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Over the last few months, I've been getting more and more depressed, and this has been feeding into me getting later and later everyday, and this culminated in me getting the final warning of all time. I'm completely in the wrong for tardiness, but because of this warning, the depression is even worse, and I'm just about to quit because I just need a break. However, I kinda already bled through a bunch of my vacation, and I don't think that I have any.

A bit more details:

  • I'm salaried doing computer stuff, so my position is pretty stable, and that's why my employer has given me a lot of mercy
  • My employer and I have been on good terms. He likes my work and we speak out random things a bunch, but is rightfully fed up with my tardiness.

I think that I'm on good enough terms to request a week off, and I think if they're not willing to do so and/or are going to bring up my misdeeds (there's a critic that is ten times as loud as they are, me), I'm thinking about putting in notice on the spot and after notice period, I'll just chill for a week before going the job hunt. I am prepared for the job hunt being slightly harder because of less negotiation power.

Is this course of action too unwise? What are some general things that I might be missing? Please be kind to me, as it's my first question, and the last thing I need is people being rude, but I will take this question down if this isn't a suitable question

Update 11/23/22: Waiting was the play. Pretty much the day after I posted this question, God beat up my car, and got to work from home for two days, which was really helpful. The process of taking care of my dead car kinda snapped me out a little. I still deal with depression and stuff, but I get a few days off for Thanksgiving which is incredibly cool. I should still find a therapist though

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    Edited with U.S tag. I am currently looking up therapists in the area
    – user137578
    Nov 8, 2022 at 23:43
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    Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Nov 9, 2022 at 0:19
  • Are you seeing a physician, specifically a psychiatrist? That would be a good idea so that your condition can be diagnosed. As with nearly any medical condition, your employer will need to make reasonable accommodations for you.
    – jwh20
    Nov 9, 2022 at 2:05
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    I’m voting to close this question because you should go see a therapist before making any of those decisions, no matter what people on the internet think about it. We don't know you or your situation. We do help with workplace problems, but you have a medical problem. We would not diagnose your broken leg or how to treat it, we do not diagnose mental health either. Go get a professional to help you.
    – nvoigt
    Nov 9, 2022 at 7:39
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    I was open to my employer and we agreed to reduce hours and pay. And that worked out great.
    – Christian
    Nov 9, 2022 at 13:11

4 Answers 4

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My first thought is that in its current form, this question is likely to need some edits.

We can't tell you whether you should quit your job or whether this is wise/unwise.

That said - I will answer as best I can the issues that you raised that we can answer.

If you are salaried and in the IT field, it's possible your company might have a Mental Health policy. Find out if they have one and what it entails. At my last company we had a free Mediation/counselling service (5 sessions) that we could use. Your company may have something like this, find out if it does and then find out how you can maximally utilize it.

Next, you are going to need to sit down and talk with your boss. I'd approach it along these lines:

"Hey Boss, you are completely right, my work has been slipping of late - I've got some personal life issues that are keeping me awake at night and I'm struggling. You've been good to me and I don't want to abuse that good faith - I don't know how I can move forward"

In terms of leave, if you can get a Doctors certificate/note/letter that you are suffering from Stress or Depression or burnout, then you may be able to take time off and have it counted as Sick Leave (again, laws in your country, policy of your company etc.).

The only advice I would give in regards to whether you should quit or not is tangential: Decisions made when we are not in our right frame of mind are seldom wise or productive.

Finally - and perhaps the best advice I can give: All of the above is Window Dressing. You need to address the root cause of your depression. Whether that's through the use of a counselling service, therapy, medication, introspection - whatever works - you need to work on that.

You cannot treat the symptoms of a problem and expect the root cause to go away.

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    Good answer, and the best part is the advice not to make a major life change during this period.
    – Barmar
    Nov 9, 2022 at 15:03
  • Indeed it is best to use your employer's resources, as long as you have a contract with them. People get ill every now and then, this time it happened to you. I guess that you'll need several weeks, if not several months off from work to recover, and being again well enough to get back to work. And if/when you return to work, don't try to jump right away to 100%, start it easy and be forgiving to yourself. Talk to your manager and medical professionals.
    – NikoNyrh
    Nov 9, 2022 at 15:37
  • Given the US tag, one thing I would add, and this would depend on a Doctor's diagnosis, but some mental health issues can be considered "disabilities" under the ADA so the OP may be entitled to some protection. Nov 9, 2022 at 16:54
  • Depending on the employer's policies, taking unpaid time off may be an option if sick leave is not.
    – Dan C
    Nov 10, 2022 at 3:04
  • Being sick is a health issue, not a personal issue. Nov 10, 2022 at 7:48
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As someone who's been depressed:

Talk to your doctor first!

