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Old 03-25-2012, 02:57 PM
 
304 posts, read 243,364 times
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NO job is worth your health, not physical or mental. I think that is good that you are looking - don't get discouraged, keep looking....

I am sorry I cannot really offer any advice other than what the others have suggested, but I hope that you can find something doing what you enjoy - or at least not have to be somewhere that you hate. In the meantime, they are not worth your health! Don't give them that power....
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:08 PM
 
5,424 posts, read 3,597,577 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonborn View Post
What do you do when your job is causing you extreme levels of stress and anxiety? I dread going in so badly that I often wake up at 4am and cannot get back to sleep. The level of anxiety is paralysing, leaving me unable to enjoy weekends and barricading myself indoors.

It's not just the job...it's the people. I'm not permanent there and I'm mostly ignored, shoved in a cubicle furthest away from the rest of the department, but surrounded by noisy employees and management. They've dumped a project on me that clearly no one else wants to do and are expecting miracles when I'm still new to what they do. No one there really knows what they're doing and it's utterly demoralising when I have no one to ask for advice. They've forced me to work closely with this lady who doesn't know what she's doing and my bosses don't see things from her perspective either - so I am sandwiched in the middle.

I have been continually applying for other jobs, but nothing at all, not even an acknowledgement email. My wife works too, but we cannot survive on her salary alone, despite the fact that she tells me to just quit.

Aside from the fact that I cannot stomach the BS of the corporate world in this country, this particular job is making me ill. I have no appetite and constantly feel depressed and very anxious, which in turn has caused several physical effects too. They are basically using me there and I don't feel comfortable trying to explain to them that I have social anxiety and find it very hard to communicate. At my previous job, they somewhat understood, but I am just a lowly, expendable temp there. The line manager there is not a nice person; she's a very loud, immature 36 year old woman who does nothing but talk about her husband & kids and spreads nasty gossip about other employees.

What would you do in my situation? I realise that jobs are hard to come by, but I don't think I can take another week of this, never mind longer.
Dragonborn..
Let me cautiously suggest that the problem in this situation might be...YOU.
( And no, I am not advising you to quit the job ( seems like you have no luxury to do it under the circumstances,) so here what I would do in your situation;
So they dump on you a project that no one else want to do and you have no one to ask for advise (since you are new to it all?)
Well, in order to get rid of a problem that you have no one to turn to for advise, let's start with a question; why is it so difficult to address people around you - is it because they are rude, indifferent or incompetent?
If they are rude or indifferent, STOP APPLYING your own sensitive standards to them, stop worrying about BEING JUDGED by these people, do what you feel needs to be done and don't think much how you come across. Save this kind of emotions for those close to you or who are on the same level with you.
Now if some of your coworkers are ignorant, ( as you've mentioned that particular lady, whose "perspective" your bosses don't share) then you should address problems to her directly and tell her that if you can't resolve the issue, *two of you* a-hem will have to talk to a boss - may be he'll help with advise. ( Be ready to tell her how you see things should be done YOUR WAY.)
With another words, take the pressure off of you and put it where it belongs - on them. Let THEM stress about it a bit. (After all it's not such great of a job that you are scared to death to lose it, so give it a shot to turn things YOUR way.)

Now that's the first part.
Second part is a bit more tricky.
I am talking about this;

"They are basically using me there and I don't feel comfortable trying to explain to them that I have social anxiety and find it very hard to communicate."

To communicate... with whom? With them? ( Your co-workers that is?)

