Work woes- anxiety

Work woes- anxiety

Author
Discussion

FocusRS3

3,209 posts

40 months

Tuesday 13th November 2018
quotequote all
Birdster said:
I did wonder about the personal life and I think there have been personal relationship problems and children are a touchy subject. Something my partner commented on and wondered if it was projected outwards towards me.

My manager does have a reputation, as people in the business have said “oh, you know what she’s like” and she’s had run ins with people.

I need to start working out what I want HR to do and what next steps are. I’m going to type out all the incidents again more clearly and ask a friend to read over them. I can’t remember the exact dates but I’d know it was a call around xyz project for example. Is it worth me going back to my Outlook calendar and emails and even WhatsApp conversationswith my partner where I was moaning about work to try and pint point the exact date to help strengthen my case?

Thanks again for the replies.
Its crucial you have these dates and times. The more detail that can be included and that correlates to specific events demonstrates how its affected you.

You will know early on if you are facing a brick wall but at least you are armed with the facts.

Keep us posted as if this gets nasty you call on others experiences here for your next move.

Keep everything they send you and make sure all the minutes from HR meetings are right before you sign them off. These could prove crucial further down the line.

Good luck

CubanPete

2,188 posts

137 months

Tuesday 13th November 2018
quotequote all
About 7 years ago I had a change of boss and found myself in a similar situation, he was a bully, all very subtle and understated, but over about 18 months I became very miserable.

I didn't go to HR (I should have done) and his boss (in my case, this probably wouldn't have helped).

I did get sign up for some CBT lessons, this helped amazingly.

I was about to resign. A friend who worked elsewhere in the business said come and work for him. I did, I am still in his department, I am happy.




Birdster

Original Poster:

2,203 posts

92 months

Thursday 15th November 2018
quotequote all
Thanks for the replies.

If something came up with my old team, I’d jump at it. I’m glad to hear that worked out for you. It would at least solve this problem.

I just had my catch up call with HR who had been sent the occupational health report.
It ended up leaving me feeling frustrated and like it was my fault. I’ve a summary below.

Essentially the call boiled down to:

The HR person said that they want to use this call to move forward and not look at the past.

Suggested that perhaps I’d done something to give my manager a reason not to trust me and they’ve not communicated this to me well enough, hence the micro managing etc.

I gave examples and said if you think interrupting me on conference call whilst my manager is on another conference call to tell me what to say, or moving my desk is acceptable then I’m going to have to disagree with you. Same goes for moving my allocated desk without telling me and just telling another team member to move before I came in.

Then repeat of well we can’t change your manager and there are always personality clashes. I said I appreciate that and I’ve been working for 16 years. I’ve had clashes or disagreements, but nothing like this and I feel this is personal. I had to hammer home the point that I won’t be returning to work (they asked when I think I’ll be returning) until we had looked at the historic issues. I agreed we need to look forward and build relationships and I’m open that there might be something that I need to change, which is my reactions, but to ignore what’s happened isn’t productive. I know I don’t deal with confrontation well so the CBT I’m hopefully will be positive for me.

In essence it felt like the call was to sweep it under the carpet, what do you want from this, how we can get back to work? With there being a follow up call with HR and the senior manager that I asked for this to go to next week.

I spoke to Occupational Health, who are independent and relayed the HR conversation and they agreed that it didn’t sound a productive call. They suggested what others on here have suggested, which is to write out the list of events and issues in a structured, non personal format and send this to them once the calendar invite has been sent to me.

Felt myself very agitated today but kept myself clear, concise and composed on the HR call but was flustered when explaining to the Occupational Health person.

Thanks again, just feeling frustrated and weathered and think it’s basically become gloves off now and I need to send that letter in an email and be clear about it so they’ve read it and perhaps even have a mock call with friends so I can keep my composure.


Birdster

Original Poster:

2,203 posts

92 months

Thursday 15th November 2018
quotequote all
Just to update work have provided the first CBT session tomorrow as I hadn’t heard from the NHS again.

