What’s wrong with work?

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I read some media articles about the UK employment market and how there are plenty of jobs out there but no takers. They say how there are shortages in some sectors and plenty of inactive over 50s who could be filling these roles. Really?

I cannot remember the name of the person who was on the radio who was saying that over 50s have a lot of experience & knowledge to offer and how they should be considered for these roles. Now – who was this person aiming this comment at?

Was it the ‘inactive over 50s’? You should be applying for these jobs, your experience is wanted by a prospective employer. Maybe they were but as an ‘inactive over 50s’ – my response is that for me, I am tired of the workplace grind. The last few jobs I have had were full-on with plenty of office bullies and impossible deadlines that meant I spend too much time stressed out trying to pull rabbits out of hats for the senior management. I did not feel my experience was actually wanted or needed – other than the bit that showed I could do the activities required for the job. If I had any experience/ knowledge, comments or ideas to improve the business processes and help the company, I was told that it was not required and ‘just get on with the task at hand’. What was the point? Your ideas due to knowledge or past experiences was not required, it was immaterial and unwanted.

I want to slow down now, I would like a slow lane job where I can just go in work my hours without the stresses carried over into the next day and having to work my evenings to match deadlines. One without the threat of losing my job due to ‘perceived incompetence’ at every milestone review.

Sadly I have not found a job that matches that criteria yet, so I continue to sit on the outside trying to exist and watching from the edge. The jobs I have seen have an endless list of task and responsibilities as employers try to get one person to do multiple roles for single pay. Ok, I am being picky, I have also become very cynical. I am also trying to find a change in my work life and pace. I am noticing that I am slowing down and unable to work at the same rate I did before. I get brain fog and struggle to function at the fast pace of my younger years. For me, I need a less stressful job and one without all the pressure. When working I was looking sad, pale and had high blood pressure. Now I am not working, I am actually smiling more, feel happier and don’t have high blood pressure. Doesn’t that speak volumes?

I spoke to my sister who is very stressed out at the moment. She has no financial buffer (she used it up when made redundant a few years ago and has been unable to replenish it) so has to stick it out at her current job, she is looking to move but cannot find anything better, she works in one of these sectors which has a vacancy crisis. She is having to do more and more work as more people leave due to the stress & increased workload. It is snowballing and it will break her if she is not careful. She is waiting to see if her employer’s current contract is renewed, she should find out in the next few weeks. If it is renewed then she keeps her job but the workload will be increased to fulfil the new terms. If it is not renewed then she will have to wait and see if she, with others, gets offered TUPE to the new supplier or made redundant. Its a precarious situation and why the employer is struggling to fill vacancies. Who wants to join a company which could be losing their contract in the next few months and end up out of work.

She is working unpaid additional hours to get the tasks completed as she is pressured by the management to achieve the deadlines and juggle too many plates and told she cannot drop anything and made to feel that doing so will have a detrimental affect on her employment future.

This fear which is gripping the workplace and used as a big stick is making work unattractive to those who can choose. For some it is too much and they are crashing out of the workplace with illness and health conditions which become hard to shake off. I am so glad I don’t have to work at the moment. I hope things change and the workplace stops being such an aggressive, pressured place. It seems to be invading every sector of the work environment, at one time it was only some sectors that had the reputation for being aggressive and pressured. Every time I said ‘no’ to something I was told to rethink it and that ‘no’ was not an option and if I did not like it I should leave. One manager actually said to me ‘ If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen’ – so I did, I resigned.

Am I the only one seeing this?

Is anyone else feeling the stress?

What can be done to cure this workplace culture?

3 thoughts on “What’s wrong with work?

  1. > For me, I need a less stressful job and one without all the pressure. When working I was looking sad, pale and had high blood pressure. Now I am not working, I am actually smiling more, feel happier and don’t have high blood pressure. Doesn’t that speak volumes?

    I think you have your answer 😉 FWIW perhaps you are looking in the wrong place. If you can afford not to work, then you don’t have to put up with the crap. I have never looked for a permie job, only taken on individual pieces of work as one-offs. If your work pattern/experience is more where you need to take on a permanent role, then do so. But walk off the job when it no longer serves you.

    The power balance is different when you don’t need the pay to survive, it is more an extra boost may give you more options or Waitrose rather than Aldi. It is almost as if your still hve the mindset form earlier, when really bad things yould happen if you lost the job. That seems not to be the case now, if i read you right, in which case use your power…

    • I think you’re right. I am looking in the wrong place, Due to my experience I keep getting vacancies based on my previous roles. I would like the odd temp job but this only comes in the form of a 3 or 6 month full time post under contract terms requiring me to run as a LTD or use an umbrella setup – both of which I really don’t want to do. My last job was permie, I did it for 3 years to reach my FI number then walked, it was liberating.

      The power balance was my key goal of FI to enable me to pick and choose. I wanted to not fear losing my job as I would have the means to survive. I also wanted ‘me time’ and put myself first for once. Just take work on a temp basis for extra cash and for some fulfilment now and again. At the moment I don’t have the networking contacts to aide in finding those opportunities. I am a bit of a recluse really as I don’t have many friends socially and my ex-work friends are limited too as they are or have retired so not useful for networking/contacts any more.

      You are correct, My mindset is still gripped by FEAR –
      When in work it was > Am I doing a good job? Am I doing enough? Am I going to lose my job? What happens if I loses my job?
      Now I am not working > Do I have enough? Should I be working? Can I survive without a job? Will SORR ruin me?

      It’s the inner voice that has haunted me my whole life. It can be (and has been) a good motivator. It was drilled into me from an early age that I should be working. I should be out grinding for a salary otherwise I am a waster and a ‘good for nothing’. I have some family members that continue to push this mantra and ‘have a go’ at others who are not working be that due to redundancy, choice, ill health or just bad luck. I have tried to distance myself from them, which helps, but the voice persists. My family will not support me if this goes wrong ( I have no bank of mum & dad or future inheritance to bail me out) which is why the voice persists. I just need to learn to muzzle it now and again.

      The current economic conditions are not helping at the moment as I see people around me suffering.

      • > I have some family members that continue to push this mantra and ‘have a go’ at others who are not working be that due to redundancy, choice, ill health or just bad luck.

        You gotta live your life, not theirs 😉 FWIW a ltd company isn’t a hugely onerous thing at the small-scale end, although there is annual extra work due to filing for Companies House. I’ve done this once for myself and also the filing for the farm when we had it. I am glad to be shot of it, but if it would open doors it might be worth looking at. Though I am not adding mine to the voices saying you should be working 😉

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