My job is making me sick

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I am sure you all are sick of hearing me complain about my job, but I can't help it sometimes. Every year it gets worse and worse. I am only 4 days back into the school year, and I am a nervous wreck. Not only is my job making me mentally sick, but I am getting physically sick as well. My IBS is acting up and I can't sleep. Things that did not happen in the summer time, so I know it's job related.

    This darned new medication they have me on is NO help. Actually, I am worse. Not only am I sleep deprived and anxious as hell, but I am also super irritable. I am running on the manic side but this time there is no euphoria. It is all dysphoric misery. I see my psychiatrist on Monday, and my therapist on Thursday. I don't have any high hopes they can help me.

    I have been trying darned near every medication and coping technique for years now, and instead of getting better, I am getting worse. I am sitting here at work counting down the minutes I can leave. That won't be for another hour and a half. Time is moving slowly and it's torture.

    My new therapist is well meaning, but so far not of much help. We have discussed in depth my anxieties over my job. After explaining to her how bad my anxiety gets over having to make a gazillion phone calls a day, the only advice she could give me was to "not take the parent's reactions personally." I already know not to take their hostility personally. The parents aren't really mad at me. They are mad at their kid, they are mad at themselves, and they are mad at the screwed up educational system. Knowing they are not upset at me in particular does not make the phone calls any easier.

    Then my therapist asked me to think of all the things that I actually like about my job. That's not easy. The very few things I did like about this job are being taken away from me. For starters, this year we do not have any student office helpers. The district decided to get rid of all non academic classes, excluding PE. Each class period I used to have two or three students up in the office helping me with calls, filing, etc. I really enjoyed interacting with them. As a matter of fact, I have kept in touch with quite a few of them over the years through facebook after they graduated. Now there's just me and my supervisor in our office and I rarely get to interact with the students anymore.

    Not only do I not get to interact with the students, but our new school principal has decided that all holiday decorations are "unprofessional" and we are no longer able to decorate. We used to go all out with the decorating with each and every holiday. No more. Our office is cold and plain looking. We have actually had a few teachers complain that without decorations our office looks drab and uniniviting, and I have to agree with them. But what can we do? The principal is our boss and we have to abide by his rules.

    Last but not least, I am no longer in charge of inputting tardies into the computer system this year. It used to be my job to input all the kids who were late to their classes into the computer. It was a monotonous job and was time consuming, but I rather enjoyed it. At least I was NOT making phone calls and I was keeping busy doing something that didn't make me anxious. This year it has been decided that the teachers will take over the responsibility of entering their own tardies. Makes sense, but still. I miss it.

    Now all my job consists of is a little bit of filing and a whole lot of phone calls. I hate it. I am already counting down the days till our next holiday, which isn't until November. My anxiety levels are at an all time high. Lack of sleep makes it even worse. Whenever I don't sleep at night, my panic attacks are horrendous the next day. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

    Suprisingly, my therapist has not suggested I look for another job. She thinks I can tough it out. I disagree with her. I need another job ASAP. I am constantly on the lookout for other jobs in other districts. Unfortunately what I am finding so far is either part time, or positions I am not qualified for. I am not giving up though. I will continue to look, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel hopeless. I need a miracle to happen ASAP. I can't continue to be absolutely miserable.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Seriously, a medication switch likely wont make el this job tolerable for you. It is the exact opposite of who you are and what you feel comfortable doing. its not your fault.

    I know you must have explained this already, but I missed it. Why cant you take a day off here and there and seriously look for a suitable job. Even if it pays a little less, at least you will have peace. There are some jobs I couldn't do without ruining my mental health (which I already have to be mindful of) because I also have anxiety. I couldn't do cold call sales, for example, although I am good at selling. I'd be afraid to talk and I'd hang up first. No idea why, but the thought of interrupting a possibly irrate person terrifies me and I can't do it. I cant do phone surveys either. Same terror.

    This job may be codting you more. than it pays.

    Big hugs. I am sorry.
  3. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    You like being able to support yourself and the kids. That is huge. Try this, make a little written speech for yourself and say it mindlessly while thinking of something else. Say it mindlessly and think of all if us cheering you on! You are awesome.
  4. jetsam

