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How do I reconcile myself to work

(28 Posts)
lizzieoak Wed 14-Dec-16 06:27:43

Since my divorce 10+ years ago, I've been back at work part-time. I've had a variety of jobs & hours, up to 30 hours a week recently (but w a week off every month).

I've just started a full-time job (over 35 hours per week, which is fairly heavy for my country & sector).

The people seem nice - though not my sorts and I suspect I'll need to masquerade as a slightly different me so as to avoid bullying. I'm anticipating being lonely as there's very little work chat and what little there is is about sports teams & other things I'm just not interested in. But they do seem nice.

I need the money, but am feeling stressed about being away from home so much. I miss my home, & cats, & kids. Partly due to being bullied at work in the past & partly because work bores me rigid I get a bit anxious about being stuck there.

Any ideas re. soldiering on day in and day out? I need motivating!

ChuckGravestones Wed 14-Dec-16 06:35:10

Most people masquerade at work don't they? The ones that don't are usually the ones that should [ie be nicer than they actually are].

I think alot of people also miss home whilst at work. There is nothing wrong in this.

You need the cash, so plaster on a smile and remember why you are doing it - to afford the home that you miss whilst you are not there.

I have a meeting to go to today, all day - I am on day 11, and yesterday I found out someone cocked up and I don't know which of them it was. I am not their manager. It is going to be uncomfortable. Very. So I've baked cookies and will plaster a smile on and just pretend I am confuddled and unsure as to what on earth has happened whilst knowing one of them is freaking out not to be the one found out to have fucked up.

ButteredToastAndStrawberryJam Wed 14-Dec-16 06:49:43

I daydream a lot.

HermioneWeasley Wed 14-Dec-16 06:53:18

Do you think nobody else would rather be at home with their kids?

Put on your big girl panties - it's called being a grown up

flowery Wed 14-Dec-16 09:04:42

" feeling stressed about being away from home so much"

Have you got a long commute/a lot of business travel then?

Gazelda Wed 14-Dec-16 09:10:23

Keep yourself busy at work, the day goes much faster!
Have a 'to do' list each day or week, it's very motivating to tick them off.
Try to get on friendly terms with at least one or two - it's much easier if you have someone to sit with at break times or to share the coffee rounds with.
Enjoy earning more, if there's spare money then use it to bake life easier at home e.g. a cleaner.
Daydream about holidays.

idontlikealdi Wed 14-Dec-16 09:19:16

I think you need to suck it up and get on with it tbh, 35 hours a week? Where do you live that that's heavy - I want to go there!

eurochick Wed 14-Dec-16 09:20:36

Many people are putting on some sort of act at work.

Many people would prefer to be at home rather than work.

You just have to get on with it.

KarmaNoMore Wed 14-Dec-16 09:35:40

It is natural to feel apprehensive about the long hours, especially when you are in the middle of the learning curve and things are not settled at home yet. But things will get easier once you are settled in the new routine.

As for not fitting in with the new crowd. Hmm... it is a bit of a difficult one. I would try to keep emotions coming from previous bullying under control. It is not the same people, it doesn't have to be the same.

It would help if you can listen to what they say just to find about what they like, some times a single good kind question a day is enough to get you in their right side (i.e, I heard your team lost on Saturday, are you coping ok?) if you can't keep track on what they say just repeat the last phrase they said as a question and they will think you are really getting what the conversation is about.

I have managed to wing it in some jobs, but I had one where it was pointless trying to fit in, and painful being sitting there hearing conversations that sounded as if someone was reading loud from Heat magazine, for most of the day, day in day out. At that time I set the password of my computer to "pay the bills" just to remind myself, several times a day, why I was there. It certainly helped me to keep focused until I found the next job. smile

lizzieoak Wed 14-Dec-16 15:48:17

Karma, I love your password!

I've worked with people who either love their jobs (work is their life & they would not quit if they won the lottery) & people who become close friends so we get through together. This lot seem nice, but seem to be okay with the monotony of the work.

I will try not to anticipate bullying (neural pathways have been worn so it's hard). My heart was racing at the bus stop yesterday & I had to remind myself to slow down my breathing & focus on 5 things I could see, smell etc.

I don't miss home as in "I'd love to be on a beach right now" way, I miss it in a "I don't feel safe at work" way. I wasn't always like this, it's a direct result of an abusive exh followed on by 2 bullying worksites.

I know I need to "put on my big girl pants" otherwise I would not be there/it wouldn't be a problem hmm I give myself enough tough love talk, I meant more positive things (as per karma, chuck, gazelda, toast).

I want to do at least 5 years to get to the pension, but perhaps a big number like that is not helpful.