Also I’m aware that perhaps some smaller things with my manager I’ll react to because I’m allowing other stuff to bubble up. So I’m trying to be self aware, but HR didn’t seem to be concerned when I gave examples and just said it’s food that I self aware as people always rant and rave and think it’s the other person. To be honest I’ll give the next call a go, but if it’s the same sort of attitude I think I’ll have to ask Occupational Health to step in/advise.

FocusRS3

3,209 posts

40 months

Thursday 15th November 2018
quotequote all
In my experience this all tends to be the ‘procedure’ HR will go through to tick all the boxes but essentially they are always going to protect the company and never suggest any behaviour by a manager is wrong.

You are going about it the right way and there is little more you can do at this stage.

Do bear in mind you can take legal advice at any stage and remember to present all the evidence you have to a solicitor who will keep it recorded.

If you find you are not moving forward with the company ( and I suspect you won’t ) then you are best letter a solicitor step in and try and secure a settlement .

If you go down the ‘dismissal’ route there are two types, unfair and constructive. The later has no limit in terms of reward.

For now keep on with what you are doing but make sure you record the calls with HR as they can slip up and you want proof.

Taking from experience recording them and keeping as much documentation as you can will pay dividends.

Best of luck

PS if you can get some documentation from Occupational Health stating that it’s your managers behaving towards you that is causing your ill health then that’s a huge bonus

Edited by FocusRS3 on Thursday 15th November 18:11

Birdster

Original Poster:

2,203 posts

92 months

Thursday 15th November 2018
quotequote all
Thanks for the reply.

Do I have to tell them that I’m recording? Or can I use an app on an iPhone?

I’ve a friend who went through similar and had a positive outcome where the manager was moved onto another role. I guess I was hoping for some kind of yes, this doesn’t sound right and we’ll look into it and monitor it.

Do you work in this sort of area? Sorry if a nosy question, just you’ve been pretty clued up as have other posters on here.

I guess I need to think about plan b if I don’t find HR forthcoming. I’d like to keep my job etc, but if that’s not going to happen, or not be a happy place to be then financial security is my next priority. How does the whole dismissal thing go? I suspect it’s going to be a he said/she said and if anyone is willing to be a witness of agree to what they’ve noticed in meetings (career risk for them) and I’ll be relying on the work assigned documents showing how I’ve not been given access to the same opportunities. (Projects to contractor continuously) etc.

Birdster

Original Poster:

2,203 posts

92 months

Thursday 15th November 2018
quotequote all
Just doing some reading; https://www.gov.uk/dismissal/unfair-and-constructi...

How would it be my employers fault regarding bullying and constructive dismissal? I’m not arguing, just trying to see another perspective and it’s probably me being negative. Does it mean if they just hear what I have to say and that’s that and expect me to return to work?

I understand that’s it my manager who is responsible for her own behaviour, but is it because they employ her they’re responsible?

FocusRS3

3,209 posts

40 months

Thursday 15th November 2018
quotequote all
Birdster said:
Thanks for the reply.

Do I have to tell them that I’m recording? Or can I use an app on an iPhone?

I’ve a friend who went through similar and had a positive outcome where the manager was moved onto another role. I guess I was hoping for some kind of yes, this doesn’t sound right and we’ll look into it and monitor it.

Do you work in this sort of area? Sorry if a nosy question, just you’ve been pretty clued up as have other posters on here.

I guess I need to think about plan b if I don’t find HR forthcoming. I’d like to keep my job etc, but if that’s not going to happen, or not be a happy place to be then financial security is my next priority. How does the whole dismissal thing go? I suspect it’s going to be a he said/she said and if anyone is willing to be a witness of agree to what they’ve noticed in meetings (career risk for them) and I’ll be relying on the work assigned documents showing how I’ve not been given access to the same opportunities. (Projects to contractor continuously) etc.
I recorded my ex employer and i didnt tell them although at one stage they did ask and i said i wasnt. End of the day they were recording me so the gloves were off anyhow!

