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Thread: Boss won't agree on work hours (long)

  1. #1
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    Boss won't agree on work hours (long)

    Back story:

    Will start of by saying that I have struggled with Social Anxiety since my teens, and though it has gotten better and I am able to work and function mostly normally, it still a layer of extra stress and anxiety in certain situations.

    My previous work:

    I was a contractor in a job that was my dream job. The contractors were all treated rather badly, especially compared to the regular staff. It was things like work hours, never getting to come on team building events, really low pay, not getting credit for our work. We all wlrked really hard in the hope of getting hired.
    I spent 3+ years working overtime, being constantly swamped and stressed every day due to work load and going out of my comfort zone to network and make and impression on the team. My manager kiked my work and I felt like I was heading towards getting hired.
    We then got a new manager that did not like me. He had absolutley no intrerest in any of the contractors as human beings. We were treated like recourses.
    I was hit particularly hard because as it was dawning on me that I was never going to get any credit for the work I was doing and I was, never going to get hired: I was beginning to feel unmotivated and unhappy. The first impact this had on my work is that I withdrew socially. I became nobody to my manager. A few examples of stuff that made me stressed and sad:

    I was moved to a different department where I knew nothing about what I would work with, with no notice. I really mean no notice. He came into our room and said to pack up and move my desk right now (I was in the middle of something).

    I was then told to move desk for different reasons 5 times in 3 months. One time my desk was not even a real desk, it was a middle chest of drawers. Meanwhile my old desk was not occupied.

    I was ignored in emails, and email about tasks that I was assigen to was sent to another contractor. He would forward them to me and tell them to email me directly. The kept emailing him.

    They didnt include me in the weekly reports.

    When I asked not to be moved to a specific project (out of 4 options they could put me on), they said they don't take personal perference into consideration.
    I then heard from my old manager that they were going to move me to where I did not want to be. I complained to HR.
    They gave in and moved me somwhere else. However when I got there I was given no direction or tasks. I did stuff anyway cause I knew was pretty experienced at this point.
    Then a month or so later the people who were sitting next to me was moved away. I was told there was no space for me where they were moved to. I was sitting completley alone in a cube of 5 empty desks next to a korridor.
    This was the final straw for me.
    When I came home one night I had a panic attack. I stared shaking and could not stop crying. My bf was really worried and said I need to quit. So then I quit, I think I held on too long because when I stared it was something I really wanted. But it wasn't going to happen so I had to let go.

    I then got a new job, but I was still feeling unhappy. I struggled to get to know people and ended up feeling miserable. The new company was nice, but I just could not feel motivated.

    I was then offered a permanent position in my old company, but in a completley different department. Some ppl I knew and was friends with worked there and said it was good.
    I took the new job and started about a year after I had left. Was at the other job for 11 months.

    The new job started out good. But it was more difficult then anything I had done before so I felt a bit out of my element.
    After a while I was moved to a different team. This team was just starting up and after a few months there was still no agreement of how things should be done and our project was put on hold.
    I helped out other ppl here and there, but overall I was left with nothing to do. Yet I was told I needed to learn more things and get more confident. But with no tasks I struggled to know what to ask for help with learning.

    This is where my current trouble started:

    I had short spells of dizzyness that happened every now and then. These kept coming more and more often, until it was constand. It was like I was on a ship that was going through stormy waves. All the time.
    One day at work I felt this intense headache and like the walls was closing in on me. I had to leave to stop myself panicing.
    I called in sick and went to the doctor.
    The following months they did all sorts of tests to figure out why I was constantly dizzy. They could not find any physical reason for it.
    The dignosis became stress related anxiety in the end. I was off work for two weeks and then came back 50%. Then a 100% after a month.

    I was moved to a different team at work. There was stuff to do in my new team, and well planned out tasks. I started feeling better.

    I then had a few things go wrong. I got the flu and was off sick. My dizzyness started coming back. I worried about it coming back permanentley so whenever I felt it creeping up I called in sick and slept the whole day.

    I then asked if I could permanently work 80% and for them to adjust my pay. They agreed but only for 3 months and I had to have a 1st day sick note. I understand that as I had a lot of absence.

    My 3 months have now passed and the 4 day week is really helping me. My dizzyness is much less often and I was starting to feel like I liked coming to work again.

