The background context is:

First job since graduating, been in an IT role for almost 18 months. Had a pretty rough time I work, IMO I was mistreated. I was put on a PIP within six months of starting for 'Asking too many questions before thoroughly investigating the issue'.

There was also an isssue with a senior who I work most closely with, could be described as a bully/micromanager.

After about 12 months I earned their respect and was given a decent payrise. This was after a few people had left and I wrote a email to my manager about the situation.

At this point I had been seeing a EAP (employee assistance program) psychologist, about work-related stress regarding my situation. I was just not enjoying it and looking to get out.

But, since then I've been having a meltdown in my personal life, mainly staying inside and playing computer games, watching videos, sleep deprevation etc. So I've been turning up at work late, and not been focused at work. (This is on going issue that has existed before I started working. When I'm good I run 1/2 marathons, swim, am social, and am generally a really cool person, etc).

What set it all of was I attended a job interview, it seemed to go well, but I did't get the job.

I've recently attended another IT interview, and that one also seemed to go well, but I didn't that job either. They said it was the technical skills rather than the people skills - I don't have working experience with the technology I was going for.

So this behavior has been noticed, and I've talked to my team leader about it, and informed her that I've been seeing EAP about it.

Work haven't been on my case about it though. Another thing is that there's currently not a lot of work to actually do, so I haven't been doing much. Mainly browsing and posting on stack-exchange.

So that's the situation. My credibility is a bit shot, and I do still want to get out of this workplace.

One of the big problems is getting a reference out of this. I have a couple of references from other guys I've worked with, who have since left, but I really need one from a boss or senior.

So it seems like they listened to my email, and have given me the space to come up with stuff myself, at least while I look for a new job and I've kind of wasted it.

So question:

  • How common is this kind of meltdown in a workplace, and how does management like to deal with it? What would the most professional way forward be?
  • 12
    You've got to take responsibility for your actions, attitudes, and "meltdowns". You won't get offered every job that you interview for; nobody does. It sounds like your employer has been nothing but accommodating. If you stop letting your personal life impact upon your workplace performance, that would be a good first step towards acting more professionally. And perhaps think twice about leaving an employer who appears to giving you free psychology sessions to deal with the feelings of rejection you picked up in a failed job interview with another company. Few are that sympathetic.
    – aroth
    May 12, 2014 at 10:27
  • Related meta discussion
    – gnat
    May 12, 2014 at 10:45
  • @aroth - I was seeing a psychologist before the interview. May 12, 2014 at 11:03
  • 1
    PIP? "Personal Injury Protection", "Performance Improvement Plan", "Personal Improvement Plan", or just "Pretty in pink"? You have an international audience here, please edit and write out the abbreviation.
    – user8036
    May 12, 2014 at 13:32
  • 1
    @Anonmeltdown I'm not sure if you're willing to mention it, but maybe it helps getting better answers if you describe what the personal meltdown is, i.e. the bare facts.
    – user8036
    May 12, 2014 at 13:37

3 Answers 3


You are already doing many of the right things to get yourself in order. Working with a mental-health professional through your Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) is a very fine choice.

Your company obviously cares about employee success: they have an EAP. Your manager sounds like she's invested in helping you. Think of them this way: they want you to succeed and they're working hard to make that happen.

Here are a few strategies that might help you more.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Make a point of doing something kind for somebody once a day, and twice a day when you're struggling a lot.

  • Be patient with yourself and your workplace. It may or may not be pleasant, but it's not dangerous. Your best way to turn this into a good reference for yourself is to get through this rough spot honorably.

  • Keep in mind that the micromanaging colleague may have been tasked with training you, and tried to do that to the best of his ability. It isn't easy.

  • It sound like you have some downtime at work. Use the downtime to learn some new area of tech. Ask a mentor (maybe this supportive manager of yours, maybe someone else) for suggestions about something new to learn. Maybe they're getting ready to deploy some new systems, and you can get the jump on learning them.

  • Another suggestion for the downtime: ask if you can have a part-time assignment involving some customer contact. Customer help-desk? Go along on some sales calls as an observer? Help tabulate some surveys? There's nothing that's quite as energizing as understanding how your company helps customers solve their problems.

  • Did I mention, get enough sleep?

You'll get through this. Making the transition from school to work isn't easy.

  • I often get two rejections a week !
    – Fattie
    Feb 10, 2018 at 14:07

Did I miss it in there? You didn't say what was causing this "personal meltdown". Was it just being turned down on two job interviews? If that's the case, I think you need to adjust your expectations. I don't have any statistics handy, but I think most people are turned down at the majority of job interviews. Any time that I've been involved in hiring people, we normally try to bring at least 3 applicants in for an interview for each position. We might then hire one of them, or we may say none were sufficiently qualified and bring in more applicants. So on average I'd say less than 1 in 4 people who are interviewed get the job, so the "average" applicant gets turned down at 3/4 of interviews. I think you just need to accept that you'll have a pretty high rejection rate, everybody does, and not worry about it. If you go on 50 interviews and get zero offers, then maybe you should start examining what you're doing wrong. But 2 rejections? It never hurts to think of what you could have done better, but the answer in that case may be "nothing". 2 rejections is no big deal.

Are you having serious problems in your personal life? Like did you just go through a divorce or break-up, or had someone close to you die, or something like that? I'm not saying you have to tell me, just looking if there is some specific cause. If so, there are always periods of despondency after such losses. It's a matter of picking yourself up and moving on.

Are you unhappy with your life in general? Maybe you need to get your life straightened out with God. That's far more important than any job.

Of course it's easy to say, "Don't let your personal problems interfere with your work. Just buckle down and get the job done." Not so easy to do in practice. Like, "Hey, you want to lose weight? Just eat less and exercise more." It's simple, but not easy. Maybe you can just make a force of will and do it. Or if there are underlying issues, whether medical, psychological, or spiritual, maybe you need to deal with those.


The goal is not let your personal life affect your work life. This is easier said than done because you need strategies for tackling it when it does creep in.

If something happening at home is emotionally upsetting you at work, you need to get your mind off of it.

  • Try meditation, which at its most basic is learning to focus and to stop your mind from wandering. Notice your triggers and have a strategy ready. Ask your therapist for some behavioral modification strategies, too.
  • Delve deeper into work projects, if that is feasible so that you are not spending too much time at home in a problematic environment. You might also want to consider why you wish to move on from an employer that has been so understanding and has invested in you. If you want to leave just because of embarrasment, reconsider. If you feel your future career growth is forever stunted at that company because of this incident, then you are right to want to move on.
  • Structure your down time and try to change the circumstances of your personal life in a positive way: volunteer for causes you care about, take up a sport, foster/adopt a pet, etc.

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