Posted by noa on June 10, 2003, at 20:13:15
I think I've been doing pretty well through all this nonsense at work, but the installment today from the boss upped the ante. To document what I had said to the boss the other day over the phone, I just put it into an email and edited out the bitter edges before I sent it (like my adjectives that are commentary on the manner in which she said something, eg, "you reluctantly agreed", etc.--all edited out) and really tried to sound as cooperative as possible in the documentation, and I also asked to set up a meeting for next week to follow up on the discussion, as I had requested to defer it until this project was done, etc.
Today I come in and the reply from her was ok, let's set up the meeting to talk about resolving the matter but she just wants to make clear that there is no room for negotiation because it is company policy.
Which makes me want to ask her why she had bothered trying to solicit my "agreement" to the "plan" and then documenting, incorrectly, that I had supposedly "agreed" to the "plan". If it was a matter of conveying company policy to me, what was the charade about getting me to agree? (you know the adage for parents of toddlers--don't offer a choice unless a "no" response is something you can actually abide).
And I really don't want to even get into that kind of "letter of the law" argument, but as I mentioned in a previous post, there has been no policy stated, and it isn't in the contract or policy manual.
I just feel they are framing this all wrong anyway. I don't want to get into a dispute about the supposed policy because I feel like I'm being set up to look like I am refusing to ever be available to consult, which I am not. I think consultation might be necessary sometimes.
But I feel so incredibly uncomfortable with the boundaries. I am not sure I can commit to saying that should I be ill in the future that I will necessarily be able to meet their wish for ready availability all the time. First of all, it is simply not realistic to expect that a person is going to be immediately avaialable when you call them--whether they are sick or not.
And when it comes to availablity for consultation, I really feel it is a matter of weighing and balancing our professional responsibilities against respecting the boundaries of someone who is ill. This means weighing whether the matter requires consultation and cannot wait until the person returns, balanced with the value of respecting a person's need not to be disturbed when ill, so that they can return healthy as soon as possible to work and be able to perform well on the job, having used the sick time to recover. There may be times when it makes sense to ask for consultation, and times when it makes sense to wait. And if consultation is needed, it would facilitate things if when they called and get the voice mail, they leave a detailed message so that when I called back, if unable to reach them, I might be able to provide information that would address the concern, or at least partly address the concern until being able to connect in person. They are framing this as so black and white, all or nothing, and it is not a black and white, all or nothing, issue.
And if I trusted them on the issue of boundaries, there would probably be no problem. But I don't trust them, the more they act out with this issue the more I am convinced that I do have to protect my boundaries.
There was also a reference to something about 'non-critical illness'. A new element added to the issue. Again, I feel that the boundaries are being compromised. They had the right to require medical certification from me but did not ask. So I take it they are not challenging the validity of my use of sick days. Assuming I was not "critically ill" steps on the boundaries again, because there is no requirement for an employee to disclose the nature or severity of their illness. I am not implying that I want to get into this kind of debate with them. But I feel it is important to respect these boundaries. My feeling is that we should err on the side of assuming that if a person needs to stay home from work due to illness, that we should respect the need for undisturbed peace and quiet to heal, knowing that, of course, in the case of truly important/urgent matters, it is ok to call them to consult. But it feels intrusive to me to put the burden of proof on the sick person about how sick they are. It is even contrary to what the "Big" boss said recently at a large meeting about using sick days--she said, "I don't care what is wrong with you--you might be sick with a cold, or sick with a stomach bug or sick at heart--it doesn't matter". (but don't think I can go to the big boss for support--she can be hypocritical at times).
I had a tiring day and it was frustrating at times (like getting this new email) but also productive and rewarding at times--when I was able to actually do my job. I feel exhausted by this whole process and just want to be left alone to be able to do my job.
When I came home today I just started crying and realized I am getting so weary of this and more and more ready to say it isn't worth it.
But it also angers me and saddens me. But it is just not worth it. I don't want to do this stupid dance/game playing.