Burned out in an IT job: quit or get fired?

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So, what's it going to be?
Quit! 49%  49%  [ 20 ]
Get fired! 20%  20%  [ 8 ]
(not sure, but want to see results) 32%  32%  [ 13 ]
Total votes : 41

Aspie1
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26 May 2012, 12:14 pm

I currently work in an IT job, and it's horrible. There is too much workload, and not enough people. I have to help a building of 300 people, with almost 100 of them being executives who wants things done NOW! My boss never takes my side, and constantly calls me a failure (not that exact word), even when I stay until 9:30 PM the night before, finishing a job he promised someone I would do. All because I forgot to e-mail him about something. People I support treat me as subhuman. They barge in on me during my lunch, and pull me away from my desk to "show me something". Someone even tapped on my car window, while I sat inside the car talking to someone on a cell phone. I took to snapping at people, loudly slamming down my phone handset, and angrily tearing empty computer boxes into pieces in the hallway, and the behavior subsided a little bit. People in a remote office call me at all hours of the day, night, during dinner, while I'm sleeping, and on weekends.

In the past, I was even on call 24/7/365, with a requirement to go to the office immediately; luckily, I had a labor lawyer put a stop to that. But not without my parents calling me a "complainer" and a "spoiled brat" for not wanting to be on call like that in the first place. My family doesn't understand, and I don't expect them too. I stopped trying to talk to them about it after my words fell on deaf ears time and time again. They spent their working years during the times when work was easy, fun, and friendly. So the notion of stress, burnout, and exploitation at work sounds completely foreign to them. I just entertain their illusion that my job is peachy keen, and look for someone more in tune with the modern-day workplace.

At this point, I realize that my days at my company are numbered. Due to the constant pressure at work, I went from smoking a pack every two weeks to a pack every four days. I also started drinking every day, up to three drinks, and eating unhealthy. Plus, add work stress on top of that. All this cannot be good for my health, but I'm at a point where I stopped caring. But I still care enough to consider leaving the company. The choices are quitting and getting fired. So far, here are the pros and cons of each.

QUITTING
Pros:
* It'll give me a feeling of satisfaction, knowing that the company will lose someone who does the work of 3 people
* I can say to future employers that I left voluntarily due to hostile work environment.
* It won't put a red mark on my record like getting fired will.
Cons:
* You can't get unemployment benefits if you quit, except under rare, special circumstances.
* To get approved for benefits in this case, I might have to get a lawyer, and they're expensive.
* I can still get references, even from my horrible supervisors, if I quit. (this is a big one)

GETTING FIRED
Pros:
* My state allows benefits if you get fired for "bad performance", which is what my bosses will say.
* I never did anything considered "gross misconduct", so my odds of getting approved for benefits are good.
* I'll get mild satisfaction from managers possibly realizing they shot themselves in the foot.
Cons:
* Given the economy, I risk the possibility of never being hired anywhere else again, if I get fired.
* Unemployment benefits will eventually run out.
* There's no way I'm getting supervisor references if I get fired.

In the whole process, I'm planning to meet with a career counselor to discuss a career change altogether. At this point, even road construction seems like a mellow, relaxing field, compared to IT. The only downside is having to work late at night next to speeding cars.

So, what's it going to be? Quit while I'm still in somewhat of a good standing with the company and management? Or start slacking off and get myself fired? Staying with the company and looking for a new job isn't really an option. I already tried it. But I guess I gave that off-putting "burned-out employee looking to escape" vibe when I went to in-person interviews, so no wonder they didn't pick me. So it's only quitting or getting fired. Share your thoughts.



Last edited by Aspie1 on 26 May 2012, 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

techn0teen
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26 May 2012, 12:27 pm

I'd stick with the job and keep looking for a job on the side. And do the best you can. I'd also try having a civil discussion with your employers about what you could do to be more productive (and what they are currently doing isn't allowing you to be productive).



redrobin62
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26 May 2012, 12:56 pm

Yeah. You're an aspie so slacking off is not part of your DNA. (Just as an aside: I did quit my job 3 months ago. I'm getting unemployment insurance now because I explained to them my job's sudden schedule changes adversely affects those with Asperger's, which I am. They agreed with me).

