Work anxiety + self-loathing

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Work anxiety + self-loathing

Postby Linus » July 30th, 2013, 8:08 pm

I can't seem to find my stride at work anymore. I lost my last job when I was dealing with three major life issues (runaway teen, elderly mom with sharply escalating dementia living with us, and my own poor health and the arrival of menopause) -- I was just unable to cope. Forgetful, scatterbrained, sloppy. I did a bad job for the first time in my life, went through a long period as a despised pariah at work, and was given the choice of quitting or getting fired. I quit, so my resume still looks nice. I've worked at another job for the past 2 1/2 years and done well. Now I'm feeling the anxiety of "oh no I'm fucking up again" because I'm feeling overwhelmed with the job. It's just too much. There is no clear chain of command, so I get conflicting directions from superiors. The work is more technical than I'm comfortable with, and keeping up with the topics and the work load is a strain. Even so, I was managing it OK until I went through another horrible period in life (getting over husband's affair); I've been stumbling and rocked ever since. I keep messing up, although it's not at a critical level yet. I'm scared, annoyed with the job, and sad/angry at myself because I feel so incompetent. I know I need to find a new job since my hours are reduced, so pay is lower (ouch) while stress levels remain the same. But every job I've looked at so far is either doing the same thing I'm qualified to do (which I don't want to do anymore -- I want more "mindless" work that doesn't make me feel like I'm getting too stupid to work anymore), or I'm too overqualified to even get an interview. (I apply -- just no callbacks yet.)

I am revving in neutral, with my anxiety on high, and I need to go to sleep so I can work my big ol' two hours on my reduced schedule tomorrow. (I must drive 45 minutes to work, work two hours, and then drive 45 minutes back. This sucks.)

And meanwhile I want to kick my own ass for being so STUCK. I spent today sleeping all afternoon instead of filling out job apps. What the fuck is the MATTER with me. I think even just starting to walk or do yoga would help me ... but I am just looking at the ideas, not doing them. Is this laziness, depression, or both? I feel so overwhelmed. Definitely looking forward to my therapist's appointment in the morning.

ANYWAY ... I'm not looking for a solution, but you're welcome to chime in if you have suggestions. I'd like to know if others are going through anything similar, though! Best wishes to you.
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Re: Work anxiety + self-loathing

Postby oak » July 30th, 2013, 8:20 pm

Hey!

You are not alone. Definitely not alone.

I've been fired three times, once in 2008 for cause, and twice in 2012: once on fairly dubious grounds and the other on completely dubious grounds.

My thoughts, which you are welcome to take or leave :)

Though some will disagree, I firmly believe it is very wise to quit rather than get fired. In fact, most places will let you quit even if they fire you. Thus, you can look an interviewer in the eye and truthfully say you've never been fired.

Next, if you think you are about to lose your current job, trust that intuition.

And conflicting directions is a classic environment for heartbreaking situations such as yours. You deserve better.

Hugs.

I have faced declining or zero hours of employment, and struggled to get the darn job application sent in. I am ashamed that it has taken my nine years (!), but I am finally facing my underearning by tracking my time on task of using Good Orderly Direction.

(Good Orderly Direction for me being the industry-standard job search advice books.)

Hang in there.

My advice, for what it is worth, is if you really think they may let you go, then I suggest talking soon with the most sympathetic manager. That voice of one's conscience is very very trustworthy.
"Work is love made visible." -Kahlil Gibran

"We gotta make a decision: leave tonight or live and die this way." -Tracy Chapman
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Re: Work anxiety + self-loathing

Postby Linus » July 31st, 2013, 5:00 am

Thanks, Oak. Did you know a lot of places now have in their pre-employment questionnaire something like this, "Have you ever been forced to resign or chosen resigning over being fired?" My current employer asked that, and I lied. I got away with it, and it has bothered me ever since. I wince internally when a company leader talks about our high ethical standards.

