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I know I'm lucky to have a job at all, but two is killing me.
December 14, 2011 11:02 AM   Subscribe

I've got two full-time jobs and depression/anxiety. I'm a zombie. Help me.

After graduating from college, I took an entry-level job in a field that I hated because it was the first thing I got. When I was hired, they asked me if I would be able to stay for two years, and I said I could—I didn't really anticipate anything better coming up, and the job gave me plenty of free time and reasonable benefits.

I more or less hated the actual work from the start, but it was an excellent working environment—very friendly people, decent pay, and a great support network—and it wasn't terribly taxing. Slightly under a year and a half in, however, a friend put me forward for a job that I've wanted to do for years, and I started working for another company on a contract basis. It's difficult work, but it's something that I find satisfying, and unlike my other job, I have a lot of opportunities to do larger things within my field. For some measures of dream, this is pretty much my dream job.

The problem is that the dream job is a start-up that more or less wants full-time work, so now I'm ending up doing eight hours every day at my old job, then spending another eight (plus time on the weekends) at my new one. It's all from home, which makes this manageable, but I barely leave the house, and haven't seen anybody but my boyfriend and colleagues in weeks, and I only saw the colleagues twice. My boyfriend is dealing with almost all our apartment's day-to-day upkeep and supporting me emotionally, and it's taking a toll on him as well as me.

After a couple weeks of this, I decided I was going to try to give notice at my old job, and see if I could either phase out slowly or work part-time. When I brought it up, however, they told me that they were “angry” that I would even consider it, that I would be hurting the team and even if I left months down the road they would need to find a way to cushion the blow from me leaving, and that if I were “truly conscientious” I would tell the other job that I had to spend less time on it and stay out the full two years (or more). They said that right now, they “wouldn't even know how to bring up” my plan to anybody else on the team. They did concede that I could have a week off next month to attend a conference that's vital for my new job.

I do feel bad about breaking my (strictly non-contractual and verbal) commitment to my old job, but given that they've just hired several new people who haven't yet taken on any responsibility, I don't share their concern that this will cause long-term damage to the team. However, the way they brought it up makes it clear that if I want to leave on amicable terms, I have to wait several months to do it. Given that my dream job is in isn't in the most stable field, I'm probably going to need references from my old job down the road. At the same time, I don't anticipate being able to keep working at the new job if I can't give them a lot of my time.

But now I don't know what to do. I get enough sleep, but there's almost literally no time that I'm awake when I'm not working. I'm so exhausted that I can barely think half the time without using my boyfriend's Ritalin, I have frequent panic attacks, and spend large amounts of my day crying because it feels like there's no end in sight to this, and I can't imagine working 80+-hour weeks at two separate jobs until July. My normal depression has shifted into me constantly thinking about how weak I am for not being able to manage this, how this is probably what life is supposed to be about, and how the only way out is to kill myself. I wish I could get something like Adderall to help me focus and stay awake, but a part of me also deeply resents the fact that taking amphetamines seems like the only way I can even manage the amount of work I have. I'm not even really thinking straight right now, and I'm not sure if anything I'm saying makes any sense.

I'm starting with a new psychiatrist next week, so hopefully I can at least start taking something to manage my depression. But how do I deal with my work? Is there any way to politely convince my old job to let me cut back? Is there anything I can do to handle the amount of stuff I have now without feeling like I'm going crazy? How do other people with long hours work with any level of efficiency? If I can treat my depression and anxiety will these problems go away?

I'm located in a major metro area in the US, if that changes anything. Anything private can go to my throwaway address, likeamodernman@gmail.com.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (52 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
After a couple weeks of this, I decided I was going to try to give notice at my old job, and see if I could either phase out slowly or work part-time. When I brought it up, however, they told me that they were “angry” that I would even consider it, that I would be hurting the team and even if I left months down the road they would need to find a way to cushion the blow from me leaving, and that if I were “truly conscientious” I would tell the other job that I had to spend less time on it and stay out the full two years (or more).

