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  #1  
Old 18th November 2017, 07:37
bey0ndanxious bey0ndanxious is offline
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Default Work is getting too much

Hi all,

Iím making a new thread in order to ask for some advice/general reassurance (a common need for anxious humans) about my work circumstances right now.

As a little background, Iíve never got on well in employment prior to my current job. Iím only 21 so itís not a major issue right now but in other jobs Iíve had (few and far between) Iíve quit after a matter of weeks due to my unbearable anxiety surrounding/in it.

I donít know what it is exactly, the customer service part actually isnít that difficult, which i am shocked about too, considering my anxiety is flared in social situations. But it was with colleagues that i had the most apprehension. The idea of small talk and a continued power based relationship amongst me and my team (manager/other staff members) was so much to handle mentally. Especially when i was around 18/19 as this is when my anxiety was most extreme. I think itís a mixture of paranoia, fear in doing things wrong (Iíve mentioned this in other threads), fear of being disliked, incompetent in the role, the commitment of a job and feeling trapped in it. All these things amounted in me waking up every morning with an absolute feeling of dread which would result in panic attacks mostly.

Luckily, Iíve managed to so far, keep this current job for 2 months exactly, and the consistency of only working weekends has been good for me, as i know what to expect each time. But... recently Iíve been getting asked to do more and longer shifts, which isnít great for my anxiety, 1) if i accept and 2) if i say no. My contract is weekends, 4 hours a week. Whilst this doesnít pay great, itís helpful in getting me used to the workplace and having some experience. However, i recently passed my driving test so i knew i had to take on more shifts to pay for it. This leads to pressure because i feel that now i canít leave. As well as this i took on more shifts here and there because work would phone me and i panic and agree. Then worry until that shift comes up.

ANYWAY the issue is, i keep getting asked if i can work more hours now. Like every other day Iím being called while at home by a manager asking if i can do stuff that i can maybe physically do, but mentally i canít at the minute.

Can anyone help with this? Have you had similar experiences? Should i make it clear i can only do the time agreed when i accepted the job and tell them Iíll let them know if Iím available for anything more, on my own terms? Iím struggling with this a lot, as i donít want to quit like i have done in the past, as this will lead to a snowball effect, where i feel guilty, lose my car etc.

If anyone has even read this whole essay, you are a trooper lol.
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  #2  
Old 18th November 2017, 09:15
newbs16 newbs16 is offline
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Default Re: Work is getting too much

Personally if I was you I would rather have the weekend work and possibly another shift in the week and then stick to that. I think routine is a big thing when you suffer from anxiety because you can prepare yourself mentally and you know what to expect, the constant worry of being asked to work would make me feel more anxious, I hope that makes some sense.

Also you can't ever arrange anything because you often fear that you're going to be called in and don't want to say no.

Well done with sticking at your job, it can't have been easy.
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  #3  
Old 18th November 2017, 11:09
Muggins Muggins is offline
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Default Re: Work is getting too much

Firstly, well done on sticking with this job when you are struggling a lot with social anxiety - thatís a big achievement in itself and something to be proud of

Personally, I think your health is the most important thing here and if committing yourself to doing more shifts means that your mental health might suffer, which in turn could lead to you giving up this job, then I would continue to do as you are doing - working only at the weekends but with maybe the occasional shift in the week if you are feeling up to it.

Does your Manager know about your anxiety issues?
If he does (infact even if he doesnít) then I think I would tell him that while you would like to increase your hours at some point you donít feel that you are ready to do that right now.

While your anxiety may feel pretty horrendous to you itís often not evident to other folk and your Manager may think that you are more than capable of working extra hours. He obviously thinks you are up to it or he wouldnít continuously be asking you every other day so thatís quite a compliment, sort of

When I was about 21 (many moons ago!) I returned to working at a Hospital after some months off sick due to extreme social anxiety. Iíd been working full time previously, often long hours, so it was agreed that I should return as a part timer. This suited me fine and I was working well under these conditions. However, my manager then started to pressure me to increase my hours, often requesting me to work overtime. Rather than admitting that I wasnít mentally up to this I panicked and quit my job. Itís a decision I still greatly regret making years later because it was a job that I actually found very rewarding. In hindsight, I wish that Iíd been honest with my Manager and told him that I wasnít yet ready to increase my hours.

Sometimes itís the little steps that eventually get you to where you want to be

Good luck
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  #4  
Old 18th November 2017, 11:10
choirgirl choirgirl is offline
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Default Re: Work is getting too much

I can relate. Short answer is, I don't have the answer, but whatever you do, don't quit. I had this problem for years, the never knowing when I'd be called in made it 10 x worse because I couldn't prepare myself mentally or relax. At least it sounds like they're giving you some notice beforehand. It's worse if you have to go in on the spot.

Maybe short term, stick it out, see about medication/CBT/treatment from your doctor (they'll take you seriously if you say you're struggling at work and thinking about quitting). Then prioritise trying to get a job with regular hours. Maybe where the workplace is only open for certain hours on certain days, rather than, say, retail where you could be asked in at any time on any day - yikes, the horror!