Your job sounds like Misery On A Stick. I wouldn't last there. The thoughts of staying or quitting would weigh so heavily on my mind I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. In fact, it could bring me to a dangerous place such as excessive drinking where I go out and break things.

It's no secret that the job market sucks. Luckily, IT's are in high demand - here in Seattle anyway. I agree with techn0teen's suggestion - look for a job on your spare time but keep your current. one.



SilkySifaka
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26 May 2012, 1:14 pm

If you can hang on long enough to get another job, then that is clearly the best option. If not, I think quitting would be better. You will still have references and it should be easier to get another job. I often get overwhelmed and end up quitting jobs. I've usually found another job quite quickly. I think if I had been fired it would of not have been as easy. But as everyone has said, if you can hang on a little longer, then do so but don't risk your health for an employer who doesn't seem to care much about you.



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26 May 2012, 1:33 pm

There is a method of half-quitting.

'There is a family situation I have to take care of. I'm going to have to take a couple of days off. I wish I didn't, but it's something I have to take care of.'

This is a more mature way of calling in sick.

It also plays off the belief that family comes before work.

If they ask you what it's about,

'I can't tell you what it's about. Sorry.'

Maybe a little mental image on your part that you're a retired mafioso. That you're a tough guy. And no, you don't need to shoot anyone. More that you need to talk to a family member, that you're the best person to do so. And no, you can't dare even hint what it's about, it's not even a question.

This method of "family situation" also gives you an open door to take time off in the future entirely a method of your own choosing.

(It is a lie. I freely acknowledge that. I think it's acceptable as a lie of deflection and a face-saving method, to both parties. Other people may disagreed.)

It's risky. It is half-quitting. Know that going it.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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26 May 2012, 2:59 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
I currently work in an IT job, and it's horrible. There is too much workload, and not enough people. I have to help a building of 300 people, with almost 100 of them being executives who wants things done NOW! My boss never takes my side, and constantly calls me a failure (not that exact word), even when I stay until 9:30 PM the night before, finishing a job he promised someone I would do. All because I forgot to e-mail him about something. People I support treat me as subhuman. . .

This is classis, standard for a dysfunctional corporate. (What is a corporation? It is a large, lumbering animal whose joints don't quite work well and sometimes it falls over and gets stuck on its side!)

They are playing the classic trick of keeping you on salary and getting a whole lot of extra work out of you. And then, in classic dysfunctional family style, they "need" to justify this by saying you are defective in one way or another. Of course, your boss doesn't need to, he could have chosen to be decent about the situation '________ puts in a lot of work and does a good job. There's too much overtime already. I'm not going to ask for any more overtime unless you want to go out on a limb and call this an emergency.'

Now, potentially you embarrassed your boss by not sending the email. This is kind of NT thinking, where there is a high motivation to avoid embarrassment (and arguably a contributing factor to the loss of both space shuttles!). So perhaps, you didn't give your boss a heads-on. So be it. Even then, your boss could have graciously recovered. He could have said, 'It's okay. But you did put me in a difficult situation . . ' But it sounds like your boss doesn't have anywhere near this amount of skill.

Overall, this sounds like a profoundly negative workplace. You are not provided backup, you are blamed for outcome, etc, etc, etc.

Like a poker player late in a tournament, you're going to need to start thinking about making moves, as you are thinking. Maybe quitting, maybe the face-saving statement of "family situation" (above), maybe talking with your boss as you mentioned (please have modest expectations, people just can't grow that quickly). Good luck in a very difficult situation. :D



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26 May 2012, 4:46 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
. . . . .
Pros:
. . .
* I can say to future employers that I left voluntarily due to hostile work environment.
. . .

I don't even think you need to be this definite. I think you could say "family responsibilities" or "time for a change" or something equally bland.

