Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Signs

 "I hate to be the bearer of bad news..." 

I was working at my desk, and looked over to see two supervisors. Turns out they were there with a written warning due to my two missed days of work last week. 

I said, "I was sick." (I've still got the cough, even.) 

They said sympathetically that they knew. 

They explained the policy. 

I pointed out that we had a sign on the door. I pointed out that I had some of those symptoms. I pointed out that I'd sought medical treatment and had brought proof of that. 


It's a strange thing, but I was dead calm. 

The paper was set in front of me. I said, "I'm not signing that. I was sick. I sought medical attention and provided you with the documentation. I was following the directions that we have on the doors." 

The attendance policy was explained to me once again. 

I explained that I understood the attendance policy, but I had been sick. The signs on our doors list symptoms. If we have them, we are not to come inside. I followed those instructions, and provided documentation. The paper remained on my desk. I made no move to pick up my pen. 

In the end, they took their paper and left. I went back to work. Understand that they had not been mean, either one of them.  It wasn't personal, it was just that rules are rules and the company I work for has a reputation as being pretty brutal about the rules. 

Later, the supervisor came back and said, "I have forwarded your concerns."

I'd been thinking too. I said, "Listen, I'm not trying to be a pisser about the whole thing, but I believe that I behaved responsibly, and if this is going to become a big deal, I'll just quit." 

And here's the weird thing. These words were calm, and they were true. I guess that being at the end of your work life makes choices like these a little easier. I can't imagine that I'd have been so fearless when my kids were young, or in college, or when Tim and I had bills, or the one hundred and seventy-eleven other reasons that I always had for working as hard as I could, as fast as I could, as long as I could. 

But  that's done now. There's a certain power that comes from that knowledge. So I said what I said, and I meant it. "If this is going to turn into a big deal, I'll just quit." And we both looked at each other matter of factly. 

"Don't do that!" she said, and she left. 

It's a strange feeling, to be at the end of your work life. Today, though, it felt good.


20 comments:

gz said...

They don't expect people to stand up calmly for their rights.
Well done you.

Sue in Suffolk said...

They want you to work even when ill? Good grief - don't like the sound of your workplace much.
Well done for staying calm.

JayCee said...

That does sound brutal. I have left previous jobs for less harsh treatment in the past.

Andrew said...

Regardless of Covid, perhaps just a cold or 'flu, do they want that spread around the workforce? It is one of the most outrageous things I have heard, still regardless of Covid.

Well done you for standing up for yourself, calmly and firmly. While I can only guess at your age, you do have grandchildren and I consider it very bad that at your age you were treated with such a lack of respect.

Debby said...

LOL. I once had the misfortune of having knee surgery the same summer that I had a bout with kidney stones. My supervisor then was someone who loved situations like that, and believe me, it was personal with her. I debated the issue then. I even brought it up with the general manager. In my mind, if you are under medical care, the absences should be excused. That way, you are not firing good employees by blindly following the almighty rules. It did me no good. I was on the verge of being fired until I took the whole thing to HR who explained to me how to get FMLA, which I did and the absences were ultimately excused. But what always rankled me is that the supervisor who took such joy in her paperwork never once pointed out that I had any options. I would have been fired. I was told that if I missed one more day, it was an automatic dismissal. This blind adherence to rules has cost them greatly, because they need people, and there is enough bitterness that people will not come back in these final days.

Jennifer said...

I HATE nonsense like that. HATE IT. Quite honestly, if I could comfortably quit just to make a point I probably would. That kind of behavior is nothing but employee abuse.

Anvilcloud said...

You're not allowed to be sick?! That's just a terrible policy or at least way to handle it.

Pixie said...

What utter bullshit, especially in these times, but at any time, firing people because they have been sick. Wow. That's low.

Ellen D. said...

Glad you stood your ground. You were right and the company was wrong. They are lucky to have you!

ellie k said...

Maybe they want people to quit before the job is finished and than you might not be able to draw un employment. In our state if you quit you have a very hard time getting the un employment, if you get laid off you can draw it.

Steve Reed said...

Well, good for you. It's RIDICULOUS that they would reprimand you for being out sick! What kind of a crazy outfit is this?!

northsider said...

I could quit a job in a instant like that. Fair play to you for standing up to them.

Ed said...

It's always more enjoyable when you are in a position of power in any discussion. Good for you for standing your ground.

sparklingmerlot said...

Wow. That is unbelievable. Is that normal in the US? Down under we get sick leave, parental leave, 4 weeks annual leave and some companies encourage mental health leave. If you have a medical certificate they can't challenge you. If you have no sick leave left they can opt not to pay you but you cannot be fired for being sick.
Good on you for standing up to them. I would have quit there and then.

Mr. Shife said...

Good for you, Debby. I hope you are feeling better. We have some pretty ridiculous rules around here as well when it comes being sick these days. Take care.

Andrew R. Scott said...

Ah yes, aging brings a refreshing return to independence for people who have been responsible for young others for so long. Getting older can be good (apart from the disease and the death, of course...(said with a smile).

Marksgran said...

Are you not doing them a favour returning when they asked you or have I got that wrong? In normal times that policy is ridiculous but during a pandemic it's positively criminal! Good for you standing up to it. Well done.

Linda G. said...

Good for you, Debby!

Lynda said...

A friend told me his best working days were before he retired because they needed him more than he needed them..he was long over due to leave but was needed for several projects. He said it’s actually fun when you don’t give a damn! He was a great worker, but the threats hung over your head at times is ridiculous. I hope you’ve heard the end of it. Or as you said , just quit. And leave them in the lurch....

Kay said...

Good for you, Debby! You are awesome!!! Totally!