Working is killing me

We all get tired and stressed from work and we all definitely have our bad days and even bad jobs, but I am finding as time goes on I am coping less and less with work.

I have recently moved jobs due to numerous issues at my last place of work, but I am finding that I am constantly run down, fatigued, stressed and just generally feel unwell as a result of working.  I am in my early thirties and I know we slow down and get tired with age, but I feel ill - not just tired.

My mental health is strained, I am suffering with anxiety and possibly depression, GI issues, skin complaints, respiratory problems, migraines, fatigue, muscles cramps/pain, joint pain, general illnesses etc etc.

Packing my job in is not an option as I have bills to pay, but I also want to work and like having purpose and responsibility - I just wish it didn't take so much out of me.

I have been looking at career changes, but at the moment I cannot financially afford the risks and even then I am not really sure what I could do that would alleviate these health issues.

Most people seem to breeze through life (ok slightly over dramatic) and get a weeks work done without a hitch and then make the most of the weekend.  I spend my weekends and evenings a wreck, just trying to recover to start again.  Are other people like this and just hide it better or is it me?

If I have to work until my late 60s until I retire, I am starting to think I won't make it anywhere near retirement at this rate.

  • Change jobs to one with fewer responsibilities. It'll mean a salary reduction, but health is priceless. 

  • Hi Starbuck

    Firstly, are you diagnosed as on the spectrum? Secondly, does you employer and to that effect is there scope for you to request reasonable adjustments at work?  Have you been able to identify what the issues are that are causing you distress and what could/needs to be done to mitigate these?

    Functioning  in terms of jumping the hoops of employment and the responsibilities of paying the bills etc is a stress for many,but putting ASC in the mix can make the experience even more mentally and emotionally demanding (as well as extremely tiring).

    best wishes to you

    Ellie

  • Sorry to hear that you're struggling with work; you are definitely not alone in finding employment difficult. The closest I got to working full time was doing 25hours a week and that caused me to be very unwell mentally and physically. I had to stop working in the end and am currently volunteering and receiving ESA benefit.

    I agree with Dongfeng, it sounds like you could really use some help in improving your health. If you are on the spectrum, telling your employers can be a good move; they may be able to find ways to make things less stressful and demanding for you like Elephant says.

    I really sympathise with your situation, hope things get better for you.

  • Hi Starbuck (a Moby D i c k reference, I wonder?)

    I'm 59 now, so only have just under 8 years to go.  Did I say 'only'?  I've had many career changes - if you can really call them careers.  Office bod, driver, shop worker, salesman, Civil Servant, a stint at home-working self-employment - and now, care support worker.  Over my working lifetime, my average time in a job is around 7 months - anything from 6 years to 2 weeks.  In most cases, I've reached the stage where it sounds like you are now: stressed, anxious, sick.  There have been many reasons.  Pressure of work.  Boredom.  But principally, I think, it's been to do with the other people I'm working with.  Wherever I've worked, there have been cliques that I've never been a part of (nor wanted to be).  There have been people who are slackers, letting everyone else carry them.  There have been people who are sloppy and careless, and who don't seem to take any pride in what they do.  There have been the numbskulls who've tended to end up with high praise and promotions.  At worst, there have been bullies.

    If you're like me, you like to do a job properly - no matter how mundane it is, or how much you dislike it.  You take a sense of pride in it, even if it's just filing papers or cleaning the loos.  So when I see people who don't take the same sense of responsibility - who don't seem to care one way or the other, or are happy for others to take up their slack - it gets to me.  I take it home with me.  It keeps me awake at night.  It, eventually, grinds me down.  I'm at that stage now in my current job.  I've been there a year - long enough to realise that there's an 'in-group' of colleagues, centering around the deputy manager, who can basically do what they like.  The deputy herself is there more by virtue of qualifications than proficiency.  With no disrespect to the young (I work with some excellent people in their teens), she's in her early 20s.  She's inexperienced.  And she simply doesn't have the right attitude to be a manager.  In fact, she slacks herself - so the others around her play by example.  Some of the other staff have given up on covering everyone elses' backs and are starting to be indifferent, too.  Apathy and low morale abound.  Important jobs aren't getting done.  Health and Safety, Infection Control and Food Safety precautions are routinely flouted.  People don't bother with mandatory paperwork.  People spend more time on social media than they do interacting with the service users.  It drives me to despair.  I have to get out - before I simply go sick and play it out so I never go back.  I don't want that to happen.  I'm applying for other jobs.  I'm trying to keep my hopes up.

