Friend and colleague off with stress, I am covering her work. AIBU?

(67 Posts)
heron98 Wed 05-Oct-16 12:05:59

My colleague (who is also a close friend) has been signed off work for 6 weeks with stress. She claims she cannot face work and hates our manager. It's true, he is quite hard work and can be quite short with people but nothing too horrendous.

In the meantime, I am covering all my friend's work whilst I see on Facebook she is out and about having fun.

Do not flame me, but I feel so resentful.

We have exactly the same role, working conditions and manager and I really don't see why she claims work is so awful. If it's that bad, why doesn't she just leave?

It's making me feel a lot of ill feeling towards her which I am trying to swallow because I don't want to affect our friendship.

Please don't flame me and accuse me of not understanding MH. I do. But I am finding it hard not to feel cross.

I have not, and will not, say anything to her but I can't help how I feel.

Brankolium Wed 05-Oct-16 12:13:37

I think you know YABU as you can't possibly know all the ins and outs of her life. Of course she could be over-egging it but assuming that is a dangerous road to venture down, and rather unfair on your friend.

That said, it does sound hard her watching apparent fun times on Facebook while you slog away at work. Facebook is like that though. It's very easy to portray a lovely life on there with a few choice photos - people looking will fill in the blanks with more rosy fun-filled-ness but that's rarely the case.

Change your settings to see less from your friend, meet up for coffee to see how she's doing in person and give her the benefit of the doubt. Letting yourself feel grumpy will make you feel rubbish and gain nothing.

maddiemookins16mum Wed 05-Oct-16 12:16:24

At my last job they had a clause in the staff handbook that excluded stress from being used as a reason for sickness and being signed off. It's probably unwise for her to be posting all over FB but in fairness everyone is different and there is nothing worse than workin in an environment that makes you feel so unwell mentally.

QueenofallIsee Wed 05-Oct-16 12:17:21

I took 11 weeks off with an anxiety issue a few years ago. I am quite sure that there are people that wonder what made me take the time out, on the face of it, work was not any more of less stressful than the 13 years previously. It was MY mental state that made me less able to cope, not just with work but with life in general. As I recovered, I spent time doing things that brought me pleasure as it was important for my state of mind.

I completely get where you are coming from. 100% get it. But please be kind to her, I found it terrifying to be out of control and unable to manage.

Sprinklestar Wed 05-Oct-16 12:20:54

You shouldn't be doing double your regular workload, whatever the situation. Are you being paid double? Thought not.

Speak to your manager and be very clear that you'll also be going off sick with stress if this situation continues. They need to get a temp in or bring in backup from elsewhere. The fact your colleague is a friend is irrelevant. It's just not possible to do two jobs in the hours of one person.

heron98 Wed 05-Oct-16 12:20:58

Thanks all.

I am really trying my utmost to be kind as I know there is (probably) more going on.

CatNip2 Wed 05-Oct-16 12:22:45

They need to get a temp in or bring in backup from elsewhere. The fact your colleague is a friend is irrelevant. It's just not possible to do two jobs in the hours of one person

^ this, or you will be the next one off with stress.

39up Wed 05-Oct-16 12:27:29

Wow. I didn't think it was legal to say that some medical conditions couldn't be used to be signed off sick. The last person I know who was signed off sick with stress was cutting her arms and legs in the office toilets to get through the day. Surely it wouldn't be right to tell her to buck up and get on with it?

OP - YABU. FB is a really bad window into people's lives and you don't really know what is going on. Many years ago I spent a few months in a psych ward. When I came out I was off work for a few more months. During that time I did various "nice" things as part of my recovery - I remember going on a "recovery ramble" where a group of us for taken through the countryside and I took loads of pretty photos. All arranged by my care team. I'm sure thosr photos made it look like I was having a great time. In fact, I wasn't eating, or sleeping and wasn't allowed out of the house without a carer. You've no idea what is happening beneath the surface.

gottachangethename1 Wed 05-Oct-16 12:28:00

I was in exactly the same position. I agree with posters who advise you to let manager know this situation with you doing everything cannot continue. You have to consider your own health too.

itsmine Wed 05-Oct-16 12:32:42

It will no doubt be part of her recovery to socialise etc and be out and about. You'll get lots of people all in a flap that you think she shouldn't be.

However the point is, you do it discreetly you don't post on fb when the colleagues picking up the extra work are able to see it . It's called tact, shame more people don't have any.

airingcupboard Wed 05-Oct-16 12:35:32

Wow. I didn't think it was legal to say that some medical conditions couldn't be used to be signed off sick. The last person I know who was signed off sick with stress was cutting her arms and legs in the office toilets to get through the day. Surely it wouldn't be right to tell her to buck up and get on with it?

