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  • Writer's pictureJust Jack Counselling Services

Mental Health at Work

It would fair to say that I can be somewhat out spoken when I see something in the workplace that I feel isn’t right. Throughout my working life I have ended up in trouble for speaking out and have even been sacked due to it but I have also left a position of employment due to other reasons as no doubt everyone has, examples being, left to move onto something better, left due to funding running out, left due to values, morals and ethics and so on but what I want to write about today is the way you are made to feel when your leaving, waiting to leave or indeed have already left.

Mental health is a huge topic nowadays and its being more and more recognised and supported within the workplace however I wonder if employers recognise or even care how they can effect peoples mental health during this process or do they simply not care and it’s just a case of them moving on as quickly as possible and replacing the employee, it’s just business after all right?

Fact of the matter is no matter how you have ended employment this can affect your self confidence, self esteem, self respect and make you feel like a failure if you haven’t been treated in the right way. I know people who have given decades of their lives to their employer then just feel thrown in the waste bin without so much as a genuine thank you.

I am sat writing this whilst being suspended from my day job, I was suspended (with pay) on Friday 26th November 2021 due to having a run in with a field manager. The run in was due to me whistle blowing his sexual inappropriate behaviour towards female members of staff (my wife being one of them), many of which have complained to each other about however are too scared to report the behaviour due to the fear of losing their jobs or not being believed.

Of course there is a right way and a wrong way to report matters of concern which is why I reported this individual roughly a year ago and again 6 months ago and again recently however nothing has been done, not even investigated and yet I am the one who’s been suspended because I was the only one who had the courage to stand up to the sexual predator.

So after making a verbal complaint over a year ago, and then a written complaint again in October 2021 surely it should have been investigated in a professional manner and not just swept under the carpet? Everyone has a breaking point and even after many a warning to my boss I will admit I snapped and had words with this so called manager, nothing physical just a heated discussion and some home truths spoken of which of course he acted like any coward and bully would and I was thrown out the place of work and suspended, until the incident can be investigated.

It is noteworthy at this point to mention that not 3 days before this incident I had to break up a physical fight between a member of staff and a driver and yet those individuals were not suspended but when you challenge a managers unacceptable behaviour then I guess that’s different, but why? It’s not as if I didn’t make the complaints in the correct manner first, several times and although when I constantly asked about any actions it was clear the complaints had simply been ignored and no action taken, allowing for this sexual predator to continual stalking and preying on the vulnerable.

That explains in short how I have ended being suspended however the main point of this article is that of how an employee is treated when suspended. I have only received an extremely brief email informing me of my suspension but to date and at the time of writing this I have heard nothing else from my employer. Not a courtesy call or a welfare call to see how I’m holding up, and it’s been 3 days so far. Please don’t misunderstand me, I understand that it maybe policy not to contact me until such time the investigation has commenced however if that is the case are we not innocent until proven guilty anyway? Surely a neutral party could at least make a phone call?

I believe a manager is a person in a position of power and as such should not abuse this power, a manager should be able to be trusted and counted upon for support and guidance and not feared and made to feel dirty and uncomfortable, or maybe it’s just me that feels that a manager in such a position shouldn’t be speaking about personal matters, like his sex life, how his wife doesn’t finish him off and how he needs to do the rest himself, commenting on females clothing in a sexual manner and so on, and what infuriates me the most is then when other individuals in power are also aware of this unprofessional behaviour that they also turn a blind eye and simply say “that’s just what he’s like” so does that make it acceptable behaviour, because “that’s just what he’s like”? Surely sexual harassment in the work place is unacceptable regardless of what someone’s like, especially a manager?

It leaves you thinking is this a place you actually want to even work for and should you not just cut it loose and start looking for another job straight away or do wait to see what happens because surely to just leave allows him to win and continue his behaviour towards others, isn’t the point of whistle blowing to protect you and others in order for everyone to feel safe in the workplace?

Surely your employer still has a duty of care to their staff until such time that they have ceased your employment with them? I have been made to feel like a criminal, unwanted and rejected simply because I stood up for myself and others and whilst this manager continues working my mental health is suffering, my anxiety is through the roof, simply due to being in limbo.

Limbo is a horrible place to be as those who have been in this position will no doubt agree, as being in limbo creates anxiety which in turn creates frustration which then turns into anger, so how do we control these feelings and emotions or do we allow ourselves to be beat?

It begs the question of; would I whistle blow again to be treated this way and made to feel like shit or would I conform and allow for the behaviour to continue?

Every single time I will stand and be counted, no matter how I am made to feel as at least my suffering may go towards lessening someone else’s suffering in which case I feel it’s worth it (Viktor Frankl), however this behaviour by others should not be allowed, especially in the workplace and also whilst your waiting to find out if you’ll be going back into that same workplace which now has a negative connotation. Every employee should never fear blowing the whistle, there should be a professional procedure/policy that allows anyone to report such matters, confidentially and not fear losing their jobs, otherwise these bullies will escalate their behaviour and I shudder to think where that will leave their victims and I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I could of stopped it however that can leave you feeling powerless, frustrated, anxious and angry which is awful however we can take control of these feelings ourselves instead of waiting for others to continual their power games, mind games and torture but how?

Firstly I should say DO NOT make any decisions straight away, your anxiety and frustration will try and push you to act but don’t, as your anger will act out and that can end badly which you could regret and make a bad decision. If you feel you are in the right then remind yourself of that, if you feel you are being treated badly then remember that no one and nothing is perfect and you are unaware what’s happening behind the scenes, try and think about the bigger picture however try not to over think, maybe the powers that be are working hard to rectify the matter and you really have nothing to worry about, the fact of the matter is you simply don’t’ know and it’s wasted energy let alone pointless trying to second guess, you should try and at least relax as best you can.

Take your mind off it by going for a walk or hitting the gym, go and see a friend and get them to help to take your mind off it, that can be by simply listening to how their life is going (hopefully positive). Do like I do and vent it out in writing or speak to your partner (but remember they are not to blame). The fact of the matter is you need to allow for time to pass, allow for them to do them whilst you do you, meditate, chill, play the X-box have a duvet day or do that DIY around the house you been meaning to do, do anything but don’t give them the power over you, no one can control your feelings and emotions unless you allow them to and if nothing else works then go to my default of “everything happens for a reason” and “what will be will be” as sometimes we have to just sit back, relax and allow for the universe to do its work as when each door shuts another one opens.

Just don’t bottle it all up, speak to someone and get counselling.

Good Luck and take Care


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