And even if you stay, slack off and end up getting fired, I think the HR dept wouldn't dare breath a negative thing about you. If a prospective employer talks to your direct boss, yeah, it's possibly he could hint at something. Maybe there's a method in which you could use your boss's boss as a reference. And maybe someone more savvy about the corporate world than I might be able to think of additional methods.



Aspie1
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26 May 2012, 8:11 pm

AardvarkGoodSwimmer wrote:
They are playing the classic trick of keeping you on salary and getting a whole lot of extra work out of you. And then, in classic dysfunctional family style, they "need" to justify this by saying you are defective in one way or another. Of course, your boss doesn't need to, he could have chosen to be decent about the situation '________ puts in a lot of work and does a good job. There's too much overtime already. I'm not going to ask for any more overtime unless you want to go out on a limb and call this an emergency.'
...
Overall, this sounds like a profoundly negative workplace. You are not provided backup, you are blamed for outcome, etc, etc, etc.

Actually, I'm non-exempt, which is hourly. But since I'm paid through an agency, and not by my company directly, they don't mind paying for overtime, I guess. The way the company is set up, there are 10 people working in a remote data center for every 1 person on site, like me. Since I'm the one on the scene, I always get blamed for everything, since I happen to be physically present when something goes wrong. And my boss usually sides with the remote people, rather than me. I now have no moral qualms about lying to people and covering things up. Phrases like "system file damage" and "data corruption" work wonders with people when one of their files ends up missing after a system wipe, when what really happened is me forgetting to back it up. As recently as a year ago, I would have fessed up and taken responsibility for my mistake; now I just do whatever I can to survive, and lie to their face. The only thing I feel guilty about is taking advantage of the fact that some people won't go to my boss, and not completing their work orders right away, purely due to the deluge of work orders from the "not-so-nice" people.

As I said before, staying at this job while looking for a new one isn't really an option, for a number of reasons. It's not uncommon for me to work 10- to 12-hour days. So by the time I get home, I don't have the energy or time to really research jobs and send out resumes. With the work hours and errands on the way home, it's already at least 9:00 PM when I get back most days. I can probably get away with doing it from my work computer, but the workload is so heavy, that I barely have 15 minutes to scarf down my lunch (and that's if someone doesn't drag me away from my desk), let alone an hour to apply for jobs. Because nowadays, you have to customize the resume and cover letter for each place you apply to, as if they want to stroke their own ego by pretending they're the only one. Even if I get an interview, there's another roadblock: my body language. Even if I act super-confident, do firm handshakes, make eye contact, give "correct" answers even to trick questions, and have the perfect background, I'm 99% sure that I give off a "burned out employee looking to escape his job" vibe; you can't hide that. No wonder employers won't hire me no matter what, and I guess I can't blame them that much for it. As long as my current employer keeps me in a burned out state, they're effectively preventing me from finding other jobs. Works great for them, not so much for me.

Some of the more sympathetic end users even took to helping me. They enter bogus work orders, and have them directed to me, so that I pad my work order count and not be accused of "not working hard enough". Example: one person hid a trivial file in the Recycle Bin, then logged a request to have it restored, pretending to have lost it; another person disconnected their keyboard from the USB port, then complained about a non-functional keyboard. Others took the opposite approach, being aware of my heavy workload and inability to complete things right away as a result, and preemptively carbon-copy my boss on any work orders they submit.

As you can see, my IT department is a big joke. The whole building knows it, but is powerless to do anything to help, other than submitting bogus work orders, since any serious action on their part could cost me my job. Not that I care too much at this point, but most people on this thread so far voted in favor of quitting, rather than getting fired. So there you have it. I've seen some pretty dysfunctional workplaces, which are disturbingly common in the IT field, but this one really takes the cake.



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28 May 2012, 9:31 pm

What if you tell a blatant lie that you've moved in with a new girlfriend, she has kids and works in the evenings, and due to child care responsibilites, you absolutely, positively cannot stay late. I mean, "child care responsibilities" is almost impossible to argue with. And you might even tell the lie in such a way which gives some street cred.

