What to Do When Your Job Makes You Feel Insane

Maybe you can relate: you’re doing a good job, your work is of high quality and you’re feeling like you’re getting into your groove at your new-ish job, when suddenly things don’t seem as good as they were at the onset. Suddenly, you’re told you’re not meshing with the culture or it’s not “as much of a ‘culture fit’ as we originally thought.” Say WHA??? You may ask yourself if you’re going insane.

Whoa, what? But everything was going so well! My work product is great and on time or early, you might be thinking. I am displaying all the signs that I want to learn, you might be telling your management team. What gives?!

 

insane

This kind of situation can be confusing and make for an almost out of body experience. I remember when it happened to me a few years ago, I was so confused, scared, flummoxed, flabbergasted, and every other word that basically denotes “WTF!” I remember feeling like I was going insane- the things that management was saying about me and to me were so foreign and weird, that I didn’t know what to do. (I’m still trying to find the words to share more of that experience, in hopes it can help someone in a similar situation, but I haven’t quite gotten there yet.)

I felt the need to write something in the interim about this, because I’ve recently worked with two clients on issues like this. They’ve broken down in our meetings, and my heart goes out to them, because I know what it’s like to be in those shoes. (I got so upset on my birthday a couple of years ago, and I worked myself up so much, that I vomited.)

Now, of course, there are difficult employees. But assuming that you are not one of them, and you’re dealing with this very real situation where you’re feeling the tide is turning and this wall of resistance is building against you, I wanted to share the following advice/perspective.

1. You may feel insane, but you most likely aren’t. Since you’re spending so much time there, their interpretation of this situation can feel like reality and like you’re doomed, but you’re not. Once I realized that I was dealing with an untenable situation, I developed an exit plan and developed a relationship with another company where I worked as a contractor for a couple of years as I built my coaching practice. Working there was a fabulous and nurturing experience and it reversed my PTSD-esque brief experience with the other company.

2. The good news is, you’re not entrenched. What I mean by this, is the majority of times that I’ve seen this happen, it’s early on in your ‘residency’ at the company. In other words, things turn bad quick, and it’s easier to disentangle yourself from the situation. You’re not on a million projects and a key lynchpin at the company. Of course, it IS possible for that to happen, but it’s not as likely. This makes your exit plan that much easier. You can likely move on and remove the experience from your resume, as I did. (My experience was also with a less than ethical company, in my opinion, so I didn’t want my name associated with them.)

3. Take Care of Yourself. I can’t believe how when this was going on how I wasn’t paying attention to how I was feeling and what I was doing. I threw up for Pete’s sake! Know that it WILL get better and try to focus instead on your wellness. Meditating, going to the gym, talking with a coach or therapist or friend about it- whatever it takes to not internalize the horrible insane situation and instead let it out in a cathartic way. Do what makes you happy, get to a good baseline and when you’re feeling calm and ok, develop your exit plan and GTFO (get the eff out) ASAP. This involves getting in touch with your network- another good reason to keep them top of mind always- and seeing what’s out there, even if it’s a temporary fix to your situation (freelance, project based work, for example).

What else can you do to maintain your sanity when you feel like you’re going nuts? Leave some comments below for me!

 

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