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AIBU?

Work feels awful, I’m drowning

78 replies

JustNowWhat · 12/02/2024 07:17

Hi everyone, reaching out for help. I’m also concerned I’m being precious and complaining about nothing, so any guidance on if IABU would be really helpful.

I have a job which is known for high workload and poor work life balance. It’s a small team and there is uneven distribution of work (others are working normal hours). I’m having to work dawn to dusk to keep up, including weekends. I recently had holiday and worked full time hours because emergency stuff came up and there’s no one who can cover. Despite trying hard, I’m falling increasingly behind because it’s not possible to do it all. I’m stressed, tearful and anxious to the point that I feel physically ill, none of which is like me. I’ve also lost touch with almost all my friends.

What I’ve tried so far:

  • Showing my manager it’s too much and asking for things to be reallocated. Told it’ll happen “later”. That was six months ago. Following up has been ignored.
  • When being given an additional big job to do, asking for it to at least be split with someone else. I was promised that would happen then that was withdrawn. Eventually got agreement for a 90/10 split (!), and even that hasn’t been put in place yet (job needs to be done this month). If the 10% isn’t done, that creates more work for me, so it’s not something I can just ignore and say “well you said X would do it” because I’m the only one who’ll suffer.
  • Talking to the manager above my manager about my workload. They refused to do anything and encouraged me to find another job. I guess important context is that despite all the above, I’m doing well on my KPIs so far and get on with everyone so it’s not like they’re trying to manage me out because I’m rubbish or awful (I hope). I’ve even had some “employee of the month” type stuff from further up the tree, which is lovely but I’d rather have a day off!
  • Asking for flexible hours so I can take one day per week properly off. There’s no reason this wouldn’t work operationally or would affect my work. Manager refused to even put in the request, and said I shouldn’t ask HR because they’ll say no. (Again context so I don’t sound like I’m problematic: I didn’t mention HR, they did, and I’ve never gone to HR about anything.)
  • Asking to claim back the holiday when I had to work. Also refused because I “should have been better organised”. The work was unpredictable and short notice, and not doing it would have been detrimental to me and also our clients, so I’m not sure what I was meant to do - clearly the system should enable someone else to pick up jobs when people are on leave, but at the moment it doesn’t.


I don’t know what to do other than leave, and despite how horrendous this feels, I really enjoy the work - I just need there to be less on my plate. What can I do? And please tell me if I’m being whiny and it’s not a big deal, because I’d rather know and then work on toughening up. Thank you.
OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

150 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
8%
You are NOT being unreasonable
92%
AhBiscuits · 12/02/2024 07:22

Honestly, leave. It will never change so you need to find a company which is a better fit.
I was in a similar position and made a sideways move into a slightly different field with a better company. Best thing I ever did and I no longer cry in the shower.

Cnidarian · 12/02/2024 07:24

You need to lesve

Floopani · 12/02/2024 07:24

It's a huge deal. They are taking advantage of you and you are running around doing everything they are throwing at you.

You are clearly conscientious and reliable so they are piling it on. But you're going to burn out. You're going to sacrifice your health and wellbeing to their demands.

It's not going to be easy but you need to stop. Stop working out of hours without additional pay or days lieu. Become less reliable. They are treating you like shit.

Personally I would look for another role, but you might need to take a break first.

Cocacolacarrie · 12/02/2024 07:28

Leave

How did they get hold if you while you were on holiday? Why did you pick up calls/emails from work while you were off? While they are being ridiculous in their expectations, you also need to enforce your own boundaries. I have my work phone and laptop off while on leave and ignore any calls on my personal phone. They've learned now not to bother trying with me!

SoulMole · 12/02/2024 07:34

JustNowWhat · 12/02/2024 07:17

Hi everyone, reaching out for help. I’m also concerned I’m being precious and complaining about nothing, so any guidance on if IABU would be really helpful.

I have a job which is known for high workload and poor work life balance. It’s a small team and there is uneven distribution of work (others are working normal hours). I’m having to work dawn to dusk to keep up, including weekends. I recently had holiday and worked full time hours because emergency stuff came up and there’s no one who can cover. Despite trying hard, I’m falling increasingly behind because it’s not possible to do it all. I’m stressed, tearful and anxious to the point that I feel physically ill, none of which is like me. I’ve also lost touch with almost all my friends.

