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Old 13 August 2017, 02:53 AM
Magdalene Magdalene is offline
 
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Default I am livid with my boss

Bit of background for work: We have one person out of the office indefinitely due to severe illness, so the rest of us are having to pick up that person's stuff.

The situation: Late Friday night/early Saturday morning, I had to rush my sister (who lives with me) to the ER. Her appendix had ruptured. Not *about* to rupture, it *had* ruptured. She was rushed to surgery and stayed in the hospital the entire weekend and wasn't released until late Monday.

I had called my boss on Saturday afternoon to give her a heads-up that I would probably need to work from home a few days to tend to my sister, but at the time, I wasn't sure which ones (she hadn't been given a release date at that time.) I was told Sunday she would be released about 10 a.m. Monday, so I updated my boss to let her know I would sign on from home early, leave when they called to confirm she was ready to go, take care of whatever was needed to get her settled back in, and log back on. I also advised I would be working from home Tuesday, since my sister had a follow-up appointment and I had already been advised she wouldn't be able to drive herself. My boss said okay.

Well, turns out my sister didn't get released until late Monday afternoon (so I worked from home that day for no reason.) I took her to her follow up appointment on Tuesday, and she was just so out of it (to give more background, she was sent home with stints in her and was on antibiotics and heavy painkillers) that I was just really worried. She had difficulty walking and seemed barely coherent. Plus all her paperwork was warning about watching for infections, fever, nausea...a whole list of stuff. Given this list, and that my sister was needing help with her stints, plus the fact that she had yet *another* appointment Thursday (and still wasn't cleared for driving herself), I sent my boss a message advising her that I would need to stay home the rest of the week to take care of her. Now, I had every intention of working from home--my company doesn't *like* it, but it is permitted in extreme circumstances, and to my thinking, my sister needing help while recovering from emergency surgery counted.

And my boss got...shirty with me. She did this whole, "Well, people are asking where you are." (Tell them it's a family emergency. Hell, my group is close, tell them what happened, I wouldn't care.) Then she did this, "Well, can't you make an appearance a half day for the rest of the week in the office and work from home the other half?" I said outright no--I simply wasn't comfortable leaving my sister alone for five hours (work plus drive time). My boss then did this whole, "Well, I would have liked to have had more than one day with my husband when he had surgery." (Her husband's surgery was planned weeks in advance. Plus, her entire family and her husband's entire family are both here in the area, so if she has to go back to work, she has backup. It's just me and my sister out here.) Then it was, "You really need to be mindful of how often you're asking to work from home." (Like everybody else in my department, I only ask for extreme situations, I'm not the only one who does it.)

At this point, I was *pissed* I was logging into the time off portal with the intention of taking the rest of the week off. I figured I tried to minimize the impact on the rest of the team by having *two* people out, but to hell with it. At that point, my boss said I could work from home half a day, but I'd have to take time off for the other half. Fine by me.

Friday morning, my boss sent me an email with a link to the FMLA, advising if I needed to take more time off to care for my sister, I'd need to apply. I put the email to the side, figuring I'd check with my sister when she woke up before replying (I didn't really think I'd have too--my sister's stints were removed Thursday afternoon, and she was taken off the really strong painkillers that day as well and given something lighter, so she was moving around and okayed to drive if she wanted.) I was working on some time-sensitive stuff as well. My boss sent another email that simply said, "Are you coming back to work on Monday?" I hadn't seen this one right away, since I was in the middle of a hot problem. I got to it just as she sent me a text, and I answered the email with a 'yes'. (The text said that with the other coworker being out indefinitely, she really needed to know if I was coming back next week or taking leave.)

So then she sends me a meeting invite for a one-on-one come Monday. I had already been furious with her over her entire attitude about coming to the office when I was trying to care for a sibling who'd had life-saving surgery just a few days before, and that meeting invite just made me more mad. To give an idea of how pissed off I was Tuesday when she started with the attitude....I immediately brushed off my resume and started sending it out. And the meeting invite just makes me even *more* furious. I am beyond livid with her right now. I had enough stress and strain going on, and I was trying to find a solution to take care of both my sister *and* not leave my coworkers in the lurch, and I feel that I got shat on for my efforts. Normally, a one-on-one meeting when I know the boss isn't happy with me would have me nervous, but all I can feel right now is rage. I doubt my job's in jeopardy, but at this point, I don't know that I'd care if it was--I can get another job, I don't get another sister. And I'm asking myself if a job that seems to think I'd put it before my sister's well-being and lacks such compassion is one worth having.

