Unhappy Psychologist

Issues related to pay, contracts, Agenda for Change, the NHS, the BPS, unions, etc.
RoPAP
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:19 pm

Unhappy Psychologist

Post by RoPAP » Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:09 pm

Hi! I’m just seeking some advice. I apologise that I cannot be specific, but in short, I don’t want to be identified.

I’m a qualified clinical psychologist and I work for a CAMHS service. It’s generally an unhappy place. Various professionals have left the service, and those in the ‘position of power’ refuse to either improve work-life balance or seek to actually listen to us about team working. They also have restricted the training budget, (yes I know that money is tight), but they send themselves on ‘not cheap’ training events, whilst trying to send the ‘ground troops’ on free training events.

Anyway, I have been offered a position in a Primary Mental Health Worker role. The banding is lower than my current banding, and will cost me money. However, it is closer to home than my current position, but I am not overly ecstatic about the job and where it is located. I have until Monday morning to think about it – I am wondering whether to take it, and how that might be seen by any future employer when I apply for a future psychologist role. Would they see it as a negative? Would it affect future promotions?

Please feel free to say – ‘you should count yourself lucky in this employment climate’, I am looking for as many responses as possible. As you may gather I am very unhappy at work, but I do not want to be rash, and then regret my choice. I do enjoy working with the young people in my service, but as time has gone on, people have left, I (and others) feel the work atmosphere is getting worse, and I am losing my motivation. There is a lot more I can say, but I am trying to remain as anonymous as possible.

Unhappy RoPAP!

astra
Posts: 2381
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:02 pm

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by astra » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:01 pm

What a horrible situation to be in. My OH was very unhappy in his job (headteacher) recently and ended up leaving on a compromise deal and hasn't been working this term. It's financially a problem but to be honest, his health is more important. If you spend 40 hours or so a week at work that's a lot of time to be unhappy and will take a toll on your health. Another thought - one I'm pursuing because I can see how things might go similarly in my workplace as things get transformed, is to stay, reduce your hours and start doing some private work in your own time. Then if it takes off you have the option to go fully private in time. See if there are other psychologists working privately in your area and network with them, you'll be surprised at the opportunities when you start to explore it. It might not be for you but it seems to be the way a lot of psychologists are resolving the rather untenable working conditions in the NHS these days. I haven't really answered your question have I? Only you can really decide but I think if I was interviewing someone in the future and they said they'd taken a different route for a while for personal reasons I would respect that and not judge them negatively on it.
From the point of view of mindfulness, as long as you're breathing there's more right with you than wrong with you. Jon Kabat-Zinn

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7857
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by miriam » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:17 pm

I don't think you are alone in feeling stuck and frustrated, or in thinking of whether the grass would be greener elsewhere. And there are no easy answers, in terms of whether you'd be happier in a different role, or whether dropping down a band would affect your career prospects. But I wonder what you can do to reduce your own stress and rediscover your confidence and creativity, and whether that is worth doing before you make any decisions? For example, is there something you can do out of work to bring back your joy? Or a way you can access personal therapy through occupational health? Or a way you can start a new project that brings back what you most enjoy about your job? Or a way of cutting your hours and testing out other options or fitting something more pleasurable in?

I hope you find a path forward that lets you enjoy your journey once again.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

lakeland
Posts: 934
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:18 pm

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by lakeland » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:31 am

I don't think taking a Primary Mental Health Worker job will be viewed badly in future applications - if you can reasonably explain why you've taken that job (e.g broadening skills or experience in another clinical area, seeing an opportunity to bring clin psych skills to the service). But I don't get the sense that's really what you want to do. It sounds like you're choosing between two unfavourable options. Are you in an area where many jobs get advertised? Are you tied to location / speciality? You've obviously done well to be offered the PMHW post so if other jobs come along, I imagine you'd stand a chance at those too.

If you do stay, I wonder if other colleagues in your team feel this way, and if so, is there anything you can do as a collective voice? Similarly, it may be worth speaking to a union rep about working conditions.

In my experience, PMHW have large caseloads and an expectation of a high number of contacts also, so I'm not sure this will be the answer for you. As Miriam and Astra have suggested, it might be that work outside the NHS enables you to have a better work-life balance, although I know this isn't an option for everyone.

