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Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 08:13 AM   #1
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Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 08:50 AM   #2
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Well I read from start to finish and two things come to mind.

1. You should be extremely proud of your sons. Sounds like you and DH have done an awesome job.

2. Regardless of your job exit strategy (4 weeks or 4 years, but I would vote sooner) and financial planning, take some time to attend to your physical health very soon or you will regret it. If cutting back hours to do that causes your boss to let loose, then he doesn't deserve your talent. DW and I are still in high stress jobs (47 and 46) with two kids at home but decompressive exercise time never gets compromised even during travel.

Goo luck clf!
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 09:09 AM   #3
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Welcome to the board, c. *Yikes.

Sorry to hear what your workplace has become. *Clearly your body is trying to tell you something. *(Looks like the rest of the team is getting the same message from their bodies, too.) *And as you've noted, this has already gone on too long for some.

It would seem that the first step would be to get a little breathing room. *I'd recommend taking immediate vacation & family leave, as much as you've earned and as much as the company policy lets you take. *Do as much as HR says you can have. *You don't care what your boss thinks because he apparently feels the same way about you.

Speaking as a miltary retiree, I would't worry about the perception of "abandoning" your troops. *You're actually helping them save themselves by setting the example that they should emulate, and they look to you to take the first step. *Right now they're probably taking on far more of the burden than they need to shoulder because they want to "support" you. *If you get out of the trap then that will give them the permission they need to take care of themselves as well. *The company's change to the options policy may be exactly the stimulus that all of you need to make a break with an outfit that clearly no longer cares about their side of the social contract. *So I'd announce the new policy to your team, tell them that you're taking immediate leave for your mother (perhaps mention that it's also for your mental & physical health), and that you'd be happy to meet with them privately over the next few weeks to discuss their options. *Change is not painless, but they'll all be able to stop worrying about protecting & supporting you and start taking care of themselves. *And of course your "boss" can just learn how to take care of himself, too.

So don't "stick it out for your team" or try to protect your employees. *Get yourself out now and offer to talk iwth them after you've started your own leave.

I guess the first thing you'd want to do would be to look after your mother, and perhaps figure out how she's going to be looked after (because you don't need to trade one highly stressful job for this one, too).

The next priority would be to rest up. *I bet you're gonna spend a lot of the next two weeks sleeping until your head clears a bit. *

Once you've had some rest (or while you're resting, perhaps your spouse can take care of this part) you'll want to look at how to take a sabbatical enroute the rest of your life. *Usually the big challenge is affording healthcare, and the second-biggest challenge is finances. *It'd be ideal if you could get several months off from your current job with healthcare while you let things settle down, nurse yourself back to life, and start picking up the reins of your future again. *This board has the answers about finding healthcare and about setting up your ER finances. *These problems have been solved before and you'll solve them again.

If the company will provide the healthcare for now, then you/spouse need to take a look at your expenses and your assets. *Figure out your spending and then use FIRECalc to see if you have the assets to support it with what you have now. *I wouldn't count on sticking around for the company pension-- I think your body is telling you that you're done with that outfit and the only question is the exact date of your resignation.

At some point you're gonna have to quit the company. *I think that point would come when you've located affordable health insurance and when FIRECalc tells you that you have an 80% chance or better with your expenses and your assets. *Or maybe you just want to solve the healthcare problem and work on the finances later.

While you're resting/recovering, don't try to overhaul your entire life. *Focus on your health, your family, and your finances for now. *Once you start sorting those out then you can start thinking about the future. *A good guide is Bob Clyatt's "Work Less, Live More". *Another guide is just about anything by Ernie Zelinski, including "How to Retire Happy, Wild, & Free".

At some point you may decide that it's financially necessary to return to work. *You may be surprised at how well this, er, works out. *Many of your professional acquaintances will be happy (relieved?) to see that you've finally quit that loser of a company and that you're back on the market. *They'll understand why you want to go part-time or consult. *When word gets out that you've finally quit the job, you'll start getting those "Let's do lunch" phone calls and the job offers will start popping up out of nowhere. *Technical skills, people skills, work ethic-- you have as much as you need for the rest of your life. *You may not be the next CEO of Hewlett-Packard but you'll have more than enough to make a living while having a life. *The key is here is balance-- to work only as necessary to live, not to live for work. *Don't start that résumé flogging or any networking crap-- take care of your life, your health, and your family. *The only job offers worth considering are the ones coming from people who care enough about you to look you up.

BTW it's not worth sounding off to your boss' bosses about the company's problems. *Keep it clean, keep it professional, and keep it to yourself & your team. *As far as anyone knows, you're only taking this sabbatical (don't tell them you're eventually quitting) to spend more time taking care of your family. *The company is either well aware of the problems around your team and your departure will give them what they need to start "working" on your boss... or else they're clueless idiots and this will give them a heckuva wakeup call. *You don't need to throw hand grenades on your way out the door. *Your team will take care of itself, and they'll appreciate you all the more for taking care of yourself. *The company will take care of itself. *Your boss is already earning what he so richly deserves.

