If you read here regularly you should know three things: I left a job two years ago that was bad for my mental health, I struggle with anxiety, and I just started a new part time job at the place where I have been volunteerting. All of that plays into this post.
I have been officially on the new job for a couple of weeks now. When I was hired I was told I would work 6 hours a week to start and that the hours would increase later. I was also told that some times would be busier with more hours and some would be lighter with fewer hours.
So, I start my week with the idea that I will be at work for three hours on Monday and Wednesday mornings. I will have volunteer shifts Tuesday and Friday mornings until the end of the current session. I plan my life around this.
Last week, I was asked to stay longer on Wednesday to go to Home Depot to get keys made and to pick up some supplies. I had no reason to say no, so I did.
Monday, a horse broke some boards on the fence in their field and they needed to be replaced. They asked if I could stay and take care of it. I did and it took most of the day. I left on time yesterday but then got a text from someone there to tell me there was another fence issue. I texted the person in charge to see how immediate the need was because I have limited availability for the rest of this week. I was told it wasn’t immediate so I said I would take care of it when I am there Monday. All should be good.
Except, as soon as I became an employee all of the anxiety I had regarding work at my last job came flooding back. I am anxious about the job even when there is no reason to be. I assume my phone will ring at any time with them asking me to work when I am not supposed to be at work. I’m anxious about their response if I say I am not available. I am anxious about the possibility that I might decide it isn’t worth ruining how much I enjoy the place by adding all of this job-related anxiety to it.
I know that I never consented to be on call 24/7. I know that they have not asked me to be on call 24/7.
I know I have the right to say no if they ask me to come in on a day when I am not scheduled to work.
I know that they are much nicer and more understanding than the people at my last job and I have seen no evidence that this will change if I say no.
I know the worst-case scenario is that I end up leaving the job whether by my choice or theirs. It wouldn’t be the end of the world.
I know that it would be better to know now if there will be an expectation of being on call 24/7 and that they will react poorly if I say no.
I just wish I could relax, live my life, say no when asked to do something I can’t or don’t want to do, and leave if it becomes a bad situation. Instead, I’m just anxious most of the time.