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I recently had a probation review and it was extended as my manager hasn't seen anything that can put in the role I m in (senior developer) and lack of communication. Following feedback, I had been unable to work or focus and have 0 motivation whereas they hired another senior who is impressive in the first week which has more put me towards the stress of what is next for me.

I cannot work due to burnout, I got a pending ticket for a month which is being delayed part me not knowing codebase/part no response to the email I sent my manager last month to discuss probation.

Is it right for me to ask 1 or 2 weeks off? I am afraid I might be fired if I put in a reason for holiday-related to probation burnout but manager will ask why I need a holiday in a crucial time.

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  • Where are you? In some countries/states you accrue leave entitlements during probation. They also don't need to know why you need leave... You're entitled to it. – HorusKol Aug 7 '20 at 14:35
  • @HorusKol I m in UK and the email was never replied but a date for fixed to discuss which was 20 days after I send the email. I was very nervous during that time n I couldn't work (focus) – user110973 Aug 7 '20 at 14:37
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    @TymoteuszPaul You do not accrue leave on probation period erm.. citation needed. Annual Leave entitlement will accrue automatically. Yes they might not approve you taking a particular holiday during your probation period but the entitlement is still accruing – motosubatsu Aug 7 '20 at 14:40
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    IMO, one should not let probation be extended. At the end of it, they either like you enough to keep you or they let you go. By accepting an extension, you devalue yourself. Next time, only accept the full role or walk away. Chances are, they'll be give you the role. – Jeffrey Aug 7 '20 at 15:14
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    I can't talk about your situation, but I've seen my share of "to give you a chance" meaning "we'll squeeze all the work out of this one and then throw it away". Just remember to take care of you first, company second. – Jeffrey Aug 7 '20 at 15:27
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You should be worried. And you should be looking for ways to become a better employee, whether that's where you're at now or from looking for another job.

(Man, I feel like I'm turning into the grumpy answer person.)

You got put on probation. And you were kept there for two reasons:

  1. Your communications skills are bad.
  2. You didn't do anything that made your boss feel like you were doing the work of a senior dev

Well, your communication skills are bad. Read your question aloud. Read your comments aloud. And that's in addition to "text-speak", which isn't exactly stellar in a business environment. If what you're saying here is representative, then, yeah, your boss is 100% right on the communications front.

And as for 'not living up to the role of senior dev', here's what I take away: nothing in your question is actually indicating that they're wrong! You're not saying, "Hey, I delivered X, Y, and Z to the business!" or "I was instrumental to the Floobar architecture!" or "I've been training and mentoring Alice and Bob!" Aka, things that demonstrate/prove value for the company. Instead, you're coming up with all sorts of reasons why they're right (insufficient knowledge, burnout, dropped communication with the boss, etc.)

If I were in your shoes, I'd:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Start evaluating options at other companies*
  • Look at ways to improve your value to wherever you work

(*) One note about the 'evaluating other options'. It's possible that you're a senior dev that's simply not a good fit for where you currently work and that's cascading into other areas. But it's more likely that... you're simply not a senior dev. Seniors are supposed to be good communicators, good architects, good mentors, and be results-oriented for everything they're involved with. I don't get the sense that this currently matches you. It's not to say it never will match you, but I think you'll need some introspection and hard work to get there. So when you look for opportunities elsewhere, don't immediate discard something that doesn't have the title 'senior'.

