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How to ask for extended time off?

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Senior Engineer at Series B Startupa year ago

I'm in a difficult situation right now and feel I need some time off to recover and manage, but am also concerned with optics.

I've been interviewing for new roles recently and spent my time off over the holidays (~2 weeks) preparing for a particularly stressful onsite interview. The team I was originally interviewing with no longer has an opening and I'm stuck waiting for headcount to open up and find a new team.

The stress of this situation has been taking a toll on me mentally and physically, and I've been dealing with a lot of health issues over the last month. I think it would be best for me to take at least a couple of weeks off to help reduce my stress and focus on maintaining my health. This isn't extremely extended, but amounts to more like a month off when factoring the recent 2 weeks off for the holidays.

After writing this out, it seems more cut-and-dry that I need to just ask and cite the health issues. I'd be curious to hear how others have navigated asking for extended time off.

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    Yep, I think being candid about your mental health struggle and figuring out a transition plan makes sense. I'd come into the conversation with your manager with the answer already decided (you're not asking for permission), but you're trying to be a good teammate in terms of timing and transitioning your work while you're out.

    • In big companies, you'd be surprised how often this happens (it's just not talked about that often), and there's a pretty well-documented path to proceed.
    • At a small company (not sure how large your series B company is), the process might be more ad-hoc.

    There may be some way to figure out the optimal timing to maximize pay / ability to switch teams in a series B company. If it's easy for you to casually talk to others on the team, you could consider that. But given the paramount importance of your health, I wouldn't worry about this.