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Old 11-03-2003, 10:47 AM   #1  
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Default I don't know what to do

I need the thoughts of someone who can be completely objective, because I certainly don't have that ability right now.

I'm so unhappy with my life right now. I don't like myself much, I hate my weight, I was doing so well on south beach but have fallen off the wagon and can't seem to get my a$$ in gear again, but most of all I am so unhappy with my job.

In my job in a hospital lab, there is one manager, and 7 supervisors. I am one of the supervisors. The areas in this department are all quite different from each other, in terms of their complexity and number of staff. By complexity I'm talking about the types of procedures performed and the amount and type of automation (automated machines that do the work).

Each supervisor oversees one area, with one exception.....me. In their " infinite wisdom", the powers-that-be (one of whom is my manager) decided to consolidate a couple of the areas together several years ago when some major changes were taking place. The two areas that were consolidated were the two most complex, highly-automated areas of the lab, which also happen to be the areas that do the highest volume of specimen testing. These two area are very distinct from each other in terms of what is done in the area and the type of instrumentation (machines). I am the supervisor of the consolidated areas.

Most of the other supervisors oversee managable numbers of the staff....2, 4, 5, 7, 10. I supervise 44. (One other supervisor has about 50 people, but that is a non-testing area of the lab, all they do is collect blood, so she only has to deal with staff and not all of the complexities of the testing, equipment, regulations, etc).

I work more hours than any of the other supervisors. Two of them only work 32 hours a week, and the others put in their 40 and that's it.

So, I supervise the busiest, most complex area of the lab, and a huge number of staff. I can't keep up, and am so far behind that it's impacting my staff, my area, and my job. It's gotten to the point where some of my staff are starting to complain that I don't get things done. My stress level is through the roof, I have chest pains and headaches all the time, I'm so overwhelmed that I can't think straight.....and all of this is helping me to get even further behind because it's impacting my ability to function. This job is not good for me....I want to cry all the time, I wonder if I'm depressed.

I used to be good at my job, but I'm not good now, not with all that I have to do and all that I am responsible for, and I hate this!! I hate this!!

I've talked to my manager before, I want this area split back into the two areas that it should be, but so far she won't do it. I have a meeting scheduled this Friday with my manager and Human Resources. The purpose of the meeting is to "brainstorm" ways to make this job easier and more managable for me. I have no idea what they will come up with, but right now the only option that will make me happy is to split the job, and my manager has already pretty much told me not to count on that.

I'm seriously thinking about quitting. I stayed home from work today, to think. I'm debating if I should tell them that I can't stay unless the job is split.....if I do that I need to be prepared to quit, because they very likely will say no.

I don't know how to do anything else. There is no other hospital in town. There are a couple of small clinics but they are not looking for help right now. Moving away is not an option right now, I want to stay close to my Mom, who lives in a small town about 40 miles from me. She's alone, and has some health problems, and I just want to be here for her. And staying at this hospital lab in another capacity won't work, I couldn't do that.

I'm looking at my retirement fund. I have enough money in there that I could pay off my house and all other bills, and live without working for a year or two. In that time frame something should open up (and if it doesn't.....I don't know). I don't know if I want to spend that money now (I'd lose quite a bit for penalties for taking it before retirement age), but on the other hand if this job kills me the money won't do me any good either. Is this a stupid thing to be thinking about?? If you'd care to share your objective thoughts, I'd be happy to hear them. And please be brutally honest, that's why I'm posting this, as hard as it was for me to write this.

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Old 11-03-2003, 11:14 AM   #2  
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2dog~ I would say that if after the meeting you can't come to terms with the powers that be, then you need to quit. Not that it's an easy thing to do but if your so stressed you are having chest pains & headaches then it's time to go.

No job is worth your health but that is just my opinion.

Hang in there, who knows they might just give you what your asking rather than risk losing you. You were smart to take a day off to think things over. Just follow your heart, I think deep down inside you already know what you should do.
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Old 11-03-2003, 12:20 PM   #3  
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Oh, sweetie...
I'm with Sflake. If Human Resources can't agree to your terms, then you need to back out. You're far too important to a lot of people to be risking your health on a job like this.
It's sounds as though you've reached the end of your tether. If you can afford to do it, then let it go. You'll have unbelievable peace of mind.
We love you very much.
Sending prayers and hugs to you...
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Old 11-03-2003, 01:18 PM   #4  
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>>>HUGS<<<
I hate jobs! Why can't they just pay me to look this cute all day?

The first thing I would do is listen to the HR objectively and openly. My first reaction would be to shut them down because they are obviously not listening to you. But, in order to make your defense, you need to listen to them. Then, tell them you'll try their way for 2 weeks and reschedule a meeting with them in 2 weeks to go over how things are working out. I would even go as far as to write up their suggestions and why they are or are not workling. Then, write up your own proposal for HR. Tell them why the current situation is not working for THEM (companies hate to hear how you can't handle it but if you show them how their bottom line is suffering because of it, they listen more).

Then, the worst part, prepare an ultimatum. And be ready to stick by it.

My only word of warning is not to make this emotional. If the thought going through their head is, "Man, she's one emotional chick, no wonder she can't handle this." Then, you stand no chance. But if you make this about facts and figures, I think they'll see your side.