It sounds like your kids are on their own and able to handle themselves. *They won't mind what you're doing when they see how it improves your health & your frame of mind. *In fact they've probably been standing around shuffling their feet & clearing their throats wondering how to help, and this will give you all a great opportunity to discuss things.

Once you get on leave, once you get things organized with your mom and your family, and once you get a little rest & relaxation-- start reading here. *You'll figure out how to do everything else. *The health insurance challenge is a scary big problem but it can be solved. *(When the only alternative is killing yourself, then any other solution is easy.) *When you have your morale and your life back, the money problems will solve themselves.

Get out of the workplace, get with your family, & get some rest. *Everything else can take care of itself. *I think your spouse will agree that this could be the best anniversary present you guys have ever had. *And namaste yourself...
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 09:35 AM   #4
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Welcome, as far as your situation a capital OUCH.

Congratulations on having two good kids and not totally losing it in the meeting with your boss and coworkers. I probably would not have been able to stop myself from decking him.

Your company and boss do not give a rats @ss about your or your family and are using you as long as you and your failing health permit it. After they will dispose of you with as much thought as they would used kleenex.

Take as much leave as you can NOW. Use it to be with your Mother and to recover your health. Your coworkers that you are supporting may leave when you do and you will not be able to do anything for them if you are on stress leave anyway. Some times one has to put oneself first.

After that is underway look at your finances. Read a lot here and a couple of books like Your Money or Your Life.

Can you relocate to a less expensive location and take equity out of your home?

Maybe in a few months look for a less stressful position.

Best wishes and good luck

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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 09:39 AM   #5
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

you are in an abusive office situation. I second Nords excellent reply. Your health is starting to fail. I like your own solution to the problem, I'll bet in that atmoshere, after you successfully decompress, your husbands health will improve as well.

You are a bright person, when you recover, doors will open
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 10:19 AM   #6
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

c, I don't think I can add much to Nords' excellent adviice. I'll only suggest that you frame the question in your mind as "I am getting out now, how do I make that happen?" rather than "can I get out now?". Every day that passes is lost forever.

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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 10:22 AM   #7
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chip2
you are in an abusive office situation.* I second Nords excellent reply. Your health is starting to fail. I like your own solution to the problem, I'll bet in that atmoshere, after you successfully decompress, your husbands health will improve as well.

You are a bright person, when you recover, doors will open
IMHO talk to a plantif's employment lawyer about how FEMLA might apply to your situation, then ask for a leave of absence. *If your manager says that he can't do without you for a couple months then remind him that every position needs a back up. *When on your LOA you should attend to your own health and spend time with your Mom. *Put togehter a taking care of clf0309 team, get a check-up, find a personal trainer and attend to your physical and mental health.

At the end of your leave you can consider your options...
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 10:30 AM   #8
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Hi, clf,

Yes, you have come to the right place. Welcome!

Your work environment is toxic and getting worse. I think you need a change and it is up to you to make it. I think you need to get out. Coach is spot-on with his advice. The first and most difficult step is to generate the resolve to make the break, and it looks like you are there already. Your kids are in good shape and they aren't costing you anything. It is so wonderful that you have no debts!.

However, it looks like Bruce and I have a slightly different take on your situation from Nords. Judging from what you have said about the company, I think you should be careful about telegraphing any thoughts of leaving to them. It might be perfectly in character for someone to up and fire you. It sure looks like they have taken care to create the option.

In my opinion, you need to find out what benefits for which you qualify ASAP and quietly. Go through the literature you have on your company benefits. Be careful about asking questions of the personnel dept unless you know you can trust them. Read first. Check dates. You should be aware how many days or months you are away from qualifying for one thing or another. You may decide to bail anyway, but you should know where you stand. With 30 years, do you have any retirement benefits yet?

Take the family leave. They already gave you that opening (but I bet they want it to be short). When they try to make you come back, take vacation. Make your plans during your leave without delay. They may be setting a trap for you when you return to work. DO NOT LET THEM BULLY YOU! Know your rigthts and have your plans made. It is a project, and you can do projects.

Do the homework and discuss with your husband. You qualify for COBRA on your health insurance. That gives you 18 months. You may also qualify under state law to convert it to an individual policy with the same company. Check on that. Call your health ins company. Find out where to buy individual policies in your state. Call an independent insurance agent or talk to your present agent.

It is good that you are at least visualizing the possibility of downsizing the possessions and house.

You already know that you can find work if you have to, after the dust settles. You have valuable skills. Consider contracting. You must know some agencies already from your work. Contractors get paid for every hour worked and have emotional isolation from the pressures that are killing you. (If your work is valuable to your company, they may even hire you back as a contractor, if it suits you, or leave and never look back. They wouldn't work you so hard if they had to pay you for it. Our patron saint, John P. Greaney, is quite hostile to the slavery of unpaid overtime. NEVER let THEM set the rate though. I am doing the same kind of work now as a contractor as when I was an employee, but I am enjoying it so much more.)

