How to Deal with Bad Managers at Work? I'm Being Let Go Because of Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Matchbox, Apr 23, 2021.

    1. Matchbox

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      My manager who tries to "relate" to what I'm going through by saying things like oh sometimes I have migraines too (where I replied they do end though right?) has decided to launch a complaint against my "work ethic" saying without firm medical proof of my condition that my slowing down has been "performance related". She even has another person in a term position to "assist me" and dropped it on me while I was on medical leave about to try returning to work, who I know she's friends with and is obviously lining up to replace me. She keeps saying she "emphasizes" but that without proof she has to treat it as "performance related" and that I haven't been keeping up.

      She cherry picks her arguments about any deadline I've missed (one), where ignoring any of my efforts thus far. I often get road blocked by her when I try to do things myself... and when I don't do things myself I get berated for waiting instead of following up or managing a project (which I'm consistently told not to do, until it doesn't work out). If something isn't done "her way" then it's wrong basically. If it takes me a little longer than her than it's wrong. If something comes up which I couldn't predict, especially when lacking mental focus right now and have to plow through when I'm on drugs, then I'm wrong.

      I know for a fact other projects are taking just as long, and noone is getting berated for those.

      I'm also getting the "time to go back to the office" treatment (FYI COVID-19 is in full swing here in Canada so I think that's nuts to even suggest) and I'm trying to tell her I NEED accommodation with tinnitus and sound distortions in order to concentrate on my job and for it to not get worse, and so if I breakdown that I can get back on the horse when my mental focus is better.

      I'm on the medical treadmill trying to figure out why I'm worse, and the last psychiatrist I talked to never followed up afterwards (and talking with him was impossible as he kept taking other calls whilst with him). They said I should probably be on long-term disability if this is the work ethic that will be shown for the future with my condition (because I can just do that with "only tinnitus," right?)

      I've already had a doctor submit disability forms and that further investigating is needed once. Side note: that doctor since gave up on me after making me worse, and quickly dumped me once I told him that quote "I asked you several times, you said steroids couldn't possibly make me worse and each time it's gotten worse and NOW you're giving up on me?" and he told me I was "doctor shopping for drugs" when in reality I was looking for answers in between 3-6 weeks between specialists and appointments with him, who also used evidence of my getting various drugs YEARS AGO from walk-in doctors ad hoc... because I didn't have a family doctor at the time... because Canada... and he called it doctor hopping.

      So basically, I'm contacting my union because she wants to have an HR meeting to "discuss" my performance and to "probably prepare myself to be let go, or be doing something other than what I was hired for" (her words).

      WTF should I do and what should my plan be here? I never had people pointing at my work before this. Many things came up while I was off which weren't my fault as it is IMPOSSIBLE when working on new software or implementations to catch every single bug or have experience in every department (and when I say that I always get gaslight with 2020 hindsight).

      Trust me. I hate this woman, she is the worst breed of manager. Laissez-faire who swings to micromanaging if something isn't perfect... and good luck getting a hold of her if you're stumped or road blocked... especially when I don't have full authority of a project and get thrown in when it's half-baked and half-done... so I'm learning it all from the ground up and being told "I already did that" when I need to comprehend the entire scope of what I'm doing so that it actually works.

      I need to work... I don't "love" my work... but I like it enough and need it. It isn't a lack of motivation, it's pure depression and intense noise keeping me from focusing and enjoying any aspect of life. I routinely put in tons of hours to try to keep up with things when I have to stop due to mental focus. And right now I "have" been taking sick time for this but it's hard not to when you hear bombs going off in your head at 2 am to 6 am and didn't sleep a wink... nor do you want to be dependent on benzos just for work.

      TL;DR:
      So this turned into a work rant. For those with tinnitus / hyperacusis, how do you deal with disability while being able to still work and moreso, how do you handle bad managers who think they can relate to you with things that are temporary conditions and not chronic?
       
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    2. weab00
      Gloomy

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Joe Dart's basement
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      some good mf music
      Lawyer up.
       
