Friday, September 23, 2011

I hate The Man or Another Reason I Wish I was Canadian

I had booked a run of the mill appointment with Human Resources at work today.  I wanted to plan for my leave and investigate my options for additional time off.   I left the office swallowing my rage and shaking my fist at The Man.

Law, I hate The Man.

Flashback to Toddlerina's birth, almost two and a half years ago.  I took the 12 weeks FMLA and requested an additional month unpaid leave. 

I requested the additional time off in Personal Leave.  My flake of a boss denied it and blamed it on the CIO.  I was angry but just swallowed it since "I was going to quit anyhow you rotten pigs".  Ha.  Return to present and I am still employed at the same place and don't see any clear exit yet.

HR stepped in and pushed the Personal Leave through for me.  This HR employee pointed out my years at the firm and my good work.  The rejection was overturned and I got an extra 4 weeks at home with the baby.  I was thrilled.  

You cannot imagine what it did for my mental health.  I had what I call Labrador Syndrome: pat me on the head and I will work 10 times harder to please you.  It meant a lot to me and I tried to show my gratitude by working to the best of my ability.  For real.

Times have changed at my firm.  That was then and this is now.  HR was The Man personified, sitting across from me with over done makeup and excessive accessorizing.

In today's meeting the HR Agent of Heartlessness told me Personal Leave was granted for several reasons.  She tossed her flat ironed, over processed head and shared a few examples with me such as knee surgery, taking extended vacation to visit "the home country" or being a contestant on The Bachelor.

I laughed, in an eager to please way.  It wasn't funny, but I was a little excited that getting approval was going to be so easy this time.  If you can get Personal Leave to be on the World's Most Demeaning Show on Earth, then surely you can get repeat Personal Leave on your second baby.

Things quickly deteriorated when she realized I was asking for the Personal Leave in addition to the FMLA.  She asked me if the Personal Leave was for a medical reason.  I explained in a joking manner that yes, it was.  (I still thought we were going to be friends.)  I am a walking medical reason for needing additional time off.  I glossed over extended fertility treatments, pregnancy loss and still birth.

She informed me that the leave would need to be approved by both HR and my management team.  She said it was not promising to get it approved, in fact the outlook was poor.

Let it simmer....

I icily asked her to confirm she was telling me that HR would deny the request even if it was approved by my management.

She said it was doubtful to be approved - if the additional time was approved for me then everyone would want it. 

Let it simmer.... 

I am a hot head.  Thank the law, I was able to show the Ice Anger today.  I did not drop a printer on her head.  I let her know I was having a very hard time swallowing her examples for Personal Leave.

She said it might have been a bad example.  But if I "only wanted the time off to bond with my baby", there was no reason to approve the extra leave.

Begin to boil over....

Cue: Raging Mother; amplify with pregnancy hormones.

Under extreme duress you explode or you speak with a chilling clarity.  I spoke clearly and quietly.  I told her I could not reconcile the game show contestant with my request.  I said a few other things and concluded the meeting.

Folks, we have a battle on our hands here.


  1. ...

    I'd say you have to be kidding, but I know you're not. I went through similar crap at my work.

    You get 'em Roccie. That's just not right. Many hugs.

  2. Tell them you're making a pilot for a reality show called 'the infant'. Jerks.

  3. Evelyn's idea rocks. Tell them you're making a reality show in which your asshole employer's anti-family antics will be front and center.

    I'm with you on this. If you need someone to do some research on your behalf you let this momma know. This is bs.

  4. first of all, i would've headbutted her really hard. the offer is on the table if you will send me her home address and i will do it for you. you have amazing restraint not to have leapt across the table at her.

    can you just let it go and then towards the end of your maternity leave, tell them that you have (a) a colicky baby or (b) breastfeeding issues or some other excuse, for which you NEED an extra month off? they can deny you now bc *they* have the power, but towards end of your fmla when they expect/need you back, i'd think they'd be more flexible?? xoxoxoxo.

