Stress - new job is so stressed it brought me to the ER 3 times!

By AlexaNJoy ·
Hi all,

I am an System.Admin, very experienced, I started a GREAT new job 3 months ago, in a huge corporation.
I'm supporting 2 of our branches in Europe, too and the R&amp local one.
The case - we were a local company and acquired by a huge corporation.
Prior to that, they had 3 IT people full time and one part time.
They let go off 1 and the second one moved to a different department.
Now we are 2 IT full time and the amount of load is insane!
I started developing strange physical conditions, which got to a point in which last month an ambulance took me to the ER 3 times:

1. First time, chest pain.
2. Second time, severe chest pain.
3. Unable to breathe, turned blue, thought I was going to die on the way to the ER, they connected me to an oxygen mask.

The doctors :

You are 100/% healthy, it's stress.

I got to the point I carry Clonazepam (!!!!) to help me relax.

OK, so this stress goes on like for more than a month and 2 days ago i just could not handle it anymore.

I am doing IT job, purchasing, supporting vendors, people are all over me and me fill finance forms I never received training about!

A so work and then come home, connect VPN and work again.

I talked to my boss (since we are large corporation, my supervisor is in Europe in a different branch) and he promised to take care of it. He said it's insane and no one is supposed to work so much, he will help me ease the stress by doing X & Y.

But, a day after the talk I had such a stressful day I said enough is enough.

My doctor gave me a week medical leave due to exhaustion.

Now I am in a dilemma -

This job is a dream professionally, the people are great, it pays well, it's very close to home and they also encourage me to learn and I can develop and grow there.

What do I do?

I love the place, but I am not yet 30 and I already damage my health.
I am not willing to work under such stress anymore.
So do I quit?
What would you do if you were me?

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All Answers

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by robo_dev In reply to Stress - new job is so st ...

The win-win would be for you to formulate a plan to put adequate staffing in place.

If the whole enterprise depends on you, then they are at risk if something happens to you.

Are there other qualified staff people there already?

Are you able to delegate some of the work to them?

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No balance in the market right now....but

by GDoC In reply to Stress - new job is so st ...

You shouldn't be killing yourself.

Having said that, your company appears to be in a transitory phase. Even if you are going to get additional head-count, and you get a great person, don't expect the stress levels to go down too quickly. Even if you get someone else to take the load immediately you'll still be at a high stress level for at least 3-6 months while this person or persons are trained on your specific infrastructure.

This situtation is not a new one, and can be trying on anyone.
Some things that YOU have to do, you've already done. You've informed your managment of the responsibility and workload.

What you've not yet done is inform yourself that if you kill yourself trying to keep everything perfect by yourself you will be harming not only yourself, but your company when you finally succumb to the stress you are feeling.
You state that it is a dream job, but it's killing you....non-sequitor...

Not to be judgmental, but there are people that thrive under the loads that you state you are under. Perhaps they need to hire someone for the possition that you presently have, and religate you to a lower one, for now, until the infrastructure grows to a point that you are capable of taking on these levels of responsibilities with a proper support staff.

Good luck to you and try to enjoy what you do, if you can't it doesn't matter how good the job looks on paper.

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Not to be judgemental??

by AlexaNJoy In reply to No balance in the market ...

"Not to be judgmental, but there are people that thrive under the loads that you state you are under. Perhaps they need to hire someone for the possition that you presently have, and religate you to a lower one, for now, until the infrastructure grows to a point that you are capable of taking on these levels of responsibilities with a proper support staff."

I'm sorry but it really annoys me to hear such replies.

Do you know people who thrive when they work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, hardly sleep and don't have time to eat lunch?

I am sorry, this is not human.
and I have 8 yrs of experience as an IT admin, never in my life have I gotten to the ER.

Conclusion - the stress is extreme.
and even the non IT related employees say we need at least one more IT person full time.

Don't judge me, I had no life during the past month+ and was doing a job of 4 people!

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OK my friend

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Not to be judgemental??

What would you call 20 + hours per day 7 days a week for 3.5 years?

My entire department worked those hours for at least 12 months and I worked those hours for at least 3.5 years after a major flood here that destroyed 100% of the equipment that most of the companies that we supported used. That was back in the Main Frame Days in 1974 and the stuff was underwater for at least 6 days but in many cases a lot longer.

I still remember laughing at standing in a Class 1 Clean Room with a Fire Hose hosing out the mess that had ended up inside the place. Because the equipment was massive back then it was not easily replaceable and it took years to fully replace.

Not only did I have to work those hours but I had to decide which companies got Hardware from the latest arrival not based on their ability to pay but on their need. Just that decision making process was horrendous and all of my staff insisted that they had it easy they only had to make it work when it was installed and the long hours where the easy bit. The decisions that I was making on a daily basis they insisted would have killed them and they wanted no part of the process.

Instead of going nuts or just curling up and dieing I enjoyed the entire experience ranging from going into a building to save equipment and remember seeing Halon Bubbling out from the water which was now above the Computer Room in a stair well to fishing out used syringes and god only knows what else in a hospital basement. I still remember the smell of the Black Mud that stuck to everything and smelt even worse when it got damp.

We had to tear out walls to get to what had got inside them safely dispose of bottles of Halon that had been damaged and where at risk of exploding to God only knows what else. I also had to decide which of my staff went where and at what level of risk they where exposed to.

That risk not only came from dealing with the mess and destroyed equipment but also the Peeved Off Company Owners who insisted that they could do nothing until we fully replaced what had been destroyed.

