To keep hanging on in there (work related)

(22 Posts)
Hangingonregardless Wed 15-Jun-16 16:43:26

Name changed for this one

To cut a long story short, I started a new career around 2 years ago which I had invested several years getting into (not earning during this time). Am very driven and career became big part of my identity. Had to be very tunnel-visioned to succeed.

Fast forward to a 6 months/a year in - lots of work-related stress = burnout. Feel inside like I just can't cope with the pressure (though outwardly I do). I like to be in control and a lot of the time, things go out of control pretty quickly. I am known for being good at what I do.

Now, 2 years in, struggling massively with my health (physical and mental) which means I am not working at present. Wonder whether its time to just admit its not for me? Sticking point is this is what I wanted so much and I (plus DH/DC) expected my future to be in this career for the rest of my working life. No sideways move is possible.

My expectations of how this was all going to map out is slowly going pear-shaped. DH supportive regardless of what I decide.

I do know that my health/wellbeing is priority but I'm not these and this career are mutually possible, at least for me.

lougle Wed 15-Jun-16 16:57:22

Hmmmmmm...you're being vague (no criticism, I completely understand anonymity) so it's hard to help in terms of creative solutions, but:

You say no sideways move: Are there various 'streams' that you could choose to operate in? I work in ICU, high stress, but could choose to work in outpatients- I'd still be a nurse but I'd be using my skills differently.

Could you work less hours?

Could you get some mentorship/supervision/counselling to help with the stressful bits?

I cried at work this week. I'm not rubbish, but it all got a bit much and I needed to let the stress out. My in charge sorted me out. I doubt she thinks less of me for it. Another day it may be her.

NotYoda Wed 15-Jun-16 17:05:14

This, almost exactly, is what happened to me. I was pre-DCs though.

I never returned after my period after leaving.

It took me years to get over the feeling that I failed. Wasted years actually.

There's still a teeny tiny part of me who thinks I could/should have ridden it out, but TBH I put my mental health first. The trouble is I think my burnout had gone too far before I acknowledged how bad I was feeling. Then it became very all-or-nothing.

If I had not been at that point, I'd suggest all the things lougle has suggested

I would never ever want to go back to feeling how I did about work

EveryoneElsie Wed 15-Jun-16 17:12:20

Can you find a different way to deal with the stress, like vets do when they have to euthanase an animal?

Hangingonregardless Wed 15-Jun-16 17:17:14

The trouble is I think my burnout had gone too far before I acknowledged how bad I was feeling. Then it became very all-or-nothing.

This is where I'm at Yoda. The stress from work and the years leading up to it is causing/contributing to very real and scary physical symptoms now.

Louge I'd already reduced hours to the minimum. Other option is going back on 'bank' only but it would be in the same area. I was offered CBT and supportive return to work after first period of sickness; in reality once there its about being one of the numbers and pitching in regardless, which I can understand as its a pressurised area plus woefully understaffed (which I know I'm contributing too).

NotYoda Wed 15-Jun-16 17:34:39

I decided, in the end, that the are of work I felt attracted to was one that did not suit my personality.

i have seen colleague and friends get to the top while I floundered but I love what I do now - I feel fulfilled, useful and stretched enough. But supported and never overwhelmed.

What swung it for me was someone saying of leaving "no-one is holding a gun to your head'. That really helped me, because in effect I was the one holding the gun. The gun contained guilt as well as wishing not to "fail"

NotYoda Wed 15-Jun-16 17:35:57

it's great your husband is supportive (as of course, he should be). Mine was too.

NotYoda Wed 15-Jun-16 17:41:17

Another thing I'd say is that if you have the time and can afford it, decide to leave, recover and then get some kind of therapeutic help. Something that's not focussed on "trying to get you back to that job". A bit more exploratory.

You might find you can go back, in time. But take the pressure off first

Hangingonregardless Wed 15-Jun-16 17:46:54

Thank you Yoda that sounds like good advice. The guilt and not wanting to 'fail' is a big hurdle right now. Definitely feel that I need time to nurture myself.

Paniniswapx3 Wed 15-Jun-16 17:53:00

I was in your position & hung in there as didn't want to admit failure but due to the stress, I've messed up big time, so in hindsight, I'd have moved on a long time ago & avoided my current mess altogether.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Is there a point in the not too distant future where some kind of sideways move or new path might be possible which would make it worth sticking it out a bit longer.