  5. ps - i almost told my (old) boss and HR that i had a severe overproduction of milk and since i was leaking ALL OVER THE PLACE and severely engorged 24/7, that i needed another month to physically get myself (or the boobs rather) back to manageable levels before i returned. something uncomfortable to talk about like this would've had my boss "yes-ing" me to death for any extended leave that i requested, and then HR would've been at a loss for words :o) but, decided to just give the finger and quit instead (not really. the finger part. i was very nice. you'da been proud).

  6. FAVORITE ppl in the world...ha! I think all American mammas stage a day of burning strollers and march at the white house! Hey the feminists did it in the 60s with burning of their bras!! Sheesh...LisainSK

  7. I don't even know what to say to that.

  8. I love that you were able to be chillingly clear with her, Roccie. And I love that you're going to fight the shit out of this. It's not like you're asking for paid leave, and they've already set the precedent for you by approving the same kind of leave for Toddlerina. Hell hath no fury like a pregnant infertile scorned, yo. Fight the power.

  9. WTF?! Seriously, wtf. That's all I can think to say. (((hugs)))

  10. Someone that heartless should not be working in HR.

  11. Chilling clarity - I'm proud of you Roccie. And she's going to rue the day that she gave you such dumbass scenarios where it would be approved. Turdface byatch. You know what? I'd like to drag each strand of that over-processed hair THROUGH a printer, and then rake the rest of her through it, as well.

    I keep going back to her examples. That was very unwise. Inappropriate, even. And I don't care if she was trying for levity or what. Is there someone above her that you can talk to?

  12. Holy fucked-up analogy, Batman!

    I seriously can't believe that. Ugh. I hope this gets worked out in a way that is fair to you. SMH over the game show comparison...

  13. Ridiculous. Freaking ridiculous.

  14. Wow, wow, wow. I hope somehow this all ends up with her getting fired and you getting a year of paid leave. Because this is some total insanity. Huge props to you for keeping your temper.

  15. That is pretty f*cking lame. Seriously, it's ok to be on a crappy show, but not bond with your baby. Who are they to deem what is important. Maybe you should break a strand of your hair right at the 12 week mark and then need more. Good luck, I'm rooting for you.

  16. Oh sweet jesus. How can they not allow extra time off. Unpaid? You work for Satan.

  17. Wishing you were Canadian is peanuts, you ought to be wishing you were Swedish/Norwegian/Finnish...
    They get a year of maternity leave (so I'm told), not with 100% pay, but part of their pay.

    I would be jealous of them, but then I remember how very generous my state has been in paying for our ART treatments. Bless my taxes. ;-)

  18. Wow. They'd approve leave for 'taking extended vacation to visit "the home country" or being a contestant on The Bachelor' but not to bond with your baby? How ridiculous.

    My Irish cousins were shocked when I told them that American women only get 12 weeks of UNpaid leave for the birth of a child. My cousin worked for the Bank of Ireland and got a 6-month leave with half her salary paid, twice.

    We are sadly behind in this country compared to most other western nations.

  19. So...if you were Indian and wanted to take more than a quarter of the year off to fly home or a bachelor douchebag on a shitty reality show, you could have an extra month off, but not to "merely" bond with your newborn child? Fuckwit. Taco punch to her.

    This situation is a steaming pile of turds but if anyone can sort it out for the win, it's you. If it were me, I'd march her bullshit examples verbatim up to the highest rung on the corporate ladder who would agree to meet with me and lay my infertility and recent pregnancy medical history on them like a knowledge bomb, and then refuse to leave their office until they A) agreed to give me the time off in consideration of my excellent work history and reasonable present request and B) promised to deliver a proverbial crane kick to the HR assmonkey who put you in this position. Don't forget to impress upon them how stressful this is for you in your present "condition." (Cause when all else fails, hinting at a thinly veiled threat or an insinuation helps to fill the gaps.)