I live in Canada right now. 35 is the norm for full-time in our sectors (I work more than that), but not a one of my friends works that, mostly 28-30 (by choice, employers tend to be fairly flexible).

daisychain01 Wed 14-Dec-16 17:49:07

My empathy to you lizzie, I have felt like that at various stages in my work life. Sometimes organisations can seem harsh and lonely places.

It isn't you, you are doing your best. No matter how many or how few hours you are working, if you are feeling vulnerable (due to past, or present experiences), the day can drag and 30+ hours feels like a month, if you are enjoying work, the time flies, it's all an illusion.

Do you have an occupational health dept, where you can book an informal meeting to talk about your concerns in a safe place. Couch it in terms of you wanting to be better at your job, but you have anxiety from the past you are trying to deal with. Maybe they can give some coping strategies to get you started.

I know it's a MN cliche to "go and have a spa day" but can you give yourself a treat from time to time, even just a magazine or perfumed candle, each time you get through a day positively and realise you've coped well. IOW be KIND to yourself!

lizzieoak Thu 15-Dec-16 03:58:35

Thank you daisy!! That was really kind of you.

I only have half an hour for lunch so no time to meet friends, or walk to see grass or trees.

I don't think we really have anyone local I can talk to about how to perform well while dealing w anxiety. I think I'm doing well so far, they seem pleased I haven't been making errors (very detail-oriented work which is tough in some regards on my big picture brain). But I find it stressful thinking about mundane things all day + the (probably unreasonable) fear of bullying.

I think I've been thinking in too-large chunks of time. Thinking in terms of 10 years is like shouldering a boulder. Right now I have a half year contract, so can think in terms of getting through that. Ideally I'd have a break between that and getting renewed (most people get renewed, when they have the budget). Then think of another chunk of time.

I ended up w a migraine today, from worry & staring at a screen for 22.5 hours so far this week.

People who love their jobs are so lucky. I loved being a SAHM, I would have made a great permanent housewife (love cooking, gardening, taking care of kids, sewing, etc).

scaryclown Thu 15-Dec-16 04:23:12

My advice is to focus all your energy and presentness on getting there on time, fed and watered. Once you are there.. focus in getting to the end of the day.

Have clothes ready, ideally all prepared weekend before but at least night before.. and have a nice breakfast item or two to look forward to..mine is freshly squeezed orange juice...maybe even table lain before bed. and plenty of time. This means you can arrive hapoy and together and without the..ahem..'Fuck why am i doung this with my life, wheres my sodding bag, i cant even get out of the house right' negative self talk...

prepared nice breakfast and perhaps nice lunch .and a good coffee all mean (for me) that i can flip the perception to 'passing time in between treats' if i feel like it!.

but just focussng on getting there and leaving on time has always worked for me in crap jobs. I've even trained myself not to care if people tell me i need to work harder, by going 'interesting point of view' in my head..and then carrying on at usual pace (i work as hard as i can/feel is appropriate anyway so i treat these comments as just managerial theatre performances!)

scaryclown Thu 15-Dec-16 04:25:11

Also for the first month or so have a LOT of easy evening meals eg half pizzas with salad or baked beans on toast. Just the shock of hours you can't control and new work head can make all time outside work shrink to near nothing!

lizzieoak Thu 15-Dec-16 05:16:04

Ah, very useful thoughts there, thanks!!

I heard one of the staff say today (granted he's about 25) that after a full day at work he'd gone to a rock-climbing gym and then to the pool! Fuck me, I can just about manage to make dinner for me & kiddo then watch tv all evening.

I bought us a nice pair of croissants for tomorrow & got ds a very tasty cheesy bun for school & even managed to buy him a mango & get the cat' food for the week. So I am totally on board w your treats + planning ideas. And the idea of work as just time between treats sounds brilliant! It is a matter of flipping perception to a certain extent and I'm very treat-focused (whether that's edible, clothes, books, etc).

God I hate offices. I don't know how this has happened to me, but I'm desperate to keep my house so feel I need to work at a wage higher than retail. But it's tough. My poor brain struggles against the limits of what we're paid to think about. No history, art, politics? No jokes, no anarchy? Blah!

And if any attitude pops up I shall deploy your "that's an interesting point of view"/managerial performance art mindset. It will help strip it of the over-weighty import I give it. That's all very concrete stuff I can try and do - thanks!!

When I was newly separated/divorced from an emotionally very abusive exh I was soooo worried about money and so work felt life or death, & it was the worst possible time to have to deal w yet more power-mad wankers. It was too impactful so gave another level of difficulty to work that already doesn't match me in many regards.

5 years to pension (if I can manage/get renewed), 10 max to early retirement. It's going to be glorious (the escape)!!!!

gettingtherequickly Thu 15-Dec-16 06:32:55

From what you say you'd be better suited to a job as housekeeper. As for topics you are allowed to discuss whatever you want with colleagues, not just sports.

lizzieoak Thu 15-Dec-16 13:40:17

Gettingthere, there's lots of things I'd be suited to (housekeeper, working in an antiques shop, an art gallery, genealogy, etc), but for the foreseeable I need to do what pays).

