Lost trust in managers, affecting my mental health

Long story short, I have a history of depression as well as anxiety. I have also never freely enclosed this to any employer due to fear of stigma.

I left an agency with unhealthy work life balance after being with them 3.5 years, and ever since then, I can’t seem to stay somewhere longer than a year. The agency after let me go at around 10 months, after management pretty much assured me, and I quote, “You don’t have to keep worrying about job stability. You’re doing fantastic”.

Since Friday, now I’m facing another let go after a little over a year to what boils down to miscommunication/dishonesty from managers. I understand that it does not have anything to do with the quality of my work (I’m a front-end dev), but it’s really discouraging to know that no matter how much you try or how much you feel you’ve improved, things outside of your control can take you from successful to jobless in a moment’s notice. Things like politics.

The anxiety keeps replaying the conversation I had with higher ups on Friday, basically where I was blind sided and discovered that what I thought was one slip up in communication that was easily rectified, became a completely blown out of proportion incident where apparently there were other “issues” that came to their attention as well. Out of these issues, let’s say 3 of them, 2 out of 3 was nothing I did wrong. One manager just misinterpreted a question I had about hours for a task, which I luckily screenshot to hopefully “save” myself, and another manager gave me the impression that we were on track, but told the higher ups another story with my name being thrown under the bus. It gave me flashbacks of the agency before, where I was told how “fantastic” I was and then they just let me go.

It is so frustrating! How am I supposed to work anywhere if I have to feel like someone’s going to stab me in the back or screw me over or lie to my face? I haven’t been able to sleep peacefully ever since. I go to bed tossing and turning about all the could haves, should haves and the impending doom looming in my future as these higher ups “discuss this ‘serious’ incident with executives” and it’s the first thing that comes to mind when I open my eyes in the morning. It’s like some sort of parasite, slowly taking over my mind. All Friday, my body was hurting and shaking from the anxiety.

A part of me is trying to feel like, this is an opportunity - maybe I can find something better. Maybe it gets better from this point on and this is just a stepping stone. Maybe this is scary now, but something awesome is in my future.

Another part of me is tired. When I got out of college, I didn’t even intend to go into web development and just wanted to get into something so I could eventually find “the dream job” along the way. I’m tired of being mislead, lied to or used by management, I’m tired of feeling like “just a resource”.

I’m not even sure if I wanna still code, but I’ve spent the last few years building my skillset in that area, that I’m not sure it’s that simple to “just do something else”.

Just in general, feeling very lost, betrayed, and although I’m trying to stay positive, it’s becoming very difficult…

I do have a mental health counselor who I speak to this week. Another topic I have on my mind now is my finances. I’m definitely not in a good place to lose my job and I’d like to be able to afford my appointments with my counselor, especially since I’ll likely really need it.

Anyone ever take a break from coding and did some other job instead for a while? What kinds of jobs have people went into while they’ve figured out what to do in their careers and life? I feel like a quitter if I leave web development, and yet, as I said, it was never my intention to make it my “forever” job. Question is - how do I move forward and try to maintain sanity while doing so? Thanks for listening. Trying to take it one day at a time…

I’m sorry to hear about your situation at your job, dealing with anxiety and depression. That’s a lot of stuff to deal with. Hang in there!

For carreer advice:
Check out- https://80000hours.org/career-guide/job-satisfaction/
books I found helpful - ‘So good they can’t ignore you’ Cal newport, ‘Poke the box’ Seth Godin

Also I’ve heard “When panic attacks” David D. Burns is a good book for dealing with anxiety

Do you find coding / software development completely boring now? What other careers do you think you would enjoy?

I can relate to where you’re at. I quit my software dev job in the telecom industry about 5 months ago to follow my dream of being a game developer. Hasn’t went well so far. I lost my sanity so I don’t have much advice for you there lol.

I feel you, man. I would suggest being up front about your mental health in the future, and specifically request performance reviews so you know where you’re at, to avoid the random under the bus feeling.

As for taking a break, maybe it is warranted, but for your finances just aren’t in that place, you may not be able to. You may be able to learn something though by communicating with managers. I wish I had more to say. Maybe I will tomorrow. Best of luck to you; I believe in you.

@Keyboardhitter @nil Thanks for the words of encouragement. The job let me go this past Monday. Still dealing with feelings of being used or taken advantage of and then discarded by dishonest higher ups, but better. Maybe it’s for the best, that Friday and into the weekend my anxiety had me with the shakes and I couldn’t sleep. After the initial shock/anger has worn, I’m dealing with it a bit better.

