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Depression and Work/Career


How Has Depression Impacted Your Work Life and Career?  

82 members have voted

  1. 1. Has Depression had a substantial negative impact on your ability to work, and to progress in your career?

    • Yes, depression has had a major impact on my ability to be effective at work and keep a job or advance.
      74
    • No, depression has had only a minor impact, if any on my career and worklife.
      5
    • Other;explain
      4


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21 hours ago, gandolfication said:

I join you in mocking the platitudes you've mentioned above.

But, I think there can be a distinction between the hyperbole of "fixing" a current job versus "fixing" or adjusting/modifying ourselves.  I plan to write more about this later, but I don't think it is a pipe dream to try to do everything in one's power (including yes attitude) to see the value in even a 'bad' or unpleasant job.  I've had to do that, albeit often poorly.  I liken it to the general adage that while positive thinking will not allow one to do anything, it will allow one to do anything better than negative thinking.

That is the basic guiding principle I wish to explore and apply as I have done in the past, which I've allowed depression to largely rob me of in recent years.

Fixing the situation versus fixing yourself: external or internal locus of control, as my psychologist wife would call it. This is about the most basic decision we have to make in every aspect of our lives, and correctly deciding which approach to take is quite a skill indeed. I am alot better at it than I used to be but still have a long way to go. This is probably the worst effect depression can have on you, clouding your judgment as to how to react to a situation and what is realistic for you. I have managed to cut out alot of the turmoil and despair from my life by deciding which situations I can control or at least influence and those I cannot. As I have mentioned this is how I have learned to deal with my inability to get a promotion. It is also how I have dealt with difficult situations in my marriage, family life, and home. 

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3 hours ago, Afterglow1978 said:

Fixing the situation versus fixing yourself: external or internal locus of control, as my psychologist wife would call it. This is about the most basic decision we have to make in every aspect of our lives, and correctly deciding which approach to take is quite a skill indeed. I am alot better at it than I used to be but still have a long way to go. This is probably the worst effect depression can have on you, clouding your judgment as to how to react to a situation and what is realistic for you. I have managed to cut out alot of the turmoil and despair from my life by deciding which situations I can control or at least influence and those I cannot. As I have mentioned this is how I have learned to deal with my inability to get a promotion. It is also how I have dealt with difficult situations in my marriage, family life, and home. 

so simple on its face, but feels like something I don't always unpack or do well

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I've been to so many jobs that have ridiculous turnover rates. People are overworked for the tiny amount of wage money they're making, overly stressed out, bored...They are mean, unpleasant to be around, even when I don't talk, I do not gain anything to stay in a place like that. These jobs only worsen my physical and mental health.

People like to say that because I'm bilingual and I have all these things going for me, that I should be able to find something better. But that's not the case. My entire family is poor as well as myself, so I take what I could get, go in with a smile and come out inflicted by the sickness these negative groups of people inflict upon me. As long as I'm there, it's not possible for me to see the world in a positive light.

And psychiatrists like to think that I have a psychological problem, if I cannot keep a job. The reason is because they want me to buy their medecine. What will that do for me? Nothing.

At least now I see the world crystal clearly, for what it really is. The hardest thing is that I've come to the disgusting realization of how much bad luck there is out there.

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4 hours ago, The_Unwanted said:

I've been to so many jobs that have ridiculous turnover rates. People are overworked for the tiny amount of wage money they're making, overly stressed out, bored...They are mean, unpleasant to be around, even when I don't talk, I do not gain anything to stay in a place like that. These jobs only worsen my physical and mental health.

People like to say that because I'm bilingual and I have all these things going for me, that I should be able to find something better. But that's not the case. My entire family is poor as well as myself, so I take what I could get, go in with a smile and come out inflicted by the sickness these negative groups of people inflict upon me. As long as I'm there, it's not possible for me to see the world in a positive light.

And psychiatrists like to think that I have a psychological problem, if I cannot keep a job. The reason is because they want me to buy their medecine. What will that do for me? Nothing.

