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Can’t decide whether to resign

(29 Posts)
LibbyR Sat 27-Feb-21 09:43:14

I’ve worked in the same job for the last 30 years, I’m 55 and I’ve always thought I’d retire at 60. I work in a healthcare environment and I can honestly say that for the last 29 years I’ve loved my job. For the last year or so I’ve struggled mainly due to the dynamics within the workplace, but also being unhappy in my personal life. I finally spoke to my GP in early December and she suggested I needed to take sometime off work as I sounded burnt out and she also prescribed me some antidepressants. I spoke with my assistant a couple of days after seeing my GP and confided to her that I might need to take a few weeks off work to try to feel better, to my absolute horror she stated that if I go off sick she will also ask to be signed off sick with stress. Faced with this scenario I declined my GPs offer of sick leave and I have just been battling on but I’m now feeling resentful and knackered and I feel my only option is to resign from my job. Part of me feels that if I could have a good rest I’d be able to go back to loving the job but if both myself and my assistant are absent I don’t know what I’ll go back to. I know that this makes my assistant sound like a bad person, she really isn’t but we have some very difficult staff who don’t respect her as being in charge when I’m not there and I can see that she feels she wouldn’t cope. The pandemic has been very hard on the health sector but doesn’t have any bearing on the team dynamics, I just have a bunch of very bitchy 50 something women who form our small team. I feel that my job is my identity and if I didn’t work I’m not sure that I’d know who I am. I have always been very emotionally invested in my work and manage the business as if it were my own.

Peasblossom Sat 27-Feb-21 09:50:16

Take the time off. Your assistant doesn’t have to step up to your role. She can continue with her own job and management will have to get someone in to cover you.

Your doctor sounds very sensible and this is her professional advice. 💐

Hetty58 Sat 27-Feb-21 09:59:23

LibbyR, your own health is the most important consideration. Take the time off, then decide whether to go back.

I battled on too and was devoted to my work and the welfare of colleagues and students. When I retired it was such a relief and I can honestly say that I've never missed it.

Looking back, I did my bit (and far more) but at least I had the sense to know when to stop!

Redhead56 Sat 27-Feb-21 10:00:17

Maybe your personal life is the root cause and it’s affecting your working life. If you take time off it will enable you to deal with your problems. You have devoted a lot of time to your working life it’s time you considered what is best for you.

Nannarose Sat 27-Feb-21 10:20:24

Really, your assistant cannot blackmail you like that. I would kindly say to her that you absolutely need this time off, and that if she finds that your absence puts her in a difficult position, then she must either seek help for herself, or raise the issue with the next manager up.
You write rather circumspectly about this team (possibly to prevent identification) so I am unsure where it sits within the NHS or private sector providers. That only matters in terms of who to raise these issues with. I shall use the term 'your manager' to mean the person you are responsible to.

Your team sounds dysfunctional. Time away will help you put this in perspective. It may be that you are not functioning well and this time will help you. It may be that the team is is doing badly (your current assessment) in which case some help from either your manager, or possibly an occupational psychologist may help. You will be in a much better position to assess and help once you have taken care of your own health.

I write as a NHS survivor!

EllanVannin Sat 27-Feb-21 10:35:19

Under such circumstances---resign ! I can assure you that you won't miss it. I too worked in the same environment so know.

wildswan16 Sat 27-Feb-21 10:47:40

There are times when you must put yourself first. I understand that you are afraid of the chaos that might ensue and you would be faced with on your return. However, that should not be your priority just now.

Do what is right for you. Have you contacted your Occupational Health nurses? It might be helpful to speak to them first.

Casdon Sat 27-Feb-21 10:48:44

The first thing I’d do in your situation would be to discuss how you’re feeling with your own manager, as if the team is the problem he/she may be able to offer some practical suggestions -eg team building, moving particularly troublesome people, or disciplinary processes if there is proof that your authority is being undermined, or they aren’t performing.

You need to tackle the issue of your deputy not being accepted as such, is it the team, or is it her not being able to manage them that’s the issue? It is her responsibility to deputise for you, so that also needs to be tackled with HR support. If there’s an excessive workload issue you can discuss that at the same time to see if additional support can be drafted in, or another manager be allocated to support her whilst you’re off.

I’d think very hard before resigning, because at 55 it’s a long time until you get your pension, and living on an occupational pension only is a struggle. You could apply for other jobs either in the same organisation or outside though, and just leave if it’s that bad.