Do you think they'd keep you on for another minute if they didn't want to, based on a verbal agreement that you would work there for two years?
posted by Etrigan at 11:08 AM on December 14, 2011 [36 favorites]


When I brought it up, however, they told me that they were “angry” that I would even consider it, that I would be hurting the team and even if I left months down the road they would need to find a way to cushion the blow from me leaving, and that if I were “truly conscientious” I would tell the other job that I had to spend less time on it and stay out the full two years (or more). They said that right now, they “wouldn't even know how to bring up” my plan to anybody else on the team.

It's a job, not a mission to Mars. Imagine someone you were breaking up with said the above to you. Blatant manipulation, and reason enough to leave today right now.

Their behavior is beyond the pale. You've already got another job, just don't go back.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:09 AM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


Honey, QUIT THE FIRST JOB. Just quit. Now. There isn't a reference in the world worth this.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:10 AM on December 14, 2011 [36 favorites]


I've known a number of people who worked 80+ hour weeks. None of them were what I would call "happy" or "content." They were occupied, and some could take to it better than others, but no one really handled in a way that made them a complete person. So, no, I don't think you can juggle both of these jobs. I don't think you do either. Treating the anxiety and depression is a long-term goal with lots of sub-goals and I can guarantee "not working 80+ hour weeks" will be one of those sub-goals.

If entry-level jobs thinks it's going to be such a death knell for you to leave, then chances are they're not going to cut off their nose to spite their face. There's a chance -- only you can tell how good of a chance, but a chance none the less -- that your saying "I will be working here part-time and helping you phase me out starting now" will give you exactly what you want. Of course, a company that hangs as much as they claim to on an entry-level employee who isn't contractually bound might not have the best management, and they might boot you. However, it sounds like you know the job you want.
posted by griphus at 11:11 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The response from your first job tells you everything you need to know. They obviously don't value your well being and are manipulating you into staying. Tell them you are leaving in two weeks (tell them; don't debate it) and enjoy the relief of knowing you are about to have much more free time on your hands.
posted by Nightman at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's entry-level work in a major city and they can't replace you? Quit. You already have your dream job...
posted by pilibeen at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


You can leave at any time. 2 weeks notice is just a formality.

They'd fire you the same day if they didn't need you around any more.

The only dilemma I see is deciding how you want to leave. Do you stick around for 4 weeks to transition your projects to someone else? Can you do it in 2 weeks?

Do the bridges matter enough that you shouldn't just quit today? If the job isn't relevant to your field, I wouldn't sweat it too much and quit today or in two weeks.
posted by just.good.enough at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don't like working at the first job. You're just afraid that you'll need the references. This is not worth your mental anguish. Period.
posted by symbollocks at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Quit the first job right now. They are basically trying to extort you into staying, and that is not a healthy place for you to be. The way they are treating you right now also says to me that you can't trust them as a reference even if you do jump through all their hoops. When I cut back my hours to one full time job, I couldn't believe how much less stressed out I was.
posted by Zophi at 11:14 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Luckily the US has "at will" hiring, which usually implies it applies to the employee as well as the employer. They have no legal way to hold you there. Give in your notice.
posted by infini at 11:14 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Step-by-step instructions to lead a better more fulfilling life.

Step 1: collect your work belongings and put them in a box.

Step 2: write your boss that you feel he was being manipulative and inconsiderate and while you value to the opportunity offered you do not feel it is a good for you going forward. Include instructions for where they can send your final paycheck.

Step 3: make sure you have deleted any personal information from the work computer, and cleared your web browsers history and cookies, send the email, put on your jacket, pick up your box of belongings and walk out of there, if you have any security badges or anything like that drop them off at HR or the security desk on the way out.

Step 4: go get a cup of coffee, or go home and take a nap.
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:15 AM on December 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


Totally agree with the above - quit the first job.

Go the high road, write a nice letter indicating how grateful you are to them for the opportunities they've given you and the colleagues you've met, but that you've been offered a new position that leads you more in the direction you want your career to go. Wish them well, and move on.
posted by jasper411 at 11:17 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


...They said that right now, they “wouldn't even know how to bring up” my plan to anybody else on the team...

Realize that one of the many vicious facets of depression and high stress is that it distorts thinking. Because that right there is a bunch of manipulative nonsense. At best it's sign of a company with terrible management (it's a shaky 'best,' of the not attributing to malice that which can be explained by simple incompetence).

