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So stressed all the time

Izzy5487

New Member
Hey guys!
Im 99% sure I have both adhd and asd but I have way too much anxiety to even think of seeing a diagnosis!
I’ve recently gotten my first job since I was 15 which I got fired from for being rude and “arguing” and mom really stressed
I hate where I work most of the time, I have no idea what I’m doing and apparently “struggle with initiation” by which they mean I stand still too long being distracted.

I thought my supervisor liked me but apparently she gave my boss a really bad opinion of me which he wants me to prove wrong, I’ve been given 3 weeks to “prove them wrong” but I’ve got a trip booked and paid for in the third week, I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep this job and I feel like I will be fired again, if that happens I don’t think I will recover from the shame and anxiety it will give me as it took months to even get this job and I’m struggling to even pay rent and am in debt several hundred dollars to my sister.

My problem at work is that there is nothing to do so I stand there waiting for customers to come by because no one else is at the front, I clean the benches constantly and try my best to do everything perfectly but I’m just not good enough, plus all my coworkers have really strong accents and the shopping centre I work at is so loud and busy all the time.

Im not initiating tasks because I don’t see any tasks that need doing and I’m going to lose my job over it
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
Can you ask them to make a list of tasks in descending order of importance? Can you apply for jobs when you come back from vacation?
 

Misery

Photo-Negative
V.I.P Member
It's My Birthday!
Sadly, some employers are just like that. You gotta be always DOING something. Even if there's nothing to do. It really doesnt make any sense, does it?
 

Izzy5487

New Member
Can you ask them to make a list of tasks in descending order of importance? Can you apply for jobs when you come back from vacation?
Im already applying, we have what they call battle stations which is where you’re supposed to be and I’ll be there and it’s just not enough for them for me to just do the stuff that needs doing, I don’t think they would bother doing that, easier to just replace me with some kid who moves faster
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
Some jobs do end up being just a really bad fit because the demands do not fit our skills, but I do understand that sometimes you just need to have an imperfect job because there are bills to be paid.

Aspychata’s suggestion for a list seems helpful… When an employer asks you to change your behavior, it seems perfectly fine for us to ask them for some definition in exactly how we can do that and for them to be very explicit in what their expectations are.

Outside of that though, as far as the anxiety goes, I will say just be aware of moments outside of work when you can really do things that recharge you. Being at a job all day, and one that is stressful, can leave us feeling so exhausted which only heightens anxiety. So do all those things you can to take care of yourself and keep yourself strong here because you already know you are dealing with a lot, just feeling so anxious all the time. Keep breathing, use us to vent if you can and if it is helpful.
 

Izzy5487

New Member
Some jobs do end up being just a really bad fit because the demands do not fit our skills, but I do understand that sometimes you just need to have an imperfect job because there are bills to be paid.

Aspychata’s suggestion for a list seems helpful… When an employer asks you to change your behavior, it seems perfectly fine for us to ask them for some definition in exactly how we can do that and for them to be very explicit in what their expectations are.

Outside of that though, as far as the anxiety goes, I will say just be aware of moments outside of work when you can really do things that recharge you. Being at a job all day, and one that is stressful, can leave us feeling so exhausted which only heightens anxiety. So do all those things you can to take care of yourself and keep yourself strong here because you already know you are dealing with a lot, just feeling so anxious all the time. Keep breathing, use us to vent if you can and if it is helpful.
Y you’re so rights on so many levels, I started feeling really depressed right before Igor the job too so that made that even worde
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
Y you’re so rights on so many levels, I started feeling really depressed right before Igor the job too so that made that even worde
That’s a lot all at once. Well, I hope there are things that make you happy and calm today. Anything that restores your strength and determination right now sounds like a pretty good thing to me.
 

VictorR

Random Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome!

I also concur with Aspychata's suggestion of asking your boss for advice. Taking initiative and seeking clarification is always good... unless the other person already has a decision in mind and is drawing things out for the sake of appearances.