Depression doesn't just go away. It isn't simply that you're unhappy, or overworked, or need a holiday, or anything else that could be fixed with trite changes of environment. Depression wants to kill you, and it won't stop until it does. It's that simple.

When you've internalised that fact about depression, you're ready to talk to a medical professional. From there, the solution may be pills temporarily, or it may be some version of talking therapy, or other things. There may well be environmental triggers which push you that way, and working out how to decouple yourself from those could be your answer for stopping you getting into this state again. But when you're inside the depression already, you aren't in a position to take those kind of strategic steps.

Then talk to your employer/manager

If they're someone you get on well with, they will likely be supportive of you. The problem right now isn't just that you're skipping out on work, it's that your employer has no way to know whether you'll turn yourself around. If you're depressed and not getting proper assistance/treatment, your employer flat-out knows that you can't. They can support someone who is trying to help themselves, but they can't support someone who's in denial.

In my case, I told my employer that I had been diagnosed with depression, what I was taking for it, and my plans. I wanted to simply keep my head down and work on my existing projects with things I understood well, without taking on major new challenges. I could deal with that, and being able to work successfully was beneficial for my recovery. When I felt I was getting to a point where I could look up and think more long-term about challenges or more responsibility, I would let them know. This worked out for everyone. I got myself straightened out, and my company could plan for assigning suitable jobs to me and to other people. A few colleagues probably got a step or two further up the ladder whilst I took a step or two down. No biggie.

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  • I totally support this answer. However, depression is still highly stigmatised in many countries, so I would suggest being very careful about who you tell about your diagnosis.
    – arne
    Nov 10, 2022 at 2:24
  • @arne still, you need diagnosis first. You can't simply self-diagnose for depression, since there can be even more serious issues in the background. Nov 10, 2022 at 7:49
  • Congratulations on working through it with such dedication. The steps you describe are the textbook example of how we ought to meet depression, but from what I've seen it requires considerable perseverance to actually see them through.
    – Clumsy cat
    Nov 10, 2022 at 8:02
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    @arne I'd say depression highly stigmatised everywhere, and the person feeling that stigma most is the person inside it - which is what makes it harder! I'm kind of working with the OP's question which does say their manager is trying to find constructive ways to work with the OP, so I think in their situation it's reasonable. And that step to telling someone and having them accept it is a very positive thing if you can do it. If you can't do it though, then at least backing off your responsibilities to what you can handle is good. But the first step is diagnosis and treatment.
    – Graham
    Nov 10, 2022 at 10:09
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    @Clumsycat Thanks. I can't say it was a happy fun experience, but I'm still here and still breathing, which without a good GP, a year on Citalopram to deal with the immediate problem, and a round of cognitive therapy to help me manage my head better, I suspect would not be the case. Like they say about flying, any landing you can walk away from is a win. :)
    – Graham
    Nov 10, 2022 at 10:15
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NB: although this question was tagged US, I tried to give a general answer covering an aspect that I think is not stressed enough in the other answers.

I'm completely in the wrong for tardiness, but because of this warning, the depression is even worse, and I'm just about to quit because I just need a break.

You are sick. Depression is a disease. If you are sick, you have reduced productivity, might be able to work only part-time or not at all.

Get a diagnosis and a doctor's note, then look at what your rights are. Depending on your situation, you might be able to get long-term sickness insurance compensating for a loss of income if you need to reduce your working hours (possibly to zero). Being sick for six months does not have to mean losing your job. Discuss the options with your employer. You may wish to consult with your union to know your rights, if you have one.

Take care.

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How's your sleeping? I found that an extra hour a night helped enormously, but its a conscious effort to avoid pushing the bedtime back slowly.

When you're always a little tired, life is that much harder. I'm definitely no morning person.

This helped my outlook on life/work slowly but definitely.

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    Given that the person is depressed they are probably not sleeping very well, since sleeping issues are both a contributor and result of depression. Nov 9, 2022 at 20:11
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    While I am not a doctor and can't diagnose the OP via their post, I haver to point out that depression isn't about "life is that much harder". There are genuine reasons for being depressed and the OP needs to address them as a part of an overall mental health regime.
    – Peter M
    Nov 9, 2022 at 21:06

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