Sunday, August 1, 2010

Work Troubles

This is all being written with the benefit of hindsight. I don't know how much differently everything would have gone with forewarning, but I suspect quite a bit better for me.

Everything started in late 2008, but I was really oblivious to it then. I was lucky enough to work on an IRAD (Internal Research and Development) project, which was really interesting, and a lot of fun. There were some challenges, but I thought they were understandable, and resolved pretty well. It turns out that it really took too long, and was the first mark against me; but no one bothered to tell me. 2009 rolled around, and I was working on a different IRAD. This time I was aware of the troubles I was running into, but had been discussing them with the project leader, not that it made any difference. I was having a hard time remembering little details, and I was having a hard time keeping my mind on a given task. It was around this time that Allison pointed out to me that my mood had been really dark, so I spoke with my PCP about getting medication. It helped my mood, but the quality of my work was still behind where it should have been, and I still hadn't realized to what extent.

After that IRAD, I was back to the main project I was on before I got to go to the cool ones, and the middle of the year was upon us. This meant that we were supposed to get mid-year reviews, the first time it was mandated at Raytheon. I met with my boss, and his mid-year assessment was that I took longer than expected on a few tasks, and should work on getting things done faster in the next half of the year. All in all, a constructive criticism, but given what was coming, it left a lot of crucial information out.

I was allowed to work on the newly added software build for the project I had been on. It was a broad-reaching update to code that had been stable for a very long time, so I wanted to be sure I got it right without too much trouble. However, I didn't get all of the details of what the system architect wanted, and had to start over on the task. He later changed his mind, making me start over again. I was optimistic about getting things done, but I kept uncovering new problems. I thought the build leader understood the problems, but I was wrong.

After three times that I had to adjust the end date for my part of the project, I was informed that I was to be removed from that build. At this point, I finally saw that I needed help. My attention span problems which led to missed details needed to be addressed; my job had suffered from my inattention to what was going on in my head, and I contacted HR for help with work, in light of suffering from depression.

Late March or Early April I had my 2009 performance review, which was terrible. I was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, which could result in my separation from the company if it was not completed to management's satisfaction. The idea of these PIPs is that I was given three tasks, which need to be completed in six weeks. The first two tasks were estimated (by whom, I don't know) to take 1 week each. The last one should have taken around 1 month. I got the first task done in 8 days. Not as quickly as I wanted, but not too bad. The second task was a trainwreck. My proposed solution was rejected, and I had to go with a solution that I didn't like, and it didn't actually solve the problem. Worse, it took a lot longer to work out. After three weeks, I was allowed to go with my solution, and finished in less than a week. However, this left the final task (the one that needed 4 weeks) with one week before it was due. In the middle of May, I was told that I had failed my PIP, and would be let go from the company.

Given the state of my marriage, this was more than I could deal with. I seriously considered ending my life. My Life Insurance would provide for the kids better than I could without a job. I saw that I was truly useless to everyone, and my death would benefit more people than my living would. I decided to go home, say good bye to the kids, and take my own life. Obviously, I changed my mind before I even got home; the kids would be devastated, even if they would have financial security.

I went back to work the next day, and started asking my former boss and people I had worked with what I could do. Gayle, who was my favorite section manager ever, suggested I take a medical leave of absence, and she spoke to my department manager on my behalf. I took her advice, and filed for Short Term Disability, taking off all of June and part of July so that I could get help with how I was feeling.

The insurance company forced me back to work in the second week of July, too soon in my mind, and too soon in my psychiatrists mind, but I need to keep money coming in, so I went back. Since returning, I have had my immediate boss making unreasonable demands, belittling me and telling me that what happens next is unknown. For all I know, I will be fired any day now, or the company could be too afraid to fire someone sick, and they are just trying to make me so miserable I quit.

1 comment:

Kim said...

First, can I say, I had NO idea all this was going me you're always the smartest, most computer-savvy guy in the world. I can't believe there's anything you can't do at work...even after reading this. DO NOT QUIT. Hang tough. Even though it's tough.