Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 667185

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Job fiasco - falling apart

Posted by pegasus on July 14, 2006, at 22:35:20

I got back from a two week vacation on Monday, and 15 minutes after I arrived at work, my boss came in and asked me to take a different job that I didn't want. I made some generally encouraging optimistic sounds and said I'd think about it. Later that day I asked him about a couple of details, such as whether I could continue to work 70% time (no problem) and whether I'd have to travel (it could be a no travel position).

The following morning (Tuesday) I told him that I was having a hard time being excited about the job. We had a conversation during which I started to realize that they weren't offering me the new job, they were assigning me to it. I said, "Am I not welcome to keep my current job?" He said, "We never discussed that." But they had already offered my job to another person, who had accepted, and her job to another person who had accepted (while I was on vacation).

So, my boss and the CEO had a conference call with me where I explained why I wasn't interested in the new job. I said, "Why don't you offer that job to the person who is lined up to take my job?" The result of that meeting was an agreement that we would come up with another way of splitting the duties.

So, I go into my normal one on one meeting with my boss the next morning (Wednesday), expecting to do some brainstorming about jobs. Instead, he hands me two job descriptions: they've taken my job and added some responsibilities to it, then they've created a subordinate position to support that job. They offered me the subordinate position, and the person who was lined up to take my job was offered the other position, and will now be my supervisor. I started crying in the meeting, told my boss I didn't want to quit, but I wasn't sure that I could do this. Then I left and went home.

That afternoon I sent my boss an email explaining that I'd been caught off guard, and asking him to please postpone any permanent decisions until I'd had a chance to think and perhaps suggest some other options. He wrote back and said, essentially, no.

I went into his office the following morning (Thursday) and said that I wanted the lead position, and thought it would be better for the company if I had it. He told me that because I wasn't full time, and had difficulties traveling, I couldn't be. They were not willing to create to parallel positions splitting the responsibilities, because they wanted one point person in charge of the whole project, for some new management reason (that they apparently thought of on Tuesday).

They announced the change to the whole company later that morning. They thought up the jobs on Tuesday, and they announced the change to the company on Thursday.

I've been at this company for 9 years, always getting excellent reviews. I've had my current position for 5 years, and everyone has been happy with my work. I just finished a wildly successful project before I left on vacation. I have a Ph.D. in this field. The person who now has my job has been with the company for 3 years. She has a Master's degree. She has never worked in my department.

I'm devastated. I feel so betrayed. This morning (Friday) my boss told me that I could make a counter proposal for my job, but that the lead job is finalized, and the job description for that cannot change. So, what am I left to propose? Her job description has her being the lead for all of the things that a person in our department would do.

I cannot sleep, cannot eat, cannot work. I can't socialize, can't play with my daughter. I cry all the time. I can't seem to pull it together. I have a history of bad depression, and I feel it coming on. I'm paralyzed. I need to jump start myself and figure out how to propose something for my job that makes this doable. But I can't even bear to think about it. The new person with my job is going to get a chance to establish the whole tone of this transition and our relationship, because I can't function enough to do what I know I should do and just make this position what I need it to be. Why is my brain abandoning me now, when I need it most? How do I get it to do what I need it to do?

I'm just screwed.



Re: Job fiasco - falling apart

Posted by Daisym on July 15, 2006, at 12:38:53

In reply to Job fiasco - falling apart, posted by pegasus on July 14, 2006, at 22:35:20


I'm so sorry this is happening. Your brain hasn't abandoned you. You were slammed and you are reacting in a protective mode so your brain is busy in its "fight or flight" response. Essentially you are working from your limbic center instead of your cortex. So take some deep breathes, do something concrete, like a puzzle or solitare or Soduku...and then think about your options.

Have you talked to your Human Resource folks? It sure seems to me that they are putting you on a "mommy track" and that isn't legal. Are they trying to force you to quit? Ask to see a copy of your file...have there been complaints or notes you are unaware of?

