over-reaction?

I got an email from my manager today which really upset me.  And I mean crying for hours upset, not just annoyed or whatever.  I think I probably totally over-reacted to it, but I’ll lay it out there for you to decide.

First a bit of history.  Last year when we reached the point that IVF was our next step I told my boss (now our regional manager, but then our office manager) that we would be starting IVF because I knew that it would involve a reasonable amount of time off work, possibly at short notice.  I’d already been undergoing other treatments (eg IUI) for 7 months at the time and had been coming up with vague non-descriptive excuses for the time I had taken off.  Understandably, he was starting to get a little annoyed so I decided full disclosure was the best option.  At the time he was very supportive of what we were trying to achieve (ie a family) and after a long discussion we agreed to a couple of points:

  1. I would maintain a high level of communication so that they could best plan for my time off.  This has typically involved providing (in writing) estimated dates of leave at the start of each cycle and providing updates as they become available (ie after each Drs appointment).  There have been some snags along the way which have limited the success of this item (eg unforeseen side effects to drugs, etc), but I like to think that it’s improving with practice.
  2. I could have a minimum of 2 days leave for ER, 2 days for ET and 2 days if AF started.  As mentioned above, the actual leave requirements have sometimes been much higher than this, but so far they have been very accommodating.
  3. I could keep a certain amount of sick leave and annual leave in reserve for non-IVF related leave.  I opted not to keep any sick leave in reserve (who’d plan to get sick?), but I said I would like to have 2 weeks of annual leave available to me.  I particularly wanted the annual leave in light of the compulsory Christmas closure each year.  I also hoped to have 2 weeks of annual leave available to me when I finally got to take some maternity leave, but I haven’t mentioned that one to them.

So, as I said, they’ve been very accommodating.  They have been patient.  They have been tolerant.  And, I can tell, they have been getting annoyed.  Let’s face it, in the last 6 months I’ve probably worked about 50% of the time.  And that’s in spite of my best efforts.  I don’t know if it’s just me being unhealthy, or if the IVF is taking a toll on my body that I just didn’t forsee, but I seem to keep getting sick.  Which means more time off than just what I need for IVF.  And since I ran out of sick leave in December, the last 6 months have been leave without pay.

And then today I got this email from my manager (our new office manager and my group manager):

for non sick leave days could you please use your annual leave (until we are at 0 days) rather than LWOP

Now, I have maintained my annual leave balance at the agreed upon 2 weeks.  I have used a day here and a day there whenever I was sick for a full week so that I would have some money coming in.  So, anyway, when I first read this I went off the deep end.

Did I over-react?