Author Topic: Work stress...again  (Read 1278 times)

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Offline danceforabeat

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Work stress...again
« on: November 16, 2012, 10:09:49 PM »
I think I need to rant more than anything, to stop me SHing to get it out...but argh...work is just getting worse. And you know what? I'm sick of customers screaming and shouting at me like I'm actually trying to ruin their lives when I'm trying my best to help. I'm a local authority benefits officer (i.e. housing and council tax benefits) and the amount of work I have to deal with now after over a fifth of my friends and colleagues were made redundant because of cutbacks is just ridiculous. And of course, because there aren't enough people to do the work anymore, we're behind. And frankly, I do think it's ridiculous that you have to wait 6-8 weeks to get your housing benefit, but you know what? It's not my f*****g fault! It's the government cuts to local authority funding and the councillors that agreed the redundancies. Shouting and screaming at me, using condescending language, ringing everyday, swearing and just being plain rude is not helping. And you know what else isn't helping? Insinuating that me sending a perfectly reasonable letter that is part of my job is going to give you a heart attack that I am responsible for or that I am being unreasonable because you have mental health problems and I am making them worse. You know what? I have f*****g mental health problems and the more you scream and shout the more I'm going home upset with a headache I've had for over a week and wanting to SH. Do you even think about the fact that you are screaming and shouting at an actual person with actual feelings? I used to want to help but now I just want to get through the day without SHing and that's getting more and more difficult.

/rant over. Sorry if I offended anyone. I just cannot take this anymore and I have no other outlet and I really really really need the distraction/outlet/argh right now...

Offline Tigger

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Re: Work stress...again
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2012, 09:51:31 PM »
 :>:(:This sounds really awful for you i would feel exactly the same it is ridiculous that you have to deal with this everyday!

I'm sorry i have no usefuladvice except perhaps get a different job? but i realise that in many cases that is impossible although if it really upsets you this much could you perhaps move to some sort of similar position where you don't have to spaek to people ( ::-\: i realise that is highly unlikely

 :1059: i really feel for you we spend so much of our life at work if it upsets you being at work it can really bring you down. I learnt that in the past and i was miserable so i hope someone as some useful suggestions for you. Could you perhaps write down all the things that have upset you that day on a piece of paper when you come home and post them into a box metaphorically leaving your work at the door and not letting it follow you home? might work although it sounds a bit silly could be worth a try  ::-\:
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Offline Terri

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Re: Work stress...again
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 07:49:14 PM »
Hey.

I work for the local authority too, just across the office from the benefits officers, and know a little of what they have to put up with. I really feel for you. :hug2:

Do you have regular supervision or a senior member of staff that you can offload to?

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Offline danceforabeat

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Re: Work stress...again
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 09:17:41 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys - I really appreciate it. I wasn't sure about that post after I'd posted it. I was having a particularly bad day, but it's not an isolated incident.

Tigger, I know getting a different job is the most obvious answer, and I am on the look out. The problem is that a lot of jobs are temporary and for less hours and less pay. Usually the drop in pay is too much (I would take a small drop in pay for less stress). To be honest, if things get really bad, I probably could get help within the section I am in to maybe alter my duties/change my working pattern (like working from home some days like some of my colleagues, if they have enough equipment for it). But that would mean actually admitting the extent of the problem at work and that's not something I'm prepared to do right now (if it worsens then I may have to do it). Also, the times when I am actually helping people in genuinely difficult situations is really nice. Not all my customers are awful and some of them I will go out of my way for because it's nice when I can make someone's day a little bit better. I don't think your idea about writing down what has upset me is a silly idea at all, I might well give it a go!

It's hard, because a lot of the time, I do understand why customers are upset. It's not like working in a shop and someone can't get a refund for a t-sh** they didn't like, it's paying for the roof over somebody's head and not letting people get into a position where they have to pick paying rent over food or the electric bill etc. It's just that there is a way to go about it and upsetting staff is not the way. Also, some people are plain rude when they have no reason to be. One of my colleagues was called a "f*****g cow" today by a customer she was trying to help.

I sit opposite my team leader and often "offload" to her whether she wants me to or not ;) Seriously, she has her moments but can be really good when I'm really having a bad day/week. She can be like my work mother at times! One of the good things about my job is that I work flexi so I can finish early if I really need to and she's usually really good at letting me do that. I also think if I actually explained the extent of the problem, she'd be really understanding, but I find it hard to talk about so I'd rather not do that unless it got really bad.

Offline Tigger

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Re: Work stress...again
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2012, 09:29:13 PM »
sorry no time to reply properly but will try tomorrow just wanted to you know i was listening keep posting if it helps  :)  :1059:
Outside I'm smiling, Inside I'm crying. Outside I'm laughing, Inside I'm dying.
"Its goodbye to the shortcuts, hello to the grind, no one ever said it would be an easy ride" - Relentless
Last SH 18/02/12

split

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Re: Work stress...again
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2012, 05:36:58 AM »
And this is why I no longer talk to the HB office. My situation is so complex that it gets me very stressed and I don't like shouting at you lovely people who genuinely try to help so now I get my link worker to do it all as she has no emotional attachment to keeping a roof over my head plus she deals with HB all the time so doesn't get confused by it.

Speaking from a customers perspective, we are not angry at you personally. We are angry at the system that we have paid into for years but when we need our own support its not there because of red tape. Unfortunately the system isn't an actual being so we can't shout at it, but you're a person so though it is not right, you get the brunt of it. So basically, what I am trying to say, and I know it isn't easy, but try not to take it personally.

X

Offline Lorien

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Re: Work stress...again
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 08:02:15 AM »
Do you have debreifs at work? When we have been involved in incidents where there has been challenging behaviour we are supposed to have a debrief so that it doesnt go round and round in our heads...it can be really useful.

Also is there a way that you can turn off what is happening? If I am in a situation where a student is verbally/physically 'abusive' ( tho given the setting I dont see it that way) I ry to keep in my head that they are just venting their frustration/fear/anxiety and I happened to be there at the time. It often helps because it means I can protect myself a bit and stay objective.
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Offline danceforabeat

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Re: Work stress...again
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2012, 11:01:25 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys.

Split - I know what you're saying and I realise why people get upset, I do. I get angry at the system myself, I do find parts of it unfair. And a lot of the time, can manage to not take it personally because I understand that people are in a difficult situation. Often I can deal with it, and try my best to sort out their benefit as much as I can and often, people are ok when they realise I'm doing what I can. The thing is, there are times when frankly, it is personal. One of my colleagues was called a "f*****g cow" the other day (and I was sitting next to her when she took the call and she was bring as helpful and polite as possible), how is she not supposed to take that personally? And the guy who e-mailed me after I sent him a letter, insinuating that if he had another heart attack it would be my fault, that was pretty hard not to take personally. And when I am called incompetent, that's pretty difficult not to take personally. Also, some this comes, not from actual benefit claimants, but from landlords/agents who, in some instances, are taking advantage of the system to get as much money as they can. Some people aren't as reasonable as you and think that we are actually being deliberately unhelpful (can never understand that one, what would I have to gain from that?) and I don't think even see us as people.

Foaly, no don't have debriefs. We usually just end up complaining the nearest person in the office. And yes, I do try to turn off what is happening, but sometimes, when you've had one of those days with a lot of similar incidents, it's kind of hard to wind down and "turn off".