    Yesterday I had a followup meeting and I asked if I could continue with 80%.
    They said no, your position is 100%. We want to get to a place where you feel better and can work 100%.

    I said that I was worried about getting worse again and really wanted the 80%.
    Was told, it's not what we do at this company.

    I asked why lots of other people was working less then a 100% and why it was ok for them. I was told that it was because they where hired under those conditions.

    I asked if we could rewrite my contract to 80%. They said yes but then you cannot be in your current role. That role is 100%.

    I asked them to name any deadline I missed or any task that was not done and to look at my metrics. I was making it work. In fact, my team was giving me good feedback.

    They could not name any fault in my work but said it's included in my role to do extra things like help around the office and company and start extra projects on the side. I asked if that was in my contract and they said no, but working 100% is.

    I am getting really emotional at this point and can barely hold down tears.

    I insist that I still need less work hours and finally the reluctantly agree but again for another 3 months and with 1st day sick note. This is at reduced pay aswell.

    I left the meeting and locked myself in the bathroom to cry.

    I don't want to swap team again. I like the team I am in and have finally stared to feel like a part of a group again. I am improving in my knowledge and was beginning to take more ownership and feel more motivated.

    Now I feel so set back.
    I just want to crawl into a corner and pull a blanket over my head.

    I feel dissapointed and angry that they don't take my sickness seriously. I have been honest with them every step of the way.

    So the question is, what should I do?

    I could just accept all of their terms and then go back to 100% after three more months and pretend that I am fine.

    I am worrying now that going back to 100% will cause me to get worse again and my problem will never go away. I don't want to live with this dizzyness! 😥😥😥

    I could go to the doctor and have a real assesment made and maybe get off sick for 20% because of exhaution. I am pretty sure this is the issue.
    Then they will have no choise but I might be seen as problematic and I worry that they will move me to a different team anyways. Just because they say they need 100%.

    Am I being unreasonable? Are they being unreasonable?

    I don't know what to do. 😣😔☹️

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Keyman's Avatar
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    Honestly, if you are hired to do a job and you don't like that job, or if it is making you miserable, or causing issues with a mental health issue that you already experience, then leave. If the industry you trained in - IT I believe from another thread - makes you miserable, and all the jobs you have done within that industry do the same, then leave. Go find a role that suits you where the terms suit you.

    If you are hired for a job and sign a contract that relates to that job, then that is the job you should do. If that job causes you issues, leave and find a job that doesn't cause those issues.

    Going to you boss and saying you don't like what you do, or it causes you stress, can I work less, is almost tantamount to asking your boss if you can do Bob's job, because Bob's job looks more fun. You were hired to do a thing, they have given you dispensation for 6 months to do 80% of your role. They are still losing 20% of the role because of your sickness.

    I think they are doing quite a lot of accommodate your sickness, but now you are milking it for more.

    My suggestion would be again, go find a job that more suits your capacity.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    I think you need to find a really good therapist and work hard on learning coping skills in terms of stress, work life, etc. These things are learned and it will make a huge difference in your life and the quality of your life.

    As for the employer, they are correct in that they hired you for a full time position and have every right to expect you to work full time. They can put up with someone being sick and not able to work 5 days per week only so long. After that, they have a full right to fire you and find someone who can. I think you need to appreciate the fact that they are willing to work with you still and understand that they are only doing so because they actually value you enough.

    In all honesty, I think you'd do better finding a company that is smaller and much more structured. In other words, you'd have an easier time getting to know your co-workers, you'd be working with the same people instead of getting shifted around from team to team and department to department, and your daily tasks would be clearly laid out to you. It would reduce your stress tremendously. In fact, it seems that the only time you've been happy is when you were on a team where clear structure existed. Food for thought for you. The company you are working for now, it sounds like their management culture at large is kind of loose, figure it out variety and it's not working for you and wouldn't work for a lot of people. A case of round hole square stick. You may love the job itself, but the culture doesn't suit you and that will always lead to a lot of stress. Might be better to invest your time and efforts into a different environment.

  4. #4
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    I never said I did not want to do my job. I like it and want to stay. But years of high demand and being treated badly has now taken it's toll and I am sick.