If you need to keep busy, reading and re-reading the store's manuals never hurts. Or perhaps you might offer to learn or perform a new task that you aren't doing now, like inventory count or supply ordering.

---

It sounds like you work in a retail store at a mall. Have you considered reaching out to other stores in the mall and getting a part time position at another store? It may be a steep learning curve, but many places hire additional staff during this busy time of the year and if they like you, may keep you on. If you find another position that seems to be a better fit, that may allow you to transition out of your current position.
 

MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
The world of work is often pretty dumb and a lot of the expectations are based on archaic hierarchy concepts that honestly don't make a lot of sense when you subject them to any logical analysis.

One of my first jobs involved some of the same activities that you described. When you are pretty new in the position it stands to reason that you won't want to just assume to do something even if it might seem like a good idea.

I would stand and do as I was told and as long as there were some customers in the store all was well. I even think this helped me become a little more fluent when talking to people.

But when there were no customers it was like my "deal with customers" program loop was still active, like a forward loop that continued for too long before it ended and I would seek something else to do.

So often times I would get the good old angry chastisement "Don't just stand around do something! I'm not paying you to stand around!"

So I would do something like clean the shelves. But then I had cleaning products everywhere and a rush of customers would come in. So then I would be preoccupied with my current task asd not potentially having dangerous chemicals unattended.

So then there would be the situation where there was no customers and I had cleaned everything in sight. So I would stand and wait, usually looking around for something to do but finding nothing.

Then I would be told to clean shelves. I would say "oh I have already done those." Only to be met with an angry tone. "Clean them again then!".

This I think is the problem. It didn't make sense to me to do things like that. The "cleaning procedure" had been completed. Why do it again?

I think also, standing is seen by a lot of "conventional thinkers" as lazy, "doing nothing". People it seems prefer performative actions, even though they may not actually achieve anything and may even cause problems.

So the secret I've found is, try to make a list of what everyone does. When you find yourself standing still, try to be aware. Pick up a damp cloth and clean a few things. Pick up a broom and sweep even if there's nothing there. It "looks" constructive, and that's really all that matters. The challenge is to figure out what task you can do in the unpredictability small time you might have that you *can* walk away from if a real task comes along.

Just doing a few things like this can persuade idiot, micromanaging supervisors that you are "using your initiative" and bending to their whims :)
 

Izzy5487

New Member
Welcome!

I also concur with Aspychata's suggestion of asking your boss for advice. Taking initiative and seeking clarification is always good... unless the other person already has a decision in mind and is drawing things out for the sake of appearances.

If you need to keep busy, reading and re-reading the store's manuals never hurts. Or perhaps you might offer to learn or perform a new task that you aren't doing now, like inventory count or supply ordering.

---

It sounds like you work in a retail store at a mall. Have you considered reaching out to other stores in the mall and getting a part time position at another store? It may be a steep learning curve, but many places hire additional staff during this busy time of the year and if they like you, may keep you on. If you find another position that seems to be a better fit, that may allow you to transition out of your current position.
I work at a fast food restaurant that really values speed, we have to accept online orders within 3 seconds! I’m only working casually so I get long breaks but when I come back after a few days I’ve pretty much forgotten everything
 

Izzy5487

New Member
The world of work is often pretty dumb and a lot of the expectations are based on archaic hierarchy concepts that honestly don't make a lot of sense when you subject them to any logical analysis.

One of my first jobs involved some of the same activities that you described. When you are pretty new in the position it stands to reason that you won't want to just assume to do something even if it might seem like a good idea.

I would stand and do as I was told and as long as there were some customers in the store all was well. I even think this helped me become a little more fluent when talking to people.

But when there were no customers it was like my "deal with customers" program loop was still active, like a forward loop that continued for too long before it ended and I would seek something else to do.

So often times I would get the good old angry chastisement "Don't just stand around do something! I'm not paying you to stand around!"