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 27-Feb-21 10:58:42

Don’t resign, take your GPS advice, then when you return see how you feel about the job.
Use your sick leave to recover and don’t worry about what happens at work when you are away.
Don’t confide in your Assistant, go direct to your department Manager.

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 27-Feb-21 10:59:45

PS, do it quickly as your Assistant is likely to go off sick first, now that she knows you are unwell and then you will feel totally unable to cope.

NotSpaghetti Sat 27-Feb-21 11:13:27

My husband battled on like you....
Take the sick leave for as long as needed and recover. It will buy time to put your work on perspective and help you see things more clearly.

Flakesdayout Sat 27-Feb-21 11:15:38

I think I would take time off sick as you have support from your GP. Speak to your line manager and HR. It may be that when you return you could ask to 'side step' to a different department maybe or that some of the difficult staff be moved to another job role? It must be awful to be under this amount of pressure. I know many years ago I had time off for stress as I was being bullied by a Senior Manager. When I returned I got awarded a disciplinary for being off sick! I am no longer with that Company and that man moved on, tried to bully at the new Company he went to and was dismissed. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Fleur20 Sat 27-Feb-21 11:28:56

LibbyR.. I work in nhs and like you I work to my own very high standards. But one thing I have learned over the past 20 years is that three weeks after you walk out the door no-one remembers you. I say this not to diminish your role, your commitment or your contribution, but that there will always be someone to fill the gap when staff leave. YOUR priority must be YOU. Your health is the single most important issue here. Contact your line manager, tell them how you feel, your gp’s advice and that you are taking that advice. There is no point working for 30 years and not seeing your pension! Take care of you.... the rest will follow....

Jaxjacky Sat 27-Feb-21 11:34:11

I would take the sick leave, otherwise, as you usually enjoy your job, you’ll be resigning under duress. If you’d broken your leg you’d be off sick, your mental health is equally important. If your assistant is stressed, they need to address that for themselves, irrespective of what you do. As others have said, your management/HR will have to sort out cover, their responsibility, not yours. Take time to heal and see how you feel when you’ve had some of that time. ‘Act in haste repent at leisure’ can be very true, look after you, best of luck.

Babs758 Sat 27-Feb-21 11:53:23

If you have the chance to take sick leave and reflect on your situation without the day to day hassle then please do it. Your mental health is very important and great that you have a supportive GP. I agree about going straight to your manager and not discussing it further with your assistant who sounds as if she is putting her interests first anyway!

There is no shame in sick leave for reasons such as this. Just play by the rules and keep the contact needed whilst off as there will be set procedures to follow. And look for a sidestep job with a new team if you can! Your current one sounds toxic!

Thistlelass Sat 27-Feb-21 12:04:41

Oh don't hesitate to get your GP to sign you off! And absolutely do not resign as you need to preserve your pension rights. I expect you will be okay and are just going through a hard time. If it came to it though you would potentially be retired on ill health grounds and your pension would kick in. I don't expect you want to hear that but living on sick benefits would not be right or much fun! You also have to factor in you have quite a lot of years before your state pension will kick in. As for your assistant well just put that to the back of your mind. She may feel that way but ought not to have voiced it in my opinion. I am single and received a full I'll health retirement from Social Services. I am grateful for it but I retired in 2014 at the age of 56. It has been very hard surviving with a lot less money. I still have 2 years to go before state pension kicks in. Please just look after yourself and hopefully you will get back to work.

LibbyR Sat 27-Feb-21 12:22:06

Thank you, I maybe should be clearer about my role. I managed a GP practice so the buck stops with me. There is no line manager, occupational health department etc. I’m answerable to the GP partners who have absolutely no idea how to run a business or manage staff as that’s what they pay me to do. In fact if they ever get involved in HR issues they usually make it worse.

Peasblossom Sat 27-Feb-21 13:33:51

I can see why you feel responsible Libby particularly at this time -and why you feel knackered too!

However, when you took two weeks holiday, as I’m sure you have done in the past, the practice kept on running. Take just for two weeks sick leave and see how you feel then. Let the partners know that your assistant feels unable to step up.

You are the Practice Manager but there should be a Head of Practice above you. Usually the lead GP. Ensuring there is a replacement manager is their responsibility.

As for your assistant, if you resign presumably she wouldn’t step up then, so it doesn’t make any difference to her whether you are not there because you are poorly or not there because you have resigned.

