I'm an expat in The Netherlands working in the Dutch office of a large international company. The office is too small to have a trade union so there is no union representation and we have no HR people either. (Our HR department is based in another country).
My working conditions have gradually become unbearable. My boss is practicing an extreme form of performance punishment where the better I do, the more work I'm given to the point that my workload is no longer manageable. I have to take work home every evening and weekend, and all my overtime is unpaid. I've raised this issue with him many times, and he more or less threatened my job and punished me for complaining by not giving me a promised promotion.
The threat is real because we've had several layoffs already, and there are more coming. So anyone who complains about anything will be on the next layoff list. Our company culture is hostile to staff complaints in general. My boss's boss is in another country and has no idea this is going on.
The logical solution to my problem is to leave for another job. Unfortunately I've yet to find another job in the same salary range and I have a mortgage to pay so I can't take a pay cut. I'm still looking.
In the meantime I'm stuck in this horrible situation. I would like to hear from others who have experienced this, how did you cope? Are there any strategies I can use until I find another job?
All the Dutch people I know told me to go to my doctor to get signed off sick for burnout. I suffer from insomnia, nightmares and I had the first panic attack of my life a few weeks ago, I also had 2 fainting spells, so the situation is really starting to affect my health indeed. I'm not the only person in the office with this problem, currently we have about 10% of the staff on long-term sick leave.
I'm worried about going on sick leave myself. Will that affect my future employment in The Netherlands? Would another employer discriminate against me because of it?