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Thread: Anxiety over job security & overbearing boss during covid lockdowns

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Anxiety over job security & overbearing boss during covid lockdowns

    Hi everyone,

    I've been trying to avoid making this post as I know so many people are struggling with mental health issues amidst the covid situation, but I'm really struggling right now and even if no one replies I just wanted to write down some thoughts.

    For almost a year now I've been working from home and during that time I feel if anything that I'm working more, not less. I used to be someone who told others that I enjoy my job, but I now feel dependent on it. I'm scared of losing my job because I keep seeing so many stories of economic collapse and hearing of many people who have lost their jobs. I'm terrified to ever spend any money, so I'm saving every spare penny "just in case". Living in private rental accomodation adds to the feeling of insecurity. I get the sense I'd be in serious trouble if I did loose my job given how much welfare has been cut these days. Likely my savings would be wiped out very quickly.

    To make matters worse, My boss, who in the past did not seem too bad, seems to have changed for the worse during this covid situation. He has become one of those kinds of bosses who thinks his employees are probably all at home slacking off during lockdown. He's having everyone work themselves into the ground to prove this isn't the case but it's almost as if nothing is going to convince him otherwise. He's become controlling, micromanaging and begun to "order" people to do things as opposed to asking them nicely. It's almost like he knows there aren't many jobs around right now so people cannot escape, and it's created an unhealthy power dynamic which has brought out the worst in him.

    My mental health has been rock bottom throughout covid and I've kept working these crazy long hours yet any time I've tried to mention or hint that I'm "struggling" (which really means I'm on the brink of breaking down), he has very little sympathy. His view is we're all at home anyway so what's the point in taking time off.

    Anyway, the end result of all this is I'm totally burned out and exhausted. I feel demoralised, under-appreciated by management however hard i work, anxious, depressed and really hopeless when I look at the state not only of my personal future but of the country as a whole.

    I'd be curious to know if anyone else who has a job has noticed a negative shift in how their employers treat them throughout covid?
    Last edited by anxious_dan; 03-03-21 at 20:57.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Re: Anxiety over job security & overbearing boss during covid lockdowns

    This may well be a case of 'shite rolls downhill'.

    Maybe your boss is feeling the pressure too.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with saving money just in case, but in the scenario where no job losses have been mentioned, I think it's prudent to not assume the worst. Everybody is feeling the pressure of the lockdown, but we're nearer to the end than we are to the beginning, and I suspect come summertime there may well be a bit of a boost to the economy overall.

    Even if you do lose your job, there are still plenty of opportunities out there, and it doesn't have to be the end of the world.

    In terms of dealing with your boss, just lay the law down a bit. There's no point appeasing him to the detriment of your mental health. Tell him you don't appreciate being spoken to in that manner, and that you are working to the best of your ability under difficult circumstances and cannot do any more. Just because you are at home, doesn't mean you are obliged to be available 24/7.

    Does your boss have a boss, or is there a HR department?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Re: Anxiety over job security & overbearing boss during covid lockdowns

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your reply. I see you're from the UK too and I wondered genuinely what gives you the impression that there are lots of opportunities out there right now? It may just be me worrying but I got the sense our economy was flat on its knees right now? Could also depend which part of the UK too I am guessing.

    And to answer your question my boss doesn't have a boss- it's a relatively small company.

    I appreciate almost everyone is feeling the pressure right now which is partly why I felt guilty even making my post, but I had just wanted to see if there were others out there who were in a similar situation where they find themselves working much more during lockdown but at the exact same time feeling very insecure about their jobs.

    It's possible (and even probable) that I am being paranoid about job loss but when you've got a manager who seems not to trust that people are working at home (no matter how much they work), you need to be producing exceptional work almost constantly so it's tricky when you get burned out and depressed because then it creates a vicious cycle.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Re: Anxiety over job security & overbearing boss during covid lockdowns

    The economy isn't flat on its knees. There are some sectors struggling, some are (literally) booming.

    Try and be more mentally adaptable if you can. end up losing your job, you may need to think about a career change for a year. Do something different, something in an industry that is surviving well. Worst case scenario, not the end of the world right?

    I'm self employed and my main client is literally throwing work at me right now, it's an online portal for teaching all forms of music creation so obviously has a lot of traffic right now. Maybe the business you work for is equally as busy?

    Whatever the situation, you need to communicate with your boss in a different way. I would send him an email reassuring him that you are doing the best you can and will continue doing the best you can, but the constant harrying is causing you unnecessary stress which you don't appreciate. Remind him you are committed to your job and his business.

    I would imagine his mental health is suffering too. If it is his business, it is likely his life too, and he has had to accept that he needs to place trust in the people who help him run the business without being physically with them. That must be extremely concerning to him. He may also be dealing with other employees that aren't quite as diligent as you are, and probably doesn't have the mental space to deal with each of you on an individual basis every day. When you do communicate with him, remind him what your contracted hours are and reassure him that you will give your job 100% during those hours, and that he doesn't have to perpetually chase you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Re: Anxiety over job security & overbearing boss during covid lockdowns

    Thanks Joe - I like that your advice is very pragmatic and I'll take on board your comments about sending an email. I think what has probably happened is pre-existing mental health conditions (anxiety, depression) have been exacerbated by lockdowns and work stress and as a result I've begun thinking about the worse possible scenarios:

    - "What if I lost my job, how would I pay the rent?"
    - "What if I couldn't find another job because the economic situation?"
    - "Is my boss stressed because the company isn't doing so well?"
    - "Would my savings be wiped out if i lost my job?"
    - "Where would i live"

    And it just goes on and on until eventually you are worrying you'll end up in major trouble.

    I'm pleased to hear you're busy, especially as you are self employed - that's great. Sounds like an interesting topic too.
    Perhaps covid has created an economic landscape where some businesses are booming (online ones) and others are bust.
    Needless to say there's a whole lot of economic pain out there and I really do feel dreadful for all the people who have lost their jobs, it must be so difficult, but you're right I guess we all have to be a little more open minded to the possibility of a career change should the economic situation turn more negative over the coming years as we battle the fallout from covid.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Re: Anxiety over job security & overbearing boss during covid lockdowns

    The first thing you need to do is stop focusing on 'what ifs'. The only reality you actually know is the one that's happening now, and right now your boss appears to have PLENTY of work for you.

    The real issue for you is too much time to think, and a communication dynamic with your boss that isn't working very well. You can fix the latter, and work on the former. You can't stop negative thoughts entering your head, but you CAN control the resulting internal dialogue.

    If it helps, the career I have now came from a forced change around ten years ago. My mental health forced me to change what I was doing, and it has worked out well. That's not saying that you have to change what you're doing, it's just illustrating that if you have to make a change it'll most likely be absolutely fine. Worst case scenario.

  7. #7

    Re: Anxiety over job security & overbearing boss during covid lockdowns

    Hi ,

    I've read through your post. It resonates with me. My advice would be to first speak honestly to your boss and also inform someone else. Is your boss the owner ? If not then go to the top.

    They cannot dismiss you for speaking out.

    If your boss has changed their actions and are causing you severe mental illness them flag it up.

    So many damn poor managers out there need outing.

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