Realistically, if you are reliable and doing okay you will be offered more shifts. This shows you are not incompetent in the role. I don't know how easy it is to negotiate with them unless you had another job or some socially acceptable reason for not being able to do the extra shifts. Can you think of one?

You definitely don't want to be still having this problem in ten years, believe me. That's why saying no to everything, or quitting is not the answer. Your career/CV/life is salvageable right now! I do hope someone can offer more useful advice.

Just seen Muggins' answer. It didn't even occur to me to be honest! LOL! I don't know if it works or not, but it's definitely better than quitting.
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  #5  
Old 18th November 2017, 11:51
Muggins Muggins is offline
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Default Re: Work is getting too much

^ Well, I donít know if honesty is always the best policy but I like to think that in these supposedly more enlightened times people shouldnít ever feel embarrassed or ashamed to be open about mental health issues and certainly shouldnít suffer from any kind of discrimination at work because of it. Sadly I realise that this still isnít always the case though

Great advice btw Choirgirl
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  #6  
Old 19th November 2017, 16:55
bey0ndanxious bey0ndanxious is offline
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Default Re: Work is getting too much

Thank you Choirgirl, Muggins and newbs. I went to work yesterday, as that is my usual day of work, and the area manager whom Iíve never met (i work in retail btw) was talking on the phone with my boss; telling her that if i didnít come in and do the extra shift (even though i was never asked if i could do it in the first place and my contract states Saturday OR Sunday) they would put me on record as having an unauthorised absence.

Now, the issue here is, i didnít get a phone call telling me i was being asked to come in, they simply had it on the rota and told me in passing like it was happening regardless. Im really behind on coursework at uni so couldnít physically do the extra shift (today) and Iím already doing 10 hours extra this coming week, so his next statement is completely unjustified. He said ďit clearly states in your contract you may be REQUESTED to do extra shifts to help the needs of the businessĒ. Which Iím doing.

Iím sure you all understand that this hasnít been good for my anxiety. Iím being threatened for declining overtime that i wasnít verbally asked to do, even though Iíve accepted extra work during the week. Itís as if theyíre saying i can be given 40 hours overtime and HAVE to do it because it says i might have to do an extra shift in my contract. I really donít know what to do. Even the thought of going to work now fills me with so much dread.
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  #7  
Old 20th November 2017, 00:04
choirgirl choirgirl is offline
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Default Re: Work is getting too much

I'm a bit out of my depth with this one. But it doesn't shock me. It's GB's ever more flexible job market and the growth of the zero hours culture where they want you to be 100% available while guaranteeing you nothing, certainly not a living wage. I don't know what your contract says. At the end of the day they can fire you if they want. But I can see why you wouldn't a bad mark on your record. I don't think you should mess up your coursework for the sake of a 4 hour contract. It does seem a bit mad not to check you can actually do the extra hours. I've worked for some places that expect extreme flexibility, and that is becoming more common, and I've also worked for places (even quite recently) where they try to work with you, because they don't want to deal with an endless stream of people leaving. Don't wreck your uni coursework over this shitty job (especially with the fees nowadays!) maybe start looking elsewhere? There are still entry level type jobs out there which treat you better than this. I hope someone else can be more helpful.
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  #8  
Old 20th November 2017, 12:04
Hayman Hayman is offline
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Default Re: Work is getting too much

In my opinion, you need to put your own life and health first. Work is means to an end and unfortunately, I think weíre moving towards a society that seems to think we have to live to solely work, rather than working to liveÖ

I did have to work a Saturday once and I was only given about a day's notice also. It didn't give me enough time to build up worrying about it. Luckily, I only lived two miles up the road and I had made no plans, so there wasn't a problem as such in agreeing to it. However, I really didn't like doing it though because my weekends is what I consider to be my 'recovery time' after a difficult working week. I found that Saturday to be painfully slow (still interacting with people I donít like) and whilst I did get paid for it, overtime is something I'd only do under duress. I'm already working anywhere between 45 and 48 hours a week as it is.

Working as such doesn't bother me Ė although of course during these dark winter months it's a real struggle. It gets me out the house and provides me with an income. What bothers me is the social interaction and the usual criticisms and jokes I face that only increase my Social Anxiety. The less of this, the happier and less 'on edge' I generally am.
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  #9  
Old 20th November 2017, 15:03
bey0ndanxious bey0ndanxious is offline
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Default Re: Work is getting too much

Iím definitely putting my mental health first Hayman & choirgirl. Iím looking for other jobs in the mean time whilst standing my ground at work. Theyíre being completely unreasonable and i wouldnít have taken the job had they been more honest about the role and what theyíd have me do, considering i made it very clear that i have restricted availability. Iím the same in regards to the social interaction, if i could just go to work and go home and have that be it i would be fine. But the small talk, and constant pressure to take on more hours when i canít is becoming very claustrophobic. I hate saying no, so having to say no every few days is very challenging and itís giving me a huge pit in my stomach, which is what i was trying to avoid by stating my lack of flexibility from the outset. Feel like giving up tbh
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