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    @flux the task of a senior developer is to help and lead junior developers or to set up the framework for others. All this requires communication. If you are not communicating then you are not doing your job – mmmmmm Aug 8 '20 at 13:09
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    @flux this answer is not bitter, it is honest. I have to say I find your comments quite hard to read because of the text-speak and spelling mistakes. If you communicate like this in work I am sure it is not helping your cause. – Old Nick Aug 10 '20 at 9:28
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    @flux Most word processors and email programs will check your typing for grammar and spelling mistakes - Even typing in an input box on a website like this you are probably seeing some of what you've typed text is underlined in red. It looks extremely unprofessional, it's difficult to read. Not bothering to do a spell check just comes across as lazy and I find it a bit surprising that a senior software developer can't use a spell checker and types like a teenager. Sorry if that sounds harsh, it's not meant to. – Old Nick Aug 10 '20 at 11:00
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    @flux What's meant by 'text-speak' is that you're writing as if you're sending a text to a friend, when you should be writing full sentences that start with a capital, contain full words (no abbreviations) and proper punctuation like comma's and periods. This might seem trivial to you but a lot of people perceive this shortened style of communication as unprofessional. It has nothing to do with being a native speaker or not, I know native speakers who can't communicate professionally and I'm a non-native speaker that seems to manage pretty well if I do say so myself. – Cronax Aug 10 '20 at 14:16
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    @flux : To give you clear examples what most people deem as text speak would be using 'u' for you, 'coz' instead of 'because' and random removal of letters in words such as 'wht' instead of 'what'. These may seem fine to you within a social media or friend environment, but quite frankly in a professional business environment myself or others would find this kind of approach completely unacceptable in day to day communication such as emails. As a 'senior' member of staff I would say this would be seen as even more unacceptable than a junior position as mentioned above. – Rich Campbell Aug 11 '20 at 14:08
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You can ask for holiday at any time. You are an employee, not an indentured slave, and have a right to take some amount of holiday each year (this will be specified in your contract and/or local law). You can always ask to exercise that right.

Your employer may have the right to refuse that holiday. Depending on your industry and company, your contract may say that your request may be declined (e.g. most retail employees cannot get time off at Christmas), or not allowed during specific periods (which may include probation). This would be unusual in a software company, but not unheard of, and in your circumstances it's more likely than otherwise - if your probation is extended by a month and you spend half of that on holiday, it doesn't give you much time to show them what they want to see. This does not prevent you from asking, though.

There may be a minimum notice period required. For example, most places I've worked have (formally or informally) expected twice as much notice as days off, so for 2 weeks holiday you'd need to request it 4 weeks in advance. Check your contract to see what applies to you. If you are truly burned out, then working another 4 weeks before you can take 2 weeks holiday may not be helpful.

Holiday is the least of your problems. You don't mention how long your probation period is, but three months is typical (though my current company had six). If, within just a few months, you are "unable to work or focus" and "have 0 motivation" and are under "stress" and "cannot work due to burnout", I find myself wondering whether this is the right job and/or company for you, and I completely understand why you may be in danger of failing your probation.

Your performance is under scrutiny. You mention that you are worried that asking for holiday will lead to your getting fired, but I would suggest that not doing the work that you are asked to (as you say you are unable to), during a period when the company's attention is closely focused on your performance, may also get you fired. While it is possible that the company might be extending your probation because they unethically want to treat you as a temporary employee, it is also possible that they are being generous in giving you more of a chance than you deserve based on what they have seen so far. Do the job well or expect to lose it.

If you do lose your job, excess holiday may be deducted from your final pay. Check your contract for how this might apply to you, but if (for example) you are allowed 20 days holiday per year, but are only at a company for three months, then any holiday over 5 days may be deducted from your salary.

Summary

If you genuinely feel that a period of holiday will help you to recover from burnout, regroup mentally, and come back to the job ready to amaze your employer with what a great job you can do, then yes, you should request the holiday and (if asked) explain exactly that. Then, make sure you deliver.

On the other hand, if you look at yourself honestly and realise that you would come back from holiday and still not be able to deliver what your employer is asking for, then asking for the holiday would be a waste of time. Is 1 or 2 weeks holiday really going to turn everything around, in a way that a weekend wouldn't? It's possible that it might, but it's also possible that 2 weeks might not be enough, or that holiday isn't actually going to solve anything for you at all. I do not know you or what is really going on inside your mind, but from what you say here, I suspect this is more likely. In that case, you're going to need to find a way to demonstrate you can do the job - or find a different job.

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