Depression - Probezeit - Can I take time off?

20 posts in this topic

Hi, 

I am an Argentinian, with EU citizenship, i moved to Germany (Hamburg) in October, for a job. I started on November 1st  2020. So I 4 months into the job, still on probezeit. 

About 3 years ago I had a breakdown and was diagnosed with depression, medicated and did therapy. At that time I could work through it, as I was confortable in my job (been there for a while, could do my tasks with little effort, and it helped distract me). My issue was mainly with very low self esteem, too much pressure on what i "should do" and feeling completely worthless and useless. But i managed to get out of that headspace, and was doing pretty well.  

 

But i guess moving countries, corona, and a new job took its toll... 

For the past 2 months i have been feeling increasingly worse ,about a month ago I went to a GP and got her to prescribe my antidepressants again. I have been doing phone therapy with my therapist back home. But I am still feeling like crap. I can not work. Thinking about it brings me to tears, i am not confortable at all as i am not familiar with the tasks at all yet. I dont know anyone personally since i started in Corona time. So i have no colleagues to "copy from" and see how they work. I think i can really not do this job. 

I guess my depression makes my mind go in a loop of 'i cant do this, i dont know how to this, i cant do this, i dont know how to do this"... on and on, so i end up doing nothing and crying. 

I want to quit, as i dont feel like i can face it. But i only think that will only make my self esteem issues worse, since then i will be empty... 

 

If i go to my GP or  a psychiatrist, would the write me off sick? I guess they would, but i believe this will only get me fired right? since i am still in probezeit... 

If i manage to hold on until may 1st, and probezeit is over, and go on sick leave then... Same thing could happen right? 

 

I really dont know what to do, feel so useless, and bad... i can not focus at all. 

 

I guess i struggle between the fact that just looking at my inbox makes me cry, or thinking about what i have to do and dont know how to do makes me sleepless... and feeling a complete failure for not being able to do it. Feeling like a fake... 

If i quite i fear i will lose it completly.. but at the same time i cant do anything...

 

Thanks for the advice. 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, LauraHH said:

If i go to my GP or  a psychiatrist, would the write me off sick? I guess they would, but i believe this will only get me fired right? since i am still in probezeit... 

If i manage to hold on until may 1st, and probezeit is over, and go on sick leave then... Same thing could happen right? 

No. Once you made it through Probezeit you can´t be fired for being sick (unless it´s for more than 1 year (or 2 years?- I forgot).

 

5 minutes ago, LauraHH said:

I guess my depression makes my mind go in a loop of 'i cant do this, i dont know how to this, i cant do this, i dont know how to do this"

Tell your mind to ask "how the hell can I be expected to do this, to know this without having been given a chance to learn the ropes". Because that´s a very fair question to ask.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So i guess i should try to hold on 2 more months... 

 

I cant tell my mind anything... if only I could. I know it is logiclal, i know i should try harder, i know i should take one task at a time, i know all new jobs are like this, i know all this... my logical mind knows it... but there is something there that does not work and i can not believe it... and i can not focus, and i cant do anything to stop it. 

 

If i get any sort of extended sick leave now i will just end up fired right? 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's analyze this. Either:

  1. You don't have the required skills for your job
  2. You have the required skills, but need support at start
  3. You are doing a great job but suffering from "impostor symdrome"

Solutions:

  1. Accept this is the wrong job and move on
  2. Talk with your boss and "demand" better support
  3. Cheer up! You're doing great! Pop a bottle and celebrate!

Now the hard part is knowing which one is right. The trick here is communication. Talk as soon as possible with your boss and explain your doubts. No crying! Germans don't support weakness! Victim play does not work here! Be strong and organize the meeting in detail, write all down!

You can start slowly by asking general questions on how he feels about your work. Then you move to specifics and say you are having problems with some tasks (be specific! concrete examples!) and ask for help. If it becomes clear that you dont have the skills to perform, then it's 1. If you have the skills but need help starting up, then it's 2. If your boss is super happy, then it's 3.

