Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Work related stress

Options
  • 22-03-2021 7:24am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2


    Hi all,

    I’m really at a loss here. I am working in an extremely high stress and high pressure job for the last year. I am working in a start up and the timelines are relentless and there are not enough resources to get the work done in the time frame needed. As a result of this I have been under extreme pressure, working crazy hours ~ 12 hours a day every day and often logging on at home at night and at weekends. I am also not sleeping and have a few times logged on in the middle of the night or started my work day at 3 or 4 am.

    I have raised my concerns multiple times with the managers. My managers are in agreement that the workload is too much and have been promising more support and change for months but that is yet to come. Some support had been given but it is not enough and it has not been directed in the right places.

    I feel like the job is getting more stressful as time goes on and I feel quite despondent. I took a week off last year with stress but didn’t disclose the cause on the cert and the employer didn’t ask any more. But a week wasn’t enough and I spent most the time worrying about what I left and what Mess I would be coming back to. I have been seeing a counsellor who is very concerned for my health and is strongly advising me to take a period of time off because of the impact to my health.
    I am sleeping only ~3-4 hours per night, suffering from direct work anxiety, unable to exercise and focus on my physical health because even when I do have a bit of time I am beyond exhausted. My weekends are also spent feeling exhausted.

    Because of covid there is no other outlet outside of work to unwind or to have a reason to leave work on time. I am performing very well at work and i received a very positive end of year review and received the recognition that I performed above and beyond. However this came at a cost. Last week I had a conversation with my manager and said that I have been medically assessed and my GP recommends I go on sick leave, I said that that is the last thing I want to do but as each day passes it is feeling more and more inevitable. Nothing has changed. I keep hearing promises of change but it is not helping. The team in general are too reliant on me and I have spent a lot of time trying to empower others to make decisions without my input and to be self reliant but due to the size of the team and the lack of management above me I still feel like the reliance is coming on me form above and below me. I am sick of firefighting every single day. There is never a day where I am not firefighting and it’s exhausting.

    I am looking at other jobs but I am so burnt out I don’t even feel like I want to work at all, never mind work in the industry. So I feel a bit stuck as to what to do next and where to go because my vision is foggy on everything. I think I am beyond the point of taking stress leave but I am so reluctant to take it as I’ve never ever done it prior to this job. My partner is recently out of work so just quitting is not an option for me, although this is what I feel like doing.

    I appreciate any words of advice anyone might be able to give!


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    Stop logging on at 3 or 4 and when at-home cut out work.

    Put the phone or laptop away.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,869 ✭✭✭893bet


    If you keep getting the work done, no further resources will be provided.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,733 ✭✭✭OMM 0000


    I have worked for a lot of startups. It's normal to work weird hours, but it is absolutely not normal to be working as much as you are.

    How much of the company do you own? If it's zero, or a small amount and the startup has no real chance of making you wealthy, you should leave.

    You're literally making yourself sick by working so much.
    i received a very positive end of year review and received the recognition that I performed above and beyond

    This makes me feel gross. You're working yourself into illness and the thanks is a chat that you're doing a good job.

    It's obvious you should resign, assuming you can live without the salary for a few months. The owners will work you to death. They don't care about you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,681 ✭✭✭dennyk


    the timelines are relentless and there are not enough resources to get the work done in the time frame needed.

    That is a failure on the part of your employer. Stop stressing out about the fact that your employer has failed to provide the necessary resources to accomplish their unrealistic goals.
    As a result of this I have been under extreme pressure, working crazy hours ~ 12 hours a day every day and often logging on at home at night and at weekends.

    Stop doing this immediately. Work a reasonable number of hours each week, then shut off the laptop and don't look at it again until a reasonable hour on Monday morning. You don't have to go tools-down at 37.5 on the dot, but set a limit and stick to it, or else it'll start to creep up to unreasonable levels again before you know it.

    Tomorrow, when you log in, go through your list of upcoming tasks and goals and figure out what you can do within ~40 hours a week, and how long it'll take you to get through everything. Then go to your manager and discuss it with them; advise them how long those tasks will take when you are working a reasonable number of hours a week, and ask them for guidance on which they want you to prioritise. If they refuse to help, or they demand that you complete them all in an unrealistic time frame, then use your own best judgement and let the chips fall where they may.

    This will be very painful for your employer. Things will stop getting done on time, and there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and they will no doubt try to make you feel guilty for not letting them exploit your work ethic. Don't let them get to you, and don't feel guilty about setting boundaries. You owe them your best work for a reasonable amount of time each week, and nothing more.
    My managers are in agreement that the workload is too much and have been promising more support and change for months but that is yet to come.