I've have no idea what you do and that bears no relevance anyhow as every comp nay has a duty of care regardless what line of business they are in.

They also do not have to get rid of the manager and even if they discipline her they are not obliged to tell you of any sanctions against her unless you end up drawing up court documents where full disclosure is then made via lawyers.

Ideally you want to avoid going to trial, its hugely stressful and there is no guaranteed outcome plus they have more cash than you.

You dont have to leave and you can ask what they intend to do to make things different for your return. Likewise as you've effectively blown the whistle on this persons behavior they also cannot fire you. In all probability if they are insistent on keeping your manager and are happy for you to leave then they are likely to ask if you will enter into a 'without prejudice conversation' IE a cash settlement to fek off. If at this stage you agree to listen to their proposals then get a lawyer to act on your behalf.
If poss get something written down from Occupational Health detailing the cause of your issues is due to the manager. This will be key to negotiations if they are offering nothing as a resolve to the situation .

thetrickcyclist

239 posts

14 months

Friday 16th November 2018
quotequote all
As others have said HR are only interested in looking after the company no matter how sympathetic they may sound to your plight.
Play the game with them but be prepared to turn it on when they harden up.

Having personally been subjected to work place bullying (along side another colleague) do not expect any kind of fairness from HR.

Best of Luck to you in this matter.

janesmith1950

4,603 posts

44 months

Saturday 17th November 2018
quotequote all
FocusRS3 said:
Likewise as you've effectively blown the whistle on this persons behavior they also cannot fire you.
Not sure of the relevance here. Employment protection by whistleblowing would rely on it being within the scope of the Public Interest Disclosure Act. 'Whistleblowing' to HR that you don't get on with your manager is unlikely to qualify on its own.

Also, not sure advising someone to lie in answer to a direct question is a good idea. If you want to record something, better to do it with all agreeing. If you do it surreptitiously and are asked about it and you lie, then your credibility in any further proceedings is severely in doubt, should you want to use the recording.

janesmith1950

4,603 posts

44 months

Saturday 17th November 2018
quotequote all
Birdster said:
Just doing some reading; https://www.gov.uk/dismissal/unfair-and-constructi...

How would it be my employers fault regarding bullying and constructive dismissal? I’m not arguing, just trying to see another perspective and it’s probably me being negative. Does it mean if they just hear what I have to say and that’s that and expect me to return to work?

I understand that’s it my manager who is responsible for her own behaviour, but is it because they employ her they’re responsible?
In a very generalist sense, if the employees behaviour is in the course of their employment, the employer can be vicariously liable for that behaviour. For example, if you were being harassed at work by another employee.

Being more practical, if you don't get on with your manager and your manager does not get on with you, what can be done about it? You either have to address this constructively with
your manager (one to one or as some kind of mediation), or one of you has to move on.

If the first option is not an option, then you need to ask your employer to move you into another scenario where the problem person is not your manager. If they can't accommodate that, then you ought to negotiate a settlement agreement that allows you to leave the business on terms you and the employer find acceptable.

In the 'worst' case scenario, find another job and get on with your life without any of the above.

Going down the routes of constructive dismissal and legal arguments will become all consuming to you and probably leave you more stressed and anxious than you are now, and there's no guarantee you'd win anything. Best leaving those kind of actions until you have been properly wronged and you have a strong case.

Your mental and physical health (and resulting happiness, hopefully) should be the most important goals and anything that goes against those aims should be avoided, if at all possible.

Birdster

Original Poster:

2,203 posts

92 months

Saturday 17th November 2018
quotequote all
Thanks all. Had my first therapy session yesterday and felt positive from it. We discussed work but also how I can change how I react to things I can’t control.