      • Agree Agree x 8
    3. convolution

      convolution Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden - Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      26/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      White Noise from Headphones (likely)
      If your manager is such a piece of shit with whom you apparently cannot talk to, either you pursue the disability road and give up somehow your job or you seek support from the union.

      How strong are the unions in Canada? Are workplaces strongly unionized? You might have more rights than you think. In some countries laying off a worker given your circumstances is far from being easy. Of course this would probably stress you even more, and even more spoil your relationship with your manager.

      The third road to pursue is the lawyer; that's going to cost you a lot of money though.
       
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    4. Sayeed

      Sayeed Member Benefactor

      Location:
      miami fl
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/1/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unsure
      On the hearing exam the audiologist/ENT gave you, did they write down you have tinnitus? I'm wondering if that's enough to go on short/long term disability.

      It's a crappy situation which I'm sure I will be dealing with very soon. My work has been accommodating but who knows how much longer.

      Talking to lawyer won't hurt. Seems like your boss wants you out of the way no matter what.

      In Florida we have something I think it's called right to work. Basically outside of a few exceptions, you can get fired for basically anything including your boss not liking you.
       
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    5. AliasM
      Depressed

      AliasM Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      Dec 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ? Autoimmune, daily headaches, Ibuprofin, BP meds, Virus?
      Disability discrimination... play the card because that's what it is.

      Are you in a union?
       
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    6. Lukee

      Lukee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Breathing Exercise
      Labour laws are very different in Canada than the US. Generally, employees are well protected by these laws and the labour board and unions are always in favor of the employee. I’m surprised to hear you are unionized as a desk worker. I would start by contacting the union, as they’ll have the most power to fight for you.

      I feel for you because this condition is truly one of the invisible ones where the sufferer appears to be perfectly fine from the outside. As @weab00 says, you can lawyer up but the union will usually do that for you if they are worth anything at all.

      COVID-19 has shifted the work paradigm but has also brought to light the importance of mental health and how it pertains to our work environment. I don’t know if it’s an option but maybe try and have a heart to heart with her and if that fails do what you have to do to protect your livelihood.
       
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    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are going through at work with your manager. A lot of people are able to habituate to tinnitus, work and live their life doing most of the things they want to. Unfortunately this isn't the case for everyone, because tinnitus comes in many forms and intensities and no two people experience it the same.

      I believe it will help your case with HR, if you are under the care of an ENT doctor or an Audiologist and receiving treatment for your tinnitus and hyperacusis. This can be CBT, TRT, counselling, sound therapy using white noise generators and medication which can include a sleeping draft. This will show the tinnitus is impairing your ability to perform at your best, under the grounds of mental disability and you are having treatment.

      Best of luck
      Michael
       
    8. GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      At least in the US I believe they need to make a "reasonable accommodation" for employees with disabilities. I am surprised Candadian standard would be any more lax.
       
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    9. Tanni
      Volatile

      Tanni Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ???
      I'm really sorry to read all this.

      Please remember that your 'work ethic' is not the issue here - you have been newly diagnosed with a serious, chronic condition, which has also brought on depression, another serious condition. And all in the midst of a pandemic. Please always keep this in your mind and don't let it dent your confidence in your work ethic or ability.

      It's important to know your rights going forward. Speaking with your union is an excellent idea. Does Canada have a Citizen's Advice Bureau you can also speak with?

      You could proactively speak with your HR department without your manager present - but check this with your union/CAB first. She is claiming there is 'no proof' of the proven medical condition you have been diagnosed with, so this is a problem that they need to address with her to help her understand better. Please remember to be careful though as HR departments are rarely as impartial as they are supposed to be - keep it professional.

      Most importantly, consider what would be best for you right now. Do you need to be signed off again by the doctor? Do you need to temporarily work in a more limited capacity? Would switching teams so that you have a different manager be possible? Do you need to continue to work from home on a longer term basis?

      You need to think of yourself first and what would work best for you, until you are at the stage where you can continue to work as before.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    10. bobvann
      Cheeky

      bobvann Member

      Location:
      Inside the vortex
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud shit
      The ones I know of suck. You can still look into your rights.
       