During that entire Time not one of my staff left suffered any injury or where carted off to a Meatworks because I looked after them. The companies response to the Insane Hours worked not to mention the risks that my staff where subject to was to complain when I threw a party for them in the offices. The person making the complaint was chased out of the building by staff wanting to Hang him probably because I suggested doing just that. I even swung the company paying for the booze that we consumed during that party and at the end of it I told the staff that they had better go home finally see their wives, girlfriends whatever and be ready for work first thing tomorrow which started in 3 hours time.

Yes it was tough but no where near as tough as attempting to remove equipment only to find that when you arrived it was all underwater or the water invaded the place as you where attempting to get some equipment out. The water rose that fast that we only managed to get a small percentage of existing equipment out and then most of that didn't work quite right with the new stuff that we could supply when it arrived.

OK I wouldn't want to go through that again but by the same token I wouldn't be running away if it happened though now with PC's it would be much easier to get things replaced and companies up and running much faster.

I still remember a guy from Head Office different company years latter coming in and wanting a dealer to make a complaint about the way that I treated them so he could get me removed, no one did so I abused them all after that lunch telling them all that as they hated me so much that not one of them would make an official complaint so I could have some rest that I would just have to work them all into the ground so don't expect any relief and at least 16 hour days. They all stayed for 20 hour days for the remainder of that training course and all wanted to come back and do it all again.

2 Years latter when that guy was transfered he said to me that I had terrified him the first day he was here and that he took a couple of years to understand why the dealers loved me so much. He said that very few people could do what I did and stay sane.

Yea at that place I was State Service Manager and Go To Guy for the entire country so I always had a packed suitcase in the workshop and I never knew where I would be that night. You don't fly for half a day and then say Times Up I'll be back tomorrow you just get the work done and then get back to what you are supposed to be doing.

To be perfectly honest the most stressful part of that entire job was dealing with a Customer who had a Heart Attack in front of me complaining about something.

Took me 3 minutes to sort the problem but the Customer was so worked up when he got to me that he had completely lost it.

Or what about the guy demanding a Warranty Replacement of a PC when he had shot it with both barrels of a 12 Gage? The person running the PC side of the business was unavailable when this guy hit the place and I was lumbered with dealing with him.

That's Life you get Crap on a daily basis it's how you deal with it that counts. I personally laugh at things but I had to learn this as after going to doctors and having numerous scans looking for Ulcers which they never found but they did find scaring from previous ones I figured out that things had to change. Either I could change myself to Deal with things as they where or I could change jobs. As I liked the type of work and figured that if I changed jobs I would eventually end back where I was now I decided that I had to change myself and I've never looked back.

Oh incidentally if I work under 16 Hours most days I think I'm on holiday and I haven't had one of those since 1978 or there abouts. Admittedly as I now work for the Worst Boss Possible now ME I can't even pull a sicky without any possibility of having a good excuse. About once every 6 or so years I have to take a couple of days off because of sickness and that is directly related to the work I used to do which was Medical where I was exposed to all sorts of sickness. Now I no longer do any medical things have got better and I no longer need to take time off except this year where a Cold as the Quack describes it has brought me down for a few weeks. But this is a nasty one that has hit others for 8 weeks or longer I've had 2 weeks off mostly asleep in bed and I'm now back at work more or less better. At least I'm no longer falling asleep all of the time now.


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By the sounds of things here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Stress - new job is so st ...

The problem is you and the way that you work. Stress isn't the Killer you are making it out to be it's the way that you are addressing the stress and taking it upon yourself to provide a solution to the problems where you work.

I have been in numerous High Stress Positions over the years and the trick is never take it personally.

Sit back and learn to laugh at the insanity involved in everyday work. At several of the places that I've worked at over the years I've been the Only guy in a Branch Office who did the IT work and I was considered by Head Office as the Guy to ask how to fix things when they went wrong. Even the Companies Service Manager considered me as his best asset who knew it all and was the guy to give the jobs that no one else could cope with. Hence I not only had to bother with my Branch and what it was addressing but I also got all the Fun jobs that no one else within the company could do.

It did however mean several trips to Europe to Head Office where I got let loose with the Techs to solve problems. Or for Advanced Training basically anything that the Country Service Manager would go there for I was included in and there where several times that I had to take failed components there to show what was going wrong, and my solutions.

Anyway the problem isn't the stress but the way that you handle it and if you want to stay at that place you need to take steps now to change the way that you are acting and not allow the Work to get to you. After all Killing yourself isn't going to do either you or the company any good so you need to find a way to work but not let things affect you so badly.

Also Drugs are defiantly not the answer they are just addressing a symptom and then you are continuing to make things worse as you would have walked away from the problem without the drugs. Or maybe get carried away from the Current Problem.

Different people do this in different ways and it's now up to you to find your best way of handling this situation. That is if you want to stay there or take on other positions like the one you currently have.


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I second Col here

by TobiF In reply to By the sounds of things h ...

You and your job situation is right now a bad fit.
So, either your situation has to change (i.e. go somewhere else) or you have to change (i.e. stop panicking, start prioritizing and working smarter.)

Can you delegate anything (internally or to any external resources)?
Realize, that when you've done your company hours (12 or 9 or 8 or 6 or whatever is the correct amount for your body today) you need to let your head "go on vacation". Do some yoga, lift some iron, watch a silly movie, take nap or whatever. Your body keeps reminding you about this, and you shouldn't neglect it.

Also: Does your body agree with you that you have the funniest job in Universe? I'm not so sure...

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