To give an example from my profession (Law)
To qualify you have to spend 2 years as a trainee in a law firm. It can be brutal especially in the big City firms. However, leaving during your Training Contract could well end your career.
Once you Qualify and get offered a position it becomes easier to move especially if you stick it out for 1 or 2 years to get a bit of experience.

So changing direction within the profession in Yr 1 or 2 is extremely hard but is easier by Yr 4.

Is your profession like that?

Hangingonregardless Wed 15-Jun-16 18:16:12

Panini I think that's what I'm afraid of too.

Chaz I guess I am technically a trainee and, given a couple of years, could go into a different role but I'm not sure I've got the energy that needs right now. I've got to basically do my time and, because of my sickness, may be passed over for promotion if/when the time comes.

topcat2014 Wed 15-Jun-16 18:26:05

Here's my take: Whilst one's own career is (in our own heads at least) following some kind of path, I realised a while back that no-one else is keeping tabs or score or whatever. They just need a bum on the seat to do today's tasks.

I am an accountant, which took years to train for, and which I enjoy. However, I never landed what you might call a 'career' job with promotions. Instead, I tend to move jobs every five years or so.

The money is good, and it's better once you have been working for several years - but honestly no-one else is paying my career the slightest attention but me.

When they made everyone redundant in my last job, all the senior staff (ie above me) got the same letters from the overseas parent company as I did.

So - look after yourself first.

If you don't in the future get promotion where you are, move somewhere else.

I think firms always define people as the status they were when they joined any way.

Good luck

Paniniswapx3 Wed 15-Jun-16 18:29:15

That's very true Topcat.

Okay377 Wed 15-Jun-16 19:10:32

Gosh OP, I hear you flowers

You know that your health is the priority. Burnout takes a long time to recover from. It's not just the immediate 'being ok to work', it's the convalescence period too. I'm not sure whether your role as you describe it would give you the opportunity to either recover or convalesce. It's a hard descision but do also remember that the future has opportunities beyond that decision. If you leave, you could use your skills and talents in another role that may not be obvious right now, but be equally worthwhile and rewarding. The jump can be the hardest thing. If you do leave, once you've made that decision you can concentrate your energies on the future. If you don't leave now, that doesn't mean you can't do so in 6 months, a year's time.

Only you can decide with the support of your DH and family and friends. I'm sorry I can't give better advice but I do hear what you're saying.

I'm in a slightly similar position. Sometimes it's helpful to think what advice you'd give to a friend, so I'm going to think about what I just said too.

Hangingonregardless Wed 15-Jun-16 19:36:22

Okay flowers to you too. Reframing it into what I might advise a friend is helpful (and I hope your advice to me likewise helps you). Work are being supportive in giving me time but the workplace itself isn't going to change or I suspect my attitude toward it without some considerable recovery and coping mechanisms once more physically healed.

I think one issue that a lot of us face is that we define ourselves by our jobs. Ultimately this is unhealthy as we are tying our self worth to something outside of ourselves and our control. Remember, you are just as important and worthwhile without this job as with it. You are still you whatever you do.

Hangingonregardless Wed 15-Jun-16 20:33:18

Chaz that's made me feel quite emotional reading that. You are so right, my own identity has been so bound up in my vocation, I've almost lost who I am. Thank you.

Paniniswapx3 Wed 15-Jun-16 20:50:05

Chaz, I'd like to say thanks for posting that - it's helped me too.

flowers
I've had to have the same talk with myself when my job was taking over my life.

Angrybird234 Wed 15-Jun-16 22:28:53

Another thank you to chaz for the wise and thought provoking words. wine

I took on a high-pressure job 5 years ago not long after a hideous break up and remember saying to a housemate that I wanted to be so busy (to forget about ex partner and his treachery) that I wouldn't know what day of the week it was... Careful what you wish for! I've had two periods of very poor mental health and the stress of the job has no doubt contributed to it. Being a high achiever, I've always attached my self esteem to how I've been doing at work... any time I've tried to ease my stress a bit I've been made to feel like a bitch for "letting the company down", "not being a positive role model to junior colleagues" (WTAF?!) and daring to attempt a work-life balance.
It's only falling pregnant, having an epic meltdown that led to a few weeks off work and a trade union rep and HCPs saying my employer's demands are unreasonable that have given me the strength to stand up for myself and take a step back.

Life's too short to be stressed and miserable at work OP, do what you need to minimise your stress and if that means changing jobs so be it.

Good luck x

DetestableHerytike Thu 16-Jun-16 07:13:54

Great post chaz

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