    jetsam Active Member

    being in a job you hate is the most awful thing! I worked at a job for years that i hated but couldn't leave. My husband worked in construction, and my job was the secure state job with great benefits that i couldn't leave because those benefits took care of my family. I would come home so mentally exhausted and drained. I finally found a hobby that i enjoyed (martial arts) and started filling free time with doing that. I would go to classes while dinner was in a crock pot or get up early on saturdays for classes while the rest of the house slept in lol Amazingly, finding something to do that i enjoyed suddenly gave me more energy, lifted my spirits and just made me so much nicer to be around. (according to my husband and children.) I continued with that until i retired ! I have to say i would be at work and when the anxiety and frustration would start I would think about an upcoming class or something that had transpired in class and i could actually feel the tension leave my body. I think if you could find something that would peak your interest to pursue it! It might be inconvenient to make time for it, but you may find that the benefits and the rewards outweigh the inconvenience. It can be anything! make jewelry, do cake decorating, draw, paint , write, anything that takes you somewhere else! Then pursue it wholeheartedly. It worked for me. good luck hope you find some peace.
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  5. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    No chance I can make less money than I do now. I am literally living paycheck to paycheck and struggling. I owe my mom hundreds of dollars. She is making me pay it all back with my tax refund. I need to make as much as I make now, if not more. Child support stops for my daughter at the end of December, and then I will be out another $450. I don't know how I am going to survive that. I need a better paying job soon.
  6. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    What's worse is my supervisor is acting very cold and unfriendly this year for some reason. With everybody else, she is happy, smiling, bubbly, and outgoing. I am the only one she is treating differently. She forgot my birthday this year, and when she was informed by somebody else that it was my birthday, she didn't apologize for forgetting. I don't really pay much attention to birthdays anymore at my age, but I still consider it odd that she didn't even acknowledge me, which is unlike her.

    When I told her about my son and that he may have cancer, she was very non sympathetic. Again, not like her. On my first day of work, she did ask me if I was excited to be back. Yes, she actually used the word "excited." She knows I have serious anxiety issues related to this job. When I responded that I have been having anxiety throughout the summer about coming back, again she was very non sympathetic. Her response was, "Get over it and think positive."

    She has also become best buddies with the new front office lady (I applied for her job and didn't get it.) Both my supervisor and this new woman are bilingual. They often converse in Spanish to each other right in front of me, so I can't understand what they are saying. They talk, laugh, and joke, and I can't understand any of it. They are probably talking about me. Who knows? Anyway, my supervisor's cold shoulder this year isn't helping.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi CB. Of course you feel trapped. Anybody would. When I was at that awful job I left a couple of weeks ago I counted the days until I could leave, but I could leave and that made all of the difference. I am grateful I could leave now, but most of my life I worked at jobs I hated when I could not leave either. I think I understand some how you feel.

    But there are alternatives to the way that you see your situation and yourself. First, I can tell by your posts that you are handling it way, way better than last year.
    I will tell you where I think you have choices. First, giving that supervisor more power over you than you have to, and caring one way or another what she thinks. This is a job. At its most basic you trade your labor for money. What makes it an employer-employee relationship is the control by a boss over your job duties and how you do them. By going to work you accept the terms of the job or you leave. Any other way to see a job will cause us untold grief. For many years I had untold grief at work because I did not accept this truth. In fact I came to consider myself a Marxist--yes I did--because I found it so impossible to accept what I thought was abusive authority of an employer. I am slightly embarrassed to confess this because it makes me seem either batty or immature or radical, and I hope I am no longer any of these things. If you have a powerful union you have a chance of going against them. Nowadays, few of us are in this circumstance.

    No matter how much it should be different, nobody besides those people who love us cares one way or another about our feelings. I have been smashed and betrayed in the workplace by people I believed I loved.

    I learned. I adjusted my expectations. I am still learning. You may have seen my recent thread(s) about the learning process I have been undergoing. A job is trading my labor for money. Period. Anything else is icing on the cake. That does not excuse the abuse that occurs. Far from it. But we need to go to work understanding the terms. We are there to be exploited by employers to the extent that we allow.

    I would not tell anybody at work you are anxious or sad or hate work or anything like that that will give them something to use against you. Nowadays, I try not to. Because I have learned that if I show my emotions they are used against me.

    I had the illusion that professional work would be different. It is not. Even though I have been for the last 9 years an independent contractor, where I am not an employee, cannot be told how to work or when, I am exposed to the same kinds of attitudes and control. This is not to say that this is right. But I have found it is reality.

    So what to do? First thing is begin to try to see yourself as captain of your ship, not as a victim. You are a loving and responsible mother who puts first always the needs of your children. Acknowledge this. Acknowledge yourself for your responsibility and love and self-sacrifice. You are not somebody who would ever put yourself first, if you felt it would put others at risk or at a disadvantage.

    If you begin to see the job as it really is--trading labor for money--it puts it in perspective. You are not there to feel good, to make friends, or any other thing except to make money and get benefits. The job does not define you. You define you. Nobody there defines you. You define yourself. Nobody's feelings about you or word to you define you. Even if they are in Spanish and cannot understand them.

    Most of all you are not responsible if others treat you poorly. They are. Even if they can define the situation as your fault to themselves and to others, does not make what they do right or make it true.

    I had a boss (many of them, actually) that tried to get me in trouble. Meanwhile he was stealing from the State hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars. I knew it. Others knew it. Until it got so big that it could not be concealed. After 20 years of this scam he got exposed and fired. Maybe even worse. He had the highest job in my work site. He was a fraud and imposter who tried to abuse his authority with me. Of course he would do that? Why wouldn't he? He was corrupt. That is what corrupt people do. It is not your fault. It is not my fault. Our job is to protect ourselves emotionally and every other way. It is nobody else's responsibility to do this. Only ours. I learned this very late in life. I am still learning it. And I don't even need to think I am a Marxist anymore. I can just change myself. How much easier. (I even got an FBI file along the way. Stupid me.)