(and of course if you have coffee twice with a lady at work you're interested in, you could tell her the second time that it's a blatant lie for self protection)

PS. I like your moral sense that you feel bad about downshifting the nice people who won't complain (lack of reciprocity on you part) but have no qualms about lying to the people who don't treat you well. I think I would be the same way, at least I would when I'm on my A game. My B game I'd actually blame myself for lying to the people with a track record of mistreating me.



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31 May 2012, 9:15 am

Whenever possible, leave on a good note. I knew a guy who was so utterly fed up with his job he moved to Kenya to get away. He thought about doing a tell all to HR about it; but he realized he would need the reference moving forward.

When you apply for another job, they will probably want to call your previous employer and get a reference.

Getting fired is a HUGE red flag, leave on as good a note as possible and it'll make it much easier. Only the craziest employers think you''ll stay there forever. Most want you to grow and move up, but they also want to know "if he leaves, is he going to go nuclear and make me clean up a huge mess, or will he leave nicely and make it smooth."



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31 May 2012, 10:32 am

Never ever quit a job without giving your notice. I've done it quite a few times and I have a lot of regrets now. Whenever I look at my resume and I see the blank spaces I get frustrated with myself.

I'd suggest to get another job lined up first and then quit this current job.



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31 May 2012, 11:06 am

I think it's a question also of assets and planning.

How are you financially? If you've made decent money have you accumulated savings?

Do you have an apartment you can drop and leave or are you stuck with a house? How easy can you just leave and relocate?


I think the more personal flexibility you have the better chances you have to just cut and run. Put stuff in storage temporarily if you have to, but position yourself to relocate anywhere it takes to find a new job.



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31 May 2012, 5:14 pm

Scout around for different jobs. Send in your CV (don't tell your current job) and see what interview offers you get.

Then quit.

You sound like a very hard worker, and it would be a shame to ruin your good name to get fired and onto benefits.



Peter_L
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01 Jun 2012, 6:03 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
I currently work in an IT job, and it's horrible. There is too much workload, and not enough people. I have to help a building of 300 people, with almost 100 of them being executives who wants things done NOW! My boss never takes my side, and constantly calls me a failure (not that exact word), even when I stay until 9:30 PM the night before, finishing a job he promised someone I would do. All because I forgot to e-mail him about something. People I support treat me as subhuman. They barge in on me during my lunch, and pull me away from my desk to "show me something". Someone even tapped on my car window, while I sat inside the car talking to someone on a cell phone. I took to snapping at people, loudly slamming down my phone handset, and angrily tearing empty computer boxes into pieces in the hallway, and the behavior subsided a little bit. People in a remote office call me at all hours of the day, night, during dinner, while I'm sleeping, and on weekends.


I work in IT as well.

There is always too much work, and there are never enough people to do it. I can say that having had 17 staff I can delegate to. There will always be to much work. Just repeat that as a mantra. All you can do is prioritise things and leave the non-urgent issues until a later stage, even if that later stage never comes.

You are entitled to your lunch break. Users coming to your desk and wanting something done in the middle of your lunch break need to be dealt with either by firmly saying that your at lunch and you'll be right with them once you are finished, or if you have trouble being assertive by the more effective method of simply leaving the office at lunchtime. (and just leave your phone on your desk for goodness sake!)

Snapping at people doesn't help. Read a few BOFH stories. It's quite therapeutic for stressed IT staff. (not sure if your aware of them, a distressing number of people in the industry haven't even heard of them!)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/01/02 ... oss_space/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/10/15 ... ng_postal/

More constructively; Action plan.

1) Send an email highlighting your objections to your boss at the company. Make sure that it's comprehensive and polite, since we will be raising it with other people when he ignores it.