As to topics of conversation, it's not that topics are barred, but that you talk about what people are interested in. This lot is interested in sports & talking about their husbands (the men are not talking about their wives). So far that's all I've heard. I don't want to plough ahead w my topics of interest (see Fear of Bullying), so will be listening for glimmers.

KarmaNoMore Sat 17-Dec-16 13:44:16

May I suggest something? I'm reading at your posts and I think you are too focused in the past to be able to appreciate the present and look forward to the future.

Whatever happened to you, does NOT define who you are or will be. You need to stop looking at yourself as a victim of your circumstances however bad they are, because looking at yourself as a victim totally takes from you the power to change things.

See yourself as a survivor, who has managed to compete for and get a job to be able to afford to look after herself. Believe me, such view it is far more empowering than sitting at your desk thinking all is rubbish and you only have retirement to look forward to.

I'm not unsympathetic, I have been in your shoes. You need to be more grateful for what you have.

lizzieoak Tue 20-Dec-16 01:34:25

Hey Karma, thanks, I am trying. I'm over a week in, now, and less anxious as I get the lay of the land.

I still find the hours too long and hope to downscale (if I get another contract) at some point. I'm trying to remind myself how good it will feel to slay a bit of debt (incurred when I was out of work & refusing to sell the house: staying put has earned me over £300,000 in equity, so the small debt is worth it).

My sister says that when she went back to work full-time she could not in her wildest dreams imagine being able to do full-time. But here she is, 9 years later. She says it's a muscle that you build: I'm hoping that's true.

Aside from the fear of bullying I get a bit anxious about feeling trapped at work instead of being at home (home being where I feel absolutely safe). I'm trying to focus on ban holidays and maybe will book an occasional appt so as to get off early (massage or acupuncture). If I have one short week a month, that will help. And of course this month has two and we start off January w a day off.

Some of us are just not cut out for working outside the home, just as some of us are not cut out to be housewives. No shame in either, just courses for horses.

KarmaNoMore Tue 20-Dec-16 02:12:19


lizzieoak Tue 20-Dec-16 03:16:24

The equity doesn't mean anything, in a sense, unless I want to move thousands of kilometres to a cheaper part of the country. It will mean a lot for my kids, though, as when I die they'll both get a good chunk of cash towards a home of their own (I didn't inherit anything, so it means a lot to me that they will).

KarmaNoMore Tue 20-Dec-16 03:37:32

Of course it doesn't mean anything unless you are prepared to sell. The shock is at you deciding you are not cut to work. What do you propose to do?

Dozer Tue 20-Dec-16 03:43:26

It sounds like you have anxiety and this is affecting you at work and in how you think about work.

(I have anxiety, including about commuting and aspects of work).

Starting new jobs etc can flare it up.

If that's a factor then I don't think the best solution is to avoid WoH, especially if financial security/independence is important to you.

As for "horses for courses", women are SAHMs for all kinds of reasons, eg I know plenty whose H's work arrangements makes it hard for them to WoH, and others who couldn't afford childcare.

lizzieoak Tue 20-Dec-16 05:58:16

Oh, I can't not work! That's not feasible, we are fairly keen on food, heat, electricity, etc smile

But it's a necessary evil. I've never been 100% keen, but the bullying made it worse. I never had anxiety either, but an ea exh and work bullies have created an anxious person where there used to be someone who was quite positive.

On the up-side, I am very grateful to have our little house. I feel so lucky to live here! It's small, but in a lovely neighbourhood.

Also (!) my new supervisor said he'd trained over a hundred people at this job (they have loads of students floating about, in addition to a core of permanent staff) & he said I was "at the very, very top" in terms of grasping the work and doing very well at it! So that's nice (& I'm trying to put a muffler on thoughts like "well, I peak early" & "they'll take that for granted soon".

I loved being a SAHM when my kids were little. I was always seeing them pj's, washing floors, baking, and gardening. For me it was wonderful (bar awful, abusive exh).

I am anxious, but I'm working on little and large treats (chocolate shop nearby for small treats, paying off a debt as a big treat). That is helping, & I've been less panicky the last few days.

lizzieoak Tue 20-Dec-16 06:02:52

Amongst other autocorrect fails below, it ought to read "sewing them pj's". I also made their Halloween costumes. We grew vegetables from seeds on trays in the kitchen, traced each other's outlines on huge sheets of paper, went for loads of walks and looked at nature, and generally had a lovely time of it. I suppose, thinking about it, it wasn't just the autonomy and the love (from the kids, awful exh is not a loving person), it was also quite creative and visual and my paid work has none of that.

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