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Fear of job loss

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About a year ago I was fired from a job soon after I started at the company.  The truth is, this ended up being a good thing because it just wasn't a good match.  I don't think it was personal, because I was only let go after I told them that I was unhappy at the company.  Anyway, I used the opportunity to change careers.

However, I am now sooo fearful of losing my job and being unable to support myself.  I just think the experience of job loss was a little traumatic, and as someone who suffers from anxiety, I am now "hyperalert" and worried about my job and any chance of losing it now or in the future.

No matter how many times my current boss compliments my work...or is just neutral but with no complaints...I worry worry worry.  What if I goof on something?  What if people don't like me or I piss off the wrong person?  It doesn't help that things are sooo political where I work. 

Anyway, as my mom said, "who cares"?  I'm going back to school in the fall so even if I did get fired, I could just find something in the meantime.  But the "panic chemicals" still course through my body no matter how much logical thought tells me that this isn't the end of the world and to "just relax."

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I SO understand! I've been in the workforce out of college for 5 years, and have gone through so many jobs. I'm always fired because I start cracking under the strain of my BP/PTSD and miss work, go on disability, and get canned of course.

Now I have a new job that is taking a huge toll, and I only wonder how soon it will be...and I'm not going back to school in the fall. My dad is dead (BP1 took his life) and my mom (BP1 too) is fighting for SSDI and has no job. In short, I must work and have only myself to lean on.

Stress, stress, stress!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm going through the same thing myself...

5 years ago I went through a horrifically traumatic firing. I not only lost my job, I lost my apartment and had to find a place to live on less than 2 weeks' notice. While I was going to be out of town on a conference. Which my boss knew about since she was attending the same conference herself.

Since then I've been through a slew of temp jobs, plus "permanent" jobs that have turned out to be not-so-permanent, if you get my drift. I just started a "permanent" job 2 months ago. I've had nothing but praise from my superiors, yet I live in fear every day of being fired, just because it's happened so many times before.

2 days ago someone at my job got fired. Surprisingly, it wasn't me. While I obviously don't know all the details of why she was canned, on the surface it looks as though she was canned for medical reasons. Which has me sweating bullets. If the folks at work ever find out I'm seeing a pdoc & taking crazy meds, I could be screwed.

I doubt that anything I've said here has been of any comfort to you, but please know that you're not the only one going through these fears & anxieties. And in the event that you DO lose your job, we're here for you.

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Isn't it illegal to fire a person for medical reasons? Especially if they have documented proof they're under a doctor's care??

I recently decided to tell my boss everything that's been going on with me because I was worried I'd get fired for being insubordinate! I've been kind of bitchy at work, so I thought it best to explain why. He was very understanding and even almost started crying. Interestingly, I got the highest possible performance rating on my yearly review and the highest possible raise.

Good luck and take care job seekers---it will work out---it took me 17 years and several evil bosses to finally find a great job.


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Of course it's illegal, but damn difficult to prove.

This is probably more detail than anyone cares about, but here's basically what happened. Last Friday I saw my co-worker pull her supervisor out of a meeting. She (the co-worker) was visibly upset. I heard her say, "I just got a phone call from my doctor. I have [didn't hear the rest]....".  She and her boss immediately went to her boss' office & shut the door. I didn't hear anything else, & the co-worker left early.

The co-worker was absent from work this Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday. I know that she had at least 1 doctor visit during that time. She returned to work Thursday morning.  Shortly after she arrived she went to the HR director's office & the door was closed. Maybe 5 minutes later she left without a word. 10 minutes after that the HR director (he's my boss) called me into his office. He told me that my co-worker had been terminated & asked me if I could work her schedule instead of my current schedule until they hire a replacement for her. That's how I found out she was fired.

I called her as soon as I got off work & asked her what happened. She said that the HR director told her that she was terminated. She said, "Can I ask why?" And the HR director said, "Legally we're not required to give you a reason."

I apologize if I'm straying too far from the original topic. If anyone wants to PM me on this issue please feel free.

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I was fired from a job for the first time in my life last summer and it was surprisingly traumatic. It really sent me into a tailspin which I am just now coming out of. I had been trying to make a career change and managed to land in a job with unclear and unrealistic expectations, no training or support, and an abusive boss. I was fired after 4 months because I ouldn't meet the impossible standards. I was the 4th person in the position in the past year. In spite of all that, I believed it was my fault and I was a worthless fuck-up.

I never did get a 2nd job in that field. I interviewed for some, but was too afraid to follow through. I finally went back to the non-profit that I had left to pursue the new career. It's a pretty sheltered environment and I'm working below my abilities, but it's a good place for me. I'm in a new position there and doing a good job, but I am always afraid I will do something wrong. This is silly because noone will mind if I make a few mistakes. I'm the only one who thinks of myself as a failure. My confidence is still very shaken after that horrible experience.

I've been seeing a psychologist since a few weeks after that incident, and he's helping understand my reactions to stressful events, but I still have a lot of work ahead. You sound pretty young, Devon. If you can get to the bottom of your anxiety issues with employment now, you will reap the benefits for the rest of your working life. Good luck to you.

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Hey guys

Its called capitalism...no love there.

I was so screwed over...in a non-profit, worked ten years, extremely successful. Don't get me started! And with a work history of over thirty years.

If you know how to work, there will always be a job.  Work hard, and they will exploit you, but, thats how it goes, in most employment cases, remember...its America, the land of exploitation.