2) When he ignores or does not otherwise change your working conditions, phone your agency contact and make them aware of the situation, and ask them to intercede. Report that your being worked for 12 hour days so long you;ve forgotten what the sun looks like and your being called as soon as you leave the site, and prevented from sleeping properly by them contacting you out of hours in your personal time. Raise the issue that this is causing you issues with your job performance due to fatigue, and you are starting to become concerned about the effect this is having on your health. Keep logs of calls your receiving outside of work hours to support this. (your phone should have them already, just don't delete them!)

Follow this telephone discussion up by forwarding the email you sent your boss asserting that nothing has been done, and request that they raise these issues with your employer. Don't feel guilty about getting them involved, given the difference between what they are charging for you and what you are being paid then it's about time they earned their keep.

Even if the agency does not manage to deal with the situation and this ends in you losing that contract then they are unlikely to consider that it reflects upon your skills when they next offer you a contract.

Constructively, you can also take a couple of weeks holiday and leave you phone switched off. The existing client might appreciate you a bit more then.



Aspie1
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01 Jun 2012, 9:08 pm

Peter_L wrote:
You are entitled to your lunch break. Users coming to your desk and wanting something done in the middle of your lunch break need to be dealt with either by firmly saying that your at lunch and you'll be right with them once you are finished, or if you have trouble being assertive by the more effective method of simply leaving the office at lunchtime. (and just leave your phone on your desk for goodness sake!)

Snapping at people doesn't help. Read a few BOFH stories. It's quite therapeutic for stressed IT staff. (not sure if your aware of them, a distressing number of people in the industry haven't even heard of them!)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/01/02 ... oss_space/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/10/15 ... ng_postal/

More constructively; Action plan.

1) Send an email highlighting your objections to your boss at the company. Make sure that it's comprehensive and polite, since we will be raising it with other people when he ignores it.

2) When he ignores or does not otherwise change your working conditions, phone your agency contact and make them aware of the situation, and ask them to intercede.
...
Follow this telephone discussion up by forwarding the email you sent your boss asserting that nothing has been done, and request that they raise these issues with your employer. Don't feel guilty about getting them involved, given the difference between what they are charging for you and what you are being paid then it's about time they earned their keep.

Even if the agency does not manage to deal with the situation and this ends in you losing that contract then they are unlikely to consider that it reflects upon your skills when they next offer you a contract.

Constructively, you can also take a couple of weeks holiday and leave you phone switched off. The existing client might appreciate you a bit more then.

The method of snapping at people, ironically, worked well enough to reduce lunch interruptions by all but the meanest people. I was eating a burrito at my desk, when someone shoved his laptop in my face. This is what transpired:
User: Hi, Aspie1. I got this error message on my laptop, and now my screen looks weird. Can you change it back for me?
Aspie1: May I ask you a question?
User: Sure
Aspie1: [blatantly sarcastic] What's that substance sitting on the desk in front of me?
User: [thrown off-kilter] Um, uh, it's a burrito. And an opened can of soda.
Aspie1: [rhetorical] Does it tell you something?
User: [humbled] OK, let me call your desk in 45 minutes or so.
Aspie1: <mumbles 'OK' with his mouth full>
User: <walks away>
(Of course, I'd never do this with someone executive-level or who has "Ph.D." suffix after their last name, but with regular rank-and-file users, the ones who don't have an office with a window, no problem.)

I tried reading those BOFH stories, and only found myself getting angry at how IT people are being abused, and because in real life, those stories will never be true. So thanks, and I'm positive that your intentions were good, but those stories are only funny for people who don't work for my company. I'm taking a day off work to meet with a career counselor in about ten days, to discuss changing my career. Once my career change is complete, I'm sure I'll be laughing my butt off at these stories.

I tried bringing up the issue to my boss this past Monday, even peppering the e-mail with a ominous-sounding phrase "hostile work environment". He started acting kind of buddy-buddy with me in the last few days, even bought me coffee, but it doesn't solve the problem; in fact, I find it kind of creepy. There is simply not enough staff, and constant reminders to "multitask" are starting to wear thin, because my boss either doesn't know or doesn't care that in some situations, multitasking is physically and logistically impossible.