Incidentally, here's how competent management "brings up" someone departing to the rest of the team: "I'm sorry to say that X will be leaving us at such-and-such date to pursue other opportunities. Please join us in wishing them all the best in their future plans, and in the meantime let's work to ensure a smooth transition for anything they need to hand off." It's not rocket science, especially for openly stated entry level stuff.
posted by Drastic at 11:18 AM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Whoa. Two weeks notice is standard. If you're a really kind, generous person, you let a place know a month prior to quitting. It is NOT standard workplace etiquette in the US for an employee to give any more notice than that. In fact it's dangerous -- then you're working for a prolonged period for people who have no incentive to do anything for you. Just quit, and ignore the attempted emotional blackmail.
posted by miyabo at 11:19 AM on December 14, 2011


Two weeks isn't even a law. You could extort them a bit on this- if you know they'll give you a shitty recommendation even if you leave months from now, then what the hell will it matter if you up and leave next paycheck, or even tomorrow? I'd arrange to meet again with these people and let them know that your current lifestyle isn't sustainable and this job has to go. They can either have you out of there amiably down the line or just have to be left high and dry the next day when you don't show up ever again. You obviously know how great it will feel to GTFO, so I'd keep trying to go along that path.
posted by MangyCarface at 11:22 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


After a couple weeks of this, I decided I was going to try to give notice at my old job, and see if I could either phase out slowly or work part-time. When I brought it up, however, they told me that they were “angry” that I would even consider it, that I would be hurting the team and even if I left months down the road they would need to find a way to cushion the blow from me leaving, and that if I were “truly conscientious” I would tell the other job that I had to spend less time on it and stay out the full two years (or more).

HAHAHA! Oh, that's a good one!

Wait, they were serious?

An employer who can't possibly replace an entry-level position within a few weeks, in this economy, isn't an employer you should want to work for. Give notice. Good riddance.
posted by xingcat at 11:25 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no such thing as trying to give notice. You either give notice, or you don't. They already know you have one foot out the door now. It's not fair to ask your first job to let you cut back your hours when what they really need is a full-time employee, so instead of just trying to give notice, give notice. There is no "plan," you are being too nice. You are making a business decision, and freeing them to hire someone who can work full-time and meet their needs. Here is the letter you need to give, in writing:
Dear {Boss},

I am resigning the position of {Widget Inspector}. My last day will be December 28, 2011. Thank you for this opportunity.

Sincerely,
Poster
Then work your two weeks and be done with job one. By being a dick and jerking you around, your old boss has made it clean that your leaving will not be amicable, even if you do wait a few months like he wants. So just leave now.
posted by juniperesque at 11:26 AM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


It seems that you have no contractual obligation to work the remaining six months. That's the hardest bit out of the way, so great! As far as your conscience goes, think of it like this: in the current economic environment, people are FALLING OVER EACH OTHER to get a job. It's a through-and-through employer's market. Do NOT feel bad about making your employer find someone new.

I would say your primary responsibility is to make sure that you leave everything you are doing in an order that would ensure anyone new can manage it easily. Do that, work your notice (2 weeks to 1 month as others have said), say pleasant goodbyes to your team and leave. It's not like you need a good reference in order to get another job is it?
posted by fearnothing at 11:31 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The verbal promise to stay two years means literally nothing. There is no contract. You didn't sign anything. What are they going to do, sue you?

Since you have a new job already you don't need the reference from this old job. (honestly, I'm sure a nice co-worker would be happy to be a reference in the future anyway, just don't use whoever is trying to guilt you into staying as a reference.)

You also seem to have some anxiety about the security of the new job vs the old, but it sounds like all other factors make the new job better. Just move 100% into your new job and make it great. Even if the company fails you'll be gaining valuable experience.

Quit the old job ASAP and give whatever notice period works for you. Ignore the manipulation.
posted by rainydayfilms at 11:43 AM on December 14, 2011


Here's one interpretation of the situation,

"Old Job" is severely under-compensating you and fear that they would not be able to get someone else to do the work you currently do for anything near what you're currently getting paid.