    Right now your employer has no incentive to make any changes, because the work is getting done without them having to spend any effort or money on fixing your workload. Once you stop trying to do the work of 3+ employees all by yourself, they will have no choice but to change things.


  • Registered Users Posts: 944 ✭✭✭thefa


    Cherry2021 wrote: »
    Because of covid there is no other outlet outside of work to unwind or to have a reason to leave work on time.

    Some good advice above on practical steps but I think it’s important to understand that you can still be considered diligent and conscientious without having to work the hours you do.

    At the end of the day, you need to take responsibility for considering work your only outlet. While WFH has helped enable it, it’s not something out of your control.

    Your employer and team members seem to be taking advantage of your nature. I would take a look at what you earn weekly and divide it by your average hours per week and compare that to some of your subordinates. I doubt the company is valuing your time.

    Also, if this is causing the level of stress described, this will not help your life expectancy.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 222 ✭✭Batattackrat


    Time to move company OP. The crowd you are with dont value mental health or work life balance which is part of most companies now. Small startups will work you to the ground.

    Take a couple of days off, Get a CV prepared and send it out to all recruiters.

    Its time to move on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,583 ✭✭✭Augme


    893bet wrote: »
    If you keep getting the work done, no further resources will be provided.


    This times 1000.

    I mean this too sound harsh OP but you are being quite naive in your approach to this. This company doesn't care about you, they care about the work you do. Why would they spend more of their money to help you out when they feel they don't need to?

    You are letting yourself get walked over too much. I'd love to say that companies should have a duty of care for your mental health but the reality is they don't need to.

    Stop working overtime, stop making decisions from r everyone and lastly, I'd strongly consider asking for a pay raise too if they feel your performance is so good.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,825 ✭✭✭dmigsy


    I've been there. If you've had the conversation with your employer more than once, and nothing has changed, you need to leave. No job is worth the stress.

    Start working your contracted hours immediately. Not a minute more. Use the extra time to clear your head and apply for other jobs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,419 ✭✭✭antix80


    Hi Op

    Do you get paid over €90k a year? If not, stop the insanity! You're not getting paid to do what you're doing.

    If you get paid over €90k, use your smarts to figure a way to manage your boundaries and your time better.

    To me it sounds like you already did some damage but the longer you are in this situation the more likely it will be permanent.

    Imagine if you eventually left and still felt anxious? And then you took your ideal job and still felt a surge of anxiety when performing everyday tasks? Or maybe still having insomnia at night or anxiety during the day years later that gets worse without the stressor being present. That's the effect chronic stress can have on your body - basically you'll end up PTSD. These aren't medically diagnosis by the way.. But don't think you can put your body through so much mentally that it starts affecting you physically. You have maybe 1 breakdown, maybe 2, and the amount of stress you can tolerate in any situation is at a much lower threshold forever.
    Oh, and men in their 40s will be way more likely to have heart attacks. For women I think it's later, like 50s before they get illnesses like strokes. Still - it's not on how they live in their 40s and 50s, but all the stuff leading up to that.

    And I don't mean to undermine you but you got an apprasal of "performed above and beyond" after a year of hell, when things are getting worse? Are you going to stick that on your fridge? Have it written in your obituary, "here lies Cherry2021, in 2020 performed above and beyond for a brief period of time before ending up leaving anyway"


    If you are going to take sick leave, it has to be a month minimum .. personally, I don't think you're capable of balancing what is expected of you with what you're able to do. I think you'll have that problem in any job, but this one seems to be worse so you need to figure out whether you are able to stay in this job.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,462 ✭✭✭Tinder Surprise


    Op,
    Please put yourself first from now on and take the sound advice giving in here.

    I've have been in your position...

    I worked for a Multinational when younger - put in the ridiculous hours and dedication and commitment - got the 'recognition' - got appraisals from the American owners as in the top 10% of the youngest performers they've every employed - got chronic stress - suffered panic attacks - became ill - handed in my notice - pleaded with to stay - I left - THEY SURVIVED - I still suffer with stress and panic disorder today (25yrs later)

    No employment is worth it

    You sound like a really commited and dedicated individual. Well done you!

    Dont destroy and give this up for someone, or something that obviously does not feel the same about you.

    There are other employers and companies that would love to have you, and support you, and most of all appreciate you!