Speaking to my agency helped with only one thing: they gave me just enough words of encouragement to make get through another few weeks. In order to get the on-call requirement eliminated, I had to get a lawyer involved. Maybe he waved the OSHA laws in my boss's face, I don't know. Now, the on-call guy is someone who came to the US less than a year ago and still has a Green Card. I got called recently by a remote help desk guy pretty late, and refused to come; my boss called me ten minutes later, and I told him: "I'm not OK to drive now; can you send a taxi over to my home?", all in a serious tone. He stammered a little bit, then said: "Don't drive; we'll figure something out on our own". I haven't gotten called since that day. Hopefully, the trend will continue.

But I think I have PTSD from being on call really badly before. I used to get called up to three times a week, most often in the middle of the night or when I'm pulling into my apartment building's parking lot at 10:30 PM after coming home from work. I now can't even hear my cell phone ring without feeling tightness in my chest and shortness of breath; changing the ringtone doesn't help. The symptoms do go away once I check caller ID and find out that it's a friend, a family member, or a girl.

I did take a holiday about a month ago. It was SO GOOD! Four awesome days on a cruise ship with delicious food, strong drinks that hit you like a hammer, fun activities like dancing and pool games, helpful crew, nice passengers that I had no trouble making friends with, cool-as-hell ports to visit, trying a Cuban cigar, and best of all, NO PHONES OR COMPUTERS IN SIGHT (except the ones I used to call the purser or check my shipboard funds, but they don't count). But the first week back was a nightmare; I ended up going through a whole pack of cigarettes and a whole 12-pack of beers in just three days. My boss really turned up the heat on me, as if trying to punish me for going on vacation where I'm not reachable. Before leaving, I lied and told him I'd have no way to be contacted, even though Carnival cruise ships have a shore-to-ship connection via satellite. There's no way in hell I'd allow myself to work on my vacation; on lunch is bad enough.

So there you have it. There's just no freakin' hope for this job. I need to get out of it and take a long break. If I quit, I don't get unemployment benefits. If I get fired, I don't get references. So a career change it is. My future career counseling firm has really good reviews, so hopefully, they'll help me pick out a new career. At this point, even streets and sanitation looks exponentially easier and less stressful than my IT career ever was or will ever be.



Peter_L
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04 Jun 2012, 5:37 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
I tried reading those BOFH stories, and only found myself getting angry at how IT people are being abused, and because in real life, those stories will never be true. So thanks, and I'm positive that your intentions were good, but those stories are only funny for people who don't work for my company. I'm taking a day off work to meet with a career counselor in about ten days, to discuss changing my career. Once my career change is complete, I'm sure I'll be laughing my butt off at these stories.


To be honest, that is how we get treated more or less everywhere. It's so funny because people can relate to it and most people have at least occasionally wanted to do something along the lines of what the BOFH does in those stories.

You generally don't kill off the users in the real world though, it's bad for business. :lol:

Aspie1 wrote:
I tried bringing up the issue to my boss this past Monday, even peppering the e-mail with a ominous-sounding phrase "hostile work environment". He started acting kind of buddy-buddy with me in the last few days, even bought me coffee, but it doesn't solve the problem; in fact, I find it kind of creepy. There is simply not enough staff, and constant reminders to "multitask" are starting to wear thin, because my boss either doesn't know or doesn't care that in some situations, multitasking is physically and logistically impossible.


Then he's not trying to be an ass, and you just need to redirect him to doing something useful to help you. He's trying to help you, he just doesn't know what he can do.

If he doesn't know what things are like, then you need to explain the situation to him and ask for his advice on how he would deal with the situation, and in which order he would do the jobs and which ones you can disregard. Then listen and do things his way and see if it works. If/When it doesn't work because you have to much work, you can take it back to him and ask politely how you should deal with the situation. If nothing else, it will get him to look seriously at your workload.