It costs "Old Job" exactly zero to put a guilt trip on you in an attempt to get you to stay.
posted by de void at 11:46 AM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


If you feel guilty about leaving your coworkers behind in a bind, don't. Even if they're nice people you enjoy being around, don't feel bad. If they really are nice people, they would not want you to work 2 jobs and be completely miserable -- they will be happy that you've found something more fulfilling. (And if they're not at least cordial about it, they're not the type of people worth feeling guilty over.) And yes, you may be putting them in a short-term bind, but it is absolutely best in the long run for them. If you stay and work both jobs things are going to slip through the cracks, which is no good for anyone. And if the loss of one team member seriously disrupts the company then there are serious management problems that need to be addressed; your departure can be the catalyst for that to happen to make things better for everyone.

The good reference isn't worth your sanity.
posted by lilac girl at 11:47 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can barely think half the time without using my boyfriend's Ritalin, I have frequent panic attacks, and spend large amounts of my day crying...how this is probably what life is supposed to be about, and how the only way out is to kill myself. I'm not even really thinking straight right now, and I'm not sure if anything I'm saying makes any sense.

I'm sorry, but I have to gloss over your question about quitting job #1 because THE ABOVE STATEMENTS ARE EXTREMELY WORRISOME. It sounds like what you're saying is that you are taking someone else's prescription medication without ever having seen a doctor yourself.

THIS IS INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS. Oh, I know, college kids take Ritalin/Adderall all the time to power through the semester! Seriously, though, you are basically taking amphetamines. Do you have an undiagnosed heart condition? High blood pressure? Could the medication push you from depression into mania? Psychosis? On a less hysterical note: at the very least, this medication could very well be exacerbating your anxiety--and you may not realize it! You don't know the answers to any of these questions, nor do you have a doctor supervising you who could objectively assess whether you are starting to show problematic symptoms.

First, please stop doing this. See a doctor if you wish to continue, so you can fully assess your risks. This is not a safe way to "deal with your work."

Secondly, no job on earth should make you feel like killing yourself is the best answer. NONE. NEVER. Nor should a job make you feel like you need to use drugs to keep up. That is nuts, dude. Give them two weeks notice. That is a reasonable and responsible amount of time. If they pitch a fit about it, well, fuck 'em. You have Dream Job right now; I am sure you'll at least be there long enough to accumulate relationships that will make great recommendations for your future. Plus, it can't be every single person at job #1 who will burn bridges with you, right? So get recommendations from the reasonable ones. It is not worth your mental and physical health to "stick it out." It truly, truly is not. When you are old and gray and on your deathbed, are you going to say to yourself, "well, whoo, I'm glad I stuck it out at that job for another six months and ran myself ragged."
posted by Fui Non Sum at 11:48 AM on December 14, 2011 [24 favorites]


Unless that first job has a guaranteed payout that is worth your health, sanity and relationship, dump it. You don't owe anyone anything.
posted by iamabot at 11:49 AM on December 14, 2011


The thing is, you're young. The employer sees your inexperience as something they can exploit for their own purposes, at the cost of your well-being. This ought to piss you right the fuck off.

Give a Nixon-style resignation letter and be on your way. If you are working from home and don't have to deal with personal belongings in the office, access to the office, etc., resigning is very easy.
posted by fritley at 11:53 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Quit the first one before you burn out and lose both jobs.
posted by facetious at 11:56 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Quit that job. I know everyone before me has said the same thing, but I feel strongly that you need to listen to us. It is very important for you to quit that job.
posted by something something at 12:00 PM on December 14, 2011


In my early twenties I was an absolute workaholic, working 72+ hours straight, grabbing 5 hours sleep then back for more. I lived at the office. Had no other life whatsoever. I burned out. It is impossible to keep going as you are.

Please, please, please hand in your resignation today. By January you will be enjoying your dream job and your life and you will be so much happier, I promise.
posted by humph at 12:01 PM on December 14, 2011


If you're that important to the first job, they should be paying you a whole hell of a lot more. THey're not. Therefore, all their guilt-trip talk is bullshit.
posted by notsnot at 12:02 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agreeing with the consensus, but want to add that they obviously think very highly of your work if they are that desperate for you to stay. Therefore, before you leave, make sure you save any written documentation of that, including formal evaluations, evidence of raises and bonuses, and any emails or notes praising your work or thanking you. I'd also make clear, in writing, that although you have a firm quit date, you will do whatever you can within your remaining time to train the new hires or otherwise help them during the transition. If you are feeling generous, you can even offer to take a few minutes a day to answer brief questions after you quit. Keep copies of all this communication. (If they react badly again, you can revoke that offer.)

