Taro Logo
0

Navigating Medical Leave and Performance Ratings: A Strategic Approach

Profile picture
Senior Software Engineer at Taro Community2 months ago

Recently, due to health concerns, I consulted a doctor who advised me to take a medical leave for about 4 to 6 weeks, depending on my recovery. As I write this in January, my manager rates my performance at 3 or 4 out of 5. Having worked diligently throughout the year, I am eager to achieve a rating of 4, which will be finalized in August, though typically decisions are made by April.

However, I question the wisdom of deferring my health needs for the sake of a rating, especially since the financial and promotional benefits are not significant. Additionally, I have been contemplating a move to a FAANG or similar company for a better role and salary.

Despite the uncertain job market, I don't want to jeopardize my current position. There are also personal matters I need to address during my medical leave.

I'm seeking advice on how to balance pursuing a favorable performance rating with taking my medical leave, possibly in February. Is there a strategy to achieve both objectives?

what I am leaning towards is prioritizing health & starting the medical process by February. If a company penalizes me by giving me a sh*t rating for taking care of my health, then it’s not a good fit. I haven’t taken a long vacation > than 4 days in 2 years.

66
5

Discussion

(5 comments)
  • 2
    Profile picture
    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    I question the wisdom of deferring my health needs for the sake of a rating

    Hard to argue with this logic. Your health is more important than your work. However, the nuance is that neither of these are binary options.

    A few things to consider:

    • What company do you work for now? If you're at a FAANG-adjacent company, the brand/career lift from FAANG won't be very high.
    • Is there something you can accomplish before the end of the perf cycle that will will help you in your next round of interviews?
    • Can you lightly bring up the topic from your manager about taking a leave, and what your options are?

    See also these related discussions about asking for extended time off:

  • 1
    Profile picture
    Senior Software Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    2 months ago

    I’m at a tier 2 company. Not a FAANG currently.

    I don’t think my current/ future ratings will help with landing a new job in the future. As it will be a fresh start at a new company.

    however, I do care about my performance here, and want to be seen as a highly effective contributor. How can I bring up the gap between 3 and 4 rating, and my medical leave with my manager?

  • 2
    Profile picture
    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    How can I bring up the gap between 3 and 4 rating, and my medical leave with my manager?

    I'd decouple these conversations. First get clarity on how you're trending for your performance review. (hopefully you have like a monthly career check-in)

    Several weeks (or at least days) later, you can bring up the medical leave.

  • 3
    Profile picture
    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    Your health comes first! I feel like you're worrying too much about your rating, especially given the circumstances (not taking a proper break for 2 years is really rough and will burn you out). If you're at a "Tier 2" company, there really isn't a meaningful difference in pay, clout, etc from getting 4/5 instead of 3/5.

    That being said, it's still important to care about your rating, particularly with avoiding a below average rating/PIP. Some thoughts here:

    • Come up with a plan to replace yourself - 4 to 6 weeks is a long time, and as a senior engineer, I imagine you have a lot of scope. Make sure that your current workstreams don't fall apart when you're out. I would write a document for my manager/team whenever I was out for >1 week (things move fast at Meta!). Some more good thoughts on taking extended PTO here: "How much PTO should I take?"
    • Talk to your manager - Figure out if you're closer to 3/5 or 4/5 and define the requirements to hit 4/5. Once your manager is aware of the medical leave, ask them how it affects the trajectory. It will probably be awkward leading the conversation to such a transparent and honest state, but that's simply what you need to do when it comes to disambiguating performance. More advice on all of this here: [Masterclass] How To Work Better With Your Engineering Manager
    • Take your leave ASAP
      • Reason #1: You're almost certainly suffering from burnout.
      • Reason #2: Recency bias is huge for performance review. If you take leave next week and come back in mid-February, hopefully you can crush it in the remaining time before April to bump up your rating.

    Best of luck - I hope your leave is really helpful for your long-term health!

  • 1
    Profile picture
    Senior Software Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    2 months ago

    Thank you for the valuable advice!