At least now I see the world crystal clearly, for what it really is. The hardest thing is that I've come to the disgusting realization of how much bad luck there is out there.

Yes. This. I saw this escalate during my career and go to absurd extremes at certain global recruiting firms.  I've since learned the staffing industry has its own uniquely transactional view of employees, candidates and clients.  It either attracted and/or caused people to be more mean, back-stabbing, selfish and generally Machiavellian. 

Being bilingual is valuable and a great thing in its own right, but that doesn't ipso facto mean you necessarily have an easier time or better chance of maintaining a better job. (Though I do wish I had kept up in Spanish).

The world has a lot of pain and difficulty, but there are also a lot of beautiful things.

My pet theory is that people in general nowadays are almost all overwhelmed with modern work's unrealistic pace, volume, ubiquity (work always, everywhere) and the onslaught of impersonal information coming at them every second.  Like everyone, I do not have a simple answer, but I do know a necessary foundation is to first state unambiguously that it is a problem that has to change for the sake of human health and flourishing.  We've allowed technology, greed, and of course competition and survival within our system, make us all unhealthy.  It will have to change.

I learned today that at the law firm where I am doing legal research and writing as a temp, the firm--which is not large--has a set of programs that for smaller cases, can scour and grab information from external and internal sources, including fields within medical records, pull quotes, put them into a template, complete an appeal, file it, track its progress, and show the managing partner and ops people status of claims.  Once a minimal amount of automated workflow has been set up, it requires virtually no human intervention...and these are administrative legal briefs, albeit right now simple ones.

My colleagues and I are thus now competing directly against algorithms.  

And I should add that the people and work environment here are actually good, although boring, grinding and it doesn't pay squat. 

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A coworker of mine, who has become a good friend, told me a litany of stories a while back about how the head of our department was a bad, bad, BAD person. I thought he was just holding a grudge against her because of some argument they had. Hey, she always seemed nice to me.

Then yesterday a pregnant young woman in our department was fired. She was supposed to start maternity leave on Monday. Now I always try to keep an open mind. I don't know what happened. Maybe her job performance was awful and she had been warned about it before. Maybe she was missing too much time, too much calling in sick. I don't know. But I just can't get past the fact that they fired her just days before she was going to start the maternity leave that they approved her to take. Like she doesn't have enough to worry about with being a week or two (if that) from giving birth to her first child. 

And what I really want to do is say something on Facebook about it, but I also know I'd be all but asking for it. My FB profile doesn't list where I work, and no one but those on my "friends" list can see the stuff I post. Nonetheless I can't help but think that it will come back to haunt me, so I won't say anything. But now I am even more determined to get OUT of that place.

(In all fairness I should note that there are two other women in the department who recently gave birth and were not fired, their job security is fine. But still.)

 

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10 hours ago, Sir Robin said:

A coworker of mine, who has become a good friend, told me a litany of stories a while back about how the head of our department was a bad, bad, BAD person. I thought he was just holding a grudge against her because of some argument they had. Hey, she always seemed nice to me.

Then yesterday a pregnant young woman in our department was fired. She was supposed to start maternity leave on Monday. Now I always try to keep an open mind. I don't know what happened. Maybe her job performance was awful and she had been warned about it before. Maybe she was missing too much time, too much calling in sick. I don't know. But I just can't get past the fact that they fired her just days before she was going to start the maternity leave that they approved her to take. Like she doesn't have enough to worry about with being a week or two (if that) from giving birth to her first child. 

And what I really want to do is say something on Facebook about it, but I also know I'd be all but asking for it. My FB profile doesn't list where I work, and no one but those on my "friends" list can see the stuff I post. Nonetheless I can't help but think that it will come back to haunt me, so I won't say anything. But now I am even more determined to get OUT of that place.

(In all fairness I should note that there are two other women in the department who recently gave birth and were not fired, their job security is fine. But still.)

 

Don't do the facebook post.  It's becoming far too easy and prevalent for employers to track this and use for adverse employment decisions.

