(Closed) My Job is Tearing Me Apart – Please Help!

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
683 posts
Busy bee

My friend taught in a similiar situation. She quit and went back to school for something in education- but during her job- she was stressed out and not herself. Now she babysits for a family and is getting her masters in the education field- so she won’t be in that position again. If the pay is that poor- you may as well just find another job and re-group.

I hate my job- and don’t have any sort of reward- but everytime I complain I remind myself that staying here is my choice- and it really helps me re-focus. Either on improving myself or the situation. Good luck to you! There really is something better out there!

Post # 4
Member
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I would immediately start looking for a different job where you feel like you can do good in students’ lives. This is, by no means, the only school where there are special needs children that can benefit from your obviously gentle and kind leadership. If the school does not realize that their management style is toxic, this isn’t something that you can control. But sacrificing your sanity and basically, your identity is not worth it when there are many other ways to make a difference in the world.

Post # 5
Member
1432 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@izziebear:  Oh izziebear!  I feel your pain!

Though you work for a much greater cause than I (I’m an assistant to two crazies in the entertainment industry), I completely understand the burnout / depression problems.  Every day it is reinforced that we should be lucky to be working for this company, and it is known in the industry that we are paid a pittance.  A good friend of mine left us for a lower position in another company, yet was paid nearly twice the salary that she was receiving with us.

My one boss is fine – crazy, but at least friendly.  The other boss makes my life a living hell and I developed anxiety working for him.  I’ve given them 3 years of my life living just at the poverty line, while being made to feel like an idiot, and incompetent.  Yet I constantly hear that there are a hundred other people willing to have this job.  I’m tired of the snarkiness and anger about things beyond my control being taken out on me.  

Luckily, my bf (and FH) and I live together in the house he owns, and he has given me the opportunity to leave my job and look for a new one.  I will be living rent free while I devote myself to writing and finding a job in that field.  I am so majorly blessed to have someone so supportive and who wants to make me happy.

My advice to you is that your mental health is the most important thing – you can’t help anyone if you’re so burned out and unhappy.  You should still stay in that field since it’s important to you and it makes you happy under other circumstances, but if management isn’t helping you, you need to help yourself.  I know it’s sort of a terrible attitude but maybe they’ll learn their lesson when they realize they can’t retain the great employees.  And do they even acknowledge or care that you’re great?  If not, go somewhere where you’re appreciated.  Life it toooo short to be so unhappy.

Good luck, whatever your decision may be.  Keep us updated. 

Know we’re rooting for you.

 

Post # 6
Member
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

To be perfectly honest, we could be twins.  In my situation, however, instead of autistic children it was juvenile delinquents.

From 2001 to 2005 I worked for a youth facility that is pretty nation wide.  They have all sorts of fantastic programs for delinquent youth that are sentenced to this program.  To this day I still believe in the philosophy of the program, but those that ran it high up dropped the ball when it came to staff wellness.

When I first started in the first state I worked in, I was out on a fantastic travelling program.  That ended and I went back to where this program was based and they stuck me on the 3rd shift even though I was supposed to work days.  It took my threatening to quit for them to move me…to an entirely different state.  That ended up being worse than the first facility.

Single staff were abused the most because we didn’t have any “home responsibilities.”  Because we were always short staffed, we’d have to work 12-16 hour days or constantly come in on days off.  If we said no, life wasn’t all too pleasant.  Lunch breaks? We ate with the kids.  Bringing your own food instead of the institution food was hard because you were constantly harassed by the kids or your food stolen (kids or other staff).  Going to the bathroom? You either took all the kids with you to the office and got yelled at for bringing them or you held it.  I think in a 16 hour day I was lucky to get 1-2 breaks and it’s hot out…you constantly were drinking water.

Because you were with these kids all day long, you were always sick.  If god forbid you got something more than a sniffle you often had to come in anyways.  I once had came down with the flu while at work, 103+ degree temp and they wouldn’t let me leave because they’d be short staffed.  I couldn’t even lift my radio to call other staff for help if I had wanted to.  Thank god none of the kids had gotten it in their heads to do something to me, each other, or run away.  Oh yes, and if you had something…even a migraine, you had to have a doctors note to call in sick.

Pay was a bloody joke.  Raises were hard to come by.  The loved putting people on salary vs. hourly because they could work you 80 hours without paying out overtime or holidays.

Seriously, I could go on and on.  To my great shame, when I was only a few days out from my last day of work since I was moving overseas I was a no show to my last 2 shifts.  I traveled over 90 miles to work and they had scheduled me for a 4 bloody hour shift.  I was so done with them and so sick I couldn’t take anymore.  Over here in the NL, burn out is a reconized work illness.  I was beyond that point and the worse of it all? My boss and her boss knew this and didn’t do anything about it.

I honestly didn’t want to quit.  I loved working with the kids even though like you, I was bit, kicked, scratched, or worse on a regular basis (honestly, at some point I was bruised so badly from restraining a kid people were offering to take me to a battered women shelter).  I felt by leaving I’d be turning my back on these kids. 

