I'm badly depressed and anxious. And I've got the worst job of my life - I'm 42, so that's saying a lot - complete with a boss I despise and who seems to despise me. My therapist thinks I should quit. Um, hello? Realistically, what can I do? Special flower BS inside.
posted by Jaie to work & money (26 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Bare facts: I got laid off from a professional-level library job in July of 2010 (after 10 years with the organization). I was out of work for 18 months, and eventually broke up with my live-in boyfriend and moved back home to my parents. After a few months here, I found an administrative position at a mental health clinic that is indeed the worst job I have ever had.
Before I was laid off, I was depressed (on medication and in therapy), but I was getting by. The depression deepened while I was out of work. Now, it's much, much worse and has been joined by severe symptoms of what I believe is probably anxiety, to the point that some days - maybe even most days - I am barely functional. My hands shake, I tend to babel when I talk about stressors, especially work-related or financial stressors, and I have trouble sleeping through the night. I'm also getting bad headaches almost every day, often waking up with them. I am still on medication and in therapy, although at a different clinic and less often than I would like, because of changes in my health insurance once I was laid off.
Special flower details about the job from hell: Every word I say is fodder for criticism, every step of every task I do is prone to be micromanaged. In the past three weeks I have had two incidents where my behavior was less than professional and far less than I expect from myself. My boss was out sick at the time of the most recent one, but when he returned on Thursday, he made it clear that if there is another such incident, it will be "cause for formal discipline."
Let me stress that I know my behavior was unacceptable; however, I am at a loss as to why we had to spend 30 minutes together in the same room while he told me that over and over, or what response he expected from me, given that I began the entire session by stating that I knew I had behaved very badly and I apologized for it. At a subsequent meeting on Friday, nominally about an unrelated topic and this time in front of my coworkers, with whom he had already discussed everything so that in fact the whole meeting was "directed" at me, he also made it clear that he intends to increase the amount of micromanagement, which I had previously thought was virtually impossible. In short, the man doesn't even like the way I file service notes. He also said that he and his boss are "butting heads" after his boss told me to come in late so I could stay late and thus have the main entrance/exit unlocked and the waiting room open on those days there are group therapy session that run until after the office "closes" at 5 p.m., leaving me unsure what I'm supposed to do. So I'm working an extra half-hour (at least) for free so as not to anger either of them. (He wants me to lock the door and leave people sitting there, but without an emergency exit I'm not even sure if that's legal.)
My therapist believes that any gain from my current job is being negated by its impact on my depression and its total destruction of my self-esteem. She feels that I should just quit. However, I still have bills to pay, including the one for health insurance that lets me see the therapist and buy my medication, and the cell phone that keeps me in touch with any potential employers. (Before anyone can suggest it, disability usually takes years and years to get approved and if I were somehow miraculously approved for Medicaid, the only place I could be seen is the clinic where I now work.)
I have applied for precisely one job this weekend; I live in a rural area and there simply aren't many jobs to apply for, and there are none in my actual field of experience. And I'm now convinced that anything I try to do is going to turn out as badly as this job has, that if I could just bite my damn tongue and be professional and put up with anything I'd be able to excel at this one, but since I can't, it's not even worth trying another job, as I will surely fail there as well. (My ultimate response to this inadequacy is to plan to return to school for a very practical program so that I can train for a job and feel secure that I know how to do it.)
On Tuesday, I missed a visit to the prescribing psychiatrist, and wasn't able to reschedule until mid November. On Wednesday, I had an appointment with my therapist. As I was leaving, she asked me if I could "hang on" until the November appointment. At the time I assured her I could. But on Thursday (and again on Friday, actually) there was the horrendous meeting with my boss. Now I just don't know. The prospect of my boss's micro-micro management makes me shake and cry almost as soon as I think about it. I don't know how I'm going to get myself out of bed and into the office on Monday. I gathered all the personal things I wanted from the office and brought them home yesterday, not so much because I don't plan to go back as that I just couldn't stand to think of them being there in a place I hate so much.
I am going to call the psychiatrist and ask about any cancellations that might have opened a spot for this week, but I don't really think pharmaceuticals are the full answer here.
All in all, I feel completely worthless and like a blight on the face of the Earth. I do think quitting this job would help, but I can't get by without any money. But am I headed for a complete breakdown if I don't quit, and if so how soon?
I know depression and anxiety and whatever else the psychiatrist might decide to call this play tricks on my thinking ability, so I'm asking if there is an option or opportunity here that I'm just not seeing. Please give me some practical advice.