walking 30 minutes every day on my lunch break.
- I started having a cup of herbal tea while watching 20 minutes of TV every night.
- I started crocheting or knitting for 10 minutes a  night (it has meditative effects)
- I started reading for pleasure for 10 minutes before bed
- I started taking Unisom for sleep, because it would allow me to fall back asleep faster

And finally -
I started working less.  When I was feeling tired, or run down, or particularly stressed - I took PTO, sometimes by the 1/2 hour.  If I needed to come in late, I did.  Go early, I did.  Needless to say, there was no overtime.  For months, I didn't work a single 80-hour 2-week pay period.  Of course I ran out of PTO pretty quickly.

Do you need your job?  Will they fire you if you refuse to do the hours?  I finally got to the point where I decided to only do what I could reasonably do.  And screw the rest.  I can only do my best.  Period.

lhamo

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2014, 01:24:16 AM »
Sympathies and hugs, oldtoyota.  I am also coming out of a very bad year stress-wise.   I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel now that we have a solid candidate for the Director position and I have a job description that will actually work for me, at least for the short term.  But it has been a rough year and while I never ended up with rashes I had many of the other symptoms you describe.  Some things I would consider:

1)  Is this a short-term situation that the organization is planning to remedy through additional hires or restructuring, or does it look like this is the "new normal"?  If the latter, then I would start planning my exit now -- taking PT medical leave under FLMA will allow you to cut back on your hours and push back when management dumps more than you can do on you.  If they continue to push, you may have a lawsuit.  Might be worth discussing with an attorney who specializes in employment/disability law.

2)  Regardless, definitely see a doctor and if you are ready financially to leave this place then take whatever leave you are eligible to get your health back on track (physical and mental). 

3)  As others have said, do whatever you can to leave the BS at the office.  For me that meant refusing to take my laptop home/check email during the worst parts of my year.  There were days when if I had had it in my backpack I probably would have stopped on the bridge, tied it around my ankle, and jumped.  I just had to say no to letting work suck me down with it. 

4)  Take some kind of  break as soon as you can.  Sick day, mental health day, whatever you want to call it.  Just give yourself some time for you, and do whatever you can not to think about the job for that 24 hours. 

And if you have any long-standing medical issues you need treatment for this would be a good time to discuss that with your doctor.  I did always have a kind of back-up card up my sleeve -- I learned about a year ago that I have massive gallstones.  I really do need surgery, but have been putting it off.  The attacks have been getting more and more frequent, and seem to correspond with stress levels.  I kind of figured that if push came to shove I'd just head to the hospital during an attack and get some time off that way.

And yes, as others have said if the job is really making you miserable and there is not sign of a change on the horizon, don't be afraid to walk away.  I did that once and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

former player

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2014, 02:28:35 AM »
Been there, done that.

Firstly, please recognise that this is not a problem with you, it is a problem with your job.  OK, I'm not a doctor and shouldn't be giving medical advice (and you shouldn't be taking it over the internet from me or any other poster), but my strong view is that you cannot, should not, must not even try to medicate the effects of a bad working situation away - it won't change the job, it won't get rid of the cause of your symptoms, it may well not help the symptoms themselves, and it may even end up with you dependent on medications which will make your life a misery long after you have left this particular job far behind.

To me, it sounds as though your symptoms are bad enough for you to go to your own doctor and get signed off work, perhaps for an initial period such as two weeks.  If you do, ask your doctor to confirm that this is a work-related injury - it could be useful.

You need to put in writing to your boss, and to HR, a list of the work you have been asked to do and the deadlines you have been given and what hours you have had to work to do it.  Merely "mentioning" it to your boss is totally inadequate.  Get it in writing and send it to your boss (if your organisational procedures make it appropriate, also to his boss) and to HR.  Make it their problem as well, not just yours.

After that, take responsibility.  You have been ignoring a big part of your job, which is to balance the urgent and the important.  All this time, you have just been dealing with the urgent.  You have been ignoring the important, which is the sustainability of your work.  You presumably want to keep your job, and your bosses want to keep you because you get the job done for them.  But they can't keep you if you carry on the way you have been, so a priority of your job is a way to make that happen.  The way you do this is

1) set limits to the hours you will work: for instance, no more than 9 hours a day 5 days a week,
2) get what priorities you can done within that time while working at a sustainable place.
3) make sure that your boss knows what work you will not be able to do,
4) make sure that your boss knows that it is their responsibility to deal with whatever work you cannot do.