Chances are you won't need it, but if it every does come up in the future, you can explain the full situtation to future employers and have written documentation to back it up. No sane employer will refuse to hire you because you stayed only a year and a half at your first job out of college.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I work 80+ hour weeks (though this includes weekends). However, it's graduate school, and the work is all of my choosing and (presumably) what I enjoy and I can take days off whenever I want, so it isn't anything as bad as your case. If you dislike the old job, quit immediately following what everyone else has said.

I'm concerned that the hours are sending you into that level of depression. If it's just the stress and dislike of the old job, that's easily resolved. However, from your question, it seems you have no major daily responsibilities in addition to work. At some point, you may have children to deal with, or long commutes to the office, or other obligations, which will add up to much more than 80 hours. You need to keep yourself healthy and balanced so you can handle all of it when the time comes.
posted by redlines at 12:05 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You need to quit the old job, and not feel bad. If it's a question of references, is the team large enough that a peer/manager would be willing to provide good reference even if you leave the company on "bad terms" because they are being big, manipulative jerks? They sound like the kind of place where there must be someone else you work with who understands that management are asses and knows you, and maybe that will help ease some anxiety about leaving. Even if not, the off chance you may want to use a reference from a company outside your field isn't worth it for the agony. It's more productive to you to devote your talents to the place you want to be and leverage for better positions in the future.
posted by itsonreserve at 12:22 PM on December 14, 2011


When I brought it up, however, they told me that they were “angry” that I would even consider it, that I would be hurting the team and even if I left months down the road they would need to find a way to cushion the blow from me leaving, and that if I were “truly conscientious” I would tell the other job that I had to spend less time on it and stay out the full two years (or more).

Holy crap. Screw these people. Seriously, if this job doesn't involve preventing the rise of the Fourth Reich or some other deal, then it's a job. Even jobs for causes are, in the end, jobs you can walk away from. Congratulate yourself for having been a stand-up gal(?) for this long and get out.

Behavior like this is nothing less than taking advantage of your good nature. Maybe they don't think that's what they're doing -- maybe they honestly feel justified -- but they're wrong, and they're using you. Screw 'em.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:33 PM on December 14, 2011


You're working at a job that makes taking drugs that were not prescribed to you and/or killing yourself seem like good ideas.

You're working at a job that is dreamy and fulfilling and makes you feel challenged and valuable.

Since doing both isn't sustainable, it's clear you have to quit the first one. I second the Nixon style resignation letter.

Some things to consider:

• If you keep up this pace, you are going to fuck something up at one job or the other. If it's the first job, you're not going to get a good reference from them anyway. If it's the second job, you've fucked up the job you like because you hung on to the job you hate! That sucks! (Not to mention your life! What if this makes your relationship with your boyfriend a nightmare?)

• If you are worried about the security of the second job, how about asking them for some kind of reassurance. A six month or one year contract? Something like that. It can't hurt to ask, right? And it might make you feel better about leaving the other job.

I've worked 80 hours weeks, but it was at a job I loved and I only had to do it for a couple months. I still thought I was going to lose my mind and spent at least 20 hours of those weeks crying in my office with the door closed. If the dream job were asking for 80 hours for the next while to keep them rolling, it might be worth. Might. Since that's not the case, leave the first one and don't look back.
posted by looli at 12:36 PM on December 14, 2011


OK, you pretty much have this resounding consensus here but I must pipe in. This is about you not them. You are doing this to yourself. I say this because I would do the exact same thing and I continue to give more than what is expected because I don't want to let people down. Just the other day I asked a question about where to go/what to do. The overwhelming response was to spend less time working. Seriously, you always knew you were looking at 2 years - you owe them nothing and in a couple of years from now you will be a memory - maybe - maybe not even. You've obviously done a good job over the past couple of years - no employer will ever begrudge you for that. I hate loosing a good employee but they don't stay good employees forever especially if they aren't happy with where they are at.

