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Horrible pressure at work.

(18 Posts)
carlywurly Sat 06-Dec-14 16:46:58

I've had a pressured role for a while now (managing people and operations) and been coping fine - lots of decent appraisals and feedback, but it's suddenly tipped from being manageable to intolerable pressure.

We have had a spate of errors this week within the team, who are largely newish due to the constant change and churn in our department. One was me (due to a system error I didn't spot) and one I strongly suspect was my manager but is being blamed on my team and I can't prove otherwise.

This has put me into a state of real anxiety. My two predecessors moved on because of the pressure, I really want to do the job but am so aware of how exposed I am in this role. I feel accountable for anything that goes wrong and given the pace we're asked to work at, mistakes are utterly inevitable . It bothers me that my managers cover their backs continually and I may end up a scapegoat facing disciplinary charges for things I haven't been able to control.
Any advice appreciated.

iamthenewgirl Sat 06-Dec-14 20:20:17

I personally can deal with stress and pressure when it is a short term thing (i.e. a project or injection of work). If it's persistent I can't and in my opinion it's indicative of places that don't have enough staff.

I also don't think I would particularly like to work for managers who won't admit their own mistakes especially if you have disciplinary action at play. Why would you want that hanging over you?

Sorry, life is too short I would just get out.

Timeforabiscuit Sat 06-Dec-14 20:24:57

I second what iamthenewgirl says!

Short term is doable- but the pressure you describe sounds like a grindhouse! I know changing a job is not something to do lightly, but your recognising now that all is not well and doesn't sound like the culture is going to change for the foreseeable future.

carlywurly Sat 06-Dec-14 20:45:05

Thank you both. It's such a shame as if I could write my perfect job description a lot of what I do would be in there. I also have good hours there.

I think people are ok if they're in favour with the two women who are currently my managers. I always have been so far, which is just as well as I sit under their noses at work but recently there have been some odd comments about a newer starter (who is utterly ruthless and I've already had to speak to re bullying behaviour) being in danger of "overtaking" me.

I'm generally quite diplomatic and seem to handle people well, so my team is happy and productive but I know I lack the ruthless, power hungry streak they both have and seem to be looking for.

It's a shame as most other people there are lovely, and I get on with the others at my level brilliantly.

I don't know what to do. I genuinely don't think they want me out but I don't want to feel paranoid in work when I never have before.

iamthenewgirl Sun 07-Dec-14 10:53:26

It does sound a bit toxic.

You sound like a nice decent person just trying to do a good job but you are surrounded by very ambitious people who will do whatever it takes to get ahead. I would be surprised if this ends well as your values are not in alignment with the people you are working for (plus the new starter).

Are there any other openings internally?

iamthenewgirl Sun 07-Dec-14 10:56:50

Also meant to add...

In my experience, the people who get ahead are generally the ones who emulate the boss. So if you have a boss who works long hours, is power hungry and ambitious they will expect the same of their staff. Very difficult to work for someone like this if you are a nice, kind, hard working person who values harmony and work/life balance.

carlywurly Sun 07-Dec-14 12:31:47

I think you're right. It's hardly a major corporation that we work for so there's a limit to how far anyone can really get. The ones who do progress are always the ones in favour. There are a few "pet projects" who seem to advance no matter what, including my line manager. Power in the wrong hands is a disturbing thing to witness.

I have a lot of support amongst my colleagues. My line manager is universally disliked but they all report in some way to her line manager, who loves her, so there's very little I can realistically do, as she's almost the top of the chain.

Anxiety about it is really dominating my life outside work as they keep contacting me at home, so I think I will try and keep my head down for the moment, get through December and think of a plan for the new year.

carlywurly Sun 07-Dec-14 12:33:34

To answer your question, there aren't really any other openings I could move to. We're a fairly specialist company but my role is more general, iyswim. I wouldn't be qualified to move to many other departments.

antimatter Sun 07-Dec-14 12:35:14

Are those mistakes going to be remember in 6 months time?