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On 2017-06-07 at 6:14 PM, gandolfication said:

Yes. This. I saw this escalate during my career and go to absurd extremes at certain global recruiting firms.  I've since learned the staffing industry has its own uniquely transactional view of employees, candidates and clients.  It either attracted and/or caused people to be more mean, back-stabbing, selfish and generally Machiavellian. 

Being bilingual is valuable and a great thing in its own right, but that doesn't ipso facto mean you necessarily have an easier time or better chance of maintaining a better job. (Though I do wish I had kept up in Spanish).

The world has a lot of pain and difficulty, but there are also a lot of beautiful things.

My pet theory is that people in general nowadays are almost all overwhelmed with modern work's unrealistic pace, volume, ubiquity (work always, everywhere) and the onslaught of impersonal information coming at them every second.  Like everyone, I do not have a simple answer, but I do know a necessary foundation is to first state unambiguously that it is a problem that has to change for the sake of human health and flourishing.  We've allowed technology, greed, and of course competition and survival within our system, make us all unhealthy.  It will have to change.

I learned today that at the law firm where I am doing legal research and writing as a temp, the firm--which is not large--has a set of programs that for smaller cases, can scour and grab information from external and internal sources, including fields within medical records, pull quotes, put them into a template, complete an appeal, file it, track its progress, and show the managing partner and ops people status of claims.  Once a minimal amount of automated workflow has been set up, it requires virtually no human intervention...and these are administrative legal briefs, albeit right now simple ones.

My colleagues and I are thus now competing directly against algorithms.  

And I should add that the people and work environment here are actually good, although boring, grinding and it doesn't pay squat. 

I just learned today that there's a workplace with easier labour pays more than my old job, which had non-stop stress at min. wage + longer hours.

I learned that the bullying inflicted on me is usually within groups of people who work in those types of labour markets. Key word here, groups. I am vulnerable in high turnover rate places because they know no one is ever going to like me and I'm always going to be rejected and alone. Individual bullies are easier to deal with, when I'm far enough that they don't have to look at me.

I learned that people don't like to do wage labor, under pressure & stressed out all day for minimum wage. Ironically, I am the only one who could tolerate the work but always wind up being the first to quit, due to always being singled out by the wolves who won't ever accept me.

In terms of pain vs beauty, I am broke and so is my family. Which means that I am in pain 24/7, and it's not possible to have a positive outlook on anything under these financial circumstances, I always get rejected even when I do good job interview/work. So that means that if I try anything at all to be productive, there's always something that will wear me down.

I thought I was my own worst enemy. But now I realize that I am just never given a chance to be productive because I always have bad luck. I thought improving myself first would help me, but it only makes things worse.

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2 minutes ago, The_Unwanted said:

I just learned today that there's a workplace with easier labour pays more than my old job, which had non-stop stress at min. wage + longer hours.

Well now, I think you just found the solution to your problem!!

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1 hour ago, The_Unwanted said:

I just learned today that there's a workplace with easier labour pays more than my old job, which had non-stop stress at min. wage + longer hours.

I learned that the bullying inflicted on me is usually within groups of people who work in those types of labour markets. Key word here, groups. I am vulnerable in high turnover rate places because they know no one is ever going to like me and I'm always going to be rejected and alone. Individual bullies are easier to deal with, when I'm far enough that they don't have to look at me.

I learned that people don't like to do wage labor, under pressure & stressed out all day for minimum wage. Ironically, I am the only one who could tolerate the work but always wind up being the first to quit, due to always being singled out by the wolves who won't ever accept me.

In terms of pain vs beauty, I am broke and so is my family. Which means that I am in pain 24/7, and it's not possible to have a positive outlook on anything under these financial circumstances, I always get rejected even when I do good job interview/work. So that means that if I try anything at all to be productive, there's always something that will wear me down.

I thought I was my own worst enemy. But now I realize that I am just never given a chance to be productive because I always have bad luck. I thought improving myself first would help me, but it only makes things worse.