I obviously have no good advice, except keep your karma good, and somehow, someway, it will work out. But, don't ask me how, I just have this stupid work ethic and could never get beyond it to scratch my way to money and success. Oh well.

I might figure this one out sometime, but probably not in this life time.

Good luck

Keep the faith



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I've got a great job.

My bosses love me.

Our clients love me.

I'm damn good at what I do.

I've increased my salary 45% in the 8 months I've worked there.

And I'm still waiting for the other shoe drop. I've failed so many times. Screwed it all up too many times for me to believe that it's going to last.

It's not really a panic thing, just a deep gut uneasiness. I think five years from now I'll still be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because of my past, it's too hard for me to believe that I really have it together this time, that it's not all going to fall apart.

Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky this time.


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After reading all these responses I'm inclined to wonder if we're really the ones with the problem here and not the fucked up job market.

Our economy is based on gross consumerism & massive greed.  The big fish eat the little fish. As workers we're not human beings, we're simply means to achieve the corporate goal.  We're expendable. We're overhead. And when the big giant corporate machine spits us up like phlegm, we blame OURSELVES?!?!?! How fucked up is that???

Did anyone watch 60 Minutes last night? America now has the longest average work week than any other country in the developed world. We get up at the crack of ass & check our Blackberries, we hold conversations on cell phones during our commutes, we work 8 hour days (if we're lucky, it's usually more than that), more Blackberries & cell phones on the commute home, then it's email & IM on the laptop to clients until we stagger into bed way too late at night. Lather, rinse, repeat--day in and day out.

Is it any wonder that depression & anxiety are on the rise in our society? I strongly suspect that we could alleviate (note that I said "alleviate", not necessarily cure) a lot of mental illness in this country if we could just give the giant corporate heads a swift kick in the nuts & get our priorities straight. 8 hours of sleep/night is NOT a luxury. Wanting to spend time with our families & loved ones & watch our kids grow up is NOT being selfish. Wanting job situations that allow us to have lives outside of work does NOT make us lazy.

*steps down from soapbox* ;)

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Well, it's illegal to fire an employee "because of" medical conditions, including mental conditions.  But you can still be disciplined, up to and including termination for conduct problems or performance/productivity problems or problems with tardiness/absenteeism, even if it was due to your medical condition.  The exception to the tardiness/absenteeism is if allowance was previously negotiated as a "reasonable accommodation for a DOCUMENTED disability under the ADA.  For employers with 15 employees or more, they are required to provide "reasonable accommodations" to the KNOWN and DOCUMENTED (i.e. letter from doctor) disability.  Disability defined as a "physical or mental impairment that 'substantially limits one or more major life activities."

"Substantial limits" means limits to a greater degree when compared to the general population, and the letter from the doctor must explain this in order to receive the accommodation.

"Major life activities" include: thinking, learning, sleeping, working, interacting with others, concentrating, talking, breathing, caring for self."  The letter from the doctor must indicate which major life activity/ies is/are substantially limited, as well as which accommodations would be needed.

Of course, with accommodations, the employee is still expected to meet productivity standards and conduct.  However, the same level of discipline must be applied to the employee with a disability as would be applied to a worker without a disability.  The sad truth is that if the employer wants you out, the employer will find a way to let you go.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, it's illegal to fire an employee "because of" medical conditions, including mental conditions...The sad truth is that if the employer wants you out, the employer will find a way to let you go.
Bryan, you are right...though a bit on the optimistic side, I think.  My experience is that most employers don't want to mess with reasonable accomodations.  I live in an "employment at will" state (which includes almost every state these days, I believe) and that means you can be fired for no reason whatsoever.  I've talked with several attorneys about this, and they confirmed that.  I'm not sure they were the best attorneys ever, but I got very little hope from them...even though I was fired when my employer knew I have ADHD, gave me mixed messages about what accomodations were acceptable or not, AND I was being treated for a worker's comp case unrelated to any mental state at the time.

The exception to the tardiness/absenteeism is if allowance was previously negotiated as a "reasonable accommodation for a DOCUMENTED disability under the ADA.  For employers with 15 employees or more, they are required to provide "reasonable accommodations" to the KNOWN and DOCUMENTED (i.e. letter from doctor) disability.  Disability defined as a "physical or mental impairment that 'substantially limits one or more major life activities."

True.  But, if you are an employer who's not the nicest person in the world (and very few employers seem to be nice these days in my experience) why should you mess with all of this when you can simply fire someone without any reason whatsoever?  Yeah, if you have the money to drag your employer's rear into court and litigate forever, you MIGHT be able to prove that you were actually only fired because of the ADA condition.  But good luck.  Plus, who among us can say we haven't made a mistake or two?  Very few, I would think...and the employer can just say that was really the reason. 

I hate to be gloomy, and if anyone has evidence that I'm too pessimistic, please weigh in, but my experience, after being fired three times in a row in the space of five years is that you are out of luck, basically, in these situations. (For what it's worth, I'm not the world's biggest incompetent, either.  In fact, the boss who fired me in one of the jobs actually promoted me a couple of years earlier...but she had her own mental issues...and she was the boss.)

Anyway, I COMPLETELY relate to everyone with those automatic panic responses to any bump in the workplace road.  I'm like that now.  I'm sure it makes it more likely I'll screw up, too, and then the anxiety leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Unfortunately, the only things I know to do are to take my meds, do yoga, do positive self talk, and try to stay networked.  I really think the meds and the networking are most important, though, because the way it is today, it almost seems that the better someone is at work, the more likely they are to get fired. 

Good luck, devon00 and everyone else here.  We'll need it. 

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