Let me run this by you. Where I work – and have worked for over 12 years – we earn leave like this: 4 hours of sick and 4-6 (depending on years of service) of annual every pay period, so, every two weeks. I earn six annual now because I’ve been here a long time. Now, if you have worked in this sort of environment, you know that sick leave is for things like doctor appointments, sick children, or days when you wake up feeling bad and need a couple hours. Whatever your issue, it’s no one’s business; but you do need to ask permission from supervisors, of course. Having been here forever, I know how this works. And yet, I am now being pushed into applying for family medical leave, which is typically for serious medical conditions or you know, having a kid.
I was blindsided by this, to say the least. I am honestly here what feels like ALL THE TIME. So I got serious and looked at every instance of sick leave taken going back to November when I had to take my daughter to get a cast put on her broken finger. It’s an hour here, a half hour there. These are things like going to the chiropractor, picking up a kid when I got the fever call from school. It’s needing to go into my GP because they won’t fill an Rx without seeing me. I do get headaches stemming from back issues but I either leave an hour early with a headache or take 30 for the chiro. Either way, THAT is what your personal sick leave is for.
SO it became increasingly obvious to me that this is a push-out tactic, meant to stress me out enough to quit. And I get it. I’m in a weird position wherein I have pushed back on some disciplinary things they have done lately. My boss of 13 years (director of the program) is retiring and it was no secret I might also depart when she does. But it seems a little foul to do this to me now. For one, I won’t qualify for fmla. It’s not for the things that come up in your life, especially in the face of being a family of five. That’s the crazy thing to me: this feels like a punishment for a working parent. Sure, my husband can be the one to stay with them sometimes. But not always. We take turns; we’re a team.
Some time ago, when our new department chair started, he made me promise him I wouldn’t leave until after the new director got in and I could help him transition. I have busted my ass, gone above and beyond, for this place and this is how I’m repaid. It’s really sad, actually. I get physically sad about. Of course, angry too. But I’m not going down without a fight. I tried calling HR to discuss the leave issue. The more I analyze every time I took off, the less I understand because it’s all sick leave type things. I do hope that when I get her on the phone, she’ll be understanding at least. We’ll see.
But in the meantime, I do intend to keep working hard the way I have for this many years. Even though they are pushing me out, I know what I have to do to be the good employee I have always been. I am looking for jobs, aggressively. I think I need to start calling some I applied for before, putting myself out there more. It will be difficult for me since I don’t enjoy cold calling anyone and I am personable but only after I know someone. It will be a change but one I do feel ready for. I can do it!