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I have had depression for many years, I always managed to work properly regardless but this time even my work is getting effected. I have restarted my medical treatment but since the work is getting impacted so it becoming visible to the client that things are not going smoothly.

I am full time employee of my office and a contract employee for the client. I have recently (just few weeks ago) been promoted. They are expecting me to do a good job so you can say that eyes are more focused on me. If I do not deliver well, they might demote me or even fire me may be...What shall I do? Shall I tell them that I am working on improving my condition and that I will be back on track since I have been delivering fine before.

Right now, the person in my main office, whom I used to report to has resigned. He knew about my condition. Now I am under reporting of a person whom I never had much link with, so I do not know how he will react if I tell him. I told my previous two managers because I knew them somewhat and knew that they are quite nice.

As for the client, he is more closely involved than my head in main office. The client has been working with me for many years, I think he will be understanding if I told him...but even if he has been nice to me all these years, I do not know how he will react since work is work. He never compromises on quality of work.

Shall I tell both or one of them? If one then who do you think is better? The one who knows me but is a client or one who is main head but does not know me. Or shall I not say anything and just make sure that I prove through my work that I can take care of all matters?

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  • Where is that happening country wise?
    – Aida Paul
    Feb 28 at 11:18
  • I am in Pakistan and the client is in USA. The client is Pakistani and used to work in my Pakistan office.
    – blackfyre
    Feb 28 at 11:19
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    I have zero clue about pakistani laws, is depression, or mental health, considered as falling until some disability protection?
    – Aida Paul
    Feb 28 at 11:22
  • If it was that big of a problem the previous two managers would have reacted negatively, or maybe they were just nice.. :( Anyways, what about USA? The client is in USA.
    – blackfyre
    Feb 28 at 11:25
  • You are employed in pakistan, that's the laws to follow. But does that mean it's not protected in any way? It matters greatly on how to tackle it.
    – Aida Paul
    Feb 28 at 11:42

2 Answers 2

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From the question it isn't clear exactly how the condition impacts productivity. We are also assuming your new manager is unaware of your condition, although it is possible the previous managers could have told him/her. That said, I would be cautious about informing your new manager or your old client, for the reasons you stated:

New Manager: "Now I am under reporting of a person whom I never had much link with, so I do not know how he will react if I tell him."

  • If you want to minimize the risk of some 'unintended' reaction on the manager's behalf, it might make sense to wait until you get to know them (and they get to know you). This will help you send the right message and them to respond accordingly.

Old Client: "..even if he has been nice to me all these years, I do not know how he will react since work is work. He never compromises on quality of work."

  • With this in mind, I am not sure what telling the client would achieve. I would also suggest that if you do decide to inform the client, then tell the new manager first and ask for their thoughts regarding informing the client. You do not want the client to have more information about you and/or circumstances that may impact your performance than your direct manager.

A few additional thoughts:

  • Given the risks you've mentioned of being fired/demoted for underperformance linked to your condition, one option may be to request reasonable accommodation (RA) based on your medical condition (assuming it is well documented and you can provide relevant diagnosis/paperwork, which it sounds like you could). If you do go this route, you would likely need to inform your manager and HR since the paperwork would likely go through them.

  • Depending on your location and relevant laws, your manager may be prevented from having access to your health information, so you may be able to tell them that you have a condition that impacts your work in such and such way, without disclosing the diagnosis. The best way might be to check with your HR.

Finally, if you are a minority or otherwise feel that you are at risk of being stereotyped/harassed, etc. then your condition may make that easier for others, consciously or not. No matter how 'inclusive' your employer's culture may be, or how 'nice' your manager or your client may be, revealing this information creates risks for you and gives those who may be looking for reasons to get rid of you 'ammunition' to do so. It stacks the deck not in your favor, making it easier to link performance issues to you (i.e. to assign blame to you) as opposed to others, or to circumstances.

For these reasons I would recommend to think carefully and weigh all possible options before you decide to step forward and share information about your mental health with your employer and/or clients. Good luck!

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In the US, I normally wouldn't.

If you basically have it under control, with coping skills and/or medication, and it just means you are more somewhat productive on some days than others-- which describes most depressives -- that mostly means you are human and the employer doesn't need details. They only care about your overall productivity.

If it's bad enough that it may affect the interview, but you are under treatment so this will hopefully be fixed soon, you may want to make that explicit.

If you know that there is a government incentive for hiring folks with disabilities and thus company needs to improve their score in that front, you could try mentioning it. I still wouldn't; it's more likely to cost you than help you.

Unless you are applying for a job with a major manufacturer if antidepressants, perhaps. Then they might like being able to show that they believe their own statements about depression being treatable.

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