Have you talked to your bossess boss? I would go in and make a case for yourself and I would talk about how surprised you are that the company would treat a valued employee like this. Make it clear that you are upset not only about the job change but about how the changes came about too. Lay out what you wrote here...more experience, more education, a track record...what more do they want?

Most importantly, try to get some inside info on this other person taking the lead job. Did she fanagle this? Or is she going to feel bad about how it happened? Resist the urge to "save" her, after all they gave her this job instead of you. It isn't your job to train her, even if you already know the answers. And try to be open to some creative changes, it will make you look more like the team player you are.

Work stuff sucks. It hits us in that vulnerable soft self-esteem spot and effects everything. Don't worry about your daughter either. Part of good parenting is showing our kids that things can be hard and upsetting and we live through them.

The hardest decision for you might be one simple question: "Do you want to keep working there?" If the answer is no, get your resume together and quietly start looking. Don't knee jerk quit. Call the client on whose project you just finished. Or call your competitor. But I agree that you have been disrespected. It might be time for a big change.

Good luck.


Re: Job fiasco - falling apart

Posted by octopusprime on July 15, 2006, at 13:27:44

In reply to Job fiasco - falling apart, posted by pegasus on July 14, 2006, at 22:35:20

I am so sorry Peg. It sounds like you are being forced out. Please call your T or pdoc and get some support. If you continue to have problems functioning in your day-to-day life, please do not hesitate to take a medical leave of absence from work.

A colleague of mine took medical leave after she was reorganized out of her job, seemingly for no good reason, just like you. She used her time on medical leave to look for another position.

An interesting discussion to have with your boss would be to tell him your feelings, something like "I feel like I've effectively been demoted, and that I am being forced out of the company", and see how he responds. You could also ask him where he sees your career going over the next 5 years and how this job move affects your future options. I don't know if I'd feel strong enough to try it if I were in your shoes, though. Again, I am so sorry. I hate it when working hard and doing a good job is not good enough.


Re: Job fiasco - falling apart pegasus

Posted by canadagirl on July 15, 2006, at 21:50:29

In reply to Job fiasco - falling apart, posted by pegasus on July 14, 2006, at 22:35:20

You might also want to check with a labour lawyer. You might discuss what sounds like "constructive dismissal" or whatever the terminology is where you live.


So much pain, but yikes, legal action?

Posted by pegasus on July 16, 2006, at 8:15:04

In reply to Job fiasco - falling apart, posted by pegasus on July 14, 2006, at 22:35:20

Wow, I hadn't considered the legal aspects. I just thought they were being incredibly mean. Do I want to sue my employer? Part of me wants the whole company to go down for what they've done to me. But actually, I'd rather just have my normal job back. And anyway, I'm sure the company will survive. No one is expendable.

I loved that job. I was doing really well at it. It's baffling to me that whatever management theory they've developed is more important to them than keeping a successful, experienced, committed, long time employee who is passionate about my work. There are so many ways they could have worked it out so that they'd have had two of us making great contributions to the project.

I'm not sure whether I hope they realize that I'm going to have to leave, or that they really think I'll stay. The former would at least show that they're in touch with the reality of what they've done to me. The latter would mean that maybe I'm really more valuable to them than this makes it seem.

I have an appointment to talk to the CEO on Monday a.m. My plan is to tell him how this unfolded from my persective (he was out of town last week), tell him in detail how I think it was handled extremely poorly, and tell him that I disagree with the decions, and why. Then tell him that I'm devastated, and shocked, and not sure I can make this work although I plan to try my best. Depending on how it goes, I may ask if there is anywhere else in the company that they could offer me a position. It's just so hard to picture staying in that department now.

I think my neocortex is starting to wake up. Daisy thanks so much for reminding me that I was working from my limbic system. Exactly right. Thinking was shut down.

Oh, it just hurts so much. I've lost so much, so suddenly. This was a really special job.

Thanks for your support Daisy, octopus and canadagirl. It means a lot. I need all I can get.