Is it possible that everyone knows they happen and just move on.

I would say sometimes is necessary to change/rewrite procedure.
Then you can have action point after each mistake and are covered (so to speak).

iamthenewgirl Sun 07-Dec-14 12:53:54

Probably to get on, you will need to shrug off the mistakes/blaming and develop a thicker skin. It's very hard to do it if you're not that way inclined and surrounded by people who only care about themselves.

I think I would keep my head down, play the game and look for something else. Life is just too short for that type of crap.

carlywurly Sun 07-Dec-14 17:53:11

Thank you for your responses. I urgently need to develop a thicker skin, I think. It's easier said than done though smile

I know I'm not incompetent but I bloody dread making any mistakes at all, mainly because of the way they're handled (massive drama and recriminations)

It is the most uptight culture of anywhere I've ever worked and maybe that just doesn't suit me.

3littlefrogs Sun 07-Dec-14 18:00:09

Life is too short to be in a job that makes you overstressed.
Most people have career changes throughout their lives these days, so I would start looking for another job if I were you.

It doesn't have to be immediate, but it would be good to know what opportunities are out there IYSWIM.

DustBunnyFarmer Sun 07-Dec-14 18:07:47

Anxiety about it is really dominating my life outside work as they keep contacting me at home

This stood out for me. They should not be contacting you at home.

I recently changed jobs having stuck one out for years that had many enjoyable aspects where I had a good team, but was in a very pressured and toxic environment with arsehole managers. I was very conflicted about moving on, as I liked the role and my team very much. Now I'm out of it, I realise how much it was taking out of me. I am much, much happier and able to properly enjoy the time I spend with my husband and children. Work stuff takes up about 90% less headspace when I'm out of work. I realise in hindsight how the last [too many] years were blighted by the stress of my old job. Be prepared to walk away if things don't improve. Sometimes we are afraid of change in case we end up in a worse job, overlooking that our lives could equally change for the better.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 07-Dec-14 18:17:55

Apologise, and change procedures to make sure they don't happen again.

Don't dwell on it, if someone does say 'nobody is perfect and procedures have been changed. Lets move on'.

Fridayschild Sun 07-Dec-14 19:15:51

Echos dustBunnyFarmer

carlywurly Sun 07-Dec-14 19:50:43

Dust bunny did you find something you enjoyed as much? Are there nice cultures out there? I've worked in a fair few places where they claim to have a great culture but it really isn't once you scratch the surface.

I hear what you're saying about being contacted at home. The other week I had a really good appraisal, drove home in a great mood and the phone was ringing as I got through the door - my line manager wanted me to explain why we'd done something and I then had to justify it in writing. Completely took the shine off and made me worry.

Looking back, it could and should have waited until after that weekend. It was very far from being a matter of life and death.hmm

DustBunnyFarmer Sun 07-Dec-14 20:15:41

It took me a while to settle into my new job, mainly because it is so different from my old one, but the people I work with are lovely, the work is interesting and - more importantly - I am much, much happier. Every job has its frustrations. There are still office politics and ups and downs, but I have no doubt that I made the right choice.

I think sometimes you don't see the opportunities that are out there when your nose is to the grindstone. In your shoes, I'd be letting my managers know that I do not wish to be contacted outside working hours unless it is a genuine emergency, I'd set some boundaries and keep things under review. Also start looking at what's out there & maybe put in a few applications to see if your hunches about skills/experience match are right. Writing my CV and job applications for the first time in [mumble] years was genuinely surprising for me - I had gained so much experience that I hadn't taken into account.

Let's put it this way, life is too short and precious to be unhappy. When you open yourself up to the possibility of moving on, you open yourself up to the possibility of being happier at work. And if the new job isn't right, put in a CV-friendly amount of time & then start looking again.

iamthenewgirl Sun 07-Dec-14 21:20:23

Yes, there are definitely decent companies out there. You just need to be brave and take the step.

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