What I’ve tried so far:

  • Showing my manager it’s too much and asking for things to be reallocated. Told it’ll happen “later”. That was six months ago. Following up has been ignored.
  • When being given an additional big job to do, asking for it to at least be split with someone else. I was promised that would happen then that was withdrawn. Eventually got agreement for a 90/10 split (!), and even that hasn’t been put in place yet (job needs to be done this month). If the 10% isn’t done, that creates more work for me, so it’s not something I can just ignore and say “well you said X would do it” because I’m the only one who’ll suffer.
  • Talking to the manager above my manager about my workload. They refused to do anything and encouraged me to find another job. I guess important context is that despite all the above, I’m doing well on my KPIs so far and get on with everyone so it’s not like they’re trying to manage me out because I’m rubbish or awful (I hope). I’ve even had some “employee of the month” type stuff from further up the tree, which is lovely but I’d rather have a day off!
  • Asking for flexible hours so I can take one day per week properly off. There’s no reason this wouldn’t work operationally or would affect my work. Manager refused to even put in the request, and said I shouldn’t ask HR because they’ll say no. (Again context so I don’t sound like I’m problematic: I didn’t mention HR, they did, and I’ve never gone to HR about anything.)
  • Asking to claim back the holiday when I had to work. Also refused because I “should have been better organised”. The work was unpredictable and short notice, and not doing it would have been detrimental to me and also our clients, so I’m not sure what I was meant to do - clearly the system should enable someone else to pick up jobs when people are on leave, but at the moment it doesn’t.


I don’t know what to do other than leave, and despite how horrendous this feels, I really enjoy the work - I just need there to be less on my plate. What can I do? And please tell me if I’m being whiny and it’s not a big deal, because I’d rather know and then work on toughening up. Thank you.

Sounds like Probation 😔.

Isyesterdaytomorrowtoday · 12/02/2024 07:39

What’s your sick pay like? I’d get signed off for a couple of weeks to reset & recover. Don’t log in too anything.

then go back and start afresh, say no to things you don’t have capacity for, work your hours, take your holidays

whilst doing that, look for a new job - you can’t be successful under these circumstances

21ZIGGY · 12/02/2024 07:43

The more you do, the more they'll let you do.

Next time they give you a new task say youre at capacity and cant do it.

Bagzzz · 12/02/2024 07:50

Tell your manager in writing with a list not everything will get done. Say that you have put in the order you think is most urgent. Say that you will follow that unless you hear by X date with an amended list. Update each day on progress. Meanwhile find another job.

MamaBearsss · 12/02/2024 07:50

get a new job. Nothing is going to change.

Fulshaw · 12/02/2024 07:53

I think you need to be firmer with your boundaries. Just tell them you can’t do something and just don’t do it. Ask them to confirm in writing that you can’t have that holiday back and take it to HR.

But realistically, you need to find another job.

FloorMop · 12/02/2024 07:55

You need to accept that employers do not care. You are a work horse and when you drop, they will just get somebody else.
A good friend of mine has just given up teaching after 15 years and started work in a popular supermarket. Friend loves it and mental health has improved dramatically. Life is too short to end up burnt out and ill.

StrugglingWithItAll123 · 12/02/2024 07:57

Go on the sick and leave. This is awful and won't get better x

SgtJuneAckland · 12/02/2024 07:58

Just stop doing it. You've got leave booked, switch your work phone and laptop off and yes start looking for another job.

@SoulMole I remember those days, I have friends still in and are in red demand management areas, who are in their knees, but another who moved to the North West and can't believe his luck in terms of workload for the same pay with half the mortgage! It's a problem with national pay scales that impacts recruitment

SuzieSaturday · 12/02/2024 08:02

The company are saving a large amount of money at your expense. Your health is going to suffer as you are effectively saving them from employing another person.
Ask yourself who is benefiting from this arrangement?

Honestly it's not going to change, you need to get another job asap

GagaBinks · 12/02/2024 08:02

Life is way too precious and short to be doing this shit.

Will you look back in 20 years' time and think, yay, I'm so glad I did all those hours?

Wildhorses2244 · 12/02/2024 08:04

Look for another job.

In the mean time book another week off and this time turn off phone and emails and do not even look at them however anxious you feel. Do the same thing at the weekends.

