Using those problem solving skills…

Epic PMS has gone, thank goodness, so my brain is a bit less cluttered with general panic and chaos. Honestly, I know girls are awesome but sometimes I wish I was male.

Anyway. I sat down the other night and made a list of things which are making me unhappy. One of them is my current job. It’s partly the change of manager – the new lady seems lovely but I had only been in the job for six weeks when the first one left, so hadn’t had my full induction, training, supervision, or any input into what I was supposed to do for Christmas (which needs organising months in advance), and so on. My craft cupboard is still in desperate need of re-stocking and I’m still not in charge of the activities budget. But hopefully now the new manager is here all of this will be sorted out in time. The job itself is a stressful one, with frequent deaths and challenging behaviour. It’s hard to motivate people to join in, and I have to work individually with those who won’t join in. I’m only working 20 hours a week, so it’s quite hard to make sure everyone gets the same amount of attention. I don’t play favourites or give anyone special attention, but some people will take part in everything I do and treat me like I’m their great and wonderful saviour from boredom, and of course when I go and spend time with the others they are the first to complain that there’s nothing to do. It’s really hard keeping everyone happy.

The other problem with the job is Christmas. I still can’t conceive of not going home for Christmas. I know, I’m 27 next week and I’m not even religious, but my family has had a tough year and it’s hard getting them all together in one place given that there are seven of us. I am sleeping really badly at the moment, because I feel so homesick and upset about this. I am NOT going to move back to Dorset – I love the north east, I am really excited about my counselling degree and it would be prohibitively expensive to do my training down south. I couldn’t afford the cost of living either, everything is a lot cheaper up here.

I’ve also considered quitting my job because the hours and responsibilities are too much for me, given that this is my first job after eight years of illness. The problem with that is there’s a benefits exclusion for those who make themselves voluntarily unemployed – I couldn’t claim Jobseekers allowance for SIX MONTHS if I quit. I can’t support myself with no income for six months – I’ve saved up quite a bit over the last year, but not that much. I could try to find a new job, but that takes time and unemployment is high, and there’s no guarantee they wouldn’t want me to work over Christmas as well. I’m being silly about Christmas when most people would be grateful to even HAVE a job, I know…but I can’t go home until Easter if not at Christmas, because of college. I’m already missing a week due to the conference in November, so missing another week isn’t really on. Counselling is a vocational subject, not one where attending lectures doesn’t really matter because you can read it all in a textbook – there’s a lot of assessment and skills training involved.

So the job is a pain, and a pain which is keeping me up at night. Thankfully my other problems seem much more easily solved. I’m phoning my landlord today to tell him that the bathroom needs sorting out, and I’m sending him a letter to say that I’m moving out next month. The lovely Moontree got me in touch with one of her friends who was looking for a flatmate, and although the room is tiny it’s in a perfect location, with nice people and the rent is low, so I’ve made up the majority of my mind to move there next month. Maybe I can make some money by selling some of my useless rubbish on ebay. Or maybe I could do a blog sale πŸ˜› I have soooo many random mental health books that I don’t want or need any more…

I’m going to have to keep thinking about the job problem. If anyone has a magic solution (or just wants to kick my butt and tell me I’m being silly), please let me know!


11 responses to “Using those problem solving skills…

  1. I’m really happy that you’ve managed to bounce back so quickly πŸ™‚ Or perhaps I should say ‘launch into action those problem-solving skills’. I’m also really happy you’ve found a cheaper place to live.

    Unfortunately I don’t have a magic solution for the job issue. I don’t think you’re being at all silly. There isn’t an easy answer – and your current job does sound very stressful. Another friend of mine is working part-time doing admin work at a university while studying for her degree. It might be worth looking on the college/university websites for admin posts. These jobs usually involve things like data input and filing so there are no specific qualifications necessary. They’re often better paid than care jobs like you’re doing now. I would suggest that hard as it is, unless you can afford it, you continue with your current job until you find something else.

  2. I was going to say I have no magic solutions, but I guess I already provided one, just not to the job problem! I’m really pleased I’ve been able to help out two friends at the same time. Umm, I guess Evil Employer might be recruiting in the near future…? πŸ˜›

    It is difficult because there aren’t many jobs going at the moment, or at least, that’s been my partner’s experience. The only thing I can think of the suggest is that if you felt you absolutely HAD to leave your job for health reasons, sometimes getting medical evidence to support this can persuade the Jobcentre not to sanction you. Hopefully it won’t come to that though! I hope the situation improves under your new manager. x

  3. I get two weeks for Christmas, the week before and the week after πŸ˜‰ college holidays are more like school holidays in the UK, sadly! Uni holidays are longer though. My family couldn’t stay with me either, there are other people to consider – one of my brothers needs to work, there are extended family to visit, my sister’s boyfriend’s family are in my home town and my family just couldn’t afford it – they couldn’t stay at my house and a hotel would be extortionate. Nice thought though, thank you for the comment πŸ™‚

