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JD4010

At the Proverbial Crossroads

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Posted (edited)

Well, here I am. Aged 60, divorced, in failing health, with a daughter in grad school. I'm barely hanging on financially because of the divorce settlement.

My job pays reasonably well but is becoming increasingly stressful and fraught with uncertainty. In spite of the pay, my ex gets the substantial portion of my income. I live in a dump and drive a rusty old car that is on its last legs (er, wheels). I have no luxuries like cable TV or home internet. I don't travel because I can't afford it--and I really don't want to deal with a lot of people if I do manage to go somewhere. I'm essentially a hermit that lives with two cats and socializes only with my adult daughter.

I had a chat with our interim manager on Thursday and she came right out and said she's not sure I'm the right person for what will be coming at us starting next week...as she put it, this year will probably be the hardest ever. The former manager left notes for his successor about what problems he had with me so her perception is already colored from that. I know that I have sucked as well, partly because I no longer really believe in what we are doing and have become generally apathetic. I've worked in the same place for 31 years and have "risen through the ranks," as it were.

I need to either really step up my game and get completely out of my comfort zone, or simply bow out. The choice is stark and clear. I have to decide if I want to take on far more stress and responsibility to keep my position, or do I want to jump ship and become nothing more than a bum. It's amazing how the choice has been narrowed to those  two paths I can take. There really isn't any "in between."

Edited by JD4010

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It's a very hard decision.  If it was me I would probably retire.  Can you really handle more stress?  You're working yourself into the ground to hand most of your money to someone else while you sit at home with a low quality of life.  Is retirement even a possibility though?  I'm someone that fights way beyond the point where it makes rational sense to most people so really I could see myself taking either path really.  It's your decision and I understand whatever decision you choose.

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Wow that's a really big decision.  My two cents is, the job gets you up and about?  You said if you retire you'll be a "bum"?  How about having a one on one with your manager--and explain that the last manager may have painted a picture of you that's not accurate.  Ask her to give you a chance to show that picture isn't accurate.  Your decision is really, really hard.  And I get that stress, and I'm so sorry your job is so stressful.  Or, maybe find that one hobby or thing you enjoy and retire and have that life.  Life, I'm not sure what that is...  But I so hope the decision  (and afterwards) doesn't cause you more stress.  

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It sounds like your manager is laying groundwork to get rid of you one way or another. From what you said, you are doing neither yourself nor the company any favor by hanging around. I wonder if you have more choices about what to do next than you think. Black/white all/nothing thinking is a hallmark of depression. Isn't it possible you could find another position that made good use of your abilities and which you would find gratifying?

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Wish I had some good advice for you, JD especially since you are such a hero to me here on the Forums.  I am always hoping and hoping and hoping that things will get better for you.  You deserve a break! ! !

- epictetus

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I’m so sorry JD. That really does put you in a questionable position either way. I wish there was a definitive answer of what would be best. If retiring sounds at all appealing and is possible maybe you should. You could always take on a part time job to make some extra money to supplement on the side. Or maybe even odd jobs that the ex wouldn’t have to know about so you could keep YOUR earned income. 

I’m rooting for you, no matter which way you decide to go. You’re such an encouraging and wonderful individual. That company will be at a great loss without you. 

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Posted (edited)

The amount of bs and disfunctionality at any given work environment never ceases to surprise me. Though it DOES sort of prove how effed up we truly are on this sad planet. No one truly listening to anyone else..sorry, rant.

I am so sorry you have to go through all this, jd. 

1 hour ago, Epictetus said:

Wish I had some good advice for you, JD especially since you are such a hero to me here on the Forums.  I am always hoping and hoping and hoping that things will get better for you.  You deserve a break! ! !

- epictetus

I couldn't agree more.

I was going to be politically incorrect but  as I don't know your history I deleted it. The last thing I want to do is add to your distress but saying something out of line.

So I'll just ask is there any chance you could in fact tell the (new?) manager that what she has been told about you isn't in fact the whole truth? One would think 31 years would speak for itself, reliability and all that. 

51 minutes ago, Tid322 said:

 If retiring sounds at all appealing and is possible maybe you should. You could always take on a part time job to make some extra money to supplement on the side. Or maybe even odd jobs that the ex wouldn’t have to know about so you could keep YOUR earned income. 

I’m rooting for you, no matter which way you decide to go. You’re such an encouraging and wonderful individual. That company will be at a great loss without you. 

I agree with this too. Every word.

All the best, jd. You deserve it.

Edited by samadhiSheol

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Thank you all. We shall see.

Retirement is pretty much impossible because my ex automatically gets half of my pension too. I couldn't afford to live with what's left over. 

I'm discouraged AF, to say the least.