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 239 ✭✭Mitzy


    OP like a few others who have commented I have been there & done that.
    In my last job in a multinational the work was piled & piled on and I asked them numerous times for assistance as the workload was basically the job of 2 people.
    Eventually I was completely burned out and was almost having panic attacks driving to work each day. My mental health really started to suffer & this is what really got to me as I had never experienced this before.

    Despite all my chats with management nothing changed so as the old saying goes, the only thing that can change things is yourself so I was really lucky to get a job pretty quickly. Management begged me to stay, made all promises about promotion and about lightening the workload but I new it was just words so I left. It was the best decision I ever made.

    You are the only one responsible for your own health & wellbeing and if your employer doesn't feel like that it's time to go.
    Look for a new job & say you need to give 2 months notice. Take a month off to destress and get the old place out of your system.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,116 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    Speak with your employer and relate the following...

    1) you’ve spoken with your doctor, you are in receipt of medical advice that you work your agreed and allocated hours every week... 40.

    2) anything not complete in those hours will need to be reallocated to other team members or you will recommence the following working week.

    :)

    The more you do the more they’ll want...


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    I had to reply to this one.

    OP leave that job ASAP. I'm not kidding. I've been in a similar situation. And I know it's much easier said than done. But get out, nobody should live like this. Can you take extended stress leave and still get paid? If so do it, use the time to relax a bit then start looking for another job.

    If not, do you have savings that could tide you over for 6 to 12 months? I know your partner is out of work aswell but you are just as important as your partner and your mental and physical health matters. Can you sit them down and tell them how you are feeling? If push came to shove, could you sustain yourselves on jobseekers (which you will get for 9 months at least) and savings, while you find something else?

    Believe me once you're out of that situation you'll feel such relief. And in time you'll wonder why on earth you didn't do it sooner. There are lots of companies out there that won't put you under that massive amount of stress. I know because I am in one. It IS possible to get a good job and not be stressed or overworked constantly, you just have to find one.

    Truly ask yourself, why on earth are you doing this to yourself? You have the power to change it. Trust me GET OUT and vow to never put yourself through that type of sh*t again. Start putting yourself first.


  • Registered Users Posts: 358 ✭✭Iguarantee


    dennyk wrote: »
    Tomorrow, when you log in, go through your list of upcoming tasks and goals and figure out what you can do within ~40 hours a week, and how long it'll take you to get through everything. Then go to your manager and discuss it with them; advise them how long those tasks will take when you are working a reasonable number of hours a week, and ask them for guidance on which they want you to prioritise. If they refuse to help, or they demand that you complete them all in an unrealistic time frame, then use your own best judgement and let the chips fall where they may.

    Good advice.

    To add to this, i’d put any agreed priority list in writing to your manager. It can remain entirely rhetorical but it’s a preemptive measure against the selective memories that some managers seem to have.

    It could be something like:

    Hi Manager,

    My understanding of the priority list is as follows

    A
    B
    C

    Is this correct?

    Regards,
    Employee


  • Registered Users Posts: 975 ✭✭✭Arnold Layne


    OP, I had a similar experience myself with a small company some years back. Excess hours and no support from the CEO. I ended up making stupid mistakes through tiredness and eventually had to take time off due to the stress.

    I left soon after, and soon after got a job in a multinational and have not looked back.

    No job is worth the stress and sleepless nights.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,010 ✭✭✭Cluedo Monopoly


    I have very simple advice - Let it fail.
    Do your best for 40-45 hours a week and if it fails, then so be it.
    You have been highlighting the capacity issue for a long time and your managers failed to address it. Let it fail and let them feel the heat. You are your own worst enemy.

    What are they doing in the Hyacinth House?



  • Registered Users Posts: 358 ✭✭Iguarantee


    I have very simple advice - Let it fail.
    Do your best for 40-45 hours a week and if it fails, then so be it.
    You have been highlighting the capacity issue for a long time and your managers failed to address it. Let it fail and let them feel the heat. You are your own worst enemy.

    Good advice.

    Continuing to put in extra hours just enables their incompetence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2 Cherry2021


    Thanks everyone for the replies. I have decided to take stress leave as I feel completely burnt out. I am going to take as long as I can until I feel ready to properly look for another job as my head isn’t in the right place at the minute. Another colleague handed in her notice this week too for the same reason. I don’t ever see anything changing in that place so I need to get out.

    Thanks for all the good advice!


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,116 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    You won’t regret, onwards and upwards...

    When it starts to get that bad where we as employees have to start ‘managing our managers’, it’s time to get out..only getting the one salary..I’ve no time for that craic.


Advertisement