Unwanted,

That sounds tough.  I can relate to some, although I'm not familiar with the background of the situation you're describing.

Work environments can be really rough....I think that's been a virtual consensus here...and my view is it's gotten worse in recent years as technology has accelerated competitiveness and lowered wages (at a rate about 10 times faster than global competition).

I'm broke to and don't know how I'll get my family through the month.  Very tough to deal with this guilt and fear and regret and shame.  And you're right, it does cause constant pain and anxiety.  It makes us heroes to withstand it.

But I am certain of this:  choosing to see the good, the positive, to accept ourselves as we are in this moment, is all possible.  Difficult? Sure.  Not a silver bullet?  Yes.  But possible?  Absolutely.  Can't be denied.  If we look around, we do see lots of people including many of us depressed doing it, against all odds.  It's one thing that keeps me at bay when I'd otherwise feel truly hopeless. Life changes.  It ebbs.  You will not be the same a year from now, a month from now, etc.  It may be subtle, but it's till vital.  Depression lies to us.  And it is SUCH a good liar.  Remember this.

Chances aren't given.  They're taken.  Well, I realize a lot of this probably sounds or feels like platitudes.  

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In previous jobs I felt filled with anxiety and trepidation before going in to work. Now, I feel ok and ready to put in another day. Not excited and ready to kick ass and take names but just like I know exactly what I am going to be doing and that's ok, it works for me. If my employer was a ship I would be a barnacle clinging to the hull. Out of the way and not particularly exciting, but right where he needs to be.

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22 hours ago, Misanthrop said:

What are some examples of this "positive good" you're imagining?

Things change.  I could certainly do something today that would make my life worse.  Therefore even by pure axiom there is something I can do today that will make it less bad, or better.  And so on.

Kids are good.

Kind people are good.

pleasant surprises, though they may seem rare.

Sunshine.  Weekends.  A great book or film or piece of art.

People recovering.  

The ability we have to exercise a measure of control, be present, etc.

For me, those opportunities to help others when I can, are undeniably good.

Someone else would likely have a completely different list. It's a list with no logical end, but you get the idea.

A wise friend of mine who has pretty effectively dealt with his own depression for decades, reminds me of life's simple abilities to choose how we'll respond to things.  It's still there.  Not saying life or all this isn't painful or without fear.  Only that we are not pre-determined.  I don't feel like this right now, at all (actually I feel quite desperate and nominally hopeless).  Fortunately, it is not wholly dependent on a feeling.

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15 hours ago, Sir Robin said:

I am back at that place where I am pretty much in a constant state of anxiety. The thought of going back to that place tomorrow fills me with dread but I also can't muster up the energy to try to find anything different. I feel overwhelmed and hopeless.

I feel similarly.  I have been applying, interviewing, etc., and absolutely need to find something that pays better and has a chance to get my career back on track at some level.  I've lined up some phone interviews, albeit in sales, this week, and I do not feel at all like preparing or doing them.  I do not feel up to it at all.  Could hardly get out of bed this morning, and I didn't on time.

These are the tough days of depression.  I remind myself they have not been and will not be 100% of my days or life.

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12 hours ago, Afterglow1978 said:

In previous jobs I felt filled with anxiety and trepidation before going in to work. Now, I feel ok and ready to put in another day. Not excited and ready to kick ass and take names but just like I know exactly what I am going to be doing and that's ok, it works for me. If my employer was a ship I would be a barnacle clinging to the hull. Out of the way and not particularly exciting, but right where he needs to be.

Ha, that barnacle metaphor made me laugh and feel about the same.  Well, it beats being cast away at sea I guess...

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I would say yes, but the reasons are complex.

Things like low energy definitely have a negative effect, but I also feel like I've always lacked a distinct "passion". You know how people always say to follow your passion? I don't have one. I have things I enjoy, but nothing I love anywhere close to the way Bill Gates loves tech or Johnny Depp loves acting.