That's not stress, it's depression or anxiety or personality disorder or something else

strictly speaking the DWP is allowed to reject notes with just "stress" or "pregnancy" on them as they aren't medical conditions

If you are self harming then the note should probably say depression

heron98 Wed 05-Oct-16 12:36:05

It's hard because we are part of the same social circle so see each other a lot.

She is always in the pub, staying out late, doing all the fun things that are organised in our social group whilst i am feeling really tired after work and staying in.

When I am out, she always seems absolutely fine and I just think "well why can't you come to work then?".

I am biting my tongue a lot.

Mrscog Wed 05-Oct-16 12:38:05

maddiemookins I suspect that clause was rather unlawful!

DixieWishbone Wed 05-Oct-16 12:39:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Brankolium Wed 05-Oct-16 12:41:12

itsmine I really do get your point of view, but I have to disagree. MH problems have a huge history of being swept under the carpet. If it's all more open, sufferers have a better chance of recovery and the stigma is blown. Not posting on Facebook for fear of rubbing it in people's faces feels like more carpet sweeping to me.

If we all understood that nights out and walks in the countryside are part of recovery from a horrible episode then seeing photos of it would eventually not feel like a lack of tact. It's like saying someone shouldn't post a smiling selfie whilst laid up in hospital because their colleagues don't get to lounge in bed all day!

RhodaBull Wed 05-Oct-16 12:41:38

Stress is an awfully difficult one. I have lived through many "ailment of the day" working years. Malingerers used to be keen on ME, and RSI (remember that one? Funny how no one gets iPhone finger) and I particularly remember the salmonella in eggs thing, where lo and behold the office slacker rang in the very next day sick because she had eaten an egg sandwich.

I know people who have genuinely had "stress" - and it's not good. I wish a proper medical test could identify whether people had stress/bad back etc and then the genuine sufferers could get support and the lazy arses the boot.

SapphireStrange Wed 05-Oct-16 12:44:15

I agree with everything Brankolium says.

OP, there but for the grace of God and all. If it were you, would you want people to be kind and think the best of you, or think the worst of you?

Your manager is failing you and the company; one person cannot just take on another person's full workload. You need to speak to him about it.

AndNowItsSeven Wed 05-Oct-16 12:45:23

Rhodes my sister has RSI, she has been pensioned in medical grounds and is in constant severe pain.

IceRoadDucker Wed 05-Oct-16 12:46:38

You're not a very good friend, are you?

Your problem is with management, not your "friend." If somebody is off they need to arrange cover rather than expecting you to pick up all the slack. Direct your hard questions at them, not your colleague.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Wed 05-Oct-16 12:48:40

At my last job they had a clause in the staff handbook that excluded stress from being used as a reason for sickness and being signed off

Would lovery to know how that would go down in an employment tribunal.

Mummyoflittledragon Wed 05-Oct-16 12:49:21

I wouldn't have thought going down the pub all the time and perhaps drinking alcohol and hanging with people is the best therapy. I understand where you are coming from. If she is drinking, alcohol is a depressant.

Witch91 Wed 05-Oct-16 12:51:06

I've had a two relatively long periods off work due to depression over the last year. As PP has said, work did not cause my depression, but I could not manage work in the mental state I was in.

I was really worried about going out of the house when I was off in case I bumped in to someone I knew from work who would then wonder why I was well enough to be at the shops (or whatever), but not well enough to be at work. But even while you are off sick, life still has to go on and you have to go shopping, go out for dinner etc, as much as you are able to do, and sometimes that plays an important part in recovery as well.

That being said, I wouldn't be posting things on facebook either.

HeyNannyNanny Wed 05-Oct-16 12:53:18

You're not a very good friend, are you? ouch. Harsh. Very very few people would be able to see someone take time off work, have their work load doubled and not feel slightly resentful. Not least when they can see them having a grand old time as well.

Brankolium Wed 05-Oct-16 12:53:52

It does sound hard to watch OP, but as others have said, be annoyed with your employer for not doing a better job.

When I am out, she always seems absolutely fine and I just think "well why can't you come to work then?"

That must feel frustrating. But perhaps it was a good day and whilst she may be well enough to come in the following day, that might set her back so much that she couldn't come in for the whole week after. You just don't know. She needs to be well enough to come back to work properly and come in every day.

Emmageddon Wed 05-Oct-16 12:54:52

RhodaBull there is a medical condition called De Quervain syndrome which is also known as texter's thumb, a repetitive strain injury.

OP, you have to speak to your manager about your workload and try not to focus on your colleague's life. I can't imagine there are many GP's who would sign someone off work for 6 weeks without there being a good reason.

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