So I would do something like clean the shelves. But then I had cleaning products everywhere and a rush of customers would come in. So then I would be preoccupied with my current task asd not potentially having dangerous chemicals unattended.

So then there would be the situation where there was no customers and I had cleaned everything in sight. So I would stand and wait, usually looking around for something to do but finding nothing.

Then I would be told to clean shelves. I would say "oh I have already done those." Only to be met with an angry tone. "Clean them again then!".

This I think is the problem. It didn't make sense to me to do things like that. The "cleaning procedure" had been completed. Why do it again?

I think also, standing is seen by a lot of "conventional thinkers" as lazy, "doing nothing". People it seems prefer performative actions, even though they may not actually achieve anything and may even cause problems.

So the secret I've found is, try to make a list of what everyone does. When you find yourself standing still, try to be aware. Pick up a damp cloth and clean a few things. Pick up a broom and sweep even if there's nothing there. It "looks" constructive, and that's really all that matters. The challenge is to figure out what task you can do in the unpredictability small time you might have that you *can* walk away from if a real task comes along.

Just doing a few things like this can persuade idiot, micromanaging supervisors that you are "using your initiative" and bending to their whims :)
You have some great ideas I think I’m going to try and implement them!

It’s over 4 hour shifts but they don’t let it get to 5 hours because then I’d legally require a break, so I stand doing crap for 4 hours and 50 minutes with the only toilet being on the other side of the mall and no time to grab a drink when it’s really hot because the manager sits rights there at the back of the store :(
 

MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
You have some great ideas I think I’m going to try and implement them!

It’s over 4 hour shifts but they don’t let it get to 5 hours because then I’d legally require a break, so I stand doing crap for 4 hours and 50 minutes with the only toilet being on the other side of the mall and no time to grab a drink when it’s really hot because the manager sits rights there at the back of the store :(
Ah the manager gets to sit! Lol! Sounds about par for the course! ;)

I'm glad you feel some of what I said could be useful. Just try to observe and think about how to fit some of these "routines" into your day. Maybe even if you are unsure say "hey, should I sort out this thing here..?" But don't ask more than once in a while as I've found people can think this is due to a lack of confidence. It's pretty dumb but that's is something I've found.

In a way, treat it like a video game. Think if I do mundane actively "A" I get 50XP points, if I do "B" 70xp points and build up your score :) Try to find the right balance and I'm sure you will do ok! :) If worst comes to worst, you can take this experience with you to your next job and you can even talk about it at the interview (maybe leave out the XP points bit though!) :)
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
Yeah that's a problem. You're spacing out and that is a bad look.

Have you considered asking your supervisor how you can improve? I've worked retail and in my experience, there is always something to be done. Maybe you just need to look focused and alert instead of bored and distracted.
 

GypsyMoth

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Hi @Izzy5487, welcome! I'm guessing this is retail in a mall? I've worked retail in a mall before; maybe I can help?
I’ve recently gotten my first job since I was 15 which I got fired from for being rude and “arguing” and mom really stressed
Well, we've got a lot in common then. I get accused of arguing a lot when I'm not, too. Unfortunately, there are a lot of soft skills to learn and, frankly, a lot of those 'soft skills' look like masking to us. But if you want/need the job, sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do. The number one thing an employer wants is a willing employee. They want someone with the right attitude. There is only one phrase you need to know when on the job: "yes, I can do that." No saying 'no', no asking questions, no thinking about how to answer. Just memorize, "yes, I can do that," and it will help a ton.

Smiling helps, too. It doesn't matter if it's a real or a fake smile--all your employer sees when you smile is a friendly face, and customers like friendly faces.

I hate where I work most of the time, I have no idea what I’m doing and apparently “struggle with initiation” by which they mean I stand still too long being distracted.
If misery likes company, then we have some common ground here. I have been catching myself staring off into space at work--which is fine when I'm home thinking about something but not so fine if I'm not getting my work done.