Aspie1 wrote:
Speaking to my agency helped with only one thing: they gave me just enough words of encouragement to make get through another few weeks. In order to get the on-call requirement eliminated, I had to get a lawyer involved. Maybe he waved the OSHA laws in my boss's face, I don't know. Now, the on-call guy is someone who came to the US less than a year ago and still has a Green Card. I got called recently by a remote help desk guy pretty late, and refused to come; my boss called me ten minutes later, and I told him: "I'm not OK to drive now; can you send a taxi over to my home?", all in a serious tone. He stammered a little bit, then said: "Don't drive; we'll figure something out on our own". I haven't gotten called since that day. Hopefully, the trend will continue.


Email your agency as well. You must follow things up by email if you want anything to happen.

If you don't have it in writing, it didn't happen. People can't ignore emails, because they have the same standing in court as a signed letter on headed paper, so people take them a lot more seriously than a phone call. Phone calls are for informal stuff, but for a situation like this you need to follow it up by email, and they will have to respond in the same way to cover themselves.

A phone call will be taken as an informal whine and you'll get a pep talk and probably nothing more. Send an email, and then will reply in such a way as to cover themselves against points you raise in it, and if you put the right things in the email then they will likely do something that actually helps.

Aspie1 wrote:
But I think I have PTSD from being on call really badly before. I used to get called up to three times a week, most often in the middle of the night or when I'm pulling into my apartment building's parking lot at 10:30 PM after coming home from work. I now can't even hear my cell phone ring without feeling tightness in my chest and shortness of breath; changing the ringtone doesn't help. The symptoms do go away once I check caller ID and find out that it's a friend, a family member, or a girl.


You might wish to consider setting up two groups on your phone. Let's call them "friends" and "business". Set your contacts in the appropriate categories.

Set your phone to vibrate. Now set the "friends" group to ring with a different ring tone, and set the "business" one with a different ringtone.

If you get a call from an unknown number, or a number not in a group the phone will vibrate.
If you get a call from friends, the phone rings and you know it's them from the ringtone.
If you get a call from work, the phone will ring with the "ignore me" ringtune. You could set this to be silent outside working hours if your not contractually obliged to take the call or if you don't care.

Aspie1 wrote:
I did take a holiday about a month ago. It was SO GOOD! Four awesome days on a cruise ship with delicious food, strong drinks that hit you like a hammer, fun activities like dancing and pool games, helpful crew, nice passengers that I had no trouble making friends with, cool-as-hell ports to visit, trying a Cuban cigar, and best of all, NO PHONES OR COMPUTERS IN SIGHT (except the ones I used to call the purser or check my shipboard funds, but they don't count). But the first week back was a nightmare; I ended up going through a whole pack of cigarettes and a whole 12-pack of beers in just three days. My boss really turned up the heat on me, as if trying to punish me for going on vacation where I'm not reachable. Before leaving, I lied and told him I'd have no way to be contacted, even though Carnival cruise ships have a shore-to-ship connection via satellite. There's no way in hell I'd allow myself to work on my vacation; on lunch is bad enough.

So there you have it. There's just no freakin' hope for this job. I need to get out of it and take a long break. If I quit, I don't get unemployment benefits. If I get fired, I don't get references. So a career change it is. My future career counseling firm has really good reviews, so hopefully, they'll help me pick out a new career. At this point, even streets and sanitation looks exponentially easier and less stressful than my IT career ever was or will ever be.


To be honest, your boss was probably stressed because he had a list of complaints and everybody was screaming at him to do something about it, so he was just passing the stress on. That's pretty usual for mediocre managers, it's one of the things I have tried very hard not to do when I am managing other people myself. It's not always that easy to give people the space they need to do the job when higher management are breathing down your neck, and six thousand users are breathing down theirs. :?

The job in IT is truthfully only half technical skills, which it sounds like your really good at. The other half of the job is time management, conflict management and stress management and I think that if you were better in these area you might not find your workplace quite as bad as it is. I have worked in a similarly stressful workplace, and to a certain extent I am doing at the moment, and after a fairly unhappy first few weeks while we were setting boundaries it's now calmed down to being more or less achievable.