    I really think jet has the right idea. What she did was give her life purpose. The job was just something she did to take care of her family. Her real life was them--and herself. Her real purpose: her martial arts. With this she made everything that happened in the job just so much noise. Without real meaning and importance to her. How wise you are, Jet.

    I do not mean to excuse these horrible bosses, but it is to put them into perspective. They are typically small and trapped people themselves who are trying to make themselves into big people by the little bit of power they have. It is a very human response. But how sad for them. You would never, ever do that.

    I hope you will see yourself how I see you, as a heroine. I wish you would claim your power which is there. In you. Your dignity. Your responsibility and strength. So you get anxious? (I am not minimizing here. I have anxiety so great I cannot drive more than 10 minutes from my home.) But anxiety is not corruption. It is not meanness. It is not irresponsibility. You do not deserve one bit of mistreatment or disregard from anybody. That you receive it has not a thing in the world to do with you. It is their weakness and pettiness. You can begin to see it that way. They deserve your pity, at best. To keep our jobs as long as we need them, we need to conform minimally to their expectations, which however dumb they are, are their right to make (unless we have strong unions and a good labor contract, which they violate.) We can learn how to advocate for ourselves and to take what they do in a way that is not as demoralizing or degrading. They are not important or powerful. You are.
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  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copas post was brilliant.

    There is no problem with her post, but there IS a problem if we don't enjoy our jobs. The fact is we spend more time at work, if we are full time, than we did in school as kids. If we are nervous at work, we are nervous seven or eight hours a day, five days a week.

    I did not have much luck with jobs myself, but I did come up with a few suggestions. Can you maybe look for another job in your school district? My friend is a para for hard to teach kids. She does not have a college degree but was hired and is now there almost twenty years. There are other school related jobs too. Would you not have an advantage since you are already there?

    Another option is to take a class online to further your education and then look, on days off, for another type of job that you have learned how to do. Yes, it takes some time, but if you don't like your job, it gives you something to look forward to. Or you can just look for a different job. Send out resumes. There are other jobs that pay whatever you get. Can you relocate?

    I know your mom is controlling, but is there any way you could sit with her and see if you can pay her back later? Does she know what this job is doing to you? Would she have some compassion for her daughter?

    I think Cop a made great points. Who cares what the losers you work with think? We shouldn't and some people don't. I am very sensitive and have walked out on jobs that made me feel unwelcome, but I was married...There was another income. And my first husband would scream at me when I did that. I truly feel the pain of your dilemma.

    I hope somebody here said something that helps you. I feel for you about this job. It is horrible how badly our employers are allowed to treat us...I do not believe they can do this in other countries. If you are in a Union try talking to them. Sadly, those I know who did didn't get help, but you don't know unless you try

    Many, many hugs. How is your dear little boy doing? Now there is a blessing.
  9. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    My son is doing much better, SWOT, thank you for asking. He has his appetite back and he has been to school every day except the one day we had the appointment with the surgeon to find out if his tumor was benign. He is doing better than expected. I am truly grateful. What a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. At least I no longer have to obsess about the well being of my son. Believe me, even after all I am going through, I am still ever so grateful to God that he is healthy.
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  10. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    WOW, Caligirl, I am so happy for you and your son! I came here the other day to check on your son's diagnoses and didn't see anything, so I am glad to see this.

    How is your daughter doing? Any progress on her school program or job hunt?

    If she is still in high school, won't your child support continue at least until the end of the year? That was the way my hubby's was, by the laws of this state. If his son had not completed high school on time, hubby would have had to pay at least the next year until graduation. Maybe it is different in CA.

    Cali, maybe you should look into taking some classes to prepare you for a different job/career. Your local community college should have a lot of info and a counselor to speak to you. There are programs for single mothers/displaced homemakers that are very good in helping women get back into the workforce or get a better paying job.

    It doesn't seem like you are happy in your job. Maybe time to look into what it would take to get a better one.

  11. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    My daughter is doing okay. She had the option to take summer classes at the college, but she declined, saying it wasn't fair her brother got to stay home and she had to go to school. I'm not surprised. She does as little as possible to get by. Her first day back to classes is tomorrow. She is now enrolled in Adult Ed, and the courts will not pay child support for a child who is over 18 and attending adult ed. They don't consider it a "real" school.

    As far as going back to school to learn a different trade, I am choosing not to go down that path. I can retire from the school district when I am 50, in five years. I want to retire as soon as possible. My mental and physical health is failing and I don't think I have that many working years left in me. I am tired of it all. I plan to move to Nebraska when I retire to be with my long time boyfriend. Believe me, I am counting down the years till retirement. Two of the front office ladies just retired last year, and were bragging to everybody how they didn't have to work anymore. I'm jealous! Anyway, I am going to tough it out in the district, or perhaps a different school district if I find something else, until I finally retire when I am 50.