    11. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      I'm in the USA. USA labor law does not consider tinnitus a disability. They do consider mental health a disability. I fought first time out a Psychiatrist who understood my pain. Submitted a mental health disability and I was able to stay on disability until I habituated to my tinnitus. My Psychiatrist was a key advocate. Without him I could have never made it. You need help. You need time off from stress.

      What are the Canadian labour laws?
       
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    12. Lilah
      Blah

      Lilah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Do you have an option to take long-term (even unpaid) sick leave? You can try playing your tinnitus sound (with your volume) at the HR meeting so the others know what you are going through, and remind them that tinnitus is a disability according the the military. It would be best if you present your case with research and evidence, such as doctor notes, tinnitus testing results (MML level, etc.). HR should be accommodating enough to give you your own space; that's actually pretty minimal.

      It seems you are still in your first year, which is a very difficult time. I did inform my boss early on that I have tinnitus and I've been having trouble concentrating, however he didn't seem sympathetic, etc. since he kept giving me the same workload. I was also advised not to speak too much of my tinnitus at work, so that is the only time I've told him. The first year, I was working weeknights and weekends just to keep up. This one time I made a few errors in a row, and my boss asked me what's going on? My last performance review was good; we were talking and my boss mentioned for some reason I seemed a bit unproductive the prior year. I would say my boss is a "fair" and impartial boss who doesn't really want to know about personal issues, so I had to work with that personality; he does not display a wide range of emotions. Another boss also told me he has loud (pulsatile) tinnitus when I told him and laughed it off. It is really no point, and a waste of my energy, to explain my situation, so I just "brush off" negative comments. So, my advice regarding your boss is not to take her comments too seriously.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    13. FGG
      No Mood

      FGG Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multi-factorial
      It's weird. The law in the US seems to favor a situation only when you might pose a problem to an employer (mental health) and not your own health concerns. I read time and time again people getting rejected here for all sorts of serious conditions until they eventually get a doctor to give them a chronic mental health diagnosis to get disability help. That's so backwards to me.
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Matchbox

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      Doctors literally play hot potato.

      ENTs say it's a mental problem, Neurologists say it's a psychological issue, Psychiatrists say it's an ENT issue.

      Rheumatologists just look at me with a blank stare.

      No psychiatrist/councellor knows what to do for this. I explain I hear thumps, wines, seashells, and it's all getting worse apart from noise and post steroids (having never improved) and the post steroids it was an immediate reaction.

      All I get is... wow. Can't help you... did you try mindfulness?

      Yeah you know what, I know the difference between a light hiss in silence and this ever worsening hell I'm in. Slowly but surely, the volume of everything I "mask (if you can call it that when I still hear the garbage) with" needs to get higher... and higher... and higher to work over the months.

      If anyone else woke up with seashells in both ears and random bass thumping behind their ears and disgusting sounds, they'd go to the ER like I did at 4 am, and when being told sorry can't help you, they would have shot themselves by know, which is my next go to if I'm trapped in a sea of this / it gets any worse.
       
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    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Matchbox

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      Trust me, I don't take her comments seriously... we're talking about someone who brags that they "could have" worked at NASA... to which I think... but you don't, do you?

      All the while I've been trying to further my career ironically in the military and this has just torn that dream to shreds. It's shellshock as that WAS my goal and my personality 100%... it just took this long to realize what I needed to do... and then BAM tinnitus... and now I don't even get to enjoy existing.

      I literally work because there's NOTHING else to do that brings me joy anymore so I might as well try.

      Your comments are 200% spot on to what I'm going through. I say I'm going through something psychological and then get slammed for missing details (which I would've caught anyways, just takes more time than it would normally) and slower performance. Yeah well. It IS harder to concentrate, focus, care, push... especially when it suddenly worsens and I want to flip a table during a Zoom meeting hearing god damn thumping... I can barely concentrate on what is being said.