  4. hey πŸ™‚
    I hope I don’t get this wrong – after all have not seen you in ages and just got back from Amsterdam yesterday! however – reading the last few posts I want to tell you a mixture of ‘you’re being silly’ and ‘you CAN do it!’. most of the time I’ve known you (bar some v crazy times haha) you’ve been very competent and independent but had these crises of confidence where everything feels like its overwhelming you. I think it sounds like this job has some fuckups and some challenges. but you can definitely handle them! the Christmas thing is more shit and just kind of ‘life sucks’ territory – when could you next see your family? are they up for meeting halfway over a weekend or similar? must be frustrating given that you aren’t working all the time but it just happens to be spread out to exclude the possibility 😦
    anyway general point being – I think there’s a lot of mileage in taking a deep breath and hoping this gets better. its not time to quit (imo). I mean the job is stressing you out fuckloads right, but are you failing to get in in the morning? getting told off over your performance? hardcore relapsing into the ED/depression? I rly hope not – and if so, I think you are good to go. it’s just different…work related stress is a pain in the arse and you haven’t had it as part of the equation for years now. I mean in a year’s time if the job makes you unhappy that’s totally different – and you would be in a much better position if you quit.
    also, don’t question your decision taking this job πŸ™‚ it was at the perfect time, the way I see it. you ARE ready, its part time, its in a field you are competent in. and stresses come with that too related to working in healthcare. but can you not imagine yourself in a couple of years finding your feet, rocking @ everything you have to organise and enjoying it? if not then maybe time to look for new opportunities. but in off hours – I still rly rly don’t think you should quit! just imo πŸ™‚ but as you know that’d be crazy hard financially right?
    hope you are managing ok up there. stressful weeks can’t be good when you’re alone away from yr family. I’ll be back in a week or so and we’ll catch up over your new Starbucks drinking capabilities.
    hope my rambling is somewhat useful. feel free to ignore but thought you might like another viewpoint πŸ™‚

    • yello!

      Nah, quitting was just part of my PMS-fuelled freak out. I was talking about it in this post because everyone was like “you have to quit if it’s too hard!!!” and I wanted to point out that I can’t, because otherwise I would be destitute! I also know that it probably will get better. No ED relapsing, thank goodness πŸ˜‰ although not being able to sleep for worrying and having panic attacks on the way to work are probably not the best signs of mental stability. I am considering looking for another job, partly because this one is doing my head in (I can’t be doing with people dying all the time, it’s very inconsiderate of them!) and partly because once I move to Heaton it’s going to cost me quite a bit in metro fees to get to work. But if I don’t find another job I don’t find another job. I know there will be other Christmases, but with my brother spending two nights in intensive care a couple of months ago and my parents apparently splitting up at some point in the nearish future, I really wanted to spend this one at home before everything changes. Also to kick my brother. And hug him. Stupid boy.

      Your rambling is always useful! And an excuse to drink more lattes is always good πŸ˜› am looking forward to you coming back – I’m going to be living in Heaton so can get out into Newcastle much more easily πŸ™‚

  5. coool πŸ™‚ I mean if you have time to job search that would be perfect right, you’ll be soo much more attractive to employers now you have a job already and you can be on the lookout for something better, yay! I def remember the feeling of freaking the hell out over work shit and levels of responsibility – to some extent i was lucky, it was so fast paced and there was no downtime so you just kind of were forced to throw yourself in. but yeah apart from magically disappearing your evenings, the only suggestion I guess is always to ask in situations where its possible…you’re still pretty new so I’m sure it’s totally allowed. even if it’s ‘hey, this is stressing me out, do you have any ideas/what would you like me to do’. aside from dying people. probably not the solution to that one!
    btw if you can’t go for christmas definitely yell @ your brother on skype or something! glad he is ok but apparently he needs a big sister to get him in line!
    also must see your new place when I get back, sounds exciting!

  6. sanabituranima

    I don’t think it’s “silly” to worry about missing Christmas. I wish you well.

  7. *waves*, I don’t think I’ve said hello properly before either.
    I bet it’s a relief to have found a new place to live which sounds great!

    I do hope your work calms down with a new manager. I hope that seeing your residents, or at least some of them, enjoy your Christmas activities will make up for stresses. I’m so appreciative of the carers in my grandparents’ nursing homes, but sorry that I probably forget to show my gratefulness enough. I’m in awe of them, and you too, doing a job so brilliantly even when the conditions must be often tough!

  8. Pingback: This Week In Mentalists: The Am I Well Enough For College Edition « This Week in Mentalists

  9. I would be interested in buying books πŸ™‚

    I love your blog – I know that sounds clichΓ©d but I really feel an affinity with you – another science / mental health geek!

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