    This is not about "fun". I want to stay in my role and I want to get better. In fact I wsnt to go back to 100% when I am ready. But the way I feel now I'm worried I will get sick again.

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  6. #5
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    I am already seeing a therapist for the social anxiety.
    Would you honestly say that getting upset at being ignored, not given credit for my work and sat alone at a desk is me not being able to handle stress?
    I don't want to get defensive but how about some empathy?

    Where I live, no, the employer does not have the right to fire someone that is sick.

    Starting to feel like I should not have come here for advice.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Stuck
    I never said I did not want to do my job. I like it and want to stay. But years of high demand and being treated badly has now taken it's toll and I am sick.

    This is not about "fun". I want to stay in my role and I want to get better. In fact I wsnt to go back to 100% when I am ready. But the way I feel now I'm worried I will get sick again.
    Nobody is implying that you don't want to work. However, when your work situation is such that you are becoming physically ill from it, that's your big clue that you need to do something differently. Again, if you enjoy the actual job, then the solution is to find a different company, a different culture, that suits you better so you are actually happy working instead of ill. Being ill like that is your body telling you to stop what you are doing and do something else. I really don't know how else to say this so you understand what I'm getting at. Telling yourself that you just love your job when it's making you ill and refusing to make any work changes to solve the problems is.....living in denial and as such, things won't get better for you, only worse with time. No job is worth losing your health over.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Stuck
    I am already seeing a therapist for the social anxiety.
    Would you honestly say that getting upset at being ignored, not given credit for my work and sat alone at a desk is me not being able to handle stress?
    I don't want to get defensive but how about some empathy?

    Where I live, no, the employer does not have the right to fire someone that is sick.

    Starting to feel like I should not have come here for advice.
    If you are in the US, then yes, after a certain amount of time they can fire you. The whole idea that they can't is a myth. There is a statutory limit based on size of company, how long they need to deal with an ill employee before they can let the person go. So, the COMPLIMENT to you is that they are continuing to work with you, so do take it for what it's worth. They do like you and value you. They aren't just putting up with you because they have to. That's good for you and an indication that you are valued and good at what you do. OK?

    As for how you were treated as a contractor, sorry, but as a contractor you have to recognize that you will not be treated as an employee. Your position is essentially temporary, there to help rather than take credit, and unfortunately highly expendable. That's the life of a contract worker. You can't expect to be included in team building exercises because you aren't actually part of the company. Same thing for being moved around and so on. It's not pleasant, I'll grant you that. However, again, the solution is to find a better workplace where you will not be treated like that. Invest your talents and energy into finding a better workplace and let the past go. You can't change what happened, you can only fix your present.

  9. #8
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    Originally Posted by DancingFool
    If you are in the US, then yes, after a certain amount of time they can fire you. The whole idea that they can't is a myth.
    I'm not in the US, I'm in Sweden. We have unions to regulate that sort of thing. So no they cannot fire me for being sick.

    Thank you for a softer responce this time. Guess we have different views on what is and is not ok in terms of work culture.

    My current health issues have much more to do with my passed job situation then the current one. It just happened to catch up with me now. I have done my best to actually work with them because as I said I do want to stay.

    For anyone looking at my older posts that was written during the period that I had no tasks, and since then I have done much better in my current role and don't really have as much of those confidence issues anymore.

    The contractor stuff, yes, I know they are not permanent employees. But I am not talking about a short period here. I'm talking YEARS of working our asses of shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the team. I was not the only one to eventually feel bad from that situation, and I did not complain during that time. Work hard hoping to get hired, they gave the impression that if you were good it would happen. And it would have if not for a manager swap.

    My current wish is to get back to a place where I don't have this dizzyness. I am simply worried about relapsing and/or trying to make the situation work in the meantime.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member maew's Avatar
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    OP you need to place your health and well being above everything else here. In answer to your question, neither of you have unreasonable requests... they are reasonable for wanting to staff that particular role at 100%, and you are reasonable for asking for more time at 80%. That being said, it's highly unlikely you will win in this scenario... based on your past history with that company, I think your expectations that they will accommodate you are unrealistic given how they have treated you in the past. It might be best to cut your losses and look for work at an organization with a culture that is a better fit for you.


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