I’ve been asked for a follow up call with the senior manager I asked to be involved and HR. Spoken to OH and they’ve suggested to me to provide the list of events/examples and proof. For example, emails or meeting date etc. I’ll need to log on to my laptop and get this at the weekend just need to make it factual.

After thinking about this, my first line is to ask for the senior manager who’s aware what my manager can be like what he can do or suggest.

Secondly would be to ask about is there another role if not able to resolve.

Third... I’m not so sure. Cross that bridge when I come to it. Probably involving leaving as you’ve suggested. The legal fight, I’ve been thinking of that as worst case.

Birdster

Original Poster:

2,203 posts

92 months

Wednesday 10th April 2019
quotequote all
I figured that this is due an update as I was offered some great advice and perspective and perhaps it will help others if they read, or search on here.

I’ve been back to work the past couple of weeks on reduced hours following mediation sessions and then therapy and come CBT sessions.

HR have as previously suggested taken an indirect siding with my manager who exhibits the same behaviour, but has seemed to have reigned it in a bit. HR hasn’t brought up the list of grievences again and I need to finish the mediation sessions and then next step is official grievance if no improvement.

When it was discussed about my health and CBT helping me and improving me I had to change the direction of conversation and say it’s more about me being able to deal with a difficult situation and changing my reactions and perceptions with regards to difficult situations as they seemed to not really acknowledge that my manager was/is part of the problem.

Another person has just started and asked me about our manager, so that goes as far as confirming it’s not expected behaviour. How long they’ll be there for, or whether they’ll say something is another matter.

During the mediated session with workplace mediators we discussed various things. I was able to reflect and see some of the things that I did to help escalate the tension, but my manager ended up arguing with the mediators. So actually displayed the same behaviour with them when they were discussing the unhelpful attitudes and behaviour, but unfortunately this can’t be used as reference due to confidentiality etc. It did help though to confirm my points and I’ll see what happens on the follow up session.

I’ve learned that perhaps I was stressed for a while with money worries and two members of the family that are ill and the work environment where I spent most of my day sent me over that edge. The counselling was useful just to help me process and start to learn about my thoughts and behaviours and I’m carrying on with the CBT. I don’t see work changing in the desired way but I’ll use my phased return to gain my work confidence back and mostly like look for a new role later in the year. The biggest thing is the CBT has helped me to learn with difficult situations better and not to let things build up. I’ve learned something about myself and improved in that respect so that’s a positive.

Thanks again for the support.

Birdster

Original Poster:

2,203 posts

92 months

Monday 18th November 2019
quotequote all
Hi all,

Feel strange updating this again, but having a bit of a crap time at work. Im still on a phased return until 2020. Essentially I feel like all of this has been blamed on my mental health (was signed off with stress) and down to my perception of things and that management/HR think it’s me and not my manager. Whether this is true or not I don’t know, but it is how I feel. So I’m leaving that open to perception.

On my last conversation with the occupational health (independent) who send a report to my employer. I said I feel like I’m the one being punished and having CBT and told that we meet difficult people in life and have to learn to deal with it. I said this is true and it does help but if someone is impossible to deal with then only so much CBT, mindfulness and patience can help and if they’re still exhibiting the behaviour that the mediators advised against then perhaps I’m not the only part of the problem.

I’ve done what’s been asked of my manager, HR and OH. I’ve not done any overtime, not to taken on complex pieces of work and to leave to the contractors (advice from my manager). Something I wasn’t happy with that we’re using contractors instead of allowing me to work on some of these pieces of work as it’s related to my job description. Not just because they’re more interesting but because they develop your skills and expand your awareness amongst other teams and surely we should use contractors equally across tasks. Not just give them all the interesting stuff. This isn’t a case of bringing them on because I/rest of the team don’t have the knowledge as just recently one of the contractors was sent on a training course with another member of the permanent team.

On recents discussions with my manager I’ve had this sort of comment.

