Give Me A Break!

| England, UK | Bosses & Owners, Overtime, Time

(My boss is normally pretty awesome but hates confrontation, so as soon as someone complains about anything he tries to make it disappear rather than shoot them down.)

Boss: “I’ve had a complaint about your smoke breaks.”

Me: “Oh?”

Boss: “Yes, someone told me that you take too many.”

Me: “Okay, I’m going to pretend that this didn’t come from [Coworker] for a second, and ask you a question. You know that I don’t take lunch breaks and rarely take a tea break, right?”

Boss: “Yeah.”

Me: “So, the way I see it, I can spread my breaks out through the day and take them when I can, or stick to the rules and not help anyone when I’m on break.”

Boss: “Take your breaks at the right time.”

Me: *cheerfully* “Sure, no problem at all.”

(That week I make sure as soon as my break starts I leave my desk. Quickly I see missed calls, emails, and messages from people needing my help. My phone rings…)

Boss: “Hey, where are you?”

Me: “Oh, I’m on my lunch. I’m not in the building. I’ll be back at 12:45.”

Boss: *long sigh* “Okay, I get it; I’ve had people all over me this week. Take your breaks whenever you need them.”

Me: “What about [Coworker]?”

Boss: “Leave them to me.”

(Thankfully, Coworker never moaned again, having been told to mind their own business.)


Worries The Documents Are Doctored

| Salt Lake City, UT, USA | Bad Behavior, Bosses & Owners, Health & Body

(My birthday is on a state holiday and rapidly approaching. I recently found out I am expecting and am very excited as this was a long time coming. I research my HR options for both during and after the pregnancy and have a firm grasp on the rules. In our office we essentially log our hours and submit them to HR for payroll processing, and notify our team and our managers of absences and doctor’s appointments, etc. Very early on, we have some concerns and my doctor indicates that working from home is my best bet to a healthy pregnancy. A couple of weeks go by and I resume working at the office. At our next appointment, the doctor indicates a strong possibility that our baby won’t make it and may have already passed. We’re devastated and I take the rest of the day off.)

Me: “Team, we just found out our baby may have died. I need the rest of today to try to cope. I may work from home tomorrow.”

Team: *all sends supportive messages and emails and encourage me to take all the time I need*

Me: *essentially the same email to another supervisor* “I know I had an assignment due, but due to the possible death of our baby I won’t make the deadline. I will submit it by tomorrow at four pm at the latest.”

(A supervisor not on my team, but someone I need to work with, chimes in.)

Supervisor: “You’ve been here long enough this should have only taken 20-30 minutes. This is unacceptable.”

(The next day I read all of these messages and work from home. I complete the assignment and submit it.)

Me: “Again, I apologize for the delay. I know this isn’t my best work, but given the circumstances I hope you understand. If you have any questions please let me know.”

Supervisor: “This is simply unacceptable. I expected a lot more from you given your length of employment here. Your personal life is no excuse for poor work performance.”

(A week passes and we have had two follow-up appointments. Both confirm our worst fears: that things aren’t going well and that our baby has indeed passed. As this is our third loss in two years we’re ripped to pieces and have no answers as to why. I again email my team that I’m not working the rest of the day, but will work from home the next day, unless I’m having surgery.)

Team: “We’re so sorry for your loss. We hope you take the time you need to heal and to get the answers we know you need.”

(After confirming surgery date and time I send a follow-up email and indicate I’ll use our allotted five days of bereavement leave to both grieve and recover.)

Team: “We hope it helps you get answers. Please let us know if you need anything.”

Boss: “I’m sorry for your loss. Please submit a doctor’s note so we can add it to your record and reconcile it with our payroll system.”

(I’ve used bereavement leave, PTO, and car accident leave many times in the past and I’ve never been asked for doctor’s notes or funeral programs at this company. When I’ve gotten them in the past they usually tell me to keep them or they toss them.)

Me: “I’ll submit whatever you need. Please just indicate the specifics so I can have my doctor prepare what you need.”

Boss: “Just any note that will indicate why you’ve been working from home for a week or so, and why you want to take a week off, immediately following your birthday.”

(I send a request to my doctor’s office.)

Doctor: “So basically they want a note explaining that I’m doing my job, you’re doing yours,  that you didn’t make up your baby, the ultrasound images you’ve shown people at work, or your baby’s death, and they want you to prove to them that you need time to recover from surgery and heal emotionally from the death of your baby?!”

Me: “That pretty well sums up my understanding. Thank you, doctor!”

Doctor: “I’ll give them a list of medical jargon so complicated they won’t understand more than five words. If they have a problem with that, tell them to contact an attorney, I have more important things to do than explain why my 20 years of medical experience trumps their over-reaching tactics to have some documented reason to try to get rid of a great employee after such an awful life experience!”


Finally Got Your A-Ten-tion

| Dubai, UAE | Bosses & Owners, Ignoring & Inattentive

(My direct line manager is on vacation, so I am supposed to report to my next manager, whose office is directly next to mine. For ten days, she never talks to me and I just do my things, working on tasks my line manager gave me before she left. After ten days, I got this phone call.)

Manager: “Sooo, how are you doing?”

Me: “Ehm, I am fine, thank you?”

Manager: “I just wanted to quickly ask you… [Line Manager] is on vacation, right?”

Me: “Yes?”

Manager: “So, what are you actually doing?”

Me: *listing the tasks I have been working on*

Manager: “Ah, ok, so you are doing things… Great, great, I just wanted to check in with you.” *laughs a little*

Me: “Okay?”

Manager: “Great. Just continue, then.” *hangs up*

Me: *to myself* “After ten days you start wondering about me?”

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