I've been working at an office as a software developer for a few years, and the environment has been getting progressively worse. The boss of my department has been routinely calling department meetings to yell at everyone. These almost always include threatening to fire people if we don't work hard enough, which to him means coming in early and staying late, regardless of how much work we're getting done. Everyone in the office is constantly stressed, on edge, and scared of him. The other managers don't do anything to address his behavior, and always support him if pressed. I've begun to dread coming into work and usually feel anxious when I'm there, or if I need to leave on time.

I know I need to get a new job, I've applied to and been rejected by a few places. But the rejections, along with the work environment, have made applying to jobs feel hopeless and demoralizing. I know it would help to see a therapist, but I can't find any that are available when I'm not working. And taking time off every week or two to one would not be allowed, not to mention that it would cut into the PTO I could be using for interviews.

How do I deal with my mental health and finding a new job when my work is making both of those things much more difficult?

  • 2
    How much money do you have in savings? Enough to last for several months while you look for a better job? – maple_shaft Dec 4 '17 at 0:02
  • 6
    Have you really made the decision to leave, or are you just fiddling with looking for another job? It seems to me that if you deep down know that you are leaving that when your boss has his next tirade you could just keep saying to yourself "I'm glad I'm leaving.." // But I would quit without a having another job only as a last ditch desperate measure. Having bills and no income would add to stress. Plus it is harder to get a job if you don't have one. – MaxW Dec 4 '17 at 0:34
  • 6
    Have you tried finding a recruiter? As a software developer with several years experience, you should be able to find one. While not necessarily interested in your personal well being, a recruiter could help you by taking most of the work out of the job search. It worked well for me while I was on a job looking for another. – bytepusher Dec 4 '17 at 1:07
  • 2
    If you don’t address the root cause of your anxiety (toxic work environment), I don’t think there’s very much a therapist could do. – AffableAmbler Dec 4 '17 at 2:45
  • Keep looking for jobs intensively, just don't make a big deal of not being hired (rejected is a strong word) by some companies. I am sure there are several others out there that you could work for and be a got fit to each other. Meanwhile, try to keep your head down and bear it for a while. – DarkCygnus Dec 4 '17 at 4:44

Stress at work is a real issue and you are right to adress it.

If your boss threatens people to fire (without actually firing anybody) it is harassement and you should complain to HR. If your boss ask you to stay late (regardless of the workload) it is a non-sense, typical of bad management and you should ask to be paid the overtime (might depend on our contract, country, company culture). There is no reason to overwork for free (except if you try to have a promotion). The boss yelling: the boss can't manage his own stress and project it to others.

What you describe is unfortunatelly a very common case of a bad manager. If the boss doesn't change by himself there is no way you can change him (even with the help of HR). In this case it is always best to change job.

Try to do sport to relieve the stress. It can be just running or more elaborate sports (boxing). Therapist would be for a more complex issue. In this case you arealdy know the issue and how to deal with it (find another job). Also try to find a hobby where you can express yourself (music, painting), it might help.

Keep on looking for other jobs and be positive (easy to say). Rejection are normal and part of the process. There is a saying "you are rejected again and again until you get one job offer". If you look for over 6 month and didn't get an offer, reach for help to re-do your resume, interview abilities.

| improve this answer | |

I have been in your same situation.

While working in a small start up as tester, I have found a major bug in their code just one month before a fair where they wanted to present it. The bug was so severe that all the work done in the 4 months before to validate the software was just garbage. The CEO/manager blamed me in front of all the colleagues for the thing, and claimed I was being too slow in reprocessing the data (even though he said I was 25% faster than the previous tester), and pushed me to come earlier, leave later and even skip lunch breaks (at least 10 hours/day).

Long story short, after few months I took the decision to quit that job and with no regrets started looking for a better position. But what helped while I was still engaged in the job and had to get through every single day was seeking (and finding) support from my colleagues.

During our lunch breaks we usually had a fair share of "discussion" on the actions of the "pointy haired boss", which basically became the subject of our jokes. After building up this solidarity among us, we managed to stitch to the 8 hours/day, by leaving all when the 8 hours were due.

To answer your question: try to build a safety net with your colleagues, share the burden and let out some of the stress. Meanwhile keep searching and be confident in your skills.

| improve this answer | |
  • This is a story but it doesnt really answer the question – IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 4 '17 at 15:49
  • 3
    @IDrinkandIKnowThings, the story is meant as explanation to the last lines – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Dec 4 '17 at 16:17

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .