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First of all, this is my first company. I have been here for more than one and a half year. I've been under pressure to take leave for an indefinite time for health recovery due to my poor health. I have been told to come back after some time (6 months or so) after resolving my health issues. According to them, I am disturbing the company culture. Also, they told me that my work quality has declined, and I am not reliable enough these days.

This pressure came after sudden leave that I had to take due to my health issue (it was around 6 days of leave). It was fine until then. After that, I was asked to leave the company or to take a proper leave, like they wanted me to leave as they don't need me at the moment.

Also, I told them about me getting surgery done within a month or so, but they seem not to be very welcoming about that, and more like take a leave and just go.

No, they didn't mention any other reason. They just told me that my health issue is creating so much trouble, disturbing a work culture and productivity (coming on time), and just want me to take a decent leave, not of a month, but for 6 months or so.

Also, they kind of keep shifting me between projects as they trained me with multiple technologies (I am a Web Developer). They also brought a topic that I've been kept shifted due to my unreliability, because I am unable to work on a brief task assigned, (Well! I remember working on two project for a long span of 4-5 month).

Also, the company's a small sized one with 10-15 people. 5 of them are older than me, and two of them joined after me. One started coming late as one been assigned project lead, and the other started coming late as workload increased.

I want to continue within 2-3 month without much of a hassle into the environment after recovering.

How can I best accomplish that?

  • hi @JoeStrazzere, I am from India, and i want to continue without much of hassle into environment after recovering, but i didnt find their tone much welcoming, as they dont want me at all. – Darshan_M Jun 29 at 12:25
  • They actually said in writing "creating hostile work environment" ? and are they suggesting you take paid or unpaid leave for this recovery period – Neuromancer Jun 29 at 13:46
  • @Neuromancer, actually. Just a few seconds back i spoke with my boss about that, and they said they mistyped(like who does that) it. This is unpaid leave. They just want me to join after a recovery. So, they want me to take my time. Just corrected it – Darshan_M Jun 29 at 14:22
  • “leave for inappropriate time” - Taking an inappropriate amount of leave doesn’t make sense in the context of your question. What do you actually mean by this statement? – Donald Jun 29 at 17:52
  • @Niko1978 i don't have no idea either, how will I survive?! – Darshan_M Jul 2 at 4:14
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Short answer: you're asking the wrong people. Ask your boss - and be prepared for a hard answer. Ask them for what's the best way to hit the ground running in 3 months.

Something you've got to understand: working in a small business means that each employee matters more. When you're gone unexpectedly, a whole 8% of their workforce disappears without warning. Like you said, you're getting shifted from project to project because of your unreliability. Worse, you haven't even been with the company for 2 years - from their perspective, you're a relatively new hire and one that's not really helping them move forward.

The reason I'm saying this is because, reading your question, you seem to have the tenor of someone upset at their employer/boss/etc for how they're acting. Yes, some empathy from their side would be nice, but... you really need to consider how things look from their perspective. If you try to have a conversation with your boss with your current viewpoint, it's probably not going to go well.

  • I spoke with my boss, he said that. As it's a small firm, there is no intermediate person. Considering my situation, I am the one who's helpless in here. I have surgery in next 10 days and I'll be recovering within month or so. They offering me a vacation to recover is fine. But you see, I am whose in the one initial phase in here. It will end up worse on my side. I do get your point about being me being beneficial to them. They had no problem till 1.5 year. They have a problem now, when I am taking a leave during surgery. I just don't get the tone, "Take your time, take 6 month." – Darshan_M Jun 30 at 5:44
  • @Darshan_M you haven't had the surgery yet, but you've already been unreliable. You've been unreliable long enough that they've been switching you from project to project to minimize the damage your absences cause. This isn't as simple as "I need a month or two to recover from surgery" because of that. My guess is, the reason they're telling you to take 6 months is because they want to avoid you coming back too early and starting another string of partial attendance. When you come back, they want you at 100%. – Kevin Jul 1 at 15:30
  • I do get your point. So, should I just focus on my recovery and hit the office when I am ready? It's a simple as that or there is any catch, should I rely on them that they will keep me, or I should search for a new job once I am recovered?! I am so frustrated at the moment. – Darshan_M Jul 2 at 4:08
  • If they don't plan on keeping you (assuming this is legal in India?), there probably isn't anything you can do on that front. It sucks. If I were in your shoes, I'd go up to the manager and say, "I'm sorry for my absences - I realize how much that sucks for the rest of the team. I'm going in for surgery; it'll take X months before I'm back up to 100%. Is there anything I can do to make sure that I'm able to hit the ground running when I get back?" And maybe call a month before you'd be ready to come back to plan a return date (or, worst case, you'll get early notice to job hunt.) – Kevin Jul 2 at 13:12
  • That's a great idea, I guess. I will have a time to do a job hunt during a meantime – Darshan_M Jul 2 at 13:16
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I don't think there's anything to worry about here as long as your disease isn't contagious (in which case, your management has a valid argument against keeping you on work and you may want to explore their health insurance policy but I'm assuming this is not the case). Your management hasn't shown any sign of firing you because they can't legally fire you but this could change very soon and some hard facts about your present situation are as follows:

You are in a pickle! As far as, I can see the situation can't get any worse than it already is. Your manager seems hell-bent on getting rid of you and unfortunately for you, you're replaceable that means they can hire someone with similar skill-set and they would have no issues continuing without you (or at least the management seem to think so).

I have seen many situations like these especially with small companies like yours. Sadly, this lack of empathy is the sad reality of today's corporate India. Don't worry though this kind of companies (or management) don't last long because such companies (or leaders) fail to build trust among team members and as soon as the sailing gets tough they're all left alone. With that, enough about them. Let's focus on you and what you can do in your current situation.

I see two main issues here: a) Work Culture b) Work Quality

I would suggest you walk up to your team-lead, manager, etc whoever accused you of above and tell them that you would like to earn their trust back and prove yourself to them once again to make this work but for that, you would like to know what specifically went wrong and hence you would like to ask a few questions to them:

  1. Ask them for the specific instances where you have 'compromised' work culture. Get them to give you as many details as possible, make follow up questions to get them talking if required.
  2. Same thing with poor quality of work or instances where you missed deadlines but do this only if you're 100% confident of your work and if you haven't missed any deadlines.

But while you discuss the above point(s) remember, you're there only to listen to them and get their side of the story, don't get into a discussion or argument over whatever they say, just patiently listen to what's being said and if they try to lead you into some kind of argument or expect any kind of response/explanation from you, just follow up with questions like 'asking them to elaborate/explain' or 'just tell them that you would need some time to dig through your memory or notes for that but in the meantime, is there anything else they would like to add to this'. Remember if you get into an argument, you lose.

Be sure to follow up with an email describing the above discussion with your team lead, manager, HR, etc in CC. Maintain a positive tone throughout your email, showing them that you're taking all of this positively and don't forget to subtly mention that while you disagree with some/all of these accusations, you will work hard to earn their trust back and improve in the lacking areas.

Add as many details as possible to the email without taking a negative tone and being extra careful with your words, you don't want to give them any chance to use your email as an admission of guilt to any of the charges. From now on awards, don't mention your sickness as an excuse for anything, try to avoid using the above disease as a reason for leave.

But you're probably thinking how will this help you? Well like I said your situation just can't get any worse, the only best option for you is to somehow get out of your situation with as little damage as you can. With all the above, we're buying time by delaying the inevitable because your management is either going to force you to quit or they are going to fire you or take a long vacation and refuse to 'rehire' you.

Our only aim is to not give the management any strong reason to (legally) fire you and get you till your upcoming surgery with a stable income after which you can probably get back on your feet but in the meantime, keeping looking for a new job, be clear about your situation (surgery and leave situation), reach out to your friends and family to get some support in finding a better workplace and manager.

If management or anyone brings up taking the vacation again, just thank them with a simple and add that you can manage without it. Show them it isn't affecting you in the least and really don't let that bother you, don't think about it and continue to focus on your yourself and your work at hand.

Just a friendly note: Even after all this, your Manager could still fire you without much standing (or reason) without looking out for its legal implications because..well India's judicial system is very slow, to say the least.

All the best, my friend. Please do update the question to tell us about your surgery and job status. Thank you.

Note: I didn't focus on another important aspect in my answer which is to look and reach out to people who are on your side and are possibly in a position to help you out in your situation, this could be your higher management, boss's boss, HR, clients, teammates, anybody who you have day-to-day interaction with and has a positive point of view towards you but this might not be applicable to small size companies like OP described because in such small-sized companies the power is often vested in one person.

  • you are right indeed. They aren't reliable either, I have not given them any sort of legal reason to fire me. But I am in worse situation. There are ifs and but in here. They didn't officially mailed me regarding my leave, it was telephonic conversation. (I do have a recording tho) In any case, I have no choice but to wait till recovery to see what happens. – Darshan_M Jul 2 at 4:12

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