 

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What you're doing now is pretty much impossible too.  If you retired you might have to have a different life but you didn't really mention any positive things about your life except for your daughter and your cats and they will always be there.  It might be going from one hell to another but at least you would have some peace.  You wouldn't have to go to a job every day that's destroying you mentally and physically.

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I will go the contrarian route here.

If you are in a no win situation, then you have freedom.  If this year is going to be the hardest ever, then they will need you the most.  (training someone else takes time)   If you're not doing anything at home, you have more time to accomplish (not just be busy).  Maybe vent about the 10 worse things and get everyone thinking about other changes need to be made and maybe someone makes those changes.  Lead where you want to go.  Jump into the deep end of the pool here.  Make it yours.  Yes, it is a lot "scarier" then doing the same ol same ol.  But you are in a place of risk anyway, right?  This adds reward to the risk.  

What is the worse thing they do? fire you or force early retirement?

Sure, none of this may be what you want.  Could it be what you need? 

Is it better to burn out or fade away?  

You have choice and power here.  Finding a way to use it is the trick, right?  When we are depressed, we just never see a constructive way forward, but we should not stop looking.

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@mmoose has identified the kinds of things I've been mulling over. The biggest hurdle I face is my attitude. I've never had much confidence in my abilities. I procrastinate for fear of screwing up. I don't like telling people things they don't want to hear. These are the weaknesses I must overcome to succeed at this job.

Seems simple, right? 

It has occurred to me that I have a fine life, in spite of living in a dump and wondering if I can make it from one paycheck to the next. I live in *my* apartment, with my cats. I can watch old sci fi series on DVD with my old 27" CRT TV. My car might be a rusty beater but it's as comfortable as the proverbial pair of favorite (but worn out) shoes. I have a nice office area at work. 

In short, I have it made. The Life of Riley.

Only my own fears and lack of confidence trip me up.

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Hi JD

31 years, one job? that is quite an accomplishment!!

On the bright side: You have a roof, car, TV, job, and two cats. More than most.

Change is scary. The unknown is unnerving.

we’re pulling for you JD!

lov.

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I like your "looking on the positive side" response.  And, you have identified some of the things at work that are holding you back.  The good news, if you are the one holding you back, you can change that.  (Not easy! but within your control) 

Have you asked your boss their opinion on the parts of the job you do not like to do?  Seeking advice can start a conversation and can build a relationship.  Try what they say, give feedback.  It's a process.  (You probably already know this)

On the other hand, you can also just blame others when passing along bad news.  I would not suggest this for "long term" situations.  But if you are just trying to get by now, it works for now.

And, if you did retire there, draw pension...and get another job.  Job hunts are not fun for our types.  But, if the job is supplemental to the pension, you might not have to job search professionally.  Maybe you'll find something with much less stress (and less pay of course)

Either way, change is in the air.  Take a deep breath and see what it smells like.  Repeat after me "things are changing, I will will change also"  (seriously, I want to see you type this in....or some similar mantra that you can repeat to yourself everyday)  and then take a step forward into the brave future.

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Posted (edited)

Heh. Things were actually going well for almost two days. But, as usual, I got kicked in the groin again for daring to think that anything would improve. 

I really should know better by now. 

Most people learn not to stick their hand into a running garbage disposal. But I repeatedly stick mine down there and think things will turn out different this time. 

Edited by JD4010

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2 hours ago, adamrparr said:

Oh hell, man.  What happened?

Stupid office politics. This sh!t just festers forever.

I'm trying not to let it drag me all the way down. Headed home to create a greener world.

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Breathe.  Breath in the air.  Don't be afraid to care.   Or, so says the Bard.

If others resist improvement, it will become obvious everyone else  (in time)

Others do not change overnight.  History can be important.  And, it can be a weight dragging us into the past.  But, we should not expect that to change.  We can only change ourselves.  Are you changing your attitude?  If so, that is all you can do.  Let's say that you adapt to the situation and look positively forward...and that is still not enough, the decision by The Boss has already been made.  That is ok, you did what you could and should be proud of that.  When it's time to move on, you can hold your head high.  Do not underestimate that!  If you never "work" again, you can still be proud how you ended.  Or, if you interview for other jobs, your attitude and experience will reflect more positively and result in more opportunities. 

Leave on your terms. Just a matter of when.  Working forever is not the goal.  Feeling good about yourself, no matter what happens, is.     (and someone repeat this back to me when I go thru it, which is only a matter of time of course)

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@mmoose Thanks again. What I need to do is develop a thicker skin so the BS doesn't intrude. It's constant so I won't escape it...the only way to deal with it is let it slide off.

