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Unhappy at work - but am I being unrealistic or a control freak?

(6 Posts)
itchyandscratchy Sun 13-Sep-09 15:25:09

I've been in my job now for 2 years and as far as home life goes, it's absolutely ideal. I can walk to work; it's very near to the dds' school/nursery and childminder. The place itself is lovely.

But the dept I work in has been very very difficult. My manager wants me to just do my basic job and doesn't like me coming up with ideas or creativity as she feels it's me 'glory-seeking'. I'm not. I feel passionately about my job and I can't help being stimulated by it. But I've been told to basically shut up. I feel stifled and, ultimately, wasted.

I've tried to channel my energies into other areas with some success, but the top and bottom of it is that my specialist area of 'expertise' is what makes me the happiest. I started feeling stressed well over a year ago about the whole situation and developed symptoms of IBS. The a couple of months ago I started getting heart palpitations which eventually developed into an ectopic heartbeat. I've had lots of tests and the verdict is stress. It's improved slightly and I'm not missing beats anymore, but if it gets worse again I might have to take beta-blockers, which I want to avoid if possible.

I told my immediate boss (of the dept I work in) and she is oblivious to the way the stress culminated. She thinks it's a sign that I can't cope with my busy life. I don't have the energy to argue her as, in the past, attempts by me to try to make things better have all backfired. I know the stress is caused by the way I am managed; nothing to do with workload.

I have an appointment with my big boss in a couple of days and I think I'll have to tell him I'm going to have to leave. I just want to do what I'm good at and develop myself creatively and I think there may be opportunities to do this at another place a few miles away. This would have a knock-on effect on our homelife but not horrendously so.

But I'm starting to think: am I being unrealistic to think I can 'have it all ways'? I just think I have such a lot to give to the right job. and my body is definitely telling me it's had enough. Could I use other methods to help me 'let go' of my frustration though and stay where I am? Reflexology, massage or something?

bottersnike Sun 13-Sep-09 15:57:51

Will be very interested to hear what others have to suggest, as I feel the same as you!
I don't think you're being unrealistic - you want to feel challenged and energised by your job, and there's nothing wrong with that!
If there are opportunities for a better job only a few miles away, then I would say go for it!
The down side of a slightly longer commute are surely better than the stress symptoms you're living with at the moment.

foxinsocks Sun 13-Sep-09 16:00:31

don't tell them you want to leave until you have another job

and give yourself a time limit - tell yourself you aren't stuck in this job for ever and you are going to actively look for another job every day (for say 3 months). Do your CV now. All that should immediately start to make you feel better.

why stay somewhere making you so miserable? but def don't chuck it all in until you have found something else (or explored other options)

itchyandscratchy Sun 13-Sep-09 19:20:34

thanks for replies. Thing is, I think the big boss needs to know how serious I am about the whole situation. I know for a fact he doesn't want to lose me but he and his team know there are issues with my dept and have made some moves to improve things but it's not been fast enough.

But I really don't see how things can get better until personnel have changed in the dept. And because that's an unknown, I think I have to make moves for myself.

I will make it very clear that I don't want to leave but I will be forced to do so unless we can come up with something that makes me (and others) happier. I think he knows I wouldn't doing this unless I had no choice. Maybe I can go elsewhere just for a bit and come back when things have changed?

I don't really want to make such a big move but I can't see any other way round it, if my health's not going to suffer any more. That's why I was wondering whether I've brought some of this on myself somehow by allowing myself to get so wound up by it. But I've worked in other places and have felt very happy as I've had much more creative control over what I do, so I know it's a very important part of the way I work.

will defo update my job application letter though, foxinsocks. Feels like a positive thing to do.

jomalone Mon 14-Sep-09 17:11:55

poor you, its horrible when you realise work is making you ill.

rather than tell the big boss you're going to have to leave, why not make some suggestions to him as to how things could improve for you (i.e. constructive comments)? this gives them a chance to sort it, which sounds like it would be the worst case scenario.

I left my job as I realised it was making me ill (my boss was a bully). The IBS, lack of periods and other symptoms eased almost immediately (first in mohths arrived literally as I walked to the train station on being told I wouldn't have to work my notice!). However, I didn't have another job to go to and it is proving very difficult to find work at the moment, so in some ways I wish I'd stuck it out until I had found another job. (for me though, we're ttc no1 so sorting out my fertility felt more important than my career). It is hard explaining to potential employers why I quit my (very specialised) job, without sounding overly negative and bitter about my most recent job.

I also did find exercise helped a lot when i was still in the job, running is really good if you're feeling all wound up.


Snowtiger Mon 14-Sep-09 17:24:52

YOu're not being unrealistic at all, in fact good on you for wanting to do more than the basic job and use your passion for the work you do.
I agree with the other posters - tell your big boss the situation, as honestly as you can but without being unnecessarily nasty about your immediate boss (sounds like BB knows what IB is like anyway from what you say) as that could reflect badly on you. Give suggestions as to how you could use your passion / skills etc in your job if given the opportunity, so that your input comes across as unfailingly positive, but also probably worth saying something along the lines of "I don't want to consider leaving a job I like so much but ultimately my health and personal fulfillment at work must come first".
Then I'd channel your energies into updating your CV, developing transferable skills (maybe even speak to a career coach) and working on your job application letters etc. and start looking around for other jobs. It's always 1000 times easier to find another job when you're in a job than when you're unemployed so I wouldn't leave your current job unless you have something else lined up.
Ultimately though, it's not unrealistic to want to be in a situation where you can use your passion for your job, be recognised for it and find fulfillment. Eventually the IB who thinks you're 'glory seeking' will come a cropper - she's clearly insecure about her own abilities and doesn't want someone like you shining and therefore eclipsing her. Her problem - you just get on with making yourself happy.
Good luck!

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