Stress Almost Ruined My Career: A Case Study
Poppy Castle had a secure job and what she thought was a happy home life. Her husband then suddenly divorced her and moved to Australia, leaving Poppy with a young child and a house with a large mortgage.
First Reaction“When John (my husband) left me with a child and the house to pay for, my first thought was to give up work. How could I cope with the Stress of childcare and all the household expenses by myself? I had a relatively secure job, and some good prospects, but the wage wasn’t that great.
“My friends at work, though, told me to hang in there. They felt that because I was good at my work, I should stay put and apply for whatever help I could in the way of benefits, and so on.
“I took my friends’ advice, but I began to feel stressed at both home and in the workplace. The financial pressure was getting me down.
“A chance for promotion then came up, so I applied for it. Everyone said I should get it, but because of the stress I was under, I didn’t prepare properly. I also didn’t pay enough attention to the questions at the interview. So, of course, I failed."
Threat of Redundancy“Failure of this sort doesn’t do your self-esteem any good. Still, I had to get on with things. My friends were a great help, and so was my manager. She told me that there’d be other chances for promotion and I’d get there in the end.
“Then another problem arose in the form of Redundancy. The redundancy was a rumour, but the company was going through a rough patch, and job losses were all that people could talk about. This upset me, because despite the promotion knock-back, I was coming to terms with my life.
“The redundancy talk turned out to be just that - talk - but I could have done without the rumours. I knew all this stress was beginning to affect the quality of my work. "
Workplace Stalker“And then to add to my troubles, a guy called Peter from Accounts began hassling me. One day out of the blue in the canteen, he asked if he could sit next to me. He then said he wanted to go out with me.
“Another relationship was the last thing on my mind, and I explained this to Peter. But over the next few weeks, he phoned me, emailed me, and came to see me at my desk, trying to get me to go out with him.
“Frankly, the pressure of this on top of my financial worries, made me think seriously about leaving work. In fact, in a moment of panic and stress, I wrote a letter of resignation and gave it to my manager. "
Turning Point“This was something of a turning point. My manager advised me to take a day off and think carefully about what I was doing. She didn’t want me to leave, and she knew that there was going to be another opportunity for promotion within the next few weeks.
“I said that was fine, but I was stressed about Peter. My manager listened to what I told her, and then said she’d see what she could do about him. What in fact she did do was see Peter’s boss the next day. Between them, they banned him from seeing or communicating with me at work.
“After this chat, and once my manager had put Peter in his place, so to speak, things started to look up. The promotion opportunity did come again, and I did succeed the second time round. Things are still tough financially, but with the support of workplace friends and my manager, I’m much happier.”