The main point for you to take away is that you are an employee.  You are not a company owner.  You are not a manager.  You are not self-employed.  Your do not have the job of managing workloads beyond those appropriate for your job.  You do not have the job of telling clients that there is no-one in the organisation to do the work they are looking for.  You are not paid to do those things.  Your manager, and the people above your manager in the organisation are the people who do those jobs.  You need to make sure that they are doing the job they are paid to do.  You do not have the resources to do their jobs, you are not paid to do their jobs, and it has made you ill trying to do their jobs.  You need to stop trying to do their jobs.  Now, and by whatever means necessary.

Be strong, and good luck.

Good luck.

jka468

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2014, 07:06:46 AM »
The way you configured your post makes you sound like an addict, and no, I'm not joking. You've also made excuses, blaming other people and outside circumstances, rather than realizing that only you have the power to change your situation, which is another clear sign of addiction. Your job is running you down and making you mentally unstable, but I can imagine that the every-so-often "good job!" and the fact that people rely on you gives you some type of high that is hard to kick.

Seriously, read what you just wrote. You're thinking of taking brain altering drugs because your job has driven you into an unstable state. Don't do that, that was terrible advice by your friend. Either decide if the money/recognition is worth the effort and effect on your health, or make a stand to your boss/job. The worst thing that happens is that you get let go (in which case you look for another job while you collect unemployment), and honestly, you probably have a lot more leverage than you think.

Nickyd£g

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2014, 07:35:24 AM »
Been there, done that.  I was so stressed and sick my doctor signed me off work for a month.  I felt so much happier at the end of that month that the thought of returning to work made me want to vomit, so I quit.  With NO emergency fund - that's why I started on this FIRE thing, I want FU money in case it ever happens again.  And there is no greater motivation to find a job than having no money!  I hit the temp agencies in one day and within 24 hours had 3 job interviews lined up.  I took some short term contracts which were easy compared to my old job [at a much lower wage, which also helped me see I could live on less].   I got a 3 month admin job in my current workplace and 4 years later I'm still here, earning more than I ever did.

Bottom line, leave.  Get out.  There are other jobs out there.

Good luck!

mozar

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2014, 07:06:16 PM »
I didn't want to pile on but you have FU money, and, I have seen your numbers, so I think you could FIRE, even if it means cutting back your goals a little bit.
I have seen your posts over the last 8 months and each one is more panicked then the last. Maybe you are struggling with depression generally? I always recommend the books Codependent No More and Feeling Good. Sounds like you are codependent on your job.

lhamo

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2014, 07:56:31 PM »
Keep in mind you can also request FMLA leave to care for a parent.  That might be a good strategy here, given the issues you mentioned with your dad's health -- that way it would appear to the employer as though the issue is really external to you, rather than being your own medical problems.  Might be harder to prove discrimination, though, if you take that route and they lay you off.

Take care of yourself, oldtoyota.  No job is worth having a physical or mental breakdown over (says the woman who has been on the verge of tears while facing down a performance review form most of the morning -- need to learn to take my own advice!)

retired?

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2014, 09:34:34 PM »
someone asked earlier if you are already FI.  I didn't read the entire thread.

My advice, whether you are FI or not is to act like it.  Work a set amount of hours and then go home.  As someone else said, there are a lot of jobs.  I simply cannot understand why people accept being overworked.  Change fields.  Develop some skills that are in high demand.  Only two fields I know of that demand so much, but yet don't necessarily pay high enough, are IT and law.

Eric

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2014, 11:19:53 AM »
Hi OT -- sorry to hear about that.  It sounds like you're pretty miserable.  I also have been working 50+ hour weeks for some time now.  I don't have any great solutions for you, but what helps me is that I try my best to separate the work that needs to get done from the stress that's supposed to accompany it.  It's sort of a mindset change.  I know that I have a ton to do, but I also realize that I can only do so much in one day.  So I do what I can get done, and if I don't get something done, I save it for the next day without apology.  You know you're working hard.  Your boss and co-workers know you're working hard.  There's no reason to feel bad about delaying a task that didn't make your priority list for that day. 

