Ask Jack: Admit to Therapy, Swamped Post-Vacay, Job of the Week
AOL Jobs reader Sophia asks:
Is it ever a bad idea to admit to your HR director that you're seeing a therapist or are taking antidepressants? If it comes up in conversation about personal issues at home, could that information be used against you in terms of promotions or advancement?
Sophia, if someone wants to shoot you, there's not much you can do... but don't hand them the bullets. (And actually, there are things you can do: alert the police; wear a Kevlar vest; duck.) Therapy and related medications are incredibly common and of course, nothing to be ashamed of. And yet, there is still a stigma out there among the less enlightened. Combine this with the fact that YOU CAN'T MENTION ANYTHING TO ANYONE WITHOUT IT BEING REPEATED, and it might be wise to remain mum on the topic. Or at least with people who are in regular contact with those who determine your professional future.
Now, there are certainly issues that are worth being wide open about -- things about your identity that are ultimately much more important than any raise or new title. Only you can decide which fights you want to take on. If you want to be the Office Champion for Therapy and Meds, go for it -- work toward ending that stigma. But if you only want to casually talk about it, it's easy enough to say "I heard this from a friend" or that you read it online, or heard it on public radio... unless your bosses have a stigma against public radio, that is.
It happens every time! I come back from a vacation and the work has completely piled up. I have to take care of everything that happened while I was away. I end up working through lunch, staying late day after day -- it's like I didn't take time off in the first place!! I deserve an actual vacation!!!
Ron, you seem to have some anger issues; have you considered talking to a professional? It is completely disheartening to come back from a relaxing trip, only to find a huge pile of work, a million voicemails, and an overflowing e-mail inbox. It can really make you question going away in the first place. Of course, this varies greatly with the type of job you have and your level of responsibility. But there are some standard steps most people can take to reduce the post-vacation shock.
Is there a slower time of year in your field when it might make more sense to take time off? (I was always astonished when coworkers would schedule a week away at the height of our busiest season.) Can you delegate? Not everyone can. (Another ripe-for-therapy topic!) In your out-of-office voice and e-mail messages, give the contact info for someone else who can help. Alert your coworkers to your schedule as early as possible; allow them to plan around you. And finish up as many projects as you can before you depart. Then, while you're away, they'll realize they don't need you at all, and the only thing waiting for you when you return will be a pink slip. Hashtag irony!
Last week's Ask Jack questions
Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.
Jack's Job of the Week
If you were thinking, "Wow, Jack doesn't know anything about anti-depressants or standard medical care, but I definitely do, and sure would like to be a full-time nurse on a fixed-wing aircraft based out of Hawaii," well, then do I have the job for you! But if none of those words apply, there are still thousands of other jobs to which you can apply. Do your own search on AOL Jobs. You'll be flying high in a new career in no time!