I do so enjoy a slave rebellion!

Best of luck.

Be well.

Ed
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 10:40 AM   #9
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Make your plans and get out before it kills you. Once you have truly made the decision to leave what they do won't bother you any more. Quit giving them the unpaid overtime. What can they do but fire you. You might even get a package if they do.
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 10:41 AM   #10
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
However, it looks like Bruce and I have a slightly different take on your situation from Nords.* Judging from what you have said about the company, I think you should be careful about telegraphing any thoughts of leaving to them.* It might be perfectly in character for someone to up and fire you.* It sure looks like they have taken care to create the option.
I guess that I'm just not devious enough to think like that.

I went through an entire career without ever having to make a profit, but no matter how much of a dirtbag challenge a sailor was, they were still considered to be more valuable than the time & trouble it'd take to get a new one. *(The only exception to that was unrepentant druggies chronically-addicted servicemembers.) *You pushed them to perform, but if you set them up for failure it was considered a failure of your own leadership skills, not theirs.

In a situation like this it's tempting to trade "just a little more time" to vest in the next benefit, but that strategy only pays off if nobody dies. *I think the best this boss deserves is a "Sorry, I'm working with HR to take a little family leave to sort out my Mom's care and to pick up my health a little". *A company firing someone from that situation would need an awful good legal staff and a great public affairs officer...
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 10:46 AM   #11
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Quote:
In a situation like this it's tempting to trade "just a little more time" to vest in the next benefit, but that strategy only pays off if nobody dies. I think the best this boss deserves is a "Sorry, I'm working with HR to take a little family leave to sort out my Mom's care and to pick up my health a little". A company firing someone from that situation would need an awful good legal staff and a great public affairs officer...
Nords, you picked up on the problem pretty quick. Good advice. It is wise not to underestimate the stupidity of management that has already demonstrated same.

Gypsy
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 11:19 AM   #12
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

....sorry...had to remove
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 11:45 AM   #13
 
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 11:55 AM   #14
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

It sounds like you have a great plan.

One caution at the risk of creating some minor outrage -- be very careful about "confiding" to anyone in HR. They have a job to do and that seldom involves keeping people's secrets from the company. If someone in HR sensing you are considering an exit strategy, it will be communicated. Someone in your line management strategy will then make their decision. The company (any company for that matter) would prefer to have you off the payroll before you go on FMLA than wait for you to quit after you're off six weeks.

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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 11:58 AM   #15
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by clf0309
2. FEMLA - checked out and found I'm offbase on timing. Looks to be 12 weeks not 6 months.* *I like your wording Nord.* Even though Mom is now in skilled care, she still needs (demands) me there because she hates having 'strangers' take care of her. While I do have older sisters they are MUCH older and the stresses are getting to be a bit much for them even though retired. I don't expect any issue with doctor statement that she is in her final weeks to months.*

3. I have a director I trust in HR who in fact was present to see my boss' tirades drive off another manager about a year ago, so going to him "to work out some family leave" is the likely route.

4. I am going to insure tomorrow that my latest stock swap has been fully finalized before I start the next step.* If I am terminated or resign then I immediately lose the ability to exercise any remaining outstanding options.
Take Soon2B's advise.

IMHO you still need to consult with a top notch plaintif's employment attorney to help you structure the best arrangement, I assure you that they have one. *You want to exit gracefully and avoid problems. *While the HR Director may want the best for you, s/he is obligated to act in your employer's best interest. *
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 12:06 PM   #16
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Brat's quote brought up another point.

You have enough issues to not feel like you have to provide supplemental care for your mother because she doesn't like the "strangers." That help is being paid for. She may prefer you but you have to get your own issues resolved. Don't feel like you have to do everything. Yes, be there but prioritize your mental and physical health.

Martyrs are revered but they are also dead.
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 12:07 PM   #17
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

I have to agree, see a good lawyer. My company in no way treats employees that badly but when we think someone is heading towards something like that we consult our lawyer. Just be one step ahead of them all the way and you'll be fine.
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 12:17 PM   #18
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Quote:
One caution at the risk of creating some minor outrage -- be very careful about "confiding" to anyone in HR. They have a job to do and that seldom involves keeping people's secrets from the company. If someone in HR sensing you are considering an exit strategy, it will be communicated. Someone in your line management strategy will then make their decision. The company (any company for that matter) would prefer to have you off the payroll before you go on FMLA than wait for you to quit after you're off six weeks.
And I thought I was devious. Obviously not devious enough. :P

Heed the above advice. At least, don't trust HR.
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 12:21 PM   #19
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
And I thought I was devious.* Obviously not devious enough.* *:P

Heed the above advice.* At least, don't trust HR.*
I was HR! I know the pressure they are under.
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!
Old 03-19-2006, 12:27 PM   #20
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Re: Hi, new here, maybe in the right place though!

Quote:
I was HR! I know the pressure they are under.
THAT explains your insight!

C, you are getting world-class advice here.

Ed
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