And when I leave work, that's it.  I don't check my email at home, I don't log in to do one more thing, and I try my best to not think about the next day until it's here.  Drawing a firm line between work life and home life helps me find some balance, even when putting in 12 hour days.

someone asked earlier if you are already FI.  I didn't read the entire thread.

My advice, whether you are FI or not is to act like it.  Work a set amount of hours and then go home.  As someone else said, there are a lot of jobs.  I simply cannot understand why people accept being overworked.  Change fields.  Develop some skills that are in high demand.  Only two fields I know of that demand so much, but yet don't necessarily pay high enough, are IT and law.

I can answer that.  Because when you work ridiculous numbers of hours, the last thing you want to do when you finally have some non-working time is to look for jobs or learn new skills.  Both of those are just piling on more work to your already overworked self.

oldtoyota

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2014, 03:48:32 PM »
The way you configured your post makes you sound like an addict, and no, I'm not joking. You've also made excuses, blaming other people and outside circumstances, rather than realizing that only you have the power to change your situation, which is another clear sign of addiction. Your job is running you down and making you mentally unstable, but I can imagine that the every-so-often "good job!" and the fact that people rely on you gives you some type of high that is hard to kick.

Seriously, read what you just wrote. You're thinking of taking brain altering drugs because your job has driven you into an unstable state. Don't do that, that was terrible advice by your friend. Either decide if the money/recognition is worth the effort and effect on your health, or make a stand to your boss/job. The worst thing that happens is that you get let go (in which case you look for another job while you collect unemployment), and honestly, you probably have a lot more leverage than you think.

This is interesting. I told DH about it. We either think you are the right one or completely wrong. Not sure yet. =-)

I get anxious when challenged, and I've been challenged to explain things I've been doing for years. The good news is that the work I did stood up to the test. However, I realize it's my boss causing my stress. While other people are understanding that this is a nutty time. Lots of people are making mistakes due to the hours. When I make a tiny one, I get chewed out by my boss. However, she is kind to another person who made far worse mistakes. So, maybe she doesn't like me or wants me to leave. Or, maybe she is just stressed out and taking it out on me.

I am feeling better today, because I've decided I will just leave. Most people tell me to leave. However, one person said it might be worth it to wait it out and see. If I can just stop caring….


scottish

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2014, 04:10:05 PM »
Decision made, stress gone?

I bet you have a huge feeling of relief when you walk out the door for the last time.    I did.  Every time.   :-)

mm1970

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2014, 04:24:20 PM »
Hi OT -- sorry to hear about that.  It sounds like you're pretty miserable.  I also have been working 50+ hour weeks for some time now.  I don't have any great solutions for you, but what helps me is that I try my best to separate the work that needs to get done from the stress that's supposed to accompany it.  It's sort of a mindset change.  I know that I have a ton to do, but I also realize that I can only do so much in one day.  So I do what I can get done, and if I don't get something done, I save it for the next day without apology.  You know you're working hard.  Your boss and co-workers know you're working hard.  There's no reason to feel bad about delaying a task that didn't make your priority list for that day. 

And when I leave work, that's it.  I don't check my email at home, I don't log in to do one more thing, and I try my best to not think about the next day until it's here.  Drawing a firm line between work life and home life helps me find some balance, even when putting in 12 hour days.

someone asked earlier if you are already FI.  I didn't read the entire thread.

My advice, whether you are FI or not is to act like it.  Work a set amount of hours and then go home.  As someone else said, there are a lot of jobs.  I simply cannot understand why people accept being overworked.  Change fields.  Develop some skills that are in high demand.  Only two fields I know of that demand so much, but yet don't necessarily pay high enough, are IT and law.

I can answer that.  Because when you work ridiculous numbers of hours, the last thing you want to do when you finally have some non-working time is to look for jobs or learn new skills.  Both of those are just piling on more work to your already overworked self.
This is good, and true.  I have been job-hunting too but not too strenuously.  I had applied for a job last year, got a call this year, and interviewed.
The interview required:
1. A 45 minute technical presentation.  I've not done one before, in fact the last time I presented at a conference was 2004?  (one and only time in fact).  So I had to find a topic or topics that I could talk intelligently about for 45 minutes AND "scrub" so as not to give away any proprietary data.
2.  Did I mention that I had to do this when my husband was traveling over the weekend?  So, single parent.  So I had to take a day off work to write the presentation.
3.  I had to take another day off work to practice the presentation and get it in 45 minutes
4.  I had to buy interview-appropriate clothing
5.  I had to take a full day off for the interview

So, 3 days of vacation, hours of work, and I didn't get the job. :( Nothing wrong with me, actually - I got positive feedback but in the end, they decided they wanted a VP instead of a senior engineer.  They have not filled the position, because they haven't found a VP willing to move here (it's a beautiful place, but expensive and there aren't many jobs - in fact a good 25% of their current employees are commuters who live 5 hours away and fly back and forth every week.  Even with that option, they haven't filled it.)

