Author Topic: Work stress and saying FU  (Read 5887 times)

MayDay

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Work stress and saying FU
« on: April 07, 2014, 02:30:39 PM »
My H has a lot of work stress due to the fact that he is doing the work of 2 people, and there are more project ideas than time.  He is an engineer doing process modeling.  He has one actual boss but 3 other big bosses, each of whom has their own idea what the priority should be.  He continually tries to tell the various bosses and project managers that XYZ is his priority and they should talk to Boss if they think that needs to change.  But that generally just results in lots of semi-nasty emails flying around with all interested parties still fundamentally pulling him in different directions.  They are theoretically hiring someone to help him but first the timeline was January, now it is "spring", and so far nothing has happened with that. 

I am trying to convince him to stop getting stressed about making all these people happy.  My reasoning is that we have enough savings to live for awhile if he should get laid off (which I highly doubt would happen because if they lay him off, zero work would get done, but he disagrees).  But we certainly aren't in a position for him to just quit (I SAH with kids so he is the only income). 

Has anyone had experience saying FU to a job without actually quitting and without the goal of getting fired/laid off?  What did you do?  Does anyone have recommended reading on the subject? 



MayDay

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2014, 02:31:28 PM »
P.S. He is also keeping an eye out for other internal jobs and we are open to relocating, but that is a long process, and in the meantime he needs to chill the fuck out about work.

Gray Matter

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2014, 03:44:18 PM »
I have done this.  We had gone through a number of transitions at work, I had a new boss and he had a new boss, I didn't know what was expected of me and turned myself in knots trying to make everyone happy.  I finally decided to suit myself, do what I thought needed to be done, work as much as was reasonable, and assume everything was fine unless I was told otherwise.  Oddly enough, I ended up having one of my best performance reviews/ratings ever.

CarDude

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2014, 04:08:09 PM »
I've got a friend who once got fed up, had a new job lined up, and went in to quit. They were shocked and offered her a raise. Being able to walk away is a powerful bargaining chip.

brewer12345

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2014, 07:27:07 PM »
P.S. He is also keeping an eye out for other internal jobs and we are open to relocating, but that is a long process, and in the meantime he needs to chill the fuck out about work.

I am sure this supportive attitude will help him deal with the stress.

More constructively, he should polish up the resume and see what is out there.  Not only might it surface a much better opportunity, it should help him realize that he is not trapped and does not  to sit there and take it until doomsday.

MayDay

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2014, 07:53:37 PM »
P.S. He is also keeping an eye out for other internal jobs and we are open to relocating, but that is a long process, and in the meantime he needs to chill the fuck out about work.

I am sure this supportive attitude will help him deal with the stress.

More constructively, he should polish up the resume and see what is out there.  Not only might it surface a much better opportunity, it should help him realize that he is not trapped and does not  to sit there and take it until doomsday.

Maybe I worded that poorly.  He know he needs to chill out, and wants to, but feels like he doesn't know how.  It isn't just coming from me.  He also has for many years absolutely completely needed a job and a lay-off would have been very bad.  It is hard to suddenly adjust your perspective to say "hey if I lose my job, no big deal!" when for your entire work life you have been terrified of losing your job- he went through several massive lay-offs during the recession that deeply affected him. 

He is looking, talks to recruiters regularly, is actively networking, but many jobs that he is highly qualified for are in terrible locations.  He would rather stay at his current company but it will likely take awhile for the right internal position to open up, and he doesn't want to rush into a new position if it isn't the right move. 

brewer12345

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2014, 07:58:26 PM »
A lot of this is in his head.  If you don't walk around like your balls are dragging on the ground, you get treated like you are the omega wolf in the pack.  Nut up or shut up.

