Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Tuesday January 16th 2018

46-year-old civil servant wants to change job due to chronic work stress

Hi Gilbert,

My name is James and I am 46 years old,   married with a boy.

I read in your website that you provide emotional support for people who are jobless.

However, I am still employed but I am feeling very stressed, depressed and helpless.

I am working in a government institution as an IT Technical Support Officer for coming 15 years.

My wife is working part-time and my son is mildly autistic and he is currently in Sec 1 in a main stream school.

We discovered my son’s condition when he was 4 years old and through early intervention, he has improved quite a lot ever since.

My wife and I decided that she stop working completely to take care of him full time when he was 4.5 years. That was 8.5 years ago.

Although I have been working currently for this company for coming 15 years, I don’t like my work at all.

I drag going to work and I stayed because of my family commitment.

I wanted to change job and I have been applying for jobs for about 4 years now.

Only last year did I get employers to interview me.

However, I did not hear from them after the interviews. I lowered my expected pay by $600 but I still can’t secure a job.

Even though I have depression and anxiety, I still have to support the family and sometimes, I feel tremendous stress. I would cry when I am alone and I have this strong urge to resign from my work thinking that I have some savings to tide my family for a year.

That is why I thought I need to switch to a less demanding job with a lesser pay as I may not be able to cope if I ask for the pay I am getting now.

I am now at a loss of what to do and I feel very frighten and worried. Can you advise me what to do next?

I am desperately in need of help!




Hi James

Thanks for your mail and sorry to hear of your  predicament.

Job stress is a sure bone-breaker and many Singaporeans suffer from it.

We  also work very long hours and there is little appreciation from the bosses.

Our PMETs job-hop a lot and my guess is half of them do so because they couldn’t cope with the job stress from work.

The more serious ones suffer from depression and anxiety – like you.

On another note, is there any way that you can speak with your superiors regrading this matter?

Often, our bosses do not know what we are experiencing and some are  sympathetic if we alert them and hopefully  they may  lower our workload.

Another way is to learn new ways to cope with the stress.

Lets face it – there will always be work stress at other places too and sometimes we may be jumping from the frying pan to another furnace.

Do you exercise?

I heard that its  good stress relief and when you exercise regularly it will also help with your well being.

Talking it out with someone close also  helps – do you speak with your wife about what’s happening?

Our wife is the closest person we can confide in and talking out our problem with them will also help in cementing the relationship.

On another note, there are also many PMETs in their 40s and 50s who are currently unemployed so its good to count your blessings.

I wish you all the best ahead and let me know if we can assist you further.

You are not alone – we are here for you.



Number of View: 2438

Reader Feedback

4 Responses to “46-year-old civil servant wants to change job due to chronic work stress”

  1. J Y says:

    From my own experience, talking to the superiors about reducing our workload is useless. They might be nice to ask you to voice out your concerns, but ultimately, they will blame you for being unproductive when in fact the workload had increased. They would ask you to resign if you are not capable to handle the stress when others could. There is really no work-life balance here.

    One ex-colleague of mine resigned because she could no longer handle the workload despite them employing one more person to help her. Luckily, she found a job after one month of resting. She was around 40 at that time and the pay was higher (>$2k)than what she got there. This is due to her years of expeience and hard work.

    Is it possible for you to switch roles with your wife? Can you be taking care of your son while your wife work full-time? Do you want to be a cabbie/ insurance agent etc?

    Many people are forced to be jobless due to termination etc. At least you still have a job, though I can understand your plight. I was also very stressed, depressed and helpless before due to office politics/ bullying. Being jobless can also be very depressing and helpless though not as stressed as working.

    The problem is that getting a good job is very difficult nowadays. Most people resign when they can no longer tolerate the politics. If you can handle the politics, just hang on until you can find another job.

  2. sal says:

    In my opinion you will be better of as a civil servant compared to the private sector. With the current economics situation, companies tend yo down size n go bust….

  3. vree says:

    Do some volunteer work and you will realize that you are a fortunate person after all.

  4. Fellow Sg-er says:

    I find it strange that TS was able to stay on his job for a FULL 15 years with no issues and yet right now he faces problems in his employment.

    But because TS did not discuss the circumstances for him to feel stress in his job, it is rather tough for us to actually provide advice.

    However I would strongly advise TS against quitting his current job.

    It will be an uphill task for him to secure employment given his age. Particularly in the IT field, employers have no lack of FTs to hire who are half his age, and willing to work for much lower pay yet longer hours.

    Besides, TS has to really weigh in his commitments and priorities. He has a family to support, especially since he has an autistic son. If TS son is unable to work, TS may very well have to continue to support his son way into his adulthood. So claiming he can quit his job because he has a year of savings to tide through could be a little naive.

Leave a Reply