There’s one thing that I’ve learned from this whole experience.  I have to look out for me first otherwise there won’t be anything left for the kids.  If I’m not happy, if I’m not healthy, I won’t be able to do a bloody thing.

And now that I’ve worked here in the Netherlands for 3 years I’ve realized something else.  We have a really, really rotten work culture in the US.  It’s criminal what places like you work at and what I worked at are ALLOWED to get away with.  If I had to do it all over again, I would turn them into L&I or whatever organization governs work enviroments in your state.  You’re not being a traitor, you’re not being weak.  You’re protecting YOU so YOU have something left to give those kids.

Sorry for the long winded response.  Even after 4 years, this is still a sore subject with me.

Post # 7
Member
1765 posts
Buzzing bee

@izziebear:

You definitely need to get out for your own mental health.  I am serious!  It is not a healthy situation for you, and you need to look for a better place to work, where you will be treated like you should be.  There are loads of places that need people like you working with kids or even the elderly. 

Post # 8
Member
2821 posts
Sugar bee

That’s a rough situation but I’d start looking for another job ASAP.

Would you stay in an abusive relationship because you don’t believe in quitting?

It’s one thing to tough out rough patches when you know you love the person/job, it’s quite another to be completely domineered by someone and not stand up for yourself.

Post # 10
Member
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@izziebear: I went from working in juvenile detention to what boils down to marketing for a web company.  It’s a desk job and I miss working outdoors and working with kids but at this point I wouldn’t trade my employee rights for anything.

If you want to talk, feel free to PM me. 😉

Post # 11
Member
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

ok so as a graphic designer, i must first say that i completely respect and envy you that you have a career you believe in and that makes such a difference. that being said, i believe that your mental health is most important. it might sound silly, but the stress you are experiencing now can affect you for the rest of your life! and it’s starting affecting your relationship, your general happiness outside of work, etc.

i was in your same boat – i was unappreciated, taking on tasks i wasn’t trained for, had a strained and super fake relationship with my bosses, basically so stressed out and tired when i got home that all i did was veg out on the couch. i was getting sick physically from the stress. so… little miss planner than i am, i did something very out of character and… QUIT. after about two years. with no real plan except that i couldn’t take it anymore and i knew i had some savings to live off of. you said that you can’t quit because you need two incomes, so look for a new job ASAP. also, when it comes to happiness, you might also consider moving and lowering your current expenses so that you could quit and live off of savings and your SO income for a while. sometimes we forget that we can live more simply than we are… and less luxury can be a small price to pay for your mental wellbeing!

Post # 13
Member
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

One of my good friends worked in just the same setting as you. She was a 1:1 aide for a sevrely autistic, nonverbal, mostly deaf, wheelchair-bound little girl. Of all the students in the school this girl was regarded as the most challenging and as having the most disability. My friend worked there for a year and a half before leaving to go to grad school. The stress on her was just enormous, and she also received the bites, scratches, spit, and more. She loved this girl with all her heart and regarded her work with her as life-altering. But in the end it was not sustainable for her long-term mental health for her to stay there, even though the conditions at the school were relatively good compared to what you are describing.

Before you can take care of anyone else, you have to take care of yourself. Because your employer is making it impossible for you to do so, you need to leave. Your reserves of patience and strength are running out—when they are gone, you won’t be able to help this girl like you should. However, leaving doesn’t mean giving up on this cause. As you’ve said, you’ve got your whole life in front of you to apply yourself.  A new path will open up—don’t martyr yourself before you have a chance to walk down it.

Post # 14
Member
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

i have to say that i had had many a “i hate my job i quit!” nights at home before i actually did it. and i have been unemployed for about 5 months now (though i was planning a wedding for that time and about a month before the wedding i sort of stopped looking cuz i thought no one would hire me when i was taking off on a honeymoon so soon.) so it’s not all peaches on this side, either. and i have dwindled down my savings… that like you i was planning on saving for a house and other “grown up” things. but when it comes down to it, we’re still young! (well you more so than me…) and healthy. and i’m assuming child-free? so take care of yourself while you still have yourself as your main priority and responsibility. the truth is that in 5 or 10 years, we couldn’t be “selfish” and take a chance like quitting and doing what makes us happy. but we have a whole lifetime ahead of us to deal with unhappy situations!

Post # 16
Member
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@izziebear: If they want to know why you’re leaving, tell them exactly what you wrote in your first post.  When they try to bring it back to the kids, stick to your guns in insisting that you can’t be there for the kids if you’re not healthy and happy in your work enviroment.  Getting your breaks, getting time off when you’re really sick, being able to take your holiday time IS important to your mental health and your ability to be there for the kids.

If they can’t see it your way, apologize for not being able to continue working in those conditions and prepare to go your own way.

I know it’s hard dealing with superiors like you have.  They’re so disconnected from the hands on work that they don’t get what they’re doing to their employees.

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