I hope you are aware by now that you came to a culture that's more extroverted than your own and you have to deal with it.
Here I am afraid I can't be a big help, since being born and raised in super-extroverted culture, apparently I can't even grasp the concept of "social anxiety."
I mean hypothetically speaking I understand that it exists, however you have to tell me more what it is all about, I mean what exactly concerns you the most, what's your sensitive point when you have to deal with people, and may be we'll go from there.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Purgatory
2,667 posts, read 2,123,391 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaijai View Post
Maybe you can just get any kind of silly job to support you until you can find a better place to live.
You may find that Maine has even tougher nuts to crack btw.
They're not known for being open and welcoming to "outsiders".
Rural living in New England can be wonderful if you can find the right community.
A college town like Hanover, N.H. where there's a degree of international presence might be good for you. Dartmouth College is in Hanover so it's one of the less provincial places in northern N.E.. ... a bit more diversity and culture and some degree of openness.
Burlington, Vt. perhaps.
I don't know Philadelphia but i always thought (when i lived back east) that it was similar to Boston in many ways and not necessarily an inexpensive place to live.
I just assume that Pittsburgh is one of the more economically depressed cities but i really don't know.
Generally speaking, people are more open and friendly west of the rockies. It doesn't mean that they're better people ... just more open and friendly although that openness and friendliness doesn't necessarily run too deep (another generalization of course).
If California wasn't so incredibly inexpensive and wasn't in really bad shape in terms of economics / employment, i'd say come on out to the west coast.
Though it's an entirely different eco-system and culturally not at all like New England, there are some places along / near the coast that may feel quite like home although i'm just guessing. I'm just thinking of pastoral landscapes and cool fog and rain in the winter. I've never been to the UK so what do i know.
I've spent considerable time in California. I also tried to convince my wife several years ago that we should move there for various reasons. I never felt unwelcome as an outsider in either LA or San Francisco. I had a female friend several years ago who invited me over and I spent a week with some wonderful, laid back people in a small town about 30 miles outside SF metro area. My wife's excuse not to was either "too commercialised like Florida" or "I hate earthquakes". Being a foreigner, I was hardly in a position to convince her that California is nothing like Florida.

I could live in CA though. Nothing like the UK, but equally as beautiful in its own way. Having lived in New England for a few months now, I've also realised that New England is nothing like the UK either. Don't get me wrong, scenery wise, u love it, the climate is tolerable, but I am not outgoing or thick skinned enough to break the ice of many self-entitled people who feel that you have to "earn" the right to become friends with them by potentially making an arse out of yourself. I agree with you about people out west. People in CA seemed a lot more genuinely interested in where I came from and it would at least break the ice. I'm not a rude or brash person and if someone makes the effort to talk to me, I react with politeness and will be glad to talk.

Burlington VT is one option. I plan on driving over there when the colours of spring really explode. I'll apply for a few jobs in Burlington and Montpellier to see if I get any bites. I've literally had no success here at all.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,192 posts, read 2,890,316 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonborn View Post
I've spent considerable time in California. I also tried to convince my wife several years ago that we should move there for various reasons. I never felt unwelcome as an outsider in either LA or San Francisco. I had a female friend several years ago who invited me over and I spent a week with some wonderful, laid back people in a small town about 30 miles outside SF metro area. My wife's excuse not to was either "too commercialised like Florida" or "I hate earthquakes". Being a foreigner, I was hardly in a position to convince her that California is nothing like Florida.

I could live in CA though. Nothing like the UK, but equally as beautiful in its own way. Having lived in New England for a few months now, I've also realised that New England is nothing like the UK either. Don't get me wrong, scenery wise, u love it, the climate is tolerable, but I am not outgoing or thick skinned enough to break the ice of many self-entitled people who feel that you have to "earn" the right to become friends with them by potentially making an arse out of yourself. I agree with you about people out west. People in CA seemed a lot more genuinely interested in where I came from and it would at least break the ice. I'm not a rude or brash person and if someone makes the effort to talk to me, I react with politeness and will be glad to talk.