150 milligrams of Zoloft a day, but I'm just in a blind furious rage about this.
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  #2  
Old 13 August 2017, 06:16 AM
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Gutter Monkey Gutter Monkey is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Magdalene View Post
I can get another job, I don't get another sister.
Yeah that's the bottom line. You work to get money to ensure you can afford the important things in life (family, house, etc) and not the other way around.

If the boss hadn't already booked a one-on-one meeting I'd be suggesting that you ask for one so you can have it out with her. Don't forget to make a point that she needs you a heck of a lot more than you need her.
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  #3  
Old 13 August 2017, 10:23 PM
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Esprise Me Esprise Me is offline
 
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I'm so sorry you're going through this, Magdalene. Your sister's situation sounds stressful enough without your boss being a jerk about it.

I know you're not asking for advice, but I'd encourage you to review your employee handbook before meeting with your boss. If working from home in these types of situations is expressly authorized, then it's entirely fair to expect it. But if it's not written down, even if it's routinely granted informally, then your position isn't as strong. Legally, you're entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA*, but unless your local laws or company policy says otherwise, you probably aren't entitled to the specific accommodation you're seeking. And I know you're not working from home out of a selfish desire to keep collecting a paycheck; you're obviously trying to minimize the effect of your absence on your company. But if they don't see it that way, you may have to take what you can get.

If it were me, I'd go in on Monday, dukes down, and apologize for any inconvenience, explain I'm willing to take leave if that's better for the company than having me work from home, and ask how she wants to proceed. Of course, if you find a great new job and would rather just leave this crap behind, that might make sense for you too, especially if your sister is back on her feet.

*I'm assuming you qualify under FMLA (worked there at least a year, 50 or more employees, etc) based on your boss's email, but you might want to check that too.
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  #4  
Old 14 August 2017, 04:21 AM
Magdalene Magdalene is offline
 
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I would qualify for FMLA, so that wouldn't be a problem. However, my sister is going back to work this week--I don't think she should, but her company is a small one and I guess they don't have short-term disability, and my sister doesn't have enough sick days off to take another week off. (And this could turn into another rant about health care in the U.S.....)

I'm trying to calm down about this, but I'm just furious about my boss' attitude. I doubt my job's in jeopardy, but I found myself thinking, "Do I really want a job where if something happens to a family member again, I'm going to get, 'Well, I need you to show up in the office anyway'?"

I am seriously taking a long and hard look at this company.

I will check the handbook, but in all honesty, the work-from-home is pretty much an official 'no', but an unofficial 'if the situation is unusual' (inclement weather, we've had people stay home with sick *pets* before, the like). So officially, I don't have anything, but I really don't care. I was trying to do the best I could by everybody. Next time I won't bother. I'll just take the time off and my boss can stew in her own juices.

Thanks for listening, though. I'm just amazed at how ragey I still am about this.
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  #5  
Old 14 August 2017, 05:47 PM
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Die Capacitrix Die Capacitrix is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Magdalene View Post
...

I am seriously taking a long and hard look at this company.

...

Thanks for listening, though. I'm just amazed at how ragey I still am about this.
It sounds like you have almost blind-sided yourself. You've been picking up the slack for a long time, maybe without much appreciation from your boss. It may have been simmering for quite some time, and this has taken it from simmering to boiling over.

Definitely look at the company, the situation, and consider if this is where you want to stay.
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Old 14 August 2017, 05:58 PM
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When I fell unexpectedly sick at a previous job my bosses were amazingly supportive. Whether that was because legally they had to be or they were just good people I don't know. Probably a little of both. Anyway when I finally came back to work it was to find that the people who worked for me were mad and holding a grudge because I left them holding the bag by not planning my "time off" better . I stuck it out for a few months but I never got over the feelings of anger "ragey" is a good way to put it that I experienced. I was extremely ill, life altering, scarily, ill and somehow I let them down and needed to make amends? I don't think so! I exited stage right as soon as I could get my house in order.
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Old 14 August 2017, 07:12 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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I'm sorry they're being shits. I agree in general with Esprise Me's recommendations, but while acknowledging/apologizing for the inconvenience, I think it's reasonable to point out (again) that this was an emergency situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Die Capacitrix View Post
You've been picking up the slack for a long time, maybe without much appreciation from your boss.
Sometimes people don't set boundaries at work -- usually, IME, because they are naturally responsible and hard working. Unfortunately, IME, they are also more likely to be taken for granted than appreciated.
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Old 15 August 2017, 01:38 AM
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Avril Avril is offline
 
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Several months ago, as you may recall, I had a series of disasters.