Well, you can imagine that with a full time job already AND two small boys, that I can't be doing that much.  Plus, I'm out of vacation, and currently burning what I do have for sick children.

Your mindset is exactly the one that I've tried to adopt also, and I also almost never check email at home.  The exception was yesterday, when I was home with a sick child.  I used the nap time to do some work.

Otherwise, I just don't. It's hard to explain to people who go home and log on and look at me expectantly.  "My children won't let me do that.  The toddler will press the moon/sleep key on the computer keyboard."  Even if I wanted to work at home (and I don't), my kids kind of really want to see me at the end of the day.  After work it's a flurry of pickups, cooking dinner, homework, coloring, puzzles, snuggles, tickles, diaper changes, dishes, packing lunches, bedtime stories...and then I pass out.

mm1970

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2014, 04:29:40 PM »
The way you configured your post makes you sound like an addict, and no, I'm not joking. You've also made excuses, blaming other people and outside circumstances, rather than realizing that only you have the power to change your situation, which is another clear sign of addiction. Your job is running you down and making you mentally unstable, but I can imagine that the every-so-often "good job!" and the fact that people rely on you gives you some type of high that is hard to kick.

Seriously, read what you just wrote. You're thinking of taking brain altering drugs because your job has driven you into an unstable state. Don't do that, that was terrible advice by your friend. Either decide if the money/recognition is worth the effort and effect on your health, or make a stand to your boss/job. The worst thing that happens is that you get let go (in which case you look for another job while you collect unemployment), and honestly, you probably have a lot more leverage than you think.

This is interesting. I told DH about it. We either think you are the right one or completely wrong. Not sure yet. =-)

I get anxious when challenged, and I've been challenged to explain things I've been doing for years. The good news is that the work I did stood up to the test. However, I realize it's my boss causing my stress. While other people are understanding that this is a nutty time. Lots of people are making mistakes due to the hours. When I make a tiny one, I get chewed out by my boss. However, she is kind to another person who made far worse mistakes. So, maybe she doesn't like me or wants me to leave. Or, maybe she is just stressed out and taking it out on me.

I am feeling better today, because I've decided I will just leave. Most people tell me to leave. However, one person said it might be worth it to wait it out and see. If I can just stop caring….
It's so hard to stop caring.  So. Hard.  I still can't stop.
But it's not that you don't care about your job, your company, your coworkers, or the work.
It's that you care that it get done right, but not at the risk of your own health.

I don't know your boss.  Maybe she doesn't like you.  Maybe you are SO GOOD at your job that she's really relying on you to be perfect to hold everything together.  I have found myself in that role over and over again, and here I am still - keeping everything rolling, together, fixing things, while other people get credit for it. Hm.

However, I'm not against brain altering drugs to get you on the right track temporarily. I still take Unisom every single night.

Good luck.  Knowing that you are going to just leave is pretty empowering.  My coworker quit last year because it got so bad, and she was much happier, even though she was unemployed for 6 months.  I decided to leave, and even though I haven't found a new job yet, knowing that I can go, that I'm not tied here, is very freeing.  It's only a matter of time.

oldtoyota

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2014, 05:03:30 PM »
Decision made, stress gone?

I bet you have a huge feeling of relief when you walk out the door for the last time.    I did.  Every time.   :-)

=-) Pretty much. I guess I could change my mind if things change for the better. Just knowing that I am ready to roll out of there makes me feel a lot better….a lot more free. That is what I needed, I think.

lhamo

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #39 on: October 21, 2014, 09:09:30 PM »
I remember that feeling.  It came after I had a HORRIBLE meeting with my boss at what had become a HSSJ.  I was very upset about some decisions that had been made and stupidly requested a performance review that he manipulated to make me look very bad.  I pushed back and he blew up -- basically screamed at me that I could accept the review as written, put all of this under the rug/out of sight and keep the job they were offering me (which involved both a demotion and a pay cut), and keep working for him or I could walk.  I could have walked -- we had the FU money and DH would have supported me -- but I was in the middle of a couple of projects I had invested a lot in and cared immensely about and decided it was important to me personally and professionally to see those through to handoff point.  But in my heart I knew I was done.  I went home and started a spreadsheet where I was literally counting every penny I was making for every additional day I worked.  I deliberately scheduled PTO at regular intervals just to give myself a little carrot to keep striving after ("free money!") 