 

I didn't cover the possibilities that your boss doesn't care or he is an asshole, but let's keep it simple for now.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/3/2021, 11:25:40, MikeMelga said:

Solutions:

  1. Cheer up! You're doing great! Pop a bottle and celebrate!

Now the hard part is knowing which one is right. The trick here is communication. Talk as soon as possible with your boss and explain your doubts. No crying! Germans don't support weakness! Victim play does not work here! Be strong and organize the meeting in detail, write all down!

 

 

Dear fucking goodness, I've never heard such a load of shite.

OP, please ignore this useless piece of "advice", he clearly has no idea what depression is. Do not EVER tell a depressed or traumatised person to cheer up. I could just about explode with anger here.

 

So, facts: if you take time off, chances are very high you may be fired. That's the decision you must make - do you care or do you not?

 

Depression is simply a symptom of something lying beneath that so you need to take up the root cause. Start looking for a therapist here, now. There's massive waiting lists and the sooner you do this, the better.

 

In the meantime, if you want to try to make it past your probationary period, here's what I would suggest to you. Do not punish yourself if you find you can't cope. These are trying times and moving across the oceans is HARD.

 

Talk to your Boss/colleagues for more support. Starting a new job remotely without anyone nearby is terribly difficult and anyone should understand that. I wouldn't mention you feel off for now, to be honest. You are new and claiming mental illness 4 months into a new job is not a good idea, that is a sad fact.

 

Make sure you take care of yourself. Try to contain your "but I SHOUUUUUUUUUULD" mentality - there's lots of skills out there, have a google and see what works for you (I'm loath to overload people with lots of "handy hints" for everyone is different. You are welcome to pm me if you want more in-depth stuff). Do try to not be too hard on yourself when you feel you are failing.

Medication may be a short term solution for now.

 

Not knowing any person and starting a new job is very hard and takes time. Try to tell that to yourself. Are you able to figure out if you like the job, difficulties aside? Can you sit down and put aside negative spirals and see what's lacking for you as far as knowledge and skills go? Is it a general feeling of "meh"? Lack of skills can easily be remedied after all.

 

Perhaps you can reach out to your team mates and ask them for a digital meeting or alternatively ,see if there's any online meet ups. Obviously I don't know what company you work for but mine has put a massive effort into the wellbeing of their employees. We have something called mental health first aiders, a focus on wellbeing group, etc. Perhaps you could bandy the idea around? I'm willing to bet that there's plenty of colleagues who are struggling also.

 

Quitting your job isn't going to solve your problems, you know that. You are still yourself. Of course, sometimes a job simply isn't right but you went to such length to start it, give yourself a chance to try it out.

 

Whereabouts are you living, is it Hamburg? There's helplines where you may be able to chat to someone.

 

Self worth issues can't be solved overnight, they take a lot of time and effort. Be kind to yourself:-)

 

8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@camlough Thank you very much about the depression comment. Never tell a depressed person it is not that bad or to cheer up. I mean don’t you think that person has already thought of that? That whole post reeks of “pull yourself up by the bootstraps.” Please ignore it, OP.

 

OP, I would try to hang on until May 1st. I know that is easier said than done. Go to your GP and start getting your mental health appointments in order. It’s very busy now. How long have you been on the medication? 

 

In Munich we have a Beratungsstelle. I think every German city has one. I have been there a few times to get free advice. It’s not the best, but they do get you on the right path. If you are feeling this bad, sometimes little things like this really help clear your head. 

 

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading comprehension fail ? MM meant if point 3, then point 3. He is not telling anyone to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Sigh.

 

Clearly the OP sounds depressed. And with good reason. What mortal wouldn't be depressed in her situation? New country, new job, corona, no friends, isolation. Guaranteed to depress anyone. Is gong home an option?

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, optimista said:

Reading comprehension fail ? MM meant if point 3, then point 3. He is not telling anyone to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Sigh.

 

 

Clearly the OP sounds depressed. And with good reason. What mortal wouldn't be depressed in her situation? New country, new job, corona, no friends, isolation. Guaranteed to depress anyone. Is gong home an option?

 

It seems you (and Mike) have no understanding of what being clinically depressed is.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, camlough said:

Dear fucking goodness, I've never heard such a load of shite.