Burlington VT is one option. I plan on driving over there when the colours of spring really explode. I'll apply for a few jobs in Burlington and Montpellier to see if I get any bites. I've literally had no success here at all.
Yes ... California is nothing like Florida!!! (thank god ) although i'd certainly avoid LA / SoCal.
Maybe California is in your future. Don't rule it out.
It's good to hear that you had a good experience when here.
I wonder if you traveled north of S.F. or if you stayed in the sub-urban landscape of the greater bay area?
You sound like a good heart-ed and sensitive guy.
That's a good thing although not the easiest way to be either.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Purgatory
2,667 posts, read 2,123,391 times
Reputation: 2913
Quote:
Originally Posted by erasure View Post
Dragonborn..
Let me cautiously suggest that the problem in this situation might be...YOU.
( And no, I am not advising you to quit the job ( seems like you have no luxury to do it under the circumstances,) so here what I would do in your situation;
So they dump on you a project that no one else want to do and you have no one to ask for advise (since you are new to it all?)
Well, in order to get rid of a problem that you have no one to turn to for advise, let's start with a question; why is it so difficult to address people around you - is it because they are rude, indifferent or incompetent?
If they are rude or indifferent, STOP APPLYING your own sensitive standards to them, stop worrying about BEING JUDGED by these people, do what you feel needs to be done and don't think much how you come across. Save this kind of emotions for those close to you or who are on the same level with you.
Now if some of your coworkers are ignorant, ( as you've mentioned that particular lady, whose "perspective" your bosses don't share) then you should address problems to her directly and tell her that if you can't resolve the issue, *two of you* a-hem will have to talk to a boss - may be he'll help with advise. ( Be ready to tell her how you see things should be done YOUR WAY.)
With another words, take the pressure off of you and put it where it belongs - on them. Let THEM stress about it a bit. (After all it's not such great of a job that you are scared to death to lose it, so give it a shot to turn things YOUR way.)

Now that's the first part.
Second part is a bit more tricky.
I am talking about this;

"They are basically using me there and I don't feel comfortable trying to explain to them that I have social anxiety and find it very hard to communicate."

To communicate... with whom? With them? ( Your co-workers that is?)

I hope you are aware by now that you came to a culture that's more extroverted than your own and you have to deal with it.
Here I am afraid I can't be a big help, since being born and raised in super-extroverted culture, apparently I can't even grasp the concept of "social anxiety."
I mean hypothetically speaking I understand that it exists, however you have to tell me more what it is all about, I mean what exactly concerns you the most, what's your sensitive point when you have to deal with people, and may be we'll go from there.
Where to begin?

Firstly, the project..

1) My boss who assigned it to me has grossly over-simplified it. She doesn't know the extent of it, or what the lady I've been told to work with does.

2) The lady I have to work with is set in her ways and doesn't know what our department does fully or why we do certain things the way we do them.

Poor (or no) communication on both sides, I am trapped in the middle. I have sent emails trying to explain this as I am out of my depth....no response. I never had proper training either, so they are putting a lot of weight on my shoulders; a task that no one else clearly wanted.

I am basically sat in a cubicle, farthest away from my manager and the department I'm supposed to be helping. I go whole days without speaking to anyone. They communicate (and reprimand) via email and IM.

On top of that, my manager is immature and obnoxious. She was openly making fun of another employee's medical condition with one of her subordinates. The whole thing made me sick to my stomach.

I realise that Americans are more extroverted generally, but that has no bearing on this particular job.

Social anxiety is not something you'd understand unless you went through it. In my case, it is an often paralysing fear of speaking and being judged, the avoidance of social situations. Prior to this, I'd been lucky in that I had jobs where social interaction was minimal.

