New job dilemma

Sarah0407

Sarah0407

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Hi Guys

Sorry I don't really post much on the forum, I feel like people help me more than I help them on here... but I'm always willing to help if I can.

I don't visit forums anywhere near as much as I used to, mostly because of the routine of daily adult life but sometimes I find myself just wanting to express something that I don't feel I can talk about in-depth in real life.

I started my new job yesterday. I come from a practical trade background and I've gone into a business office job that holds itself to a very high standard. This is a big change for me, I've talked about it on the forum before but it's something I'm willing to do.
I'm just having a bit of an internal dilemma...
The job is brilliant, the company have never made a redundancy, everyone knows everyone by name, the pay is very good, its close to home, its a modern office with all facilities and free fruit and biscuits and tea etc. On my second day today we had a training meeting at a posh hotel and restaurant with a fry up and tea and coffee all morning. They're constantly checking if I'm okay, they're there for me and really look after their staff. It's the perfect office job.

HOWEVER. The contracted hours are 9-5:30. It comes to 5:30 and everyone is still there. I would at least expect people to be winding down at this point. Nope. I was asked to go through a debrief about my first 2 days today at half 5, so I ended up leaving at 6. Everyone was still there, working as if it was halfway through the day. Thus I feel like I have to stay late to come across positively...

I'm not a workaholic. I firmly believe that work isn't natural and that it's not everything. I understand that to own a house and have a family we have to work, but I think there should be a balance between work and home. Staying later than my contracted hours has a weird effect on me - it brings out my depression. It puts me in a low mood and makes me homesick, like those 30 minutes I stayed late today I missed out on my own time for 30 minutes and I was very aware of it.

This puts me off the job a little. I work really hard in my contracted hours but I want to be able to finish and know that I've finished, not to start questioning when I can leave, especially if I've done my work.
I know a lot of people are more than happy to stay late but I want to go back and have dinner with my boyfriend, see my cats, relax and control my anxiety/depression through routine.

I don't know what to do. I do like the job but I need a balance and although I'm contractually obliged to leave at 5:30... it seems frowned upon by most businesses. It's like we're expected to work 24/7. This company says instead of automated replies they expect us to send a quick e-mail back to each customer over the weekend saying we'll get back to them on Monday. This could be 10 customers a day...

I'm just having a bit of an internal battle. ARGH. I wish I was a workaholic.
 
Apravo

Apravo

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I couldn't do it, At the end of the day it will continue to make you depressed, So all the plusses are negated.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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I agree with you, there should be this balance. But I've been in a similar position to yours, working in a big firm where everyone worked late and it was almost expected, although never said. Then the question is do you want to cut a lone furrow and leave on time, or do you give in. I compromised - I always showed up thirty minutes late in the mornings and stayed thirty minutes late in the evening. Nobody ever said anything, and I still got performance related bonuses and things.

But it can affect a little bit how people see you. I never got promoted at this firm, for instance. But then I didn't stay there that long, only a few years.
 
L

Lancaster Sam

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I've never been in employment, however if you're only contracted to 5:30 then maybe it is okay to leave at that time. Yes some will stay late, maybe ask about it after a little time and see what they say, or maybe explain how you feel after a little bit of time at the company? But the most important thing is your well-being :) My ideas are just spit balling as it were.
 
Sarah0407

Sarah0407

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I did speak to the guy about it today, we had a little talk to discuss how I was getting on etc. I tried to mention quite innocently/casually - "It's confusing because its past 5:30 and everyone's still here, I thought the working hours were until 5:30?"

He basically explained that no one is expected to stay after 5:30 but it's good etiquette to offer help to anyone with their daily tasks and tidy the office etc? Which is fair enough, but at 6pm people were all still talking to their own clients/customers/sellers as if they were only mid-way through the day.
So even though he says it's not expected... deep down it is and they just don't want to say it.


So it's one of those situations. I have a trial month anyway so I'll see how I feel at the end of the month... why is nothing ever easy?
 
L

Lancaster Sam

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I did speak to the guy about it today, we had a little talk to discuss how I was getting on etc. I tried to mention quite innocently/casually - "It's confusing because its past 5:30 and everyone's still here, I thought the working hours were until 5:30?"

He basically explained that no one is expected to stay after 5:30 but it's good etiquette to offer help to anyone with their daily tasks and tidy the office etc? Which is fair enough, but at 6pm people were all still talking to their own clients/customers/sellers as if they were only mid-way through the day.
So even though he says it's not expected... deep down it is and they just don't want to say it.