OP, please ignore this useless piece of "advice", he clearly has no idea what depression is. Do not EVER tell a depressed or traumatised person to cheer up. I could just about explode with anger here.

I gave her a very sound advice. If both 1) and 2) are not the issue, then it's a very common "impostor syndrome" issue, which means you really need to tell that person that there is nothing to worry about, good professionals usually go through that when moving to a new position.

 

1 hour ago, optimista said:

Reading comprehension fail ? MM meant if point 3, then point 3. He is not telling anyone to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Sigh.

 

Clearly the OP sounds depressed. And with good reason. What mortal wouldn't be depressed in her situation? New country, new job, corona, no friends, isolation. Guaranteed to depress anyone. Is gong home an option?

Exactly! IF 1) and IF 2) are not the cause!

 

1 hour ago, Krieg said:

It seems you (and Mike) have no understanding of what being clinically depressed is.

"Impostor syndrome" is a cause for depression and the faster you understand you are doing a good job, the faster you get out of that trap. IF, and IF that is the case, it's a problem on how a person sees itself. If you don't know the root cause, you can't treat the depression, can you?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no reading comprehension fail on my part. There seems to be a reading comprehension fail on what the OP asked. OP clearly stated that he is depressed and he needs help with what to do with regards to his job. Personally I’d give MM a low mark on the task fulfillment section of the assessment if this were an exam. 

 

Others have given advice to see a therapist etc. We really don’t know what kind of headspace OP is in right now and I think suggesting ‘imposter syndrome’ can be damaging, but you know I’m not a doctor. Therefore, I’ll suggest he see a doctor.

 

OP doesn’t sound like he is in a good place at all and depression is very complex and is not always solved by getting to the root of the problem. This doesn’t sound like something that he is bummed out about and can solve by himself, based on his description and current events. JMHO. 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to be with Mike here, German companies tend to look at depression as a personal problem, not a company problem and they will see to it that they get rid of somebody with a mental health issue before the end of the Probezeit and all that it contains kicks in. 

That is why there is a Probezeit in the first place.

As much as I sympathize with the OP and wish all the best vibes I can muster at the end of the day the company is not your doctor and certainly not your support therapist.
Can the OP take time off? Sure! Just don´t expect to survive the Probezeit.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, slammer said:

Can the OP take time off? Sure! Just don´t expect to survive the Probezeit.

Who knows? Maybe they´d only suggest to extend the Probezeit, given that in the current situation it will be hard to find a replacement. And how would they know that replacement wouldn´t have a similar problem. After all, under the circumstances it´s not a surprising one.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You just never know what an employer will do.  They might jump at the chance of getting rid of someone who has an medical problem that could be reoccurring or they might be more human about it and extend or give you a new probezeit when you are back, maybe depending on how long you are gone for as well. 

 

If you complete the probezeit before getting sick and you have a permanent contract, it will be hard for them to fire you but you also have to think of your health.  If you go on sick leave during the probezeit and your employer lets you go, you will get 75-80% of your salary from the krankenkasse so you will have money, time to recovrer and look for a new job.

 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@LauraHH I am purposely ignoring all the previous posts. Depression is a clinical diagnosis.  Go to your Hausarzt (GP), get a transfer to a German psychologist who speaks a language you understand well and a doctor's note for illness of unknown duration, have three trial sessions with the psychologist, get on their waitlist, and return to the GP for an extension of your initial illness. You do not have to tell your company what kind of ill you are until you hit the 6 week mark, I think.

 

This is what paid sick leave and medical insurance are for

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She's in probezeit.

She wants to know if doing that stuff will get her fired.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, kiplette said:

She's in probezeit.

She wants to know if doing that stuff will get her fired.

 

It's what that stuff is made for, but any company that will abandon you when you aren't well isn't one you should stay with.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not such an easy thing when she has travelled half way around the globe for the job.  

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a great update! Thanks for coming back and sharing.

 

As for the "loop", I know it well. Your therapist will help you with that. May I also recommend the book by Eckhart Tolle, Practicing The Power of Now. I read all of his books some years ago and have come back to this one for a refresher course.

 

All the best to you.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now