So, how do you take not "struggle with initiation"? I like @Aspychata's suggestion of asking for a duty list that has already been prioritized for you. Write it down. And if the manager says, "oh, I can just tell you," still, write it down. I had a boss once who insisted on verbally telling me once and turning me loose. I loved the job but I was in my own little world in it because I could not engage with the boss's verbal list--which I know didn't hear the same way in which he spoke it. This took place on a college campus and I ended up ruining something he had been preparing for his fall classes.

By then we were both sorry I worked for him.

But back to initiation. Is it motivation? Is it stepping outside of your comfort zone? no wonder your anxiety levels have been so high at this job--you don't know what is expected of you or how to engage the manager in a productive conversation that could resolve this confusion and turmoil. And so much at work goes unspoken.
I thought my supervisor liked me but apparently she gave my boss a really bad opinion of me which he wants me to prove wrong,
Okay, so it's a vote of confidence. This guy is in your court--a 3-week notice is very encouraging and generous.
I’ve been given 3 weeks to “prove them wrong” but I’ve got a trip booked and paid for in the third week,
How long has your employer known about this trip? Is taking this trip--and the money required to do so--really that important right now? It sounds (below) like there are some financial problems as well. One way you can prioritize is postpone your trip to, say, the spring, when your job situation might be a little less volatile.
I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep this job and I feel like I will be fired again, if that happens I don’t think I will recover from the shame and anxiety it will give me as it took months to even get this job and I’m struggling to even pay rent and am in debt several hundred dollars to my sister.
Hmmm.... I have no doubt that you want this trip, but are you sure you need this trip?
My problem at work is that there is nothing to do so I stand there waiting for customers to come by because no one else is at the front, I clean the benches constantly and try my best to do everything perfectly but I’m just not good enough, plus all my coworkers have really strong accents and the shopping centre I work at is so loud and busy all the time.
Yeah, there are a lot of soft skills going on here. It sounds like your manager has you working the property line. When you work the property line, you usually greet customers as they pass by in the mall with the unveiled effort to draw them in.. "Hi, how are you?! Today is our big annual sale--we'd love to have you!" Short and sweet keeps it nice and neat.

Im not initiating tasks because I don’t see any tasks that need doing and I’m going to lose my job over it
Because your manager does appear to be supportive of keeping you, that tells me that he is interested in helping you overcome certain difficulties your less forgiving supervisor has reported about you. I would go to him and point-blank say, "I love my job and I want to do well. I've been doing such-and-such faithfully for x amount of time now, but I feel like I'm not doing it up to your standards. Would you show me how I may improve and do my job better?"

Hopefully, some of these ides will be useful to you. Good luck & let us know how it turns out.

GypsyMoth
 

Izzy5487

New Member
Hi @Izzy5487, welcome! I'm guessing this is retail in a mall? I've worked retail in a mall before; maybe I can help?

Well, we've got a lot in common then. I get accused of arguing a lot when I'm not, too. Unfortunately, there are a lot of soft skills to learn and, frankly, a lot of those 'soft skills' look like masking to us. But if you want/need the job, sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do. The number one thing an employer wants is a willing employee. They want someone with the right attitude. There is only one phrase you need to know when on the job: "yes, I can do that." No saying 'no', no asking questions, no thinking about how to answer. Just memorize, "yes, I can do that," and it will help a ton.

Smiling helps, too. It doesn't matter if it's a real or a fake smile--all your employer sees when you smile is a friendly face, and customers like friendly faces.


If misery likes company, then we have some common ground here. I have been catching myself staring off into space at work--which is fine when I'm home thinking about something but not so fine if I'm not getting my work done.

So, how do you take not "struggle with initiation"? I like @Aspychata's suggestion of asking for a duty list that has already been prioritized for you. Write it down. And if the manager says, "oh, I can just tell you," still, write it down. I had a boss once who insisted on verbally telling me once and turning me loose. I loved the job but I was in my own little world in it because I could not engage with the boss's verbal list--which I know didn't hear the same way in which he spoke it. This took place on a college campus and I ended up ruining something he had been preparing for his fall classes.

