The day after the first time Lucy Ingram called in sick to her job due to depression, her boss presented her with a performance improvement plan. He told her that her calling in was unfair to her coworkers, unprofessional and set a bad example for the young adults she worked with.
Two weeks later, Ingram got a concussion. Her boss told her to take as much time off as she needed.
Sadly, this is the reality for many of us. There’s plenty of accommodation given for physical injuries, or as I’m getting now, a death in the family. Those are great, and believe me I appreciate it. But, at the same time, it’s all too common to dismiss mental health problems as something that you just have to deal with, no excuse to miss work, or alter your schedule, or in the startup world, actually work normal hours instead of 12-14 hours a day. There’s no room for that.
I think many employers are afraid that since they can’t see depression, that if they allow some accommodations for someone with depression that it will get taken advantage of. I don’t condone that at all, if you can’t continue to do your job with some reasonable accommodations you shouldn’t be there, you should be looking at some sort of disability. But even getting a reasonable accommodation like altering a schedule for therapy sessions, or taking some time off to deal with other issues, can be impossible for too many of us. It shouldn’t be.