{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Been severely struggling with depression and anxiety lately. Obviously this job is one big reason why. I opened up to the partner a few months back about it when I started missing random days when I couldn’t get out of bed. Maybe 2/3 days over the last 4 months total. This week he sat me down and told me he is worried about my mental health causing me to be a “liability” to the firm. I can’t stop thinking about this and don’t know how to turn it around.", "post_id": "610d5093a1cf360021137b4c", "reply_count": 22, "vote_count": 12, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law" }

Been severely struggling with depression and anxiety lately. Obviously this job is one big reason why. I opened up to the partner a few months back about it when I started missing random days when I couldn’t get out of bed. Maybe 2/3 days over the last 4 months total. This week he sat me down and told me he is worried about my mental health causing me to be a “liability” to the firm. I can’t stop thinking about this and don’t know how to turn it around.

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I know it’s too late now - but this is why I always tell people to never disclose any mental health problem, no matter how obvious or real. That information will never be used to help you, only against you. Positive is that if they fire you you have grounds to sue for discrimination most likely. Negative is that it’ll trash your reputation. Id suggest lateraling.

likesmartfunny

It’s so sad how true everything about this comment seems to be 😞

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Document everything in writing. Get a diagnosis and ask for an accommodation. It's illegal to fire you for a disability.

likesmart

Agreed but also keep in mind employers only have to provide “reasonable accommodations”. So if the client needs something urgent today, asked you for it, and you didn’t respond/went MIA because you couldn’t get out of bed (which trust me, I get entirely…), the firm is going to say “there’s no way for this person to perform this job with this disability, there’s no accommodation we can offer, we have to let them go” etc.

likehelpful

Fortunately, I haven’t struggled with depression along the lines of what the OP described. But I wouldn’t have reached out to the firm. Maybe it’s the stigma, but I would have sought therapy first. A related story: I have lower back issues that have since gone away after exercise, etc., but I do have a standing prescription for muscle relaxers. I once told a partner of mine to get something out of my briefcase and he saw them and looked up the prescription, then I had to deal with an hour-long conversation about How I wasn’t a prescription drug addict, etc. Which I’m not. All I’m saying is be careful of what you share (intentionally or unintentionally) at work.

likefunny

Yes, even after the conversation with such partner. Document it in writing, maybe even send an email saying “thank you for the conversation earlier or something of that sort..

likehelpful

100% document this. What an absolute Ass. Sorry you’re going through this, OP.

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Are you receiving any therapy and/ or medication or anything else to get some relief? I’m sorry about work but your health comes first. If you’re working towards finding relief, another job can come if it comes to that. The market is so hot right now and you can lateral. Focus on feeling better for now.

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It sounds like you aren’t happy where you are. Maybe start looking at other law firms? Just looking might get some pep back in your step. Also, to help with some of the “what if” fears that can pop up after a talk like that: I was between jobs about 5 years into my career because I had hit the wall with my prior employer and while I was looking for a new position I worked all sorts of positions through a temp agency. I am not talking document review. I am talking checking people in to a convention center for events. It paid barely over minimum wage, but I walked away each day without having to think about anything related to the work aside for what I would wear the next day and what I would take with me for lunch. It was mindless and I absolutely loved it. It gave me an entirely new perspective on risks in employment going forward. Any time I’ve felt like I am not happy I think “what’s the worst that can happen? That I end up doing temp work again?” I’ve been able to ask for what I want and take career risks because of that. Very liberating. Mind you, I was barely self-sustaining, but I was still alive and able to pay bills with the help of my husband’s (very meager) income. No matter what happens, you are a very intelligent person and you will figure something out. You may have to ask for help, but you will figure it out.

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Please forgive me as I do not understand what depression is. I understand the vocabulary word out of a dictionary, but I have no personal, first-hand experience with it. I served in the army, jumped out of airplanes and never once felt like a couldn't get out of bed. However, what I can say after twenty years of practice, working for a firm is insane. A lawyer who works in a firm is a chained slave. A lawyer in a firm is capped as to income, herded as to work flow and given no credit for wins in the courtroom. A firm lawyer is kept from learning the law, and instead is narrowly focused as to a single skill set whatever the firm desires. The firm is not your friend. Get out of a "firm" and work for yourself. Free yourself. Enjoy the income yourself. Do as Liberace did for music. Entertain a poorer audience who will make you wealthy by your performance. Learn the score and get out on stage.

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I like this response. I did it. But it is easier said than done.

smart

You could take an FMLA leave of absence once you get your diagnosis. You could use that time to look for another job that won’t be as stressful.

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First, take a deep breath. You are going to be okay. But, you need to take care of yourself, NOW. It sounds like you're having a really hard time period. Do you have a therapist you click with? Can you get one...a lot of health insurance plans have a number you can call, or a website to log into, and they will help you find an in-person situation, or telehealth place to talk. It sounds like your job is stressful, and you need to invest in you right now. I agree with everybody else on "document and do your best to keep it together right now" - but do that with a healthy side of self-care. Which can feel daunting to find even a few minutes for, if you're working on work and brushing teeth the same day, but SO worth it. The lateral market is indeed quite hot, so if this job doesn't work out, so be it. Put your attention, whatever pieces you can gather together, toward yourself, and sort the job situation next. Feel free to DM.

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I am so sorry - this is exactly the reason I’ve refrained from telling any partner at my firm about my anxiety/depression/panic attacks. I really don’t have any advice but I’m sorry that a person who should have your back isn’t, and sending you the most positive thoughts!!

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