I am certainly not "sensitive", just painfully shy. The difference with me is that while I have fear of interactions with others and words so to speak of, I have no fear of potential physical confrontations and I do not cower down or back down from a fight. That may sound odd, but that's how I am. I have more fear of going to work and subjecting myself to enormous levels of stress and anxiety from feelings of inadequacy than I would if faced with a potential physical confrontation with someone (not that I am advocating ever getting into that type of situation, but I'm just trying to explain it).
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Purgatory
2,667 posts, read 2,123,391 times
Reputation: 2913
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaijai View Post
Yes ... California is nothing like Florida!!! (thank god ) although i'd certainly avoid LA / SoCal.
Maybe California is in your future. Don't rule it out.
It's good to hear that you had a good experience when here.
I wonder if you traveled north of S.F. or if you stayed in the sub-urban landscape of the greater bay area?
You sound like a good heart-ed and sensitive guy.
That's a good thing although not the easiest way to be either.
I stayed in a town called Isleton (if you know it?). I encountered a lot of genuinely nice people, some of which were what I'd call hippy rednecks (in a nice way), some of whom lived on boats. They made me feel extremely welcome when I attended a party when they were closing one of the bars for the season. Many people came up and talked to me. I really liked San Francisco too. It had a vibe that I definitely connected with.

I've had a rough ride in the US so far. I have often wondered if my experience would have been different if (hypothetically) I'd moved to the west coast instead of the east coast. It's definitely very different, that's for sure.
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:03 PM
 
5,424 posts, read 3,597,577 times
Reputation: 3116
Hmm. I see.

"Social anxiety is not something you'd understand unless you went through it. In my case, it is an often paralysing fear of speaking and being judged, the avoidance of social situations. Prior to this, I'd been lucky in that I had jobs where social interaction was minimal."

I was suspecting that.
I understand the rest ( and don't see any contradictions in what you are saying either...)

But I don't want to respond in two minutes; it will take me some time to go through it ( that's what I intend to do,) so I'll get back to it later tonight...
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,192 posts, read 2,890,316 times
Reputation: 1917
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonborn View Post
I stayed in a town called Isleton (if you know it?). I encountered a lot of genuinely nice people, some of which were what I'd call hippy rednecks (in a nice way), some of whom lived on boats. They made me feel extremely welcome when I attended a party when they were closing one of the bars for the season. Many people came up and talked to me. I really liked San Francisco too. It had a vibe that I definitely connected with.

I've had a rough ride in the US so far. I have often wondered if my experience would have been different if (hypothetically) I'd moved to the west coast instead of the east coast. It's definitely very different, that's for sure.
Yes, you would have had a different experience had you move to the west coast.
It's not too late though.
I don't know Isleton ... it's in the Sacramento area in Sacramento county so i'm familiar with the general area.
San Francisco is a most wonderful city (my favorite in the U.S. by far) although the bay area is one of the most expensive places to live in the country.
I don't know if you like urban, semi-urban or semi-rurual or rural living but there are beautiful and magical places along (and somewhat inland from) the coast that you and your wife may really like.
Sonoma county (north of San Francisco) comes to mind ... has some wonderful communities.
There is a kind of freedom in California (freedom to be yourself!) that i appreciate.
There's also the central coast (i'm on the "top" of it - the northern part of the Monterey bay about 2 hours south of S.F.) with many great places to live, but alas, crazy expensive. I live extremely simply with very little money. But i'd rather live simply in a place that i love with people who i can resonate with.
I'm from California but spent many years in New England and then finally returned to the west coast years ago and never looked back.
New England is a special place but i felt boxed in there and need the expansiveness and openness of the west and, in particular, California.
Again, if economics wasn't a factor, i'd suggest that you and your wife drop everything, pack up and leave the east and begin again on the west coast.
But obviously, economics is a huge factor (especially for you at this time) and jobs are scarce (i think CA has the 3rd worse employment rate in the nation) and rents are crazy high in the areas of California that i'd suggest to you.
But keep it as a future option.
I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time in the U.S..
But things change and will.
If you ever need advice re; California, let me know.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:23 PM
 
5,424 posts, read 3,597,577 times
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Ok Dragonborn, here it goes...