You are young and you need to take whatever steps you want to move towards your dream job. I put in way too many hours at work. I think it has helped me get to where I am but there has been a cost for this. You need to decide how you want to climb your ladder. When I was younger I was always afraid that I was making a decision or doing something that might be career altering. The truth is that if you have the drive to succeed you will be successful as you are willing to put in work needed to learn. You'll get boned along the way too. Don't let your current employer be an emotional bully. Hand in your notice NOW before it affects your performance in your dream job.

BTW, I do admire your work ethic however according to many you may be a bit of a chump. I don't believe that but there is a camp out there that believe that it is really not necessary to show this type of dedication. I've always felt pride about putting in a good days work and being part of a team - but seriously you've gone well beyond expectations.
posted by YukonQuirm at 12:45 PM on December 14, 2011


Hey. Just in case you missed the previous answers: QUIT.

And, yes, that would be today.

You are opening up that job for someone else and that will be wonderful.
posted by Vaike at 12:55 PM on December 14, 2011


And the fact that you are taking drugs and considering suicide is nowhere near lucky. Seriously. Talk back to your people pleasing, sacrificing self and take care of yourself, your SO, and your new job. They deserve the best you, and you will get to be happy again.
posted by Vaike at 12:59 PM on December 14, 2011


OMG. Do this:
1. Quit.
2. Go see a doctor and get screened for depression and get help.
3. Call a crisis line if you need more support.
4. Thank your boyfriend for his support and, if you can afford it, hire a cleaning service to come in for the next week or two, until you phase out of the job. It will give you both a break and hopefully your partner will appreciate the gesture. Go out for dinner together too.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 1:02 PM on December 14, 2011


...and how the only way out is to kill myself...

There is another way out! Quit job #1 immediately. And if possible, I would also suggest you take some time from dream job and simply rest. Your very being is telling you that something is seriously wrong. Listen to that and take care of yourself. No job is worth your life.

...I do feel bad about breaking my (strictly non-contractual and verbal) commitment to my old job...

This is obvious to employer #1 and they are exploiting this to their advantage and at a great cost to your health. They are looking out for themselves. That is what their commitment is. Your most important commitment is to yourself - take some time to get centred.

Is there any way to politely convince my old job to let me cut back?

They don't have to let you. You can let you.

Best wishes. I hope you feel better soon.
posted by kishky at 1:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your health will break down if you keep this up and then you risk both jobs. Time to quit.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:42 PM on December 14, 2011


Wow. Quit the first job by sending them your notice of end date today. Spend the next two weeks doing no work, but documenting what you do, if you think that will be helpful for them. It might have been better for them to have you stay on at half time for another few months, but they are clearly not the kind of company that can handle different and better arrangements.

Look at it this way - if the 'two years' was important to them at the start, they would have offered you a bonus for staying on that long, or similar. They didn't put any money down? They're just trying to squeeze more out of you for nothing.

If you weren't so messed up currently, I would suggest calling their bluff and asking for like a 500% raise seeing as you are clearly so indispensable, but I don't think you could handle that negotiation right now
posted by jacalata at 2:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have frequent panic attacks, and spend large amounts of my day crying because it feels like there's no end in sight to this, and I can't imagine working 80+-hour weeks at two separate jobs until July. My normal depression has shifted into me constantly thinking about how weak I am for not being able to manage this, how this is probably what life is supposed to be about, and how the only way out is to kill myself.

I was going through this exact same thing a little over a year ago. The weeks when I made it to Wednesday without a hysterical crying fit, I felt like I had things under control. I quit the miserable job as soon as something new came along, and you should do the same. Since you work from home, send them a simple e-mail resignation effective immediately. You will feel so much better as soon as you're back to working more normal hours, I promise.
posted by jabes at 2:41 PM on December 14, 2011


I wholeheartedly endorse the advice that you give notice today (or first thing tomorrow morning!), and do not give more than two weeks.

Now, this is just my opinion, but based on personal experience, you will regret it if you follow this suggestion from another poster: "If you are feeling generous, you can even offer to take a few minutes a day to answer brief questions after you quit." Just . . . do not make this offer. Trust me, it will never be "just a few minutes." Especially not from job # 1, based on how they are treating you now.
posted by merejane at 2:44 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another thought: I am not an expert and could be wrong about this, but my understanding is that employers are reluctant to give bad references, for fear of lawsuits. My guess is they are just playing on your fears of a bad reference, and that it's just another manipulative move.