Sorry to go on and on!
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Old 11-03-2003, 01:41 PM   #5  
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Twodog- Jessica has a very good point about listening to HR and giving their advice a try. I am a manager and I work closely with HR people and I do know from experience, if they want to try something, you might as well try it.

I would write out a list like you did for us. Explain to them the lop-sidedness of this.

If it were me, if splitting up the departments won't work, then I'd ask for an assistant supervisor that can be a somebody to handle the smaller issues or the petty paperwork. It certainly sounds like you have the criteria to back that up. That person can also be 'developing' for a supervisor position if any of the 7 leave. That is something that might twinkle the manager's eye, because if they lose a supervisor, the manager has to handle all the crap until the position is filled.

If they won't budge, I'd definitely follow the plan to pay off your bills and look for another job. It is a shame to lose retirement money, but if you don't get this resolved, you will make yourself sick, and you are living with a poor quality of life. Everybody deserves a happy life, free of unnecessary stress. Good luck! And don't be afraid to do what you have to do!
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Old 11-03-2003, 02:08 PM   #6  
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I hear you, twodog...I supervise a large staff too and know how overwhelming it can be. Do you have an EAP that could supply you with some counselling? It might help you clarify a few issues before you make any decisions...an unbiased ear has helped me many times in the past.
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Old 11-03-2003, 06:27 PM   #7  
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Thank you all for your support and your words of wisdom. You've definitely given me some wise advice, and I'm listening to everything that you've all said. I'm going to prepare something in writing for my meeting on Friday, I will listen to what the HR person and my manager have to say, and I will do my very best to keep my emotions out of the equation. And I'll just take it from there. Either I will stay at this job, or I will leave. Whatever happens, I need to take care of me, because no one else will. Again, thank you friends. I'm also considering visiting with a counselor, like Merrylegs said, an objective veiwpoint may be very helpful.

Oh yeah, I'm also going to buy a couple of lottery tickets...maybe I'll win the big one and then this won't be a problem anymore!!
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Old 11-03-2003, 07:14 PM   #8  
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Well I was going to post some advice twodog but everyone else pretty much said what I was going to say!

Good luck in your meeting on Friday!
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Old 11-03-2003, 07:50 PM   #9  
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DITTO!!!!! We'll be sending you good vibes for strength on Friday!!!
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Old 11-03-2003, 08:26 PM   #10  
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Hang in there, hon.
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Old 11-03-2003, 08:26 PM   #11  
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I am going to second, third, fourth, whatever we are up to. HR is a wonderful place to start. You need to take care of you. A job you are miserable at effects more then just you too.

Sending more vibes your way.
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Old 11-03-2003, 09:17 PM   #12  
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Excellent suggestions already given!

I was wondering if you and your department being overworked, understaffed, and generally stressed out can impact on patients? Even if you don't deal with the patients directly, can it result in testing getting mixed up, mislabelled, etc.? That might be another avenue to approach HR with, that the patients' safety and accuracy of results may be in jeopardy if they don't realize that you need help!

I hope you can work this out without having to dip into your retirement savings.
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Old 11-03-2003, 11:04 PM   #13  
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Sending some prayers your way. YOU GOING TO BE FINE!

Miss Chris
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Old 11-04-2003, 08:13 AM   #14  
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as an old ex supervisor with a degree in human resource I can tell you this, what every one says is right. Walk into the meeting with something prepared, expect them not to be receptive to your ideas. And even if they are, they have supervisors as well. Every thing has to sink through the layers of management. Understand that this is not a personal, busines is business, and if there is a reason they are running your department undermanaged (money, its always money) its because they feel they have to. HR does not work in your department, and may have never even been in your department for more than a walk through, so they have no idea the stress you feel on a day to day basis. Keep in mind the age old addage of the "Peter Principle" stating that people will advance their carreers to the level of their incompetance. Your supervisor may be a victim of that (Lord knows I am!) Should you threaten to quit??? I would never threaten anything...it casts a negative mood to your supervisor and one they will never, and I mean NEVER forget or forgive. Be prepared to walk away with your head and health in tact, accept that the world does not run well, and as soon as they make me Queen, I will make you in charge of running your world, promise!
Dieting may not be in your best interest right now, eating healthy will be a good thing, but to feel deprived (if indeed you are) will only add to your frustrations. Excercise is good, go find a kick boxing class and get some rage out! 100 years from now, this will not matter, but your relationship with family has lasting effect...focus on what you can change and make the other problems as small as possible.
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Old 11-04-2003, 11:54 AM   #15  
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Two Dog
Great advice given here.....the only thing that I will reiterate as a communication coach is walk into the meeting letting them talk and you listening. Be prepared with your notes, but don't defend, it sounds like you have enough facts to backup your position. Try to create a solution with them, even if they start out saying things you may not agree with, don't say anything, let them talk, listen and you will find your way into the conversation to make your point; it is NOT personal.....

....ultimately your health and relationship are the most important thing. I also say, be honest, tell them the truth just make sure that whatever step you take includes taking care of you.

Good Luck and great advice from everyone, you are all such insightful chicks!!!!!

rb
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