I saw my T Thursday afternoon and again this morning. She's been incredibly helpful. I'm going to call my pdoc ASAP. I doubled my AD dose on Friday, so I'm about to run out anyway. Maybe I can medicate myself into functioning again.



Re: So much pain, but yikes, legal action? pegasus

Posted by canadagirl on July 18, 2006, at 8:00:27

In reply to So much pain, but yikes, legal action?, posted by pegasus on July 16, 2006, at 8:15:04

How did your talk with the CEO go yesterday?


Re: Job fiasco - falling apart

Posted by joslynn on July 18, 2006, at 11:13:58

In reply to Job fiasco - falling apart, posted by pegasus on July 14, 2006, at 22:35:20

How awful! I do not think that it was a coincidence that they cooked this all up when you were on vacation, then sprung it on you when you get back.

I don't know what your workplace is like, but from what I have gleaned from being in the work world, and hearing from other people, my guess is that the crux of the matter is this:

"He told me that because I wasn't full time, and had difficulties traveling, I couldn't be. "

Sometimes, companies just want someone there 100% full time, who can travel all over the place, and be at their beck and call. Even if it means that person isn't as good as someone else. I am not saying this is right. Also, dividing up duties may make sense to you, but to them, they are thinking it's easier to just have one person do it, even if that person isn't as bright as you. Again, I am not saying this is right, but I think it's business logic, not a reflection of you or your work.

Do you work for a corporation? They seem more screwed up than other places.



Posted by pegasus on July 19, 2006, at 11:32:12

In reply to Re: Job fiasco - falling apart, posted by joslynn on July 18, 2006, at 11:13:58

Well I talked to the CEO on Monday for 2 hours! It was only a 1/2 hour appointment. It was a really good talk, and made me feel a bit better. I started by warning him that I was going to bitch for a while, and then I had a solution to propose. He took the bitching pretty well, and apologized sincerely, and told me that they definitely did not want me to quit, and explained the thinking at various points in the process, and his theory on how it all went south.

He had one issue with my proposal, but thought I had some good points. He tried to talk me into the original job they offered my last Monday, and he made it sound a lot more appealing than my boss did when he presented it. So, I'm looking at that again, and thinking about how we might change it to suit the situation and me better.

So, things are looking better. Man, if they *had* been trying to get me to quit, this would have been the way to do it. I packed up my stuff on Wednesday and took half of it home.

I'm still having a hard time functioning. I'm shaking all the time. It's so hard to go through all of this with my brain wanting to just crawl under the covers for a week. I have an appointment with my pdoc on Thursday, and my T says we can do an extra phone appointment if I need to. I'm going to take her up on it. I just hope I don't completely fall apart and sabotage whatever chance I have now to end up with a decent job.



Re: Update pegasus

Posted by Dinah on July 19, 2006, at 11:35:08

In reply to Update, posted by pegasus on July 19, 2006, at 11:32:12

That sounds encouraging. They do recognize your value and want you to stay.

Take advantage of whatever resources you need to to stay up and functional. And be easy on yourself. An unexpected change like that is enough to put anyone into shock.


Re: Update pegasus

Posted by daisym on July 19, 2006, at 13:10:03

In reply to Update, posted by pegasus on July 19, 2006, at 11:32:12

Good for you for standing up for yourself! And good for him for listening.

Keep doing the math puzzles and taking deep breathes. You will get through this. I'm glad your therapist has offered extra support. You've done the hardest parts, now it is about decision making.

Isn't it amazing how much we expect from ourselves, especially when we struggle with mental health issues? Any "other" person would fully accept that this was a situation bad enough to completely freak them out and they probably would feel justified in falling apart.

I hope it all continues to evolve in a positive way.


Thx Dinah and Daisy!

Posted by pegasus on July 20, 2006, at 8:56:30

In reply to Re: Update pegasus, posted by daisym on July 19, 2006, at 13:10:03

Yes, it's hard when you aren't sure whether it's just you being mentally unstable, or normal life being especially hard to handle. My husband keeps telling me that I'm doing a great job, but then I can see how much extra work with the baby and home he's taking on to give me space to freak out. And I feel guilty about that. And grateful.