“I need to be careful how I say the following to you as I know how you take things”

The final straw for me was a recent piece of work where my manager asked another member of the team to shadow me and be of assistance as I hadn’t touched these production/important servers in a while and because they had and recently experienced problems working on them and could be there to assist if there are any issues. I didn’t feel the need to have my hand held but using CBT and trying to think the best I try and take it as my manager covering her bases and being helpful. She said she’d be around and would check in or be there if we need her.

What proceeds to happen is she joins the conference call, asks me to share my screen so they can see what I’m doing. This starts to be the down hill if the day. At many steps as I’m looking at logs I’m told to go back a step, or hang on go back a step what did that screen say. After experiencing some failures and resolving some she told me what commands to run and what not to do. In the end I said you don’t trust me to carry out this work and I don’t need two people either side of my shoulder and that if you’re both explaining to me what to do then that’s belittling and not trusting me or respecting me and as I wanted to run something to resolve an
Issue in was told no by manager. So in the end I didn’t. The response to this was you hadn’t touched these servers since being off sick and my response was that I shouldn’t be penalised for being off sick. To note I’d carried out this type of upgrade on the test environments before hand and had documented the process. As I was sharing my screen for example and the progress bar had completed I was getting hello are you there, as I’d happened to go get myself a drink and hadn’t sat watching paint dry the whole time and as I’m thinking what to do next, they’re both discussing right do this now etc.

I feel like based on the previous posts that I have no option but to leave.

I’m a grown man close to tears, shaking, and don’t know what to do. The thought of a applying for another job terrifies me as I think will
I get the job, will I be able to keep it. Then I think is it really me? Am I the problem? Then I tell myself I’ve not had this problem in all my years of working. Others on the team moan but don’t say anything and have said to me in private that I’m treated different, but then are they just telling me what I want to hear.

The above isn’t clear to read and I apologise but I’m just feeling trapped. My partner has just been made redundant so I feel I can’t risk walking out, leaving for another job until they are settled.

petrolbloke

368 posts

106 months

Monday 18th November 2019
quotequote all
"People leave managers, not companies" - I think there is quite a lot of truth in that quote!

I've been in a similar situation to you. After you've been mentally run down by a bad boss/bad environment it's difficult to find motivation to look for another job and then to come across well in interviews. With perseverance you will get there though. Interviews are totally a two way thing. Some interviewers/interview processes do not help to bring out the best in candidates and are sometimes focused too much on what the candidate can't do rather than what they can do. Keep going and someone will see your value and hire you.

Of course, it will help your chances if you do what you can to get interviews (good CV & covering email/letter) and spend time preparing for interviews.

Hope things improve for you soon, best of luck!

Gecko1978

2,815 posts

106 months

Tuesday 19th November 2019
quotequote all
fond a new role, move on be happy forget about the old job. put your energy into finding that new job etc. Also remember this, when you are at work some people are amazing some are awful, but look at the latter group in most cases they seem like they don't care. If your pay is not heavily weighted to performance don't worry focus find a new role and ignore it

fizzwheel

63 posts

75 months

Tuesday 19th November 2019
quotequote all
I've been in a similar situation as you a few years ago. What you wrote touched a real chord with me and I remember how i felt then.

It was really hard for me as like you my job suited me i.e. it paid well and was close to home. But it also made me ill first with anxiety and then depression.

Its useful to remember HR are their to protect the company not the employee and certainly in my case they sided with my line manager and from their POV it was all my fault. My line manager was like yours, second guessing me all the time and talking over the top of me in meetings, or giving our work and then telling me how to do it or just giving out conflicting priorities etc I could go on about it, but it was properly sh*te...

Birdster said:
I feel like based on the previous posts that I have no option but to leave.
I know its difficult but the above course of action really is the best one. You're never going to win this one. The best way to cope here is to control your environment and how you feel. You cant control what HR & your line manager do, so stop ( if you are ) trying to. What you can do is control how you feel about it, and you can control your environment by finding another job and leaving. Even the act of looking for another job and updating my CV started to make me feel better.