You need to get your headspace really comfortable with the idea that the only way people will see that you need help is if the shit is hitting the fan. So you need to let that happen.

AuDHD4Me · 12/02/2024 08:06

Without wanting to seem litigious, your workplace are actually failing in their duty of care towards you. If you have reported being overworked, and yet your employer has done nothing, this could cause extreme stress. If you need to take time off work due to stress, I would certainly do so I would report that you have already reported the un safe workload to them, and despite this you are still under extreme stress. I would then use the time off to consider your options. whilst you could take legal action against your employer for stress caused by their failure to deal with the uneven workload, you might prefer just to walk away from this one. it's a possibility that you could get constructive dismissal. If your workplace is failure to deal with the workload has led you to feel you have no option but to resign. Please be aware though that you will only have three months to bring a claim if you were intending to do so.
I would, however, not go down without a fight, if I were you. You have rights as an employee and if you don't do the right thing for yourself in this regard, what is to stop them doing the same for the next employee and the next. you don't mention whether you like your job, or whether you want to do something else. This will probably impact your decision on whether to fight for your rats at your current place of work or to walk away.

Thisilldo · 12/02/2024 08:08

I’ve had this job. First in, last out. Holidays worked.

They begged me to stay when I handed in my notice.

I got great satisfaction hearing from others that my clients were PISSED about the change in output for them once I’d gone.

Just leave. There is no benefit to you for staying

Ginmonkeyagain · 12/02/2024 08:10

So. Firstly start looking for a new job.

Secondly, will anyone die if some of your work does not get done? If not send a clear email your boss (copying in whoever needs to be) noting you have too much work and it is not possible to do everyhing you are asked to. Then set out what you intend to carry on doing and what you will have to stop doing.

Push this decision up to your manager, that is why they are more senior. If they do or say nothing simply implement your suggestions.

bobby81 · 12/02/2024 08:11

Agree with pp - just leave. Make a plan TODAY for how to do it whether that's getting signed off sick, handing your notice in immediately (if you're in a fortunate enough position to do so), seriously applying for other jobs etc.
They are taking the piss & the only way you can take control is to leave. You will feel so much better. Good luck x

Punxsatawnyphil · 12/02/2024 08:13

I echo those who are saying get a new Job. They have shown how much they care about you by not listening and continuing to pile work on.
My last job was extremely full on, I was there 6yrs and dealt with the workload despite the stress and they went through 5 members of staff after I left becuase they couldn't cope with the level of work placed upon them. My current job is much more relaxed, low workload, my work/ life balance is fantastic and my employers are great, they like that I'm reactive to their requests and I'm happy when they ask me to something to keep busy.

Ginmonkeyagain · 12/02/2024 08:14

Also whenever you get asked to do more work make it a matter of routine to clearly say when you think it can be done by. If your manager says the new work is urgent then say "ok, I can priotise that but it will mean dropping report X until next week".

Learning how to manage up really helps with this sort of stuff.

Ginmonkeyagain · 12/02/2024 08:15

And stop working weekends and holidays.

Moonlaserbearwolf · 12/02/2024 08:17

Do you work for an agency, OP? It sounds v stressful and my immediate thought it that you need to look for another job.
Though, if this is the nature of your industry, perhaps a sideways move? If you work for an agency, consider moving in-house. Can you use your skills for another, less stressful role?

The colleagues with ‘normal’ workload - have they been there longer than you? Do they definitely do less work, or are they just more efficient? Perhaps you are a perfectionist and do the work to a higher standard, therefore taking longer?

A friend of mine could have written your OP. She works in digital marketing and has been completely overworked for the past 15 years - in several different marketing agencies. She is brilliant at her job. Too brilliant. She works longer hours than colleagues and overall achieves more, but at the expense of her life. Could this be you too?

Kazzyhoward · 12/02/2024 08:19

Long term - find a new job.

Short term - just start saying no, learn not to be a people pleaser. Work your official hours, nothing more. Push back at your boss and ask him to prioritise your work flow so it's him who decides what gets done and what doesn't.

You're making yourself a mug by taking on all the work and ensuring it all gets done. You need boundaries and you need to ignore phone calls, texts and emails when on holiday and outside your working hours.

If you don't change your ways, your next job could end up the same!

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