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Oof. Just seeing this now JD. Sounds like a tough spot. I really don't have enough of a grasp to give you any advice, but know that I am rooting for you and if you ever need a sounding board don't hesitate to get in touch.

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18 minutes ago, Tilted said:

Oof. Just seeing this now JD. Sounds like a tough spot. I really don't have enough of a grasp to give you any advice, but know that I am rooting for you and if you ever need a sounding board don't hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks my friend. I'm actually doing a little better, work-wise anyway. Had another chat with the interim boss and it was more positive. 

Of course, now that I've mentioned I feel a little better, something else will come crashing down on me from out of the blue.

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Well I am going to weigh in here to, 31 years should mean something, but yeah your own attitude is what can **** you. I think I am a lot like you take everything personally. It is hard to let things slide off. Going to wish you luck.

Really wish you would visit a lawyer about your agreement of divorce, your ex-wife should not be getting everything forever.

Good luck.

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11 hours ago, Tears_Always said:

Well I am going to weigh in here to, 31 years should mean something, but yeah your own attitude is what can **** you. I think I am a lot like you take everything personally. It is hard to let things slide off. Going to wish you luck.

Really wish you would visit a lawyer about your agreement of divorce, your ex-wife should not be getting everything forever.

Good luck.

Thank you for that. I definitely take everything personally and I tend to "catastrophize" as well. 

I used to think I was tough. But that was delusional thinking.

On edit: I've thought about renegotiating the divorce agreement, but honestly, my ex is having  some ominous health issues and I would not be able to live with myself if I left her destitute. 

Today I feel like I'm merely running out the clock, waiting for this shitty game to end.

Edited by JD4010

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nothing says you leave her without anything, it should be things like pension until divorce then it is all yours. Things like that.

I am not sure how you work but I actually have notes taped to my desk under my keyboard to remind me not to let things bother me, not to say anything, ignore whatever, some days they even help 😛 

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On 1/4/2020 at 7:25 PM, JD4010 said:

Well, here I am. Aged 60, divorced, in failing health, with a daughter in grad school. I'm barely hanging on financially because of the divorce settlement.

My job pays reasonably well but is becoming increasingly stressful and fraught with uncertainty. In spite of the pay, my ex gets the substantial portion of my income. I live in a dump and drive a rusty old car that is on its last legs (er, wheels). I have no luxuries like cable TV or home internet. I don't travel because I can't afford it--and I really don't want to deal with a lot of people if I do manage to go somewhere. I'm essentially a hermit that lives with two cats and socializes only with my adult daughter.

I had a chat with our interim manager on Thursday and she came right out and said she's not sure I'm the right person for what will be coming at us starting next week...as she put it, this year will probably be the hardest ever. The former manager left notes for his successor about what problems he had with me so her perception is already colored from that. I know that I have sucked as well, partly because I no longer really believe in what we are doing and have become generally apathetic. I've worked in the same place for 31 years and have "risen through the ranks," as it were.

I need to either really step up my game and get completely out of my comfort zone, or simply bow out. The choice is stark and clear. I have to decide if I want to take on far more stress and responsibility to keep my position, or do I want to jump ship and become nothing more than a bum. It's amazing how the choice has been narrowed to those  two paths I can take. There really isn't any "in between."

JD, if you think you're going to be fired, there are some steps you might take.  Consult a lawyer about what recompense you might receive if, in fact, you were fired.  I know companies are trying to get rid of people over the age of 50--my brother went through that and ended up bitch-slapping the company for TWO YEARS' severance, by getting an out of state lawyer (He works in NYC and his employers had their fingers in all employment lawyers' pies!  He found a Chicago lawyer who specializes in employee rights and has a track record of success!)!  If it comes to your being let go, you might consider going after them for age discrimination.  Just a thought . . .

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You know what, JD?  I can totally relate to all of this.  I had to look to make sure I hadn't written it, it sounds so familiar. LOL

I live paycheck-to-paycheck and work in a crap job.  Oh, I make relatively decent money (although it is nowhere near what I should make, given my degrees) that allows me to live in a nice condo and get, finally, a new car (that was more of a necessity than anything else). Not entirely sure how I'm going to eat, but I digress.

I've struggled (and continue to struggle) with those questions: "do I quit" or "do I stick with it and be miserable."  I'm 58 and I just don't see myself getting work that will pay what I make or being able to manage the stress of a new job.  I am enduring unbearable stress right now, but it's "familiar."  (my job sounds exactly like yours in terms of office politics) And I think I would rather deal with the security of being able to put a roof over my head than the worry about being out of work.

Oh, and I think my 2 cats agree.  🙂

It's a hard situation to be in.  I hope you can make peace with managing the best you can at work if you stay or figuring out how you will handle finances if you don't.

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