Left job due to depression

I left my job about a month ago due to a combination of depression and burnout. I was at this company for a little over 4 years and felt productive/received positive reviews. Around six months prior to leaving is when I started to feel the burnout which made my already existing depression worse and my productivity suffered. I figured leaving the company would be within the best interest of the company and give me time to mentally recover. I left the company in a professional manner by giving a two week notice and transferring knowledge to other team members.

After a month off I’m starting to feel the itch to code again and have been shopping around for a new job. I sent emails to most of the senior/management team members asking for a reference and have not gotten a response back from any of them. Is this unusual or was I actually a terrible employee after all? I’m finding it really difficult to secure a new job without references from my previous employer.

It’s easy for me as a third party to say this: I would try to not read into their lack of response as some sort of reflection on your time there. {I say that but I know if I were in your shoes, I would likely be in a similar spiral of thought.} It is easy to hypothesize when we don’t have a current line of communication. If you were there for 4 years and got positive reviews + felt productive, it sounds like everything was just fine!

How long has it been since you contacted them? Often times, things like that fall to the bottom of the priority list depending on the size of the company. Is it possible your email got caught in a spam filter of some sort? Is it possible to contact them via other means (ie: phone)?

Sidenote: good for you for recognizing that you needed to take some time for yourself and following through with it. It sounds like you’re feeling rejuvenated lately.

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I would just like to share that i’m in the same boat. I left a couple of months ago because of stress and anxiety. I tried my best to manage the situation (therapy, talking to management etc) but kept drowning in overtime and I got really worried about my health. I’m still trying to fix my weird sleep patterns.

I don’t know why a lack of reference from your previous employer would be an obstacle if you’ve been professional and never did anything wrong. In my case, I focus on what I did right, my accomplishments (projects that were delivered, team goals reached) and why in the end it wasn’t a good fit anymore.

Good luck

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Did you know anyone at the company on a personal level? I tend to have the cell phone number of 2-3 team mates from just about every company I’ve worked for.

What do you think they would do if you just showed up and said hi, and that you were wanting to come back? Or you were wanting to reconnect?

Considering you can’t just ring up a old manager, it seems kind of like it was probably a cold place, and I’d just put the company’s main line down as the reference number.

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.