CarDude

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2014, 08:06:57 PM »
Rereading your two posts, here's what I pick up:

1. He is the sole breadwinner.

2. You have an emergency fund, but of indeterminate amount.

3. You think his job is secure, and he effectively has PTSD from previous job losses.

I'm pretty sure I get where his stress is coming from, especially if you have fewer than a year's worth of an emergency fund. If I were the sole breadwinner, I'd have a hard time taking it easy at work unless I knew we were really set, financially, especially given the current economy. And when you throw in his history of job losses and scares, it's not surprising to me that he thinks he needs to do everything he's doing in order to hold on to this job. Regardless of how much of this might be in his head, if you really want him to feel secure, you need to show him with cold, hard numbers that his entire family won't be out on the streets in a year if it took him that long to find a job if he lost his tomorrow.

Mortgage Free Mike

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2014, 08:10:11 PM »
It sounds like a dysfunctional work environmental. I think you can just continue to be supportive and listen. Offer solutions to the day-to-day problems if you think of them.
It seem as though he needs to get these bosses together in a room to talk priorities.

dragoncar

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2014, 08:19:46 PM »
His feelings may not change -- he'll I'm still terrified to lose my job and I could easily retire to the country with what I have now.  I just happened to graduate in the middle of two separate recessions.

It does sound like a messed up organizational structure -- is there a higher level boss that can give the ultimate priority?  Does he not have, like, a direct supervisor who decides his raises, etc.?

TomTX

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2014, 08:25:35 PM »
Have him actually use his vacation time.

If there isn't enough vacation left, take some mental health days out of the sick leave.

ch12

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2014, 08:46:31 PM »
My dad, for many years, was in the same sort of position. I remember that he deliberately broke his pager when I was a kid, so that the 5 or so bosses with competing priorities talking to him would need to physically find him. It's an absurdly high stress situation, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

It's easiest to find a job when you have a job. He needs to be willing to take a job in a terrible town if that's what he can get; alternately, you need to be looking for a job yourself.

One $13.50/hour stay at home mom job is working for Leapforce. http://frugalparagon.com/2014/02/05/why-the-frugal-paragon-loves-leapforce-at-home/

Think about how much money the household needs to keep food on the table and the lights on. Aim to get there yourself.

Your post sounds trapped - your husband is pretty much the definition of a wage slave, minus your emergency fund. He's the sole breadwinner, and he's in an awful job with a family that he needs to support. Take strength from Mr. Frugal Toque's story - engineer, sole breadwinner, taking a leap into the void to find another job, etc.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/08/27/mr-frugal-toque-gets-laid-off/

spoonman

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2014, 09:16:15 PM »
My wife was working for a startup headed by a complete ass.  The environment eventually turned toxic and she ended up getting another job.  Not quite FU, but once she had her mind made up about leaving the startup she quickly found another job and left right away.

MayDay

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2014, 06:12:12 AM »
We easily have a year of expenses accessible.  That is why he can afford to chill out about work- and he wants to- but he doesn't quite know how. He does have one direct supervisor but he is a brand new supervisor and is fairly ineffective.

Thus far he isn't willing to take a crappy location job.  If he did lose his job today, he could be working in a scrappy town in two weeks, though.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2014, 07:23:55 AM »
My wife's strategy is to effectively ignore e-mails outside of her direct supervisor. She sets her priorities and sticks to them.

In your husband's situation, he is probably more valuable than some of the managers above him. My DW certainly is, and they all know it. Without her, the company would fall apart for a good 6-12 months until they figured out how to train a replacement for all the various things she does.

Long term, he should leave. That kind of top heavy management isn't going to improve by shifting within the organization.

catccc

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Re: Work stress and saying FU
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2014, 07:33:58 AM »
I recently left a really similar job environment, and I cannot believe I debated over it for so long.  My commute is twice as long and I took a slight pay cut, but it was still the best decision for my health, sanity, and happiness.

He should be pounding the pavement to find another job so he can get out.  If he sees light at the end of the tunnel, he will probably be able to chill out because it really won't matter in a short time if he doesn't please these people.