    None of which is much help to you, I'm afraid.  It might make you feel even more despondent.  Try not to let it, though.  Just as I've usually managed to find my way through, and get the break when I most needed it, so hopefully will you.  When I switched into care work, it meant a substantial drop in salary.  It came at the time of my divorce, too, and when I had a mortgage to pay.  I moved out when I took on the new job.  Until we sold the bungalow, I was paying half the mortgage on that, plus all my rent and bills for the bedsit I moved into.  It was a tough time - not least because I was getting used to an entirely new job.  It was touch and go money-wise for a time there.  But I had to make the choice between carrying on and breaking down, or finding an alternative.  It's never easy, of course.  Are there any adjustments you can make - even if they're tiny - to facilitate some kind of downscaling?  In the end, I found that to be the only answer.  In real terms, I'm earning less now than I've ever earned.  But I'm managing better.  If I can just change this current job soon, it'll be good.  At the bottom of the scale - on minimum wage - at least any change shouldn't leave me financially worse off.

    I think, if many people were honest, they don't find life a breeze at all.  All the happy photos on social media don't show the truth of people's lives.  Many of us - ND or NT - struggle.  Some of us just find it harder to keep the struggle going, because we're working with our condition to contend with as well.

    All the best,

    Tom

  • Hello there,

    As soon as I saw the title of this I just had to reply - it sounds so alarmingly familiar to the situation I found myself in two years ago. I am 27 years old now and I have left work to pursue postgraduate qualifications, and I am much happier. I understand this may not be feasible and/or desirable for you, but I have a few suggestions which might help.

    I think you can distill your options down to two: make this job more bearable, or make steps to find one which works better for you. I have compiled a few suggestions of things I did but am happy to suggest more if you need it.

    1. As with many on here, I think it is worth telling your employer if you are on the spectrum. You may not have a formal diagnosis, and this may or may not be something you wish to pursue if you haven't. But definitely communicate with them, even if you say that you are self-diagnosed.

    2. Ask for a referral to Occupational Health. 

    3. If you are diagnosed with any conditions, your employer is obliged to help you make reasonable adjustments to your environment of work under the Equality Act of 2010. Now, their understanding of 'reasonable' is based on interpretation, but there might be a few things you could ask for:

    - to use headphones to block out noise

    - ability to use a different room for complicated tasks (depending on the job, of course, but for instance I used to write my minutes in an isolated room)

    - ability to use tinted glasses/ sunglasses to reduce sensory input

    - access to a work wellbeing programme, if they have one

    - suggestions of a quieter, accessible place to spend your lunch

    As far as possible I would suggest making requests in writing and keeping a good paper trail if you can.

    I appreciate these things may not get you out of your situation, but perhaps they can reduce some of the anxiety and overload feelings you experience at your workplace. 

    I am so sorry that you feel this way and you have my sympathy as work very nearly led to me experiencing a breakdown a couple of years ago. I wish you the best and hope you keep us posted as to your progress.

  • Hi Ellie,

    Good to hear from you - I have been quiet lately on the forums as I just don't have the energy to respond in the evenings or weekends.  I am diagnosed and my employer is aware as well.  I have had a couple of shutdowns which has worried them a bit, but I don't think they know how to approach the whole subject of reasonable adjustments.  I have flagged some concerns I have in relation to future business developments, but I am waiting on the outcomes from that.  My boss is reluctant to talk about the subject for whatever reason and we both struggle to communicate so it is difficult.

    I feel things are far more overly complicated than they need to be in the workplace sometimes and I feel this all the more when I am burnout and my patience is wearing.

    All the best Ellie.

  • Wherever I've worked, there have been cliques that I've never been a part of (nor wanted to be).  There have been people who are slackers, letting everyone else carry them.  There have been people who are sloppy and careless, and who don't seem to take any pride in what they do.  There have been the numbskulls who've tended to end up with high praise and promotions.  At worst, there have been bullies.

    If you're like me, you like to do a job properly - no matter how mundane it is, or how much you dislike it.  You take a sense of pride in it, even if it's just filing papers or cleaning the loos.  So when I see people who don't take the same sense of responsibility - who don't seem to care one way or the other, or are happy for others to take up their slack - it gets to me.  I take it home with me.  It keeps me awake at night.  It, eventually, grinds me down. 

    Hi Tom,

    You have eloquently captured the despair and frustration I face daily in my working life.  I do take pride in everything I do and I strive to make everything the best that it can be - even if it is filing papers....

    People are a challenge and although my social skills are light years ahead of where they used to be in my younger years, I still struggle to understand people's attitudes and cliques on the workplace - it's pointless, a waste of time and achieves nothing.

    I had an incident today where I had worked weeks on a project that a colleague had seen and was happy with, so it was signed off, then today in the final hour, we got into a heated discussion, because to cut a long story short, he hadn't really paid attention to what he was agreeing to and doesn't like the fact I am holding him to his decision.  So the Teflon coated, slopey shoulders attitude comes out which resorts to bullying tactics where suddenly it's my fault and I need to fix it.  Luckily I am older and wiser to see through this routine now and I am working on a compromise, but it's a load of effort I shouldn't be wasting when the end result is fine anyway - it all comes down to sodding politics as always!

    I guess we all struggle as you say, I just wish people wouldn't over-complicate what is mostly simple problems or situations, that have a straight-forward or fairly obvious solution.  People do love a drama!

    As for the Starbuck name, it was actually from Battlestar Galactica.