      I can take unpaid sick leave... it's just a really shitty option. I've been trying, like you did, to manage work with plowing through hard on good days, taking bad ones off... but honestly I'm having more bad days than good. And there's no joy in it anymore due to the tinnitus.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    16. FGG
      No Mood

      FGG Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multi-factorial
      Not saying this is your issue but I know of at least one person who had pretty severe "bass thumping" that turned out to be ET related.
       
    17. Brain Tumor Dave
      Wishful

      Brain Tumor Dave Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Vestibular Schwannoma / Posterior Fossa Meningioma
      I'm in Panama City, Florida. The Americans With Disabilities Act 1990 (Federal overrides State) takes care of that as long as your employer knew ahead of time that you had doctor-reported tinnitus. Or if you can prove you told your HR that you have a condition that can be considered a disability.

      If they KNEW you have tinnitus, and you've cited that "Hey, I can't do this job as well as a healthy person because I have this tinnitus". And then they still tell you to kick rocks... then yeah, bust their ass with a lawsuit.

      I don't know any disability lawyer that wouldn't salivate over that one.

      It falls under Social Security Section 11.00 or 12.00, I think.
       
    18. Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      Oh my gosh @Matchbox. Like you don’t have enough to deal with, you now have to deal with this.

      I am a manager and I can’t imagine ever treating one of my staff that way. I haven’t read all the responses above but definitely get a lawyer.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    19. Sayeed

      Sayeed Member Benefactor

      Location:
      miami fl
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/1/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unsure
      Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. I do have some confusion.

      @Ken219 is stating tinnitus is not a disability...

      Obviously my goal is to not go down this route as I have a great boss but if I can't get the tinnitus under control then I will have to explore the short term disability option.
       
    20. L34

      L34 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, but little dip at 7000 Hz
      I don't know if you can use this for anything, but I am thinking this:

      Your manager herself made a comparison between your tinnitus and her occasional migraine. I know that is a stupid comparison, but she mentioned it.

      You could ask her, how she is doing when she has a migraine. Can she work, can she concentrate, how productive is she?

      I bet she is lying in bed and not being productive at all...

      I don't know, maybe you think it is a bit provocative and unhelpful, but I feel she needs to get another perspective on the case...

      I send all my strength to you...
       
    21. Kendra

      Kendra Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL/ Acoustic Trauma
      I mean the VA considers tinnitus a disability. And according to federal law you have disability rights. The main thing would be to have a doctor get you a formal paper/ statement saying you have a disability.
       
    22. Simon85

      Simon85 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise exposure, but unknown.
      Sorry to hear this. I’m lucky enough to have a great manager that helped me. I’ve been in terrible managerial situations in previous jobs and it’s just sh*t. With health issues on top it would be very difficult. I don’t have much advice to give but I do hope things get better for you. Let us know how you go.
       
    23. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      Time to lawyer up!
       
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    24. MBH

      MBH Member

      Location:
      Upstate NY
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Overloaded stress
      @Matchbox, you just have think of your time better for your advantage.

      Example: morning do what's 1st, 2nd, 3rd. BREAK. Do Zoom if you do Zoom. After a break you'll be able listen better. Work on 1, 2 or 3. LUNCH NOT at desk, work, break, work, leave. Just figure out little tricks that can keep you employed.

      I feel it's too confusing to try for disability with tinnitus. There are too many roadblocks and differences.
       
    25. Brain Tumor Dave
      Wishful

      Brain Tumor Dave Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Vestibular Schwannoma / Posterior Fossa Meningioma
      Correct. The tinnitus itself is not a disability according to the SSA, whereas it is with the VA. The SSA considers it to contribute to a number of possible disabling applications like depression, insomnia, sociopathy, but only if you have a number of doctors on-board with reports that you have these disabling characteristics brought on by tinnitus (and whatever else). And that your tinnitus, that's causing these ailments, ain't expected to go away any time soon. The symptoms caused by your tinnitus need to (according to written doctor reports) severely limit your daily ability to function in a work environment. Where the VA has a % scale to "rate" these causes like tinnitus, the SSA doesn't assign a % to an ailment. They just have ambiguous ratings like "marked reduction," "severe impact," "limiting function," and so on.
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
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