Quote:
1) My boss who assigned it to me has grossly over-simplified it. She doesn't know the extent of it, or what the lady I've been told to work with does.
Let me give you a word of caution, ( talking from my own experience.)
How do you know exactly that it was your boss who "oversimplified it," but it's not you, who make the task more meaningful and complex than it was meant to be?
Here is a hint; since you are from the Old World ( well European part of it,) your brain might be set for more complex task under the circumstances and you might ascribe scope and depth to a project that are not really required there. It might be more simplistic thing than you envision ( and that's why you think that your boss initially oversimplified it.)
So my first advise would be to double-check with your boss, giving in details what your plan/vision is regarding that project; what the end result should be, and ask weather that's exactly what she needs. Don't assume anything and don't be afraid to "look stupid," because I already gave you a reason for possible misunderstanding.
So depending on the outcome, you either;
A. Will get the relief that what's required of you is much more simple, hence you'll have to ask less questions (so less unwanted interaction)
or B. If the task is as complex as you envisioned, it will give you a chance to address the problems with that lady who works with you ( be ready to pinpoint specific problems, that are standing on your way to accomplish the project.)
Once you'll be 100% sure what needs to be done and how ( provided you get a response how to deal with your "helper") it should take off pressure of daily uncertainty.

Now the second part as I've already said is rather tricky.
You and only you can address the issue of fear of "being judged," because as you understand yourself it's precisely what prevents you from talking freely and leads you to "avoidance of social situations."
Just ask yourself questions like "Why their judgment matters," or "Who are they to judge?"
( And by "they" I mean absolutely anyone, lol)
This is the area you have to work on, period. Usually sense of self-confidence in social situations and security comes to people like you with time and age, but you don't have such luxury, so drill on it NOW. Learn how to shrug it off, so that your current job would stop playing havoc on you, while you'll be planning something in the long term. Something like say moving to the West coast ( or anywhere you'll find more suitable.)
I can definitely relate to it, because for sure I disliked East Coast ( give me NorthCal/ state of Wash any day.) Or Midwest for this matter. That's a comfort zone, too.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:30 AM
 
6,430 posts, read 8,180,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonborn View Post
What do you do when your job is causing you extreme levels of stress and anxiety? I dread going in so badly that I often wake up at 4am and cannot get back to sleep. The level of anxiety is paralysing, leaving me unable to enjoy weekends and barricading myself indoors.

It's not just the job...it's the people. I'm not permanent there and I'm mostly ignored, shoved in a cubicle furthest away from the rest of the department, but surrounded by noisy employees and management. They've dumped a project on me that clearly no one else wants to do and are expecting miracles when I'm still new to what they do. No one there really knows what they're doing and it's utterly demoralising when I have no one to ask for advice. They've forced me to work closely with this lady who doesn't know what she's doing and my bosses don't see things from her perspective either - so I am sandwiched in the middle.

I have been continually applying for other jobs, but nothing at all, not even an acknowledgement email. My wife works too, but we cannot survive on her salary alone, despite the fact that she tells me to just quit.

Aside from the fact that I cannot stomach the BS of the corporate world in this country, this particular job is making me ill. I have no appetite and constantly feel depressed and very anxious, which in turn has caused several physical effects too. They are basically using me there and I don't feel comfortable trying to explain to them that I have social anxiety and find it very hard to communicate. At my previous job, they somewhat understood, but I am just a lowly, expendable temp there. The line manager there is not a nice person; she's a very loud, immature 36 year old woman who does nothing but talk about her husband & kids and spreads nasty gossip about other employees.

What would you do in my situation? I realise that jobs are hard to come by, but I don't think I can take another week of this, never mind longer.
I just went through something VERY similar and didn't think I was going to make it. Luckily I found another job.

I would recommend looking at your current job. Is there anything you enjoy doing? Focus on JUST THAT every day. You have one good thing to look forward to.

Are there any coworkers you like? Try and make friends, get support.

Can you volunteer outside of work? Find an organization where you are giving back to the community.

Good luck. I hope you find something soon.
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