Stressed by Rick
So many conversations have wandered towards the economy, the job market, stress at work, and pending layoffs lately that I asked one of my friends who works in a large media company to anonymously guest post their thoughts. What came out of this exercise is the following post that shows a common theme I am finding with friends who work at large corporations going through layoffs. These are talented, smart, motivated, dedicated, and ambitious employees who are being stifled because of fear.
I understand the need for layoffs and cuts – but seeing this happen to countless friends and colleagues motivated me to provide a platform for their storie(s).
I think the second to last paragraph gets at the heart of the problem therefore put it in bold. Many people want to write off this problem as a product of the entitled generation and underscore that people should be afraid of losing their jobs – but I feel that this was not the case or general feeling with my friends and at companies not too long ago.
I hope this provides some insight into how employees are feeling at companies large and small.
I’m exhausted. Not because I’ve been working late or staying out at the bars. I’m exhausted because every day I go to bed and wake up with the same fears: Will I be laid off today? Will I be able to pay my rent? Will I be able to pay my credit card bills? Will I be able to get a new job? The stress of these daily fears are slowly eating me alive. I can’t make concrete decision within my personal life and I’m having a tough time showing up to work every day with my game face. I think my greatest fear is that I don’t know when this feeling will end — and I’ll probably be living with it for a long time.
I work for a big media company with one of those brand names that people know. What I’ve learned, however, after watching coworker after coworker walk away with a pink slip, that a brand name is just a name. It doesn’t mean I love what I do, it doesn’t mean job security, it doesn’t mean you’re safer than a person at a smaller, less-known company. In fact, at larger companies, the pressure to prove your worth and stick out from the sheep is much higher. In order to rise above all those around you, you need to go well above your job description to make a name for yourself. I knowingly made a decision to work for a place like this because I was up for that challenge. Now, however, I feel like I want to perform well not for recognition, but for safety.
Daily, I ask myself the following questions: Can the company function without me there? Do I make more money than my counterpart in the office, and if so, does that make me more of a target to get laid off? Am I valuable? How can I prevent losing my job? Should I be looking for a new job?
To wonder this about yourself every day is mentally exhausting. I race my thoughts in circles, and I know I’ll never get the answers ahead of time. I’ll never get a “heads up” from my boss that this week might be my last. If I am going to be a casualty of the recession, it will come on a day when I’m least expecting it, and it will be a total and utter shock — even though I think about it all the time.
Because I’m so consumed with my fate, I feel as though the quality of my work has slipped, perhaps because the quality of my persona has slipped. If we’re really busy, I’m stressed. But if we’re really slow, I’m stressed. I’m afraid I’ll make mistakes when I have too much on my plate that will give the management a reason to let me go and I’m scared that when we’re too slow, I’m not needed at all. I’m overly-anxious about my projects, I’m over-emotional when I’m left out of a meeting and I’m consistently analyzing my boss’ moods. Is he upset? Is he happy? Instead of concentrating on his feedback, I’m more concerned if he’s meeting with our CEO to decide who is next to go on their list.
I know that other people are experiencing similar work environments to the one I’m describing. So how can we fix this problem? How can our employers make us feel safe? How can my boss get me to concentrate on doing a good work, without fearing that one mistake or one slow day doesn’t mean the loss of my job?
Do you have a similar account or story?
What do you think of the above situation?
Please let me know in the comments or feel free to email me at Eric (@) Marketing (dot) FM and I will keep your situation strictly confidential.Employment, Fear, Job security, Recession, Stress