I'm really nervous about the meeting tomorrow with my boss and the CEO. I told the CEO that I was worried my boss would dig in on his most recent plan, for fear of looking like a bad leader. Which he pretty much does, however he handles it going forward.

One good thing out of all of this is that 9 different people from around the company have now come to me and offered some form of support and sympathy. These aren't all my particular friends, either. Two of them told me that a lot of people think it would be really bad for the company if I end up quitting. So, that's been really wonderful to hear.

But, yeah, I'm still really shaken up, and having a hard time getting through the days. Not eating much and not sleeping, and shaking a lot, and obsessing about trivial things. But I'll keep doing the crossword puzzles and taking deep breaths, and remembering that if it goes really badly, I can post here and get support, and call my T.

thanks again!



Just gave big presentation

Posted by pegasus on July 21, 2006, at 12:25:53

In reply to Thx Dinah and Daisy!, posted by pegasus on July 20, 2006, at 8:56:30

Man, I just gave a big presentation to the whole company (something I have to do now and then as part of my *former* job). My heart wasn't in it, and it definitely wasn't the best I've done. But it went ok mostly. I even put in a funny last slide with a top ten list and trivia quiz. And everyone laughed and thanked me and said it was a great talk.

And then I went back to my desk and collected copies of the work I've done over the past 9 years, to put in my portfolio for my job search. It's so dang sad.

I have a meeting at 1:00 with my boss and CEO to make my last plea for a job I can live with at this company. I have my proposal all printed and copied. I don't expect it to go very well. At best I'll have a job I don't like as much as what I've been doing.

I'm just dragging around here depressed. But apparently I can function when I have to. Just not for sleeping and eating. My T forgot to call me yesterday when she said she would. My pdoc rescheduled me for next week. I don't think I count worth sh*t. Why did I think I did? This job gave me an illusion of mattering, which is part of why I liked it.

Oh, nevermind. I don't even know why I'm posting.



Re: Just gave big presentation

Posted by Dinah on July 21, 2006, at 12:40:00

In reply to Just gave big presentation, posted by pegasus on July 21, 2006, at 12:25:53


It was no illusion. You matter very much, both at work where you got lots of positive feedback which you shouldn't discount just because they changed your job requirements, and outside work. With your family, here, and many other places that I just don't know about.

My therapist just put me off two days for another job. But he also stayed on the phone with me on and off for nearly an hour when I needed him last night. Therapists forget and pdocs change your appointment, but that doesn't mean they don't care.


Re: Just gave big presentation

Posted by Daisym on July 21, 2006, at 16:03:01

In reply to Re: Just gave big presentation, posted by Dinah on July 21, 2006, at 12:40:00

I'll second what Dinah matter, especially to your baby and your husband.

You sound angry...finally. And you have ever right to be angry. You've been kicked and now you are fighting for something you don't even really want -- it is the best of what's left. So of course you feel bad. They should have left you alone.

All that said, I hope things go well for you this afternoon and your boss listens. It would be foolish for him not to and yet...

Oh, and, leave your therapist a message if you still want to talk to her. You never know what kind of a day she had yesterday, so her not calling likely has nothing to do with you.

Thanks for the updates. Keep posting.


Meeting over

Posted by pegasus on July 21, 2006, at 16:43:20

In reply to Just gave big presentation, posted by pegasus on July 21, 2006, at 12:25:53

OK, I just got out of the meeting, and now I don't know what to think. I was *so* nervous going in, but when I got in there, my boss and CEO just acted like it was any one of the other meetings we've had. No biggie, how's the wife kind of stuff. And I'm thinking this is the end of my job.

So, then we just had a big brainstorming session about how we could best organize the department and utilize the various people in it. It was such a reasonable discussion. In the end we settled on a plan that was very much like my proposal. All very agreeable and collaborative and friendly. I'm wondering whether they took a friendly pill today, or an antisocial pill last week. Which is reality?

