I have written before. I work in a place at this time where I have been warned of being fired–once at the beginning and have had a feeling I was once again going to be fired 4 months ago. This came from management, but my boss decided to keep me, knowing that all negative feedback from customers were not all because of only me. I have made mistakes, but so did other coworkers. I always try to improve and not make the same mistake again. I have been here only one year.Even though my boss says I have improved significantly and have always been an important contributing person, personal differences grew more and more between me and the boss’s secretary (mostly) and him. The last month has been stressful since someone, part of the team, quit. There was a lot of blaming both from the boss and secretary towards me for that person’s departure. I still keep in touch with that person, and I know the quitting was for personal reasons. So much tension built from my side that I became sarcastic and did not stay quiet as I have the whole year.Bottom line. The boss took me into the office and said we have irreparable differences and I must start looking for work. He made it clear I am not fired. He said I could stay one to two months to find work. In my line of work it is not that easy to find work right away. I am grateful to be given the time.What I call “bullying” and “public accusations” from the secretary is affecting me more now than ever. The boss goes out to bars and to lunch with her and calls her his best friend, so I have known for a long time where I stand in this picture. The boss winks at the secretary as we work together, and begs her to stay after work for them to talk. My question is: how can I keep working there and not have my health compromised by feeling angry, embarrassed, and hurt? Or if I do want to leave earlier and I still do not have a job, I risk not having unemployment; therefore no paycheck. I feel I am childish, and I feel down about it. While I am at work, it seems I control my feelings and keep working, but I can’t finish any unfinished work at home, due to my sadness and looking for work. One idea I have is to make sure I finish all my work during work hours.
Dear Feel Childish:
We can empathize but can’t solve your sadness. Reading and re-reading your question suggests that you have answered your major question: How can I keep working there and not have my health compromised by feeling angry, embarrassed, and hurt? The short answer is you can’t but unless you are independently wealthy, you must.You are stressed, yet you need to continue in your current job, while looking for another even though you think that doing so hurts your health and causes you to feel angry, embarrassed, and hurt. The story of your year of employment is one that from the beginning apparently was shaky in performance and sour in relationships, and as you say, was partly of your doing. In your last paragraph, you seem incoherent about unfinished work and taking it home or doing it while at work. Here again, I think you know how to answer this musing about whether you should do your work at your workplace or take it home: Do your work within your workplace. Don’t take it home. You are not on salary but are paid by the hour. Right? You are fortunate to be allowed to continue employment while hunting for another job. You know that is the best thing to do; yet you wonder about quitting and the difficulty of job-hunting while unemployed. And you describe yourself as childish. I can tell you to grow up, but that unsympathetic advice isn’t helpful or what you want. You have no choice but to at least pretend you are an adult if you are to seek another job and to not repeat the unhappiness you are now in. How to do that of course requires grit and talking frankly to your self. It probably means to eat sensibly, exercise several times (at least doing a 15-30 minutes of walking) each week. I also means dressing and grooming each day as though you were going for a job interview. It means preparing a resume and making written and first person contacts with prospective employers. All that requires a realistic reasonable effort, but what other choice do you have? You don’t have time to whine and feel sorry for yourself.If you sent a question before, you must know if it was because of a similar difficult situation. That should tell you if you have a pattern of work-related skill deficiencies and/or interpersonal dysfunctional behaviors. Might this current push by your boss for you to leave be a time to have a candid conference with him; one in which you ask for his advice. Schedule a time for a serious talk. Thank him for his willingness to keep you on while job hunting. Then ask: what job skills do I have that are good and what need improvement? Ask: what interpersonal communication dos and don’ts will make me a better employee? Ask for his advice; for example you might say: “Mr. Johnson, you know my strengths and shortcomings and I would appreciate any suggestion you have that will help me be the kind of employee that my next boss will want to keep.”Possibly, my associate workplace doctor Tina Lewis Rowe responded to your previous question. If so, re-examine her advice. It is as sound and helpful as any you might ever get. Also read her Journal of Information and Inspirationhttp://tinalewisrowe.com/ You will find there a wealth of practical self-help advice. Not one of us can afford to simply allow the tides to wash us up on rocky shores. We each must pull our own weight and row our little boat. You say you are childish. If so, nurture the good qualities you had as a child; those things about you akin to an excited greeting of a puppy, and put away those behaviors that annoy others and yourself. Don’t pine for what is not. Make peace with your dreams by shaping up to be what is possible. Work, as well know and I said already, entails rowing your own boat, and to mix metaphors, it is not flying solo. It is a “we kind” of together activity: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. So keep your chin up and don’t allow your self to go sour. Hang in there. Find another job.