I am taking a small break while I look for opportunities. I feel like I do still like code, but not web development anymore. Especially front-end, it’s become so increasingly complicated with all these tools and frameworks - it’s crazy. Right now taking the time to re-explore and we’ll see whether I stick with it or find something else in time before bills don’t give me much choice.

I’m a little afraid of being upfront with new jobs about my mental health - I still feel like too much stigma or misunderstandings exist in that area, I feel like it hurts my chances at finding a job. Then again, I guess if a job looks down on mental illness - maybe that’s not the place I want to work?

Thanks for the book recs. Will look into those. Cross your fingers for me everyone. :slight_smile:

Fingers crossed! I think for presenting it to a new employer, to avoid the awkward pause, say why you are bringing it up specifically. This could also help you legally. E.g. for me and my anxiety, I may require to work from home or take a walk now and again (perhaps more than average). Whatever helps soothe you, ask that as a accommodation. If they agree to this and then fail to deliver, whIle I don’t suggest it, it could be grounds to sue for discrimination. (Honestly this is just something other people have told me. I haven’t sued before.)
If you are nervous, have a pre defined speech to explain your issues just as someone with back issuses would. Maybe some different levels of depth for the interview, your manager, and h.r. for example. While we can’t expect them through understand our struggle 100%, we can explain how it both hinders and helps our work.
You may be surprised that most managers are OK with this. or maybe not; that may just be my experience.
So at the end of the other day, if they are really not ok with your request for accommodation, that is a sign you may want to work elsewhere. It sucks having to whittle down the choices but I think it is worth it in the long run.

It is really my belief that if we start talking up now, no matter how awkward or imperfect, in a few years, the stigma will be easier to deal with for ourselves or others.

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I just wanted to say thanks for the 80000hours link. I gave it a quick read and it was helpful.

A lot of the following doesn’t really apply to your situation but you made me think about it.

In regards to web development, I got into it, way back when knowing HTML was enough to get a job. A friend of mine who was doing it once said to me, “no one does this because they love it”, which I don’t think is a blanket true kind of statement. But, it’s kind of a thankless profession at times where you get things like your boss redesigning the website because A) he oversaw a vendor building a website at the last place he worked and B) he’s the boss. And your work is always criticized. In my last 3 jobs I’ve been associated with a website in some fashion.

  1. A website I had built was rebuilt by a guy who went behind my back to management. I didn’t mind that it was rebuilt, it was way overdue and I’m not a graphic designer, but I minded a ton that it was done behind my back and he could hire help (I couldn’t get a nickel). Jeez, just include me in the process.
  2. I was on the other side of this one. I was part of destroying a site built by someone else. I wound up in a bleep storm on this one.
  3. I wound up doing back-end support. The site was a disaster, crashing regularly, everyone an admin, etc., and I eventually got it working pretty well. It had suffered from 100% neglect. The big boss tried to get on it, couldn’t and flushed it down the toilet. I don’t know what actually happened, he just killed it.

Ironically, if I could land a few side gigs doing it I would. The money is OK, the CMS make them easy to build and you get to walk away. But owning one in an organization, not ever if I get a vote on it.

I can only hope that’s true. It turns out that if I mention that I’m a caregiver for my mother with cancer, they’re a lot more understanding and yet, bringing up mental illness? That’s terrifying haha! Or I can tell them my asthma’s acting up in the dead of winter and that’s still something they could accept versus if I talk about mental health. Even in my own family, not everyone understands it and I think that’s why it’s hard for me to talk about it to a stranger if my own family doesn’t get it. I didn’t ask to be this way but I’ve been this way since I was about 13, even when I didn’t understand myself.

Some think it’s just a matter of will power, some think it’s a matter of religious faith, and I’m not sure I have family members that truly believe me or understand me. So although I talk about it a little with my mother, and a lot with my significant other, I’m hesitant even with them due to lack of understanding although they do have good intentions and just want me to be happy. I want to be happy too haha.

Anyway, I’ll have to really think about how to approach this. Its already the end of week 2 for being unemployed and I’m having a real episode today. Slept like 15 hours, no energy, no motivation - I just don’t want to do anything and I feel like I can’t do anything. I’m scared for my future. Took another small nap and now trying to drink some tea, use a heat pack on my shoulders and accomplish something - ANYthing 15 minutes at a time. I’m trying to push through it.

Phew didn’t mean to throw all that out haha needed to vent I guess. Going to keep going though, taking it day by day…

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I’m glad you were able to vent here. I can certainly understand seeing/perceiving the difference in sympathy…

Thanks for sharing. Hope your week goes well.