Anxious and unproductive

I gave my resignation to my boss 2 weeks ago on Aug 10th, and offered to stay until Sept 10th. My boss asked to me to stay at least one more week (until Sept 17), because my team is already short-staffed and is under a lot of pressure. Feeling guilty, I agreed.

The problem is, I’ve been having crippling anxiety since last February (the reason why I needed to quit), and I don’t know how to keep going to work for the next 4 weeks, “business as usual”. My biggest regret is not resigning months ago, before it got to this point.

When I wake up every morning, my stomach is in pain, my heart is pounding, and my brain is racing with everything that I’ve procrastinated on up to this point. When I get to my desk, I can manage to attend and run meetings with a smile, but then zombie-out to videos or reading the news in between meetings. On evenings and weekends I try (and fail) to guilt myself into working. I’ve been delaying going to bed because I’m scared of the anxiety that the morning with bring. And I’ve started saying some very mean things to myself, which I’m trying to stop, but the thoughts keep creeping into my head anyway.

My poor performance has not gone unnoticed. Last week my boss told me that she’s had a couple complaints that I haven’t been carrying my weight. She told me that it was unfair of me to do this to my team, who are my friends. I think she meant to be motivating, but it was crushing for her to tell me that. She is, however, not wrong.

On top of the job that I’m failing to do, I also need to put together a transition plan. But I recognize that the silver lining is that there’s an end in sight.

So I guess my request for support is:

  1. How can I find the strength to work despite my anxiety?

  2. What should I do when it’s all over, to restore my confidence in myself?

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Hey @JustRiley. A lot of people in the community, including me, are transitioning jobs right now. We understand your anxiety. It’s no small thing, it’s a major life change. Congratulations on having the courage and motivation to leave a toxic situation behind!

I understand wanting to leave on good terms, but the reasons you’re leaving were counterproductive anyhow. You nailed when when you asked how you’re supposed to carry on like it’s business as usual. Coworkers may see your performance starting to slip, but a halfway competent manager should recognize the reality that you’re preparing for a transition and will have a really hard time focusing, and should also appreciate whatever work you do put in, because at this point you aren’t obligated.

To answer your questions:

  1. One big help is acknowledging that your employment is ending soon on your terms. If they don’t like your performance, you can always just leave. You’ve been more then generous by offering to stay on as long as you have, and you owe them nothing anymore. You hold power over your employment. Other than that, yes you’ll be anxious, but just get through it any way you can, and remember that there’s an end date in sight.

  2. If you’re able, take at least a long weekend between jobs, even if that means leaving your current job a few days early. Again, changing jobs is among the top 5 most stressful life events, and a few days to just breathe will do wonders!

Starting the news job will be stressful as well, in a new environment with new people, new responsibilities, and new job dynamics. Keep in mind that they know there’s a learning curve for you. They know it’ll take you a few weeks to a few months to navigate the new terrain. Know also that they hired you to set you up for success, not failure. Hiring dud employees is very counterproductive for any company, so if they hired you, they see potential and have a vested interest in helping you reach that.

Congrats again on the new job! Congrats on taking control of the terms of your employment, both current and future. Let us know how we can support your transition. I’m still going through mine. Go kill it!

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