In the end he/the idiot they hired in over my head managed to screw up the projects after I left and they got cancelled.  I kind of think that was deliberate.  But I was glad I didn't bail earlier.  The real damage had already been done, and for those last few months I just buckled down and did what I knew needed to be done, and enjoyed continuing to get a paycheck while I knew I would be leaving soon.

So happy for you that you now have this windfall and the freedom of choice it brings -- the universe moves in mysterious ways sometimes! 


happy

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2014, 04:21:28 AM »
Quote
So happy for you that you now have this windfall and the freedom of choice it brings -- the universe moves in mysterious ways sometimes

+1

oldtoyota

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2014, 08:52:59 AM »


And when I leave work, that's it.  I don't check my email at home, I don't log in to do one more thing, and I try my best to not think about the next day until it's here.  Drawing a firm line between work life and home life helps me find some balance, even when putting in 12 hour days.

someone asked earlier if you are already FI.  I didn't read the entire thread.

My advice, whether you are FI or not is to act like it.  Work a set amount of hours and then go home.  As someone else said, there are a lot of jobs.  I simply cannot understand why people accept being overworked.  Change fields.  Develop some skills that are in high demand.  Only two fields I know of that demand so much, but yet don't necessarily pay high enough, are IT and law.

I can answer that.  Because when you work ridiculous numbers of hours, the last thing you want to do when you finally have some non-working time is to look for jobs or learn new skills.  Both of those are just piling on more work to your already overworked self.

So true. You completely understand!

retired?

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2014, 10:03:19 AM »


And when I leave work, that's it.  I don't check my email at home, I don't log in to do one more thing, and I try my best to not think about the next day until it's here.  Drawing a firm line between work life and home life helps me find some balance, even when putting in 12 hour days.

someone asked earlier if you are already FI.  I didn't read the entire thread.

My advice, whether you are FI or not is to act like it.  Work a set amount of hours and then go home.  As someone else said, there are a lot of jobs.  I simply cannot understand why people accept being overworked.  Change fields.  Develop some skills that are in high demand.  Only two fields I know of that demand so much, but yet don't necessarily pay high enough, are IT and law.

I can answer that.  Because when you work ridiculous numbers of hours, the last thing you want to do when you finally have some non-working time is to look for jobs or learn new skills.  Both of those are just piling on more work to your already overworked self.

So true. You completely understand!

My point was just what Eric said.  Draw a line.  I saw several at work do that very successfully.  The guy next to me arrived at 8 and left at 5.  He didn't chit chat as much as others and almost always ate at his desk (thus he got more done in that time).  He stayed late the few times per year required, but didn't feel the need to arrive first or leave last.  This didn't hurt his reputation at all.  He put his family and health first.  Much of the stress of work we put upon ourselves (me included).  With FU money, drawing the line should be much easier.

My other point is that there are jobs that pay reasonably well, do not have lots of stress or long hours.  Granted, I agree retraining for a different field can be expensive in terms of time, $$, and effort.

former player

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #43 on: October 22, 2014, 11:14:38 AM »
I get anxious when challenged, and I've been challenged to explain things I've been doing for years. The good news is that the work I did stood up to the test. However, I realize it's my boss causing my stress. While other people are understanding that this is a nutty time. Lots of people are making mistakes due to the hours. When I make a tiny one, I get chewed out by my boss. However, she is kind to another person who made far worse mistakes.

You are being bullied by this boss.  If you can find some resources on how to deal with bullies, it may help you in the period up to your leaving.

oldtoyota

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Re: Help: Work Stress is Making Me Sick and Crazy
« Reply #44 on: October 31, 2014, 05:00:14 AM »
Thank you for listening and for your advice and help!

I had some tough conversations and things are a lot better and will hopefully stay that way. I will post something similar to this in my original post, too. The bottom line is I got the message they care and we're all working on changes to make the situation better.