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Question
Posted by: AB Smith | 2018/05/17

Problems at work

I hate my job. I know that is true for many people, but I am stuck in a really terrible predicament. I signed a contract in September 2016 for 3 years. I have already been here for 2 and half years, and I was really happy with my work. However, this new project I signed on for has been a nightmare, and I am not getting results. Seems, fairly simple, I should just quit. Here's the kicker though: if I quit, I have to pay back my entire salary, with interest. This is in the region of R400k. The next big problem is I am in a fairly limited research field, it's not a case of quit today, get another job in a few months. It can take 6 months - year to find a new job, and the amount of money I would make would mean I would be in debt for the rest of my life. I just spoke with my boss, he doesn't know about my wanting to leave, but he has basically said I should just give up as he isn't seeing the results he wants. He said that I might not have to pay back my money if I disappear quietly, but it wouldn't feel right to me to just fall off the grid and hope no one comes after me. I am so stuck right now, and I don't know what to do. I lie awake at night worrying about all this and wondering how I got myself into this position. I am 29, and I feel like my whole world is falling apart right now. I just don't know what to do. Part of me wants to try and finish this project, but if my boss doesn't see it working I feel like I am flogging a dead horse. I have never had any debts in my life, and the prospect of being broke and in debt for the rest of my life terrifies me. Without my paycheck, my husband and I would be out of a home, as I am the main source of income. This all just adds to my stresses, which has been making me physically sick. Last year, I was hospitalised with dangerously high blood pressure, and all my tests came back with no indication of what was causing it, other than stress. I really want to quit and start afresh, but I don't know if this is the right thing to do.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2018/05/17

Hello AB,
There are two important aspect to your problem ( indeed, to any problem ) : to identify how to remedy it ( which may be to fix it or at least to make it's irritating aspect improve ) and secondly, to identify how it happened, so as to be able to avoid having it happen again.
You clearly need good legal advice right now, and needed it earlier, before signing such a peculiar contract. I've never heard of anyone being required to refund their entire salary if they leave a job early : it sounds akin to slavery, but more expensive.
It's also risky ( I've been there myself ) to paint oneself into a corner in a very limited, focused research field.  But if what you're working on is anything like genuine research,  the results are what they are :  only a fool or a crook thinks it should produce the results he wants.  And why should he want you to sneak away silently ?  Why would anyone "come after you" ? Who are you working for, the Mafia ? 
Is actually working on the project itself really such misery ? If your odd doesn't see it working as he'd hoped you would, maybe he could make you redundant, and pay you redundancy pay ?
Isn't there an HR department or person who could advise you ? Surely medical aid is provided ?  See a good psychologist for assessment and specific advice.
WHat do other readers think ?

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Anonymous | 2018/05/21

I think you should lodge a case with the CCMA. Not seeing results, well that won't be enough grounds for dismissal or a forced resignation. There are certain to be mitigating factors and the CCMA is well skilled in dealing with this matter. Let them handle it for you.

Reply to Anonymous

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