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Will leaving my job for mental health reasons ruin my professional reputation?

I work as a web dev/designer for a digital marketing agency and I am incredibly burnt out. A few months ago there were some legal issues that came up that I was asked to resolve. Since then my life has been hell.

I feel anxious all the time about making mistakes. About a month ago I asked to speak with my boss because I wanted to know if I was causing issues within the company. During this chat I broke down and cried and he reassured me I was doing well.

Fast forward to this past week. I was asked to design tshirts, business cards, make social media posts for a company event coming up. I was given a week to complete these. I also have my other usual web dev tasks like building new sites, making updates for the sales team, etc. I also was asked to have a complete redesign of the company website done by April.

I was feeling so overwhelmed and asked my boss if I could have focused time to work on the company site because I get pulled into big tasks that take a lot of time to complete. He told me that I can work on it a few hours a day but I still need to do the usual work. I broke down again and basically told him this was a lot of work. He asked me if I had depression and in the end I disclosed that I have struggled with anxiety and depression in the past.

Well since then the sales and production team have been very stand-offish and passive aggressive. On Friday at 11am they asked me to completely redo one of their sites and write new content so they could get approval for Adsense. The due date? Monday morning. I decided to just use a free template because that was the only feasible way I would get it done in time.

I honestly just want to quit my job but I’m terrified that I have ruined this company as a future reference because of my past breakdowns. I plan to look for new jobs but I’m honestly dreading going back to the office. I just don’t know what to do. I’ve been working so hard and I feel like I ruined my professional reputation for breaking down in front of my boss.

Top comments (11)

cappe987 profile image

It definitely sounds like you have way much to do. You seem to have a decent boss who at least cares about you. But it should also be your boss' job to make sure you aren't overworked. But you may also have to be stricter with what you do and don't have time with. If you feel like you have too much, tell your boss and those who ask you to do work that you do not have time and they need to choose one. The others will have to be delayed. If you start missing deadlines because you have too much work then it should be management's fault, they should hire more people (or assign to other employees).

I can't speak for every company, but where I work the management makes it very clear that no individual developer is responsible for missing deadlines. Managers and Project Managers take a lot of that responsibility, as it is their task to assign enough resources and prioritize for projects to meet deadlines.

As for your reputation it depends on how your boss is. But he sounds like he's somewhat caring and he said you were doing well. I'm obviously just guessing, but I get the impression that he can still be a good reference.

The bigger problem at this company seems to be the Sales and Production team. That is no way to treat a colleague and you might be better off changing company. Keep prioritizing your health and don't work any overtime just because you have deadlines. Perhaps take a week off work? Maybe you can even get some sick leave due to burnout if you go to a doctor.

ivana_vnucec profile image
Ivana Vnucec

As far as I can see you are doing multiple jobs by yourself, content writer for example.

I would try to think that reference is a two-way street. A company should also care what employees might say about them.

globalkonvict profile image
Sarthak Dwivedi

I've went through something similar atfter my gradfather died of terminal cancer, I came back to work but things werent same, I too was burned out. People were supportive and even so I was always on the edge of getting triggerd during that period and eventually quite for the well being of others.

Its temporarary and will pass just take a week off rest, meditate, reaudit your life. and then start planning for other things it might be better to give yourself a month depending on severity. It will pass. Don't have to mention passign phenomena in your resume and no employer does that. Relax

alfiks profile image

It's always better to leave on good terms if you can. Also if you feel that your job is making your life miserable it's worth reconsidering your job choice. I have been in similar jobs designer/dev positions are rarely good, because designing and developing are two very different tasks. Take care.

leob profile image
leob • Edited

Just quit, they're not worth it. Get another job, devs/designers are in huge demand, don't bother with their reference, you don't need it. I think once you're in a better and more empathetic place, your (mental) issues will go away and become a thing of the past ... the issue is really with them, not with you. Good luck and take care!

zakwillis profile image

I will say this

Take a step back. What I realised is contracts, clients, roles are very interchangeable. Clients and contractors have a point at which they no longer want or need each other. Another thing I always thought, why should a reference or opinion matter? It is just an opinion, it may be the most vital opinion ever, but somebody else may discount it. So please try to calm down. That you care is a great thing but don't allow yourself to get drawn into negative energy.

Should you leave?

Here are my thoughts. You are at the mercy of a future hiring manager/team. I have found they either hate me or like me. It is quite clear. Some will judge you leaving as a bad thing, others won't care. These roles may or may not work out, and so it becomes about trying to find what is best for you.

We have all been in challenging scenarios and will do so henceforth.

palalet profile image

So you solve legal issues, do thirt designs, build websites, all like "date: tomorrow" and you feel depressed? No surprise. Your company is completly fucked up, if they ask you to work this way. Do not feel depressed, not your fault. Estimate the time needed to complete each task and go to your boss to give you priorities. You cannot do everything, abd switching from one task to another is just wasting resources and will make you even more exhausted, as nothing gets done on time, properly. If your boss does not support you, leave and look for solid and serious company, not slave owners.

taijidude profile image
taijidude • Edited

I think you have it a little backwards. Your mental and physical health should be your top priority. Because your health enables you to perform well in your career and enjoy your life.

I strongly suggest getting professional help. I also did this and i worked wonders for me.

I would work on setting good boundries and communicating them. You have a certain capacity for work that you are able to do and you need to recharge that every once in a while. Yes you can power through lots of hard work, but you have to be careful because the bill for that will always come. At the moment i think you are in the middle of paying.

I'm sure you are doing awesome work. You will be even more valuable for employers If you work at a pace that you are able to sustain. This comes with saying no to certain things and people. And clearly communicating why you said no. This will make you look even more professional.

Oh and if your current employer doesn't respect your clear communicated boundries than i would suggest to gtfo. ☺️

allesarfint profile image

I'll suggest you look for professional help before doing something drastic like changing jobs, because the problem isn't always totally on the work but partly on us, so changing jobs wouldn't solve much. I also recommend you to watch the video "You are burned out and you probably don't even know it" in the youtube channel HealthyGamerGG (it's not about gaming), since it talks about a situation similar to yours and it may shed some light on what you are going through. Still you should prioritize looking for professional help.

johnwoody profile image

I am very depressed nowadays

code_jedi profile image
Code_Jedi • Edited

I was (and still am sometimes) very anxious about every little mistake that I made and paranoid about making mistakes in the future. Because of this, my mind would just shut down when I try to get something done and I start overthinking and sometimes panicking. I went through this for like a year now and it's finally getting better.

When it comes to burnout and depression caused by work, the ideal thing to do is to try and take some time off, but if that's not possible, in my experience, the best thing to do is to try and be less paranoid about making mistakes(which in my case was the cause of my anxiety) because if you're always afraid of making mistakes, you're going to procrastinate and overthink more, which is never good.

I know that it's going to be hard to just stop being paranoid, it does take sometime (after all, being afraid of losing your job and/or reputation is understandable) but again, being anxious or paranoid of mistakes will lead to procrastination, procrastination will lead to less work done, less work done will lead to more pressure from your boss or managers, which will lead to more anxiety/paranoia, which will turn into a vicious cycle. Once this cycle starts repeating, in my experience, it leads to depression because I start feeling helpless about the situation. I start feeling like at this point it is outside of my control and that I will inevitably fail. When I broke out of that cycle of being paranoid/anxious, I was finally able to get back on track!

I'm not a therapist or anything, and I don't fully know what's best in your situation, but this helped in my experience so I hope this helps you. I really hope things get better.