So it's one of those situations. I have a trial month anyway so I'll see how I feel at the end of the month... why is nothing ever easy?
Yeah i suppose if you have a trial month it gives you time to sort things out. :) Maybe during the month try a day on, day off system and see how it works for you? :) Yeah nothing is ever easy :( i don't know why it is, life i guess :( or that's my negative take on it lol
 
Sarah0407

Sarah0407

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Yeah i suppose if you have a trial month it gives you time to sort things out. :) Maybe during the month try a day on, day off system and see how it works for you? :) Yeah nothing is ever easy :( i don't know why it is, life i guess :( or that's my negative take on it lol

Yeah well I think we're all a bit guilty of negativity on here aren't we? But then working 5/7 days a week does that to you. It isn't life...
 
Sarah0407

Sarah0407

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At work again today, feeling very weird. I woke up feeling really panicky and anxious today so I snoozed my alarm for 5 minutes and literally that 5 minutes sleep somehow made me feel a lot better.

However today I'm massively doubting the job and I feel trapped and home sick even though I only live. down the road... :(
 
Jaminacaranda

Jaminacaranda

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I worked in a job where hours were not stated in the contract - you were expected to work 30 'core hours' a week and then however many more on top of that in order to 'do the job'. The reality was it was virtually impossible to do everything you were expected to do in less than 50 to 60 hours a week, occasionally even more. It was the people who conspicuously worked late (I took a lot of work home) who were favoured by management and yes, if you were seen to leave 'early' too often some colleagues would start making unpleasant comments about you. I found working 50 hours a week just about bearable but when I had a lot of work on and had to work 60+ hours a week for several weeks in a row I started to feel ill - and I mean physically ill. I went to my GP complaining of stomach cramps, chest pains, disturbed sleep and light-headedness and he told me it was exhaustion and stress! I had a week off work (with a sick note - management would not accept 'self-certification') and when I went back I negotiated a slightly lighter workload.
The point of my story is - you do need to monitor your physical and mental health closely if you are working in a demanding job with long hours. Stress is a close relation of depression. You need to make sure you are eating regularly and sleeping well. I found walking to and from work (mine was one and a half miles away) helped me and I also tried to get out for a short brisk walk at lunchtimes. Most importantly though, I asked myself 'Are you doing a good job within the hours you work - regardless of other people's expectations?' and I knew I was so that stopped me from being too guilty about not working as many hours as others. I considered many other people were doing work (after hours, so to speak) that was completely pointless. I refused to do that. Perhaps they were anxious to get promotion, whereas I wasn't.
Someone mentioned alternating days I think - good idea. You can get away with leaving early (in your case, 'on time') if you work late one or two days a week. The other thing is, make a big deal of what you have achieved during your working day so no-one is able to accuse you of 'shirking'. If your manager tries to push you into taking on more work, be honest and tell him you don't think you can manage it.
Could you do more of your work from home? I found that more relaxing and my manager was happy for me to do that. I had a better PC than they had at work anyway :D

I suppose you can only go with the flow and try to fit in the best you can for your trial month but I presume you will have a 'review' at the end of it - that will be the time to be honest with your manager and try and reach a compromise if you want to stay in the job.
 
Sarah0407

Sarah0407

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Hi guys,

Yes I left about 5-10 minutes after my contract hours ended. I finished my work as most of it was calling people up and after 5pm your responses kind of die down... and at 5:30 I emptied all the bins and asked my boss if he needed anything from me and then left.

It's just one of those things where even though I'm technically allowed to leave at 5:30, people might accuse me of being lazy and I don't believe that's right. I work hard in my contracted hours.

It's made me quite ill today, I've wanted to cry all day, I've felt hints of panic and depression. I can't pinpoint what it is. I feel quite trapped as I'm in an office all day, it's a no phone policy so I can't send a quick text to my friend when I'm feeling down - it's fair enough but I like to have reassurance from someone when I'm down. When I get home I have to talk about how I feel and gradually I begin to get better and then feel okay about the job again. I just know tomorrow I'll go through the same motions again.
 
LORD BURT

LORD BURT

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Just to add my own.

One job I had from 2006 - 2009 - I used to work late quite often. Generally people work their normal hours. But I enjoyed it and would work late now and then.

I was eventually made redundant regardless of my extra hours.
 
Sarah0407

Sarah0407

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I just wish I felt better.

People are saying I have the option to leave after my trial month if I really hate it... but then what do I do? I don't particularly want to go back to what I was doing before as it was way too much travelling and it was unreliable... I just can't seem to be happy in anything I do.
And the things that I have felt happy doing are fleeting things that I can't do full-time.
 
Sarah0407

Sarah0407

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Just to add my own.

One job I had from 2006 - 2009 - I used to work late quite often. Generally people work their normal hours. But I enjoyed it and would work late now and then.

I was eventually made redundant regardless of my extra hours.
That's interesting. It's good that you enjoyed working late. If I was really busy then I suppose I wouldn't mind staying late, but as I'm new there isn't a massive amount I have to do so by 5-5:30pm I'm watching the clock. I really wish I was a workaholic. It'd make my life so much easier, but every minute I stay late at work I count the time I could be having to myself.
 

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