By then we were both sorry I worked for him.

But back to initiation. Is it motivation? Is it stepping outside of your comfort zone? no wonder your anxiety levels have been so high at this job--you don't know what is expected of you or how to engage the manager in a productive conversation that could resolve this confusion and turmoil. And so much at work goes unspoken.

Okay, so it's a vote of confidence. This guy is in your court--a 3-week notice is very encouraging and generous.

How long has your employer known about this trip? Is taking this trip--and the money required to do so--really that important right now? It sounds (below) like there are some financial problems as well. One way you can prioritize is postpone your trip to, say, the spring, when your job situation might be a little less volatile.

Hmmm.... I have no doubt that you want this trip, but are you sure you need this trip?

Yeah, there are a lot of soft skills going on here. It sounds like your manager has you working the property line. When you work the property line, you usually greet customers as they pass by in the mall with the unveiled effort to draw them in.. "Hi, how are you?! Today is our big annual sale--we'd love to have you!" Short and sweet keeps it nice and neat.


Because your manager does appear to be supportive of keeping you, that tells me that he is interested in helping you overcome certain difficulties your less forgiving supervisor has reported about you. I would go to him and point-blank say, "I love my job and I want to do well. I've been doing such-and-such faithfully for x amount of time now, but I feel like I'm not doing it up to your standards. Would you show me how I may improve and do my job better?"

Hopefully, some of these ides will be useful to you. Good luck & let us know how it turns out.

GypsyMoth
The trip is a cruise I booked an paid for months ago, no backing out, I told him about it at my job interview so he knew well before I started I just don’t know if he remembers.
I’ve only had three shifts so far also so I do feel the standard is set too high
He had me sit down on a small crate while he sat in a chair while we talked about this and he told me that all my fellow employees were already better than me by their first shifts which as really disheartening
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
he told me that all my fellow employees were already better than me by their first shifts
Um… this is not a good sign of your manager. There’s no requirement for him to be understanding of different types of learning, but this is a stupid comment if that’s exactly what he said. It’s not helpful and it doesn’t mean anything… Everybody’s first shift is just that, their first shift.

I’m sort of assuming things here, but it sounds like your manager just doesn’t want to put in the effort to train people and he just wants them to show up ready to go. Comparing you to other employees and putting you down after just your third shift there is BS in my opinion.

The environment you work in already sounds so stressful for someone who experiences autism like I do, so keep in mind you may be a little bit fried just by being in that space for hours a day.

Don’t let too much external advice get you down here. It is important to hear people out and to be willing to learn, but it is equally important to not take in everything people say. If you can learn something from what somebody has said to you, great, hopefully you have the courage to do so. But, if their words are simply hurtful and make you feel badly about yourself and who you are, then I would say feel free to disregard them and come here and vent about it.
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
Um… this is not a good sign of your manager. There’s no requirement for him to be understanding of different types of learning, but this is a stupid comment if that’s exactly what he said. It’s not helpful and it doesn’t mean anything… Everybody’s first shift is just that, their first shift.

I’m sort of assuming things here, but it sounds like your manager just doesn’t want to put in the effort to train people and he just wants them to show up ready to go. Comparing you to other employees and putting you down after just your third shift there is BS in my opinion.

The environment you work in already sounds so stressful for someone who experiences autism like I do, so keep in mind you may be a little bit fried just by being in that space for hours a day.

Don’t let too much external advice get you down here. It is important to hear people out and to be willing to learn, but it is equally important to not take in everything people say. If you can learn something from what somebody has said to you, great, hopefully you have the courage to do so. But, if their words are simply hurtful and make you feel badly about yourself and who you are, then I would say feel free to disregard them and come here and vent about it.
Unfortunately, that describes most managers.
 

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