These people are unreal.
posted by merejane at 2:48 PM on December 14, 2011


(Ms. Vegetable)
To echo: you don't have a contract. You are free to leave at will. Do so. Please. And follow up so we can check on you. The Green has given you permission to quit.
(My doctors told me once to quit a job that was causing major depression problems. I did. Life gets better practically immediately.)
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:34 PM on December 14, 2011


Every employer I've ever known of will lay you off without a moment's notice. You should always do good work, but that's all they pay you for. You are not indentured to them.

Give them notice. Put in extra work documenting your current projects. Be Miss Sunshine and Goodness and Cheer. If they threaten you with a bad reference, tell them, sweetly, that you have done good work, have the evaluations to show for it, and if they screw you you will sue them. They have guilted you. That's a dick move. They do not deserve extra care, but you are a professional person who will leave in a classy, professional manner.
posted by theora55 at 5:48 PM on December 14, 2011


Insanity!!

Sweetie, just quit. If they wanted to, and believe me they might be thinking about it now, they could and would fire you in a heartbeat, without any notice. Just get your stuff and your butt out the door. If you even tried to mention your 'two years verbal agreement' they would quite legally laugh in your face and give you the bum's rush.

Listen to what everybody here is saying. Drop the first job. Keep the dream job. Spend a full day sleeping in, taking a long luxurious bubble bath, cooking and eating your favorite meal and reading a good novel. Betcha your depression lifts like a bad dream. If not, see someone.

Frankly, I don't even think you need to give your first employeer two weeks. You tried to tell them. They treated you like an idiot and a child, and for an entry level position, you've put up with more crap than you deserve. Kick them to the curb, then let us know how you're doing.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:31 PM on December 14, 2011


Fuck that job. Don't worry about giving two weeks. Your health is not worth it. Don't work there another day.
posted by rabbitfufu at 8:38 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can barely think half the time without using my boyfriend's Ritalin, I have frequent panic attacks,

Notice these the proximity of these two things. Panic attacks are a well-known and frequent side effect of stimulants.

My normal depression has shifted into me constantly thinking about how weak I am for not being able to manage this, how this is probably what life is supposed to be about,

This is what life is supposed to be about? In what period of human history did people spend 16 hours a day indoors with little to no human contact or physical activity, using up all their brain power to work on something? ... ? That situation would be unheard of and bizarre until super recently. We sure didn't develop for this.

Lay off the Ritalin, quit your first job, go outside and sit in the sun, see your friends over a good dinner, and I bet you will wake up the next morning feeling at least 50% better immediately.
posted by cairdeas at 11:16 PM on December 14, 2011


I'm so exhausted that I can barely think half the time without using my boyfriend's Ritalin... I'm starting with a new psychiatrist next week, so hopefully I can at least start taking something to manage my depression... If I can treat my depression and anxiety will these problems go away?

I think you should have a very serious discussion with your psychiatrist about whether your depression and anxiety is caused by mental illness that you have -- a brain malfunction, as it were, or whether it's a normal and appropriate response to your circumstances generated by a brain that is functioning properly. If the opinion of your psychiatrist is that your brain is functioning properly given your circumstances, I really think you should have a very serious conversation with your psychiatrist about whether the best course of action for you is to alter that functioning with medication.
posted by cairdeas at 11:24 PM on December 14, 2011


You have permission to break your verbal contract. It's perfectly alright to do if fulfilling the verbal contract is nigh impossible, or is causing physical/mental damage. This has both. Your old job will cope.

I once left a small company because they were using me as the sole administrator/receptionist without paying me properly for it. The company managed to survive without admin and a receptionist for a week. Your job is entry-level; their company will survive too.
posted by daysocks at 9:38 AM on December 15, 2011


I hope you are ok. I hope you quit.
posted by bq at 10:21 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the OP:
I just wanted to let everyone in the thread know how much I appreciate their advice and support. This was exactly what I needed to hear, and I gave notice at my old job yesterday. It's going to be a rough few weeks, but I feel a lot better and am looking forward to my new job and some much-needed rest. Thanks!
posted by mathowie at 8:36 AM on December 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


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