Money doesn't tempt me, fame doesn't tempt me, no family to support, no real passion... not a lot of reason to be ambitious if nothing makes me feel good and my standard of living is fairly low.

I just made the decision to stay away from anything related to business or scientific fields, as those tend to be competitive and political. Peace of mind and health is more important to me. I'd rather be a farmer or a gardener than an engineer or a CEO.

Edited by Bebop
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Nothing at all wrong with that. If you are being productive and taking care of yourself no one has a right to criticize. If you don't require much salary to live on, I would think you could find a job or jobs you would like. What do you do for fun? What are things you think about or admire? I would think that you could find employment of some sort based on that.

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12 hours ago, Bebop said:

I would say yes, but the reasons are complex.

Things like low energy definitely have a negative effect, but I also feel like I've always lacked a distinct "passion". You know how people always say to follow your passion? I don't have one. I have things I enjoy, but nothing I love anywhere close to the way Bill Gates loves tech or Johnny Depp loves acting.

Money doesn't tempt me, fame doesn't tempt me, no family to support, no real passion... not a lot of reason to be ambitious if nothing makes me feel good and my standard of living is fairly low.

I just made the decision to stay away from anything related to business or scientific fields, as those tend to be competitive and political. Peace of mind and health is more important to me. I'd rather be a farmer or a gardener than an engineer or a CEO.

I used to have several things I was passionate about.  In some ways I still am, but depression and my struggles in the work world have obscured them, and seem to have put out of reach those things I think I would really like doing.  While I'd like to be rich as much as anyone and need money to support my family, I am also not driven by money itself.

Your approach seems prudent to me. Would you share what kind of work you do?

thx

-g

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Well it's been a rough 24 hours (actually closer to 26.) Last night we had some really nasty weather go through here, and naturally I left my bedroom window open yesterday morning. Fortunately all that happened was a small section of carpet and a little bit of my bed got a little damp, not even wet. BUT when I got home the power was out, so I went and hung out at a friend's house. He lives a half-mile from me and he had power at his place, go figure. Around 10 he went to bed and invited me to crash on his couch but I sleep with a CPAP so I figured I either had to go home and hold out hope they would get the power back on, or either get a room at a motel near here. Eventually I decided that even though I could afford it, I wasn't going to do the motel. I thought that if I didn't get enough sleep I'd just call in to work the next day. I try not to do that often but I figured 1) I've earned it with all the mandatory OT this year and 2) with as stressed as I get at the job when I'm well-rested, I was going to be pretty much useless if I went in with a poor night's sleep.

Since I'm not good with decisions even in good circumstances, I wound up parking in front of my building for like half an hour last night and sitting there while I tried to make up my mind. It was kinda spooky out there with no lights on anywhere. Eventually I made the decision after a couple cars drove past and I thought with my luck those people will call 911 because they thought I was casing the joint.

Well low and behold, just before midnight the power came back on. Thing was I had to go in an hour early again today because of the stupid OT so I only got about six and a half hours of sleep. I usually don't do well unless I get at least eight. But when I got up this morning I thought I was alert enough to go in and tough out nine hours of this nonsense. 

But low and behold, when I got there I couldn't take any calls because there was a problem with my computer login, so I had most of the day "off" even though I was at work. They finally got it fixed with about 2.5 hours left on my shift. But on the calls I did take I could feel myself getting crabby quickly. At least when I got home the power was still on. My friend had texted me that he heard it was out in my section of town, thankfully he was wrong.

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I got myself scheduled for 2 phone interviews starting at noon today for 2 different legal/document workflow/office equipment outside sales jobs.

I'm trying to get myself geared up for them.  Why is it one of the sickest feelings in the world to work hard to pursue these, knowing I will probably hate them, have not done well at these in recent years, and yet, because I desperately need something with higher income, I force myself to keep taking (and even pursuing) interviews for them?

I'm trying to focus on what I can control - my attitude, perspective and the benefits, as well as the ever-present desire to prove to myself that I can still be successful even in these roles that I don't believe I should be in ultimately (or at all really).  Ug.