Resigning is so irrevocable when perhaps all you need is a break.

Dorsetcupcake61 Sat 27-Feb-21 13:36:56

I can understand where you are coming from Libby. There is some good advice offered already.
Like you I worked for 30 years in the public sector. During those years it varied between being lovely and toxic.
You certainly must do what's best for you. I'm pretty sure your assistant would. They will just have to get on with it.
I totally understand how your job defines you.
What are the financial implications of you leaving? Can you afford to live without the income? We are of a similar age. There may be almost a decade until you can retire, the situation may change but if not that's a long time to be miserable. Of course there are implications for your pension etc.
If finances not an issue you could possibly find another career/ job that gives you joy.
I cared for my father for a few years. After that I didnt want the pressures of my formal role so took up a position in the private sector. I know they are not all bad but certainly in terms of how things are done, working terms and conditions, and indeed how you are valued as a staff member can be a a real eye opener.! This became all too apparent during the pandemic. Fortunately I'm now firmly back in public sector and I feel as though I am seen as an individual worthy of consideration rather than someone paid to do a job and disposable.
You must protect your mental health. You must also protect your future. It may be a good idea to take that sick leave and give yourself to recover and consider your options. If you leave what will you do? The job market is incredibly difficult at the moment. If money not an issue there are many wonderful voluntary opportunities which could give new meaning to life.
If you cant afford to leave outright could you go part time? If not a few weeks off could give you the opportunity to research your options in current job market. I hope it all works out.

Nannarose Sat 27-Feb-21 14:04:08

Oh LibbyR, your situation is difficult BUT not impossible. Firstly, do take the time off (this may make the practice re-assess what needs to be done)
Secondly, there is help available. I have known a GP practice get in outside help to assess their practice and how it works. It may be available through your local practice networks (although I confess to being out of date). But it can definitely be bought in from occupational psychologists.
I would give yourself some time off sick, then when you are discussing the terms on which you are to return to work, ask them to consider it.
I would add that anyone who has done this sort of work is absolutely sought after in other roles.
I would normally advise against making any major decisions whilst feeling as stressed as you are - but if you have the resources to manage for a few months, I wonder whether you could simply hand in your resignation. I suspect they will then ask if they can persuade you to stay, and you will be well set to request an outside assessment of workplace practices.
I would add that I have known quite a few GP practice managers and it is a very stressful and awkward role.

Lollin Sat 27-Feb-21 14:11:05

The assistant being honest with you is good otherwise if you found out after you would have a new added dilemma to face . Do what you obviously need to do, take sick leave and give yourself time to think about your next step.

Mapleleaf Sat 27-Feb-21 14:26:18

Please take the sick leave. You’ll do yourself further harm if you try to struggle on. This time will give you a breathing space and the opportunity to assess just what you need to do. Don’t resign just yet, your mind is not clear enough and you may come to regret a decision taken when you are not fully well. As others say, you need to consider your pension, too.
Your colleague is not your responsibility in this instance. If she is feeling stressed, she needs to see her own GP and take it from there. Your practice will cope whilst you are off, so don’t let that worry you. Battling on is not helping your well being. Take care.

Polarbear2 Sat 27-Feb-21 15:34:47

Take the time off. I was you. I kept going and ended up having a breakdown at work, lost my temper spectacularly, and because it suited what the management wanted politically they used it to sack me. 25 years of exemplary service counted for nothing. It was a healthcare environment too. It was the worst time of my life. I got compensation via ACAS but the months of battling was horrendous. The positive here is that like you work defined me and I thought I’d never cope without it. Do you know within a month I forgot about it. It’s like it was another life. I have a colleague who retired due to health reasons. She was a total workaholic but again, within a month, she’d forgotten work existed. There’s a big world out there! Good luck and don’t make my mistake. Do whatever you need to on your terms. No one will care unfortunately. 👍❤️

Chardy Sat 27-Feb-21 15:38:25

At 55, you've a lot of work-life left, and yet we know that finding a new job for over-50 women is a tough ask. Sorry to sound negative, I'm just trying to see all the issues.
Talk to your line-manager, say your GP wants to sign you off and your no 2 us not up to covering you etc

Jaxjacky Sat 27-Feb-21 16:03:47

As I said LibbyR if you’d broken your leg/had an operation they would have to cope, it’s no different.