My car died (as in, kaput, time to go to the junkyard) without warning. I worked this out with my boss, but after I bought a new one, I immediately had to return it to the dealer for a coincidental airbag thing (it was under warranty and has been fine since). Then I got word my father had died and had to leave work abruptly. Then I found out my father had not died, but my uncle, and someone communicated the news badly. I was out of work off and on for a few days a week for a while. I then asked for time off to go to my uncle's funeral, and my boss called a meeting with all of us because (vaguely) "abrupt requests for time off are getting out of control, and I want to make sure you all understand the policy."

That didn't go over well with any of us. But upon reflection, she was just piling her own anxiety onto us. She has a small team, two of whom only work half time. When someone who works full time is out, we all have to do a lot of extra work. If two people are out at once, it's full on triage-only mode.

She didn't do a great job of being boss with that. But I think she is learning about being the boss, too. So we all rolled our eyes at her when she wasn't looking and moved on.

I'm not saying your boss isn't horrible. But there may be hope for something better when emotions die down.
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Old 15 August 2017, 02:16 AM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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About 10 years ago, a close friend of mine, who was also the mother of a close friend of my daughter's, passed away unexpectedly and under circumstances that were shocking and painful to everyone who loved her. When I told my boss I needed one day off to go to my friend's calling hours, she was pretty unpleasant about it. Among other things, she said "You've been taking a LOT of time off," which simply wasn't true.

When I came back, she was in a better mood and she asked me about the calling hours. In talking about it, it became clear that she somehow misheard "close friend" as "friend who is old." When I said no, my friend was younger than me, I think she actually felt bad about how she'd initially reacted.

Unfortunately, in her case, the behavior was a pattern. In between incidents, she was great. But there was always another incident. Fortunately, I didn't have to work for her for very long.

I hope that in Magdalene's case, this behavior is an aberration.
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Old 18 August 2017, 12:30 AM
Magdalene Magdalene is offline
 
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OK, quick update. We had the one-on-one Monday, and apologies came from both sides. My boss acknowledged that she was stressed out because she was already dealing with the issues from the coworker who's on STD until November, then not being certain what was going on with me added to it, and apparently the topping on the cake was somebody in another department (who is one of *those* people who spends their time looking for others faults) kept making mention of, "I see Magdalene online (our IM system), but I haven't seen her in the office." Since the working from home is not heavily encouraged, my boss was feeling like she was in for a fight that she didn't want to have. (She put it as, "I figured I could justify why you needed to work from home this week, but I was already getting frustrated that somebody was sticking their nose in it and putting me in the position of *having* to do that.") Given the individual in question, I get where she's coming from. I told her I hadn't been trying to get special treatment or cause problems--that I knew the timing was bad and I was just trying to work out the only way I could keep an eye on my sister (which I felt was most paramount), but not screw the team over, and that given what was going on, I was also stressed out. She agreed I was just trying to do my best by everybody, and both of us were just feeling a lot of pressure and we both blew a bit.

So I do feel a lot better. I'm a little annoyed, still on my behalf, but I can also see where my boss was in a pressure cooker. But for now, it's good. There's still going to be stress due to the coworker out for several months situation, but that can't be helped.

Thanks all for listening.
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Old 18 August 2017, 12:41 AM
Magdalene Magdalene is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
I'm sorry they're being shits. I agree in general with Esprise Me's recommendations, but while acknowledging/apologizing for the inconvenience, I think it's reasonable to point out (again) that this was an emergency situation.



Sometimes people don't set boundaries at work -- usually, IME, because they are naturally responsible and hard working. Unfortunately, IME, they are also more likely to be taken for granted than appreciated.
I am still keeping this under consideration, because I'm thinking that my feelings didn't come from nowhere--that I must've feeling that way a long time, and for whatever reason, pushed it down.
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Old 18 August 2017, 02:09 AM
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I'm glad to hear it worked out, and I hope that whatever else may be bubbling beneath the surface gets resolved too.

While I like setting boundaries in general, I'm wary of advising doing so with the boss. I dabbled in employment law for a minute, and the unfortunate upshot is that US employees don't have nearly as many rights as many people seem to think. Coupled with our employer-based healthcare setup and the general lack of safety nets, it can be dangerous to assert what should be basic human rights as far as being treated fairly and having a life outside the office. It's important to know what rights you actually have and what the real-world consequences would be to your employer for violating them and to you for asserting them, and to appease/compromise when you're not on solid footing. Once the dust settles, by all means look elsewhere for a job that treats you like a person vs. a cog in a machine that must never stop running. It's just better to look for a job while you still have one.
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Old 18 August 2017, 06:15 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I dabbled in employment law for a minute, and the unfortunate upshot is that US employees don't have nearly as many rights as many people seem to think.
Actually, it is pretty hard to come up with any rights that US employees have.

