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I'm a female Software Developer, working as a provider, sitting in the client's offices, in Germany.

Due to constant misogynistic attitudes(1), sexual harassment(2), and being treated as if I was a hihgly sexualised stupid child(3) I have developed a depression, with phases where I just want to die. I have discussed this with my employer (not the part of feeling suicidal, but mentioning this was making me literally ill) to see if they can give me some other project where I am treated as an adult human being, only to be given the feeling it is all my fault for letting this get to me, and they can't promise it will be different in some other project.

When feeling suicidal I went to the doctor, who put me on sick leave. While this helped a lot, and allowed me to find the strength to search for another job, when I was back I began to feel really bad again (of course).

I am waiting for an potential employer to tell me if they take me or not, but meanwhile I developed some wish to harm myself, so I went to the doctor, and I told him I want to resign due to health problems. His answer to that was that it is a bad idea, that if I am sick for more than 6 weeks I can still get money to live from the health insurance, and he put me on a sick leave.

My question, why it is such a horrific idea to resign without having yet a new job, even if your current job is making you feel suicidal and/or making you want to physically harm yourself or others?

This is related, but doesn't consider the health factor.


Here some concrete examples on why I say my current workplace is so horrible:

(1) Now I am in another office where it doesn't happen that often, but still... Some concrete example: "to be a woman is really an illness", or joking about how fun rape is.

(2) One guy used to stare all the time on my breasts. When I told him to stop, he went angry and didn't even greet me, which I considered an improvement on his attitude. After a while he decided to talk to me again, but continued to stare on my breasts, and began to make comments. When I told my project manager, he wondered why I wouldn't take is as a compliment, and told me how a friend of his thinks it is. While he finally told the harasser to not to comment on any part of my body, he did so while smiling broadly, and telling him I was being very sensible and he didn't thing he was a sexual harasser. He finally asked me if I was wearing normal unisex t-shirts with normal pictures where pictures always are on purpose so that people would stare me on my breasts.

(3) Two days ago, after a comment of mine about leaving for home that day, he told me "I should be put over one's knee" (man muss dich über das Knie legen). It's like the fourth time he tells me exactly that, with the difference that this time I managed to tell him in a very serious voice that this kind of comments make me feel uncomfortable. On the next day he was like "I'm afraid to tell you the wrong thing in case you get angry at me". Some time ago he also had the bad habit to tell me how a friend of him likes to provoke to be stared and commented on his breasts, and how frequent this is on women (it is not).


Edit: I think I misunderstood my doctor and some comments of some freinds and aquitances. It is itself not a terrible idea to quit beacuse of your health, in Germany there are usually better alternatives.

  • Do you think a different (better!) workplace would help your mental health? – user29055 Jul 29 '17 at 8:08
  • @Midas: yes. Basically in places I have been before I didn't feel like I was wrong and socially unable to survive because of having the wrong body and not having a very thick skin, which is how I feel now. – DarkPurpleShadow Jul 29 '17 at 8:12
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    Good luck with your job search, and with your mental health in general. It will get better. – user29055 Jul 29 '17 at 8:18
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    This depends on where you live (can you add a country tag?) but in much of the world, you could probably sue your employer over these conditions. Same with quitting; in much of the world you could probably quit and enforce "hostile workplace". – Erik Jul 29 '17 at 8:30
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    Final close vote cast. You need to talk to someone, whether that's a close friend, a trusted family member or a mental health professional. As mentioned above you're operating on a false premise. The traditional advice is "don't resign without having a new job lined up unless you have to". You may have to, but that's not a decision we can make for you. Job searching without being currently employed is harder, but it's likely harder to do during or after a mental breakdown. Please consider talking to a professional. – Lilienthal Jul 29 '17 at 11:58
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It is never a bad idea to quit your job if the job is the cause of your suicidal thoughts. But I think you misunderstood your doctor:

" I told him I want to resign due to health problems. His answer to that was that it is a bad idea, that if I am sick for more than 6 weeks I can still get money to live from the health insurance, and he put me on a sick leave. " Basically, your doctor says: stay on sick leave for more than 6 weeks. If you quit now, you are not entitled to the money paid by health insurance. So don't quit, just stay on sick leave and try finding another job while you are on sick leave.

It is generally a bad idea to leave a job for something as minor as "my boss wants me to clean the toilets and I don't want to do that". It is fine that you want to quit to your job in such cases, but in such cases it is better to just stay and clean the toilets while looking for another job, for the reasons you can find in the related question you yourself linked to. But you should never ever put a job above your own mental health and safety! Try and work with your doctor to get the health insurance money, and work from there to get a new job.

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    I guess quitting is then not a terrible idea, there is just a better alternative in Germany. Thanks. – DarkPurpleShadow Jul 29 '17 at 12:48
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    tinkeringbell is exactly right, take the 6 weeks that is paid by health insurance and resign then. Research for "Arbeitslosengeld trotz Kündigung" (e.g. this: recht-finanzen.de/contents/…). It is possible to get "Arbeitslosengeld I" in cases such as yours even if you resign yourself. This can make the time that searching a job might take much easier, as you do not have to worry about your finances as much. – Flo Jul 29 '17 at 12:53
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If you returned back to work after sick leave, and the same thing happens again, then you go straight back to your doctor, tell him what happened, and you will get another sick note, the company will have the pleasure again to pay you for not working, and eventually they will figure out that allowing this disgusting behaviour in their company is costing them real money. The doctor will also make notes about what is happening, so if they wanted to fire you for being ill too often, they would be in for a bad surprise.

About the threat of physical violence: Go straight to the police. If a man at your workplace threatens you with physical violence repeatedly, then both you and the police have to take this seriously. If it happens again, take your phone, dial 110, tell them that you have been threatened and that you are afraid.

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Feeling suicidal is not a normal reaction to a job. I am not a psychiatrist or a doctor, you should speak to one. You have a bad work environment and you happen to be suicidal, two not related situations that are really bad together. But the rub is, tendency or or attraction to suicide is a state that does not go well together with any of life's bad periods or situations, and there are many of them. You should get help for having suicidal thoughts, not get a new job. You should also get a new job, but that is in my un-educated and non-certificated opinion not the cause, it is just a trigger.

  • I began to feel suicidal after several months of being there and after trying to get help in that that environment. Cause or trigger, I agree I need help for my mental health. – DarkPurpleShadow Jul 29 '17 at 12:55

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