As I'm applying for other jobs now, it's discouraging to find that so many places also ask for a credit check before employment. We're currently in poor financial straits, so any report will be embarrassingly bad. While I understand that someone with bad credit is more vulnerable to being tempted toward wrongdoing, it's humiliating.

I don't know how other people do it -- just keep on going despite humiliation, despite the stress of applying and interviewing, despite the strain of waiting for the phone to ring or the email to come. Depression and anxiety by themselves are bad enough. Add a job hunt and personal issues, and it feels like I'm constantly fighting the pull toward the couch or bed and oblivious sleep. It takes more energy to keep putting one foot in front of the other one; it's very tempting to just withdraw into myself.

But I'm still trying. Applied for three jobs online last night, including one where I thought, "What the hell -- it sounds like fun." So we will see.
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Re: Work anxiety + self-loathing

Postby oak » July 31st, 2013, 6:15 am

Linus, oh do I hear you about the stress and self-doubt about the job search.

In fact, pages 2 and 3 talk about my struggles (and lessons) with the twin heartaches of underearning and a job search:

viewtopic.php?f=61&t=8186



And yes, I do understand about the "Have you ever been fired..." question(s) on job apps. In fact, that is the main reason I tell people not to get fired.

As far as this:

"Have you ever been forced to resign or chosen resigning over being fired?"

In one sense I encourage you to listen to your conscience. If you feel compelled to answer one way, and guilty if you don't, then answer according to your heart.

On the other hand, I take a more narrow, legalistic view.

I see getting fired like being pregnant or married: it is either all, or not at all. A person can't be a little bit pregnant, for example.

The same with getting fired: as I see it, if I quit then there is no discussion of "getting fired". Even if they were going to fire me, and offered me to be able to quit.

Thus, my act of quitting nullifies any threat, real or not, of getting fired. Whatever they have to say is neither here nor there, since in that moment any professional relationship is over.

For me, the larger picture is that quitting mostly helps the employer:

If they fire us, there are legal implicatations, and we can be a pain in their ass for filing for unemployment, etc.

If we quit, they offer us severance (or not) and never have to deal with us again.

Which is just a long way of saying quitting is quitting, it has nothing to do with getting fired, and never the twain shall meet.

Again, this is only me. For me "I have never been fired" is 100% accurate, and ethical to say.

The good news is that good job search books (starting with Parachute) handle this. Preparation is the key in interviewing, my friend.

Good luck out there.

pm anytime. I am going through the same thing. There is hope.

(In fact I have a big-ish interview today!)

Hang in there.
"Work is love made visible." -Kahlil Gibran

"We gotta make a decision: leave tonight or live and die this way." -Tracy Chapman
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Re: Work anxiety + self-loathing

Postby oak » July 31st, 2013, 6:48 am

And as far as the credit check before employment:

Yes, that will scare away some employers, and such is their right.

Personally (and I got this from the job search books), the time to bring up this or other surprises they're likely to find out is between their offer of the job and my accepting.

For example, my credit is a mess but I've managed to make it to my mid 30s with few or no other skeletons in my closet.

Thus, when offered a job I'll tell them I accept, but that I will give them a chance to check out my credit history before officially accepting.

If they don't like what they see I promise to bow out gracefully and quickly, with only good wishes for them, grateful for the job offer.

If they don't mind what they find, then I accept and it never need brought up again, and thus it can't be held over my head, since management already knows.

Lastly, you and I are hardly the only ones with a troubled credit history. Further, who knows what skeletons are in other peoples closets?

Consider two Venn diagrams: people with jobs, and people with skeletons in their closets. Both are really well populated, and many of these people manage to get and hold jobs, shady pasts not withstanding.

In one way I am lucky that I can't hide my past: since I can't hide it, I don't. Therefore it is out there, and can't be used to shame me, it can't be a secret.

Secrets in the open, the sunshine, have no power. They can be helpers to make better choices today.

Such is my opinion. :)
"Work is love made visible." -Kahlil Gibran

"We gotta make a decision: leave tonight or live and die this way." -Tracy Chapman
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