It's partly an exercise in focusing on the positive skills and traits I do have, while at the same time bluffing and puffing a little...which is sadly what most sales people do anyway.  I just don't like doing it at all.  The alternative will be to be dead broke and see my family evicted at some point not far from now.

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On 2017-06-09 at 4:59 PM, gandolfication said:

But I am certain of this:  choosing to see the good, the positive, to accept ourselves as we are in this moment, is all possible.  Difficult? Sure.  Not a silver bullet?  Yes.  But possible?  Absolutely.  Can't be denied.  If we look around, we do see lots of people including many of us depressed doing it, against all odds.  It's one thing that keeps me at bay when I'd otherwise feel truly hopeless. Life changes.  It ebbs.  You will not be the same a year from now, a month from now, etc.  It may be subtle, but it's till vital.  Depression lies to us.  And it is SUCH a good liar.  Remember this.

Chances aren't given.  They're taken.

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. These aren't platitudes. It's true what you say. Just not for me.

The more I make moves foward, the further back I wind up.

It always becomes harder and harder over time because I'm always unlucky. I go through the opposite of growing. My depression gets worse and worse over time. Those who have control of my entire life never appreciate or value me. And I'll never get the chance to be in something that's right for me.

The solution is to physically avoid these people. The reason why I can tough it out living in my crappy apartment building is because I live by myself and can avoid contact, most of the time. I rarely ever see my nasty neigbour, so everyone's problem solved and my urge to move goes away.

My problem isn't that I don't persevere. My problem is not depression. My problem is that I'm not valued as a human being and no one ever gives me a chance, even if I go to ridiculous extremes to make a good impression. People are much more fortunate than I am, plain and simple.

I've done everything imaginable to like my job, but those places always all have high turnover rates. I have no hope of every feeling good about myself. No amount of positive thinking or any actions could save me. The reason why is because I am outnumbered and have zero support.

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I regret qutting an old job I had. One of the managers or maybe both were supportive of me. I had a profession environment and was doing pharmaceutical maintenance, which can be cool at times but also a living hell, depending upon what they make me do. The constant rushing, being overworked, and constantly brought down became too much for me.

I wound up giving up that job because my partner was verbally abusive, slandering, and treated me like a total piece of crap. I did not file a complaint because I did not believe we could work seperated. It's possible that my biggest mistake was to not make a request to work alone, when they surprisingly added an additional staff member. The ''root'' of the problem is usually that they don't want to hang with me, so this could have been a huge blown oppurtunity for me, due to possible ignorance and lack of faith in the staff to grant my request.

Sometimes, my only option to succeed is to walk away. Unfortunately, it's like that in every job I get hired for and once I walk away, I feel like a million bucks until my money runs out and then I start over again. I cannot grow or make anything of myself, even if I tried.

Edited by The_Unwanted
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On 6/13/2017 at 9:52 PM, Afterglow1978 said:

Good grief, you had to be there even though couldn't actually do your job? Were you getting paid at all?

Heck yeah I got paid. It's not my fault I couldn't log into my account. This actually isn't the first time something like this has happened; the first time they gave up and sent me home early but still paid me for the whole day. (Granted if I can't use my computer I can't make any commission though.)

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15 hours ago, The_Unwanted said:

 

Sometimes, my only option to succeed is to walk away. Unfortunately, it's like that in every job I get hired for and once I walk away, I feel like a million bucks until my money runs out and then I start over again. I cannot grow or make anything of myself, even if I tried.

Looking back on the times I walked away from jobs, I sometimes think that walking away in each case was a mistake.  It seemed a bold step at the time to walk away.  I had plans for the future, but really I should have stayed on and dealt with the problems I had.  Perhaps I just did not know that I had problems at the time I thought that I was just looking for pastures new.  I now know that I actually did have problems and I should have confronted them, even if it meant a hard time for a while.  

Edited by Mistral001
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