There are some regulations about hourly versus salaried positions. About hours worked/week, safety and a few other things but beyond that most of the US is "at will", which is essentially "at whim", and you can be fired for wearing ugly shoes to work.
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Old 18 August 2017, 06:50 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
While I like setting boundaries in general, I'm wary of advising doing so with the boss.
To clarify, I didn't intend to suggest confronting/saying no to the boss.

Die Capacitrix mentioned "picking up the slack." I'm a big proponent of going the extra mile, in general. But sometimes a situation develops where one person takes up all the slack, fixes all the problems, etc., often in a way that's not visible to anyone else in the office: they see the issue and resolve it without the boss and co-workers even knowing the it existed.

If that behavior becomes a pattern, it can be problematic, IME, and not just because the extra effort may not be appreciated. It effectively conceals the issues from everyone else in the office, making the workplace appear to be functioning more smoothly than it actually is. It also means that one person is analyzing the situation and taking action, without anyone else's input or POV, which works for some situations but could be very problematic in others.

ETA: Maybe it's less about setting boundaries than about being transparent with your boss about what and how much you do.
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Old 21 August 2017, 09:27 PM
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Actually, it is pretty hard to come up with any rights that US employees have.

There are some regulations about hourly versus salaried positions. About hours worked/week, safety and a few other things but beyond that most of the US is "at will", which is essentially "at whim", and you can be fired for wearing ugly shoes to work.
You also have the right to a workplace free of discrimination and harassment based on protected class, which doesn't mean you can't be fired for wearing ugly shoes to work but might mean you have a case if your boss is requiring you and the other female employees to wear heels, for example.

But surely you read the part about how I'm a lawyer with some experience in this area and didn't intend to mansplain the subject to me.

Lainie, I didn't think you were suggesting confronting the boss, though I did worry others (not necessarily Magdalene) might read that into your post. I agree that doing a lot of extra, invisible work can be problematic for the reasons you mention, and also because making yourself truly indispensable can hold you back from being promoted. (This is especially true if the boss does know how necessary you are.) In any event, the OP was, to my mind, not about taking up all the slack (though that may well be an underlying issue) but about a boss treating an employee unfairly by denying her something that was not only perfectly reasonable to request under the circumstances, but was routinely granted to other employees in less dire situations. My take on that was "you have every right to be enraged at this...except, er, maybe not actually a legal right." I stand by that, even if part of the backstory turns out to be that Magdalene is the only person keeping the place from completely falling apart and is (justifiably!) sick of it. There may be a way to strike a fairer balance at work, but depending on who you work for, even calmly and reasonably asserting yourself might get you fired. Or denied a promotion/raise/requested transfer/etc. And unless your employer violated one of your precious few rights in doing so, you have absolutely no remedy at law. (And even if they did and you do, that's a whole other mess.) And to be clear on my end, I didn't mean to suggest no one should ever stand up for themselves, just that it's important to know your rights and be prepared for the consequences.
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Old 21 August 2017, 09:44 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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I agree with your characterization of Magdalene's situation, but the mention of "keeping up the slack" reminded me of the invisible/indispensable dynamic, and if that is happening, it might be contributing to her frustration.
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Old 22 August 2017, 05:42 PM
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Die Capacitrix Die Capacitrix is offline
 
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I agree with your characterization of Magdalene's situation, but the mention of "keeping up the slack" reminded me of the invisible/indispensable dynamic, and if that is happening, it might be contributing to her frustration.
I was projecting a bit, as I had a similar (but very minor) situation, where my boss did something a bit boneheaded and I was REALLY upset about something that was quite minor.

I had blind-sided myself as I have been taking up the slack for so long, that I've sort of forgotten that I used to go home at a reasonable time and the current situation is not how it should be. So when my boss did something which was actually quite innocent (but boneheaded) I took it the wrong way. The underlying issue was really the problem. My boss' action was just the cherry on top, which seemed it might be similar to Magdalene's situation, even though here the cherry was more of a watermelon.

After I figured it out I did talk to him about the main issue, plus why I was annoyed at him. And I'm doing better to protect my personal time.
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