So, then, my boss called me into his office and apologized for making me miserable last week. And he thanked me for holding my head up around the company in the midst of it all (I think he was talking about my presentation this morning).

So, it's like a miracle has occurred, and things are back to where they should have been. But I'm exhausted, and confused, and skeptical. I guess I'll ride with it, though, and see if it's true. I've lost some trust, but I think they've behaved this week as if some professional smoother overer concocted a plan for them to make it all better, and they executed it perfectly.

Maybe . . . maybe they're actually good bosses, and just made a really bad mistake last week. I hate to even type that. And I feel silly now for having been so upset.

Thanks so much for your support everyone. It got me through, and helped me realize that it wasn't just me losing it. It was a crappy situation.



Re: Meeting over

Posted by Daisym on July 21, 2006, at 16:50:51

In reply to Meeting over, posted by pegasus on July 21, 2006, at 16:43:20

Darn those human bosses anyway!

I'm sooo glad things are calming down and working out. But you know what? Even if they made a huge mistake last week, they still made it. And you DID try to talk to your boss last week, before things were too far cranked up and he didn't listen. So if they are feeling bad, they should be. I'd be wary too.

I'm only pointing this out because the last thing you should do is feel silly about being so upset. It was a crappy situation and if you hadn't been so diligent and persistent, you would have been stuck with the position handed to you last week that you really didn't want. We so quickly want to absorb the blame for others. DON'T DO IT!!

I hope this weekend is much, much better than the last one. You deserve breakfast in bed.


Re: Meeting over pegasus

Posted by crushedout on July 21, 2006, at 18:30:01

In reply to Meeting over, posted by pegasus on July 21, 2006, at 16:43:20


I'm glad it seems to have worked out. I don't blame you for having freaked out, though--it sounds like it was a genuinely upsetting situation and you had every reason to be upset.

You shouldn't feel bad about having reached out to anyone. You aren't required to be permanently miserable to need help sometimes.


Re: Meeting over pegasus

Posted by Dinah on July 21, 2006, at 18:49:09

In reply to Meeting over, posted by pegasus on July 21, 2006, at 16:43:20

Give yourself a fair amount of credit for the way things came out. Not only did they value you before, but they likely admired you after.

I'm glad things turned out well.


Re: Meeting over Dinah

Posted by llrrrpp on July 22, 2006, at 14:41:06

In reply to Re: Meeting over pegasus, posted by Dinah on July 21, 2006, at 18:49:09

you did great. you acted professionally. you moved your bosses' thinking into a place that will work out okay for you, and you gave a great presentation.

That is true triumph despite adversity. Pat yourself on the back.

And PLEASE don't feel guilty about feeling so rotten last week. Of course you felt awful, and you shared it with us. That's what we're here for. You didn't blow anything out of proportion.

And perhaps the most amazing thing is that you coped, managed, and succeeded on your own, despite the fact that your T and pdoc were temporarily unavailable. Sure, it would have been helpful if you had more support... BUT! aren't you amazed at your strength to get through this on your own? I am.

I hope you adjust quickly to your new responsibilities- keep us posted.


Thanks so much everyone

Posted by pegasus on July 23, 2006, at 15:26:16

In reply to Re: Meeting over Dinah, posted by llrrrpp on July 22, 2006, at 14:41:06

I really appreciate the validation. I was feeling quite silly about being so upset, after things seemed back to normal. But you're right, things weren't normal for a couple of weeks there. And it *was* very upsetting.

My T called on Friday, and apologized profusely and we talked for a while. It helped a lot. Even after things started looking good again at work, I've been pretty shaken up, and my anxiety has been over the top. I'm glad I'm talking to my pdoc next week. Even though anxiety might have been normal last week, the degree of it seemed pretty extreme. I finally got some sleep last night, and I'm eating again, though. But I'm also very anxious about going back to work tomorrow.

Thanks again for your support, everyone. It was hugely helpful!


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