No job is worth making yourself feel ill for. Its time to leave. You can do it !


dhutch

4,580 posts

146 months

Tuesday 19th November 2019
quotequote all
Birdster said:
Feel strange updating this again, but having a bit of a crap time at work.....

....On recents discussions with my manager I’ve had this sort of comment. “I need to be careful how I say the following to you as I know how you take things” ......

......In the end I said you don’t trust me to carry out this work and I don’t need two people either side of my shoulder and that if you’re both explaining to me what to do then that’s belittling and not trusting me or respecting me and as I wanted to run something to resolve an issue in was told no by manager.......

......I’m a grown man close to tears, shaking, and don’t know what to do.....

......The above isn’t clear to read and I apologise but I’m just feeling trapped. My partner has just been made redundant so I feel I can’t risk walking out, leaving for another job until they are settled.
petrolbloke said:
"People leave managers, not companies" - I think there is quite a lot of truth in that quote!
New to the thread, but your situation sounds awful.

It sounds like you have likely gone as far down the line as your likely to be able to in terms of improving the situation, short of your manager leaving or being made to leave, at which point on the assumption that doesn't look likely, then I too would say (as far as I know, aged 32 and from ten years of working in industry) that I would be putting my energy into finding a new job rather than anything. it fits under the umbrella of not trying to fix thing you have no control over!

It sounds like your currently on full pay and the company is large enough to have a hr/oh dept at which point obviously especially if your partner is currently between jobs an amount of sitting tight and letting the money carry on is not stupid, but get you CV up to date, on some CV libraries, do some job searches and speak the recruiters behind them on lunch, evenings/mornings, and just start that ball rolling, its always work to find a job, but you might be surprised what comes your way. Obviously you do not have to tell then anything you don't want to at the application/interview stage In the meantime you have a job and income, and when I was in a slightly similar I found turning up and doing what little I could during the day was much easier once I had firmed up and squared away that plan of action was to move job. Made it easier to focus on me, my life, partner, and the job hunt, rather than on the messy of a company I was working for.

You spend a lot of time at work, and if its not right it makes life very hard and brings you down massively, and anxiety is a right bugger.
Equally if home life or work life is ok it amazing how well you can cope at the other, but if there are issues with both its stupid hard to keep above water.

Don't know you, your company, you industry, but hopefully some of that is helpful.


Daniel

Birdster

Original Poster:

2,203 posts

92 months

Tuesday 19th November 2019
quotequote all
Thanks all.

I know I had a lot of good advice before as well. It’s not a case of not listening. It’s a matter of confidence now and taking that leap. It’s strange how this has crept up on me as I used or contract and was happy moving around.

I’ve looked at other jobs and it’s a considerable pay cut (10%) as I was asked to move to this company for my skills. I think it’s about me letting go and being ‘beaten’ and accepting that walking away is the best option rather than pride and wanting to stay in my good job. That is good, apart from this problem that outweighs the positives.

fizzwheel

63 posts

75 months

Tuesday 19th November 2019
quotequote all

I'd suggest your health is worth more than a 10% salary cut, its easy for me to say I don't know your money situation. Based on my own experience with depression and anxiety, if you stay in the situation you are in, you are just continuing to damage yourself and your continuing to let your manager damage you and nobody has the right to do that to you.

Also your not being beaten, you've tried to make the best of a bad situation and its not worked. From what I've read its not liked you haven't tried. All things in life / work come to an end, thats all thats happened here, your time at your current company has come to an end, its definitely not your fault.

Get your CV up to date and go from there, you'll feel ( trust me ) alot better about the situation you are in then as you'll feel like you have some control back and are doing something about it.

I know its hard, I remember how I felt when I was at my lowest, the first step is the hardest, but once you've done that everything else gets a little easier...