Good luck

Alex
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:01 pm

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by Alex » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:59 pm

I thought that I would give you a honest opinion. However, you can choose to be influenced or not.

I personally wouldn't go for a PMHW because firstly it may be a case of out of the frying pan into the fire as Lakeland indicated it may not be better in terms of work pressures or conditions, you will probably have even less power and secondly you are a psychologist.

I would hang on and to either wait for another psychologist post or explore private work. That is of course if the work place issue is irresolvable. Could you go part-time in the mean time?

There are many times that I had to stick out unhappy work situation for the greater good of my future so I really do know that unhappy feeling all too well.I find mindfulness approaches are helpful for myself when I am in situations I cannot change or much like.

The other idea is to think that you only have one life and say (insert word) it life is too short to be unhappy then take a risk and go for the PMHW.

What you are dealing with is uncertainty either way.

Good luck on your decision.

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7857
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by miriam » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:21 pm

lakeland wrote: As Miriam and Astra have suggested, it might be that work outside the NHS enables you to have a better work-life balance, although I know this isn't an option for everyone.
Just to be a pedant, but I didn't suggest this.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

lakeland
Posts: 934
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:18 pm

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by lakeland » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:46 pm

miriam wrote:
lakeland wrote: As Miriam and Astra have suggested, it might be that work outside the NHS enables you to have a better work-life balance, although I know this isn't an option for everyone.
Just to be a pedant, but I didn't suggest this.
Eek - sorry!

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7857
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by miriam » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:28 pm

Its okay, I don't have any objection to people choosing to leave the NHS and try something different - after all, I've done it and I've never been happier - but I was actually more focused on what would get her confidence, skills and enjoyment of life back and whether that had to involve a change of job at all.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

lizzabadger
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:52 am

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by lizzabadger » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:53 am

What did you choose to do in the end?

If it's not too late I would hold out for a job at the appropriate level.

Try to protect your mental well-being as much as possible while you are in your current role.

RoPAP
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:19 pm

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by RoPAP » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:45 pm

Hi Sorry, for not replying sooner.

I decided not to take the job offer and hold out for a CAMHS psychologist role. There has not been many CAMHS jobs locally so I am considering other areas of the country. I am also strongly considering non-CAMHS psychologist positions too.

As for work, other members of staff have continued to leave and move on.

Can I just say, thank you all for your replies. I am most grateful for all your advice.

User avatar
BlueCat
Site Admin
Posts: 2844
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:42 pm

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by BlueCat » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:02 pm

I think you made a wise decision. My old CAMHS team was a very unhappy place, and ALL the psychologists left, one way or another. I moved into a post in the private sector, and am really enjoying y role. There are new and different challenges, but the pace, capacity for rapid and responsive organisational change, and general leanness of working (but in a good way) are refreshing.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

lakeland
Posts: 934
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:18 pm

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by lakeland » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:22 pm

If you can move, there are lots of CAMHS posts in the north east at the moment.

lizzabadger
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:52 am

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by lizzabadger » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:05 pm

Would you move into LD? A few posts around. Otherwise I have seen quite a lot of CAMHS stuff recently.

RoPAP
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:19 pm

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by RoPAP » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:58 am

My apologies for not responding soon enough to your replies.
Thank you all for your good advice and your time.
I am still with my current employer. Boo! Hiss!

I can't move area due to family issues at the moment.
I have considered other areas of clinical psychology and have applied for a few e.g. adult mental health but have not been succesful. However, I appreciate that currently (and may be the next few years) it is an 'employer's market' and that money is tight in the NHS.

I recently applied for a 2 CAMHS posts within a NHS Trust - a fair distance from home, but within travelling distance by car. I did not get the one of the posts which was full-time permanent, but was offered the full-time fixed post for 12 months. I am not sure about the fixed post as I have a mortgage and am due to have to renogotie my mortgage later this year. However, I am still thinking about it as a means to escape from current employer.

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7857
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: Unhappy Psychologist

Post by miriam » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:33 pm

Can you ask your current employer for a one year secondment? They might be happy to save your salary...
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests