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Seeking FLMA because of stress and anxiety, how to apply?

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Senior Software Engineer at Taro Community2 months ago

Seeking Medical Leave Assistance in the Bay Area

I'm experiencing significant stress and anxiety but can't afford to be unemployed. I don't currently have a primary care physician (PCP), and therapists won't provide a letter for medical leave.

Has anyone here used Zocdoc to obtain medical leave? Do you know of any one in the Bay Area who can assist with getting such a letter?

How would this impact my current job?

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Discussion

(4 comments)
  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    So I went through https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/blog/stress-leave-in-california/ and this approach seems hard:

    • FLMA leave is unpaid, so this doesn't solve your affordability issue
    • The bar to qualify is high. You need to prove that your stress/anxiety is high enough to require ongoing care

    Tech jobs are naturally stressful, especially in this economy and as a senior engineer like yourself, so I imagine companies will want to prevent people from theoretically abusing this system and taking lots of time off.

    Aside from just using all your PTO at once and hoping to solve your issues during that time, I think a better approach is to debug the root cause of your stress/anxiety and fix that instead. Is it:

    1. Too much work and not enough time?
    2. Toxic manager and teammates?
    3. Personal issues outside of work?

    If you share more context here, I'm happy to provide more targeted advice, especially for #1 and #2.

    How would this impact my current job?

    Being out for a long time will almost certainly affect your performance review and your perception among the team unless you have long tenure and a stellar reputation among teammates.

    In a vacuum, learning how to get more from your time generally helps so I recommend this playlist: [Taro Top 10] Time Management And Productivity

  • 0
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    Senior Software Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    2 months ago

    Sure, I can elaborate.

    At this point, I don't care about my current company.

    I am okay to take a backseat to improve my mental health.

    These are the reasons:

    1. Too much work and not enough time?
    2. Toxic manager and teammates?
    3. Personal issues outside of work?
  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    Too much work and not enough time?

    My main advice here is to ruthlessly prioritize. There's generally a bunch of work items that aren't actually useful (which can unfortunately be pet projects sometimes). I was a high-performer as a Robinhood tech lead working around 25-30 hours per week, and that was a big reason how I was able to sustain that. Here's what I did:

    1. I mainly worked on high-leverage, high-visibility tasks - As a tech lead, I prioritized making sure that the system design, XFN communication, and timeline were very high quality.
    2. I delegated a lot - Almost immediately after I joined, I started mentoring an L4 iOS engineer (they got promoted to L5 about a year after I left). I gave them more straightforward tasks like sharing the weekly project update and following up on basic XFN threads. Over time, I added an L3 web engineer to my mentees alongside an L4 backend/iOS engineer (who got promoted in their first cycle at Robinhood with my help). More mentees = more delegation.
    3. I used focus blocks - I wrote 80% of my code on no meeting Wednesdays where I often put out stacks of 5-10 diffs in a single day.
    4. I sacrificed cool but unnecessary work items - There were so many things I wanted to do at Robinhood which I couldn't like revamping the oncall system, introducing snapshot tests to the Android stack, and setting a standard for Robinhood Android's code review culture. At Meta, I would have happily done all these things, but I gave them up at Robinhood. I also love reviewing code, but I toned it down at Robinhood immensely. When I left Instagram, I was reviewing 700+ diffs per half. At Robinhood, I was only reviewing around 150.

    On top of all this, I made sure to maintain an honest dialog with my manager to make sure I wasn't slipping (this is how I knew I was always on the higher-end of Meets All Expectations).

    Here's a relevant recent discussion as well: "How do I deal with the pressure of being hired as a Senior SWE and manage my time with family?"

  • 3
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    Received an answer from an Taro Premium member who wants to remain anonymous:

    I wasn’t able to find a PCP/therapist myself that was willing to see me to approve my FMLA

    The PCP that approved my FMLA was based in NYC, on my connecting flight back home

    I went to the nearest PCP chain which I found on Apple Maps and scheduled an appointment, I explained my situation and mental health (father passing away) and whilst they weren’t able to help me, they connected me with another provider of the same culture/ethnicity who had a lot of empathy and approved my leave on very short notice

    It’s definitely not easy in the USA, but I think the key is being able to find people who would be willing to help/understand

    It’s important to be persistent and explain the urgency of their situation to whoever they are meeting, who may be able to direct them to the right person

    In my case, HR was incredibly supportive and allowed me to retroactively get the forms submitted to approve my leave

    So I would say:

    1. Work with HR, explain and partner with them as they most likely understand the difficulties of this process in the US
    2. Be persistent and see if they can connect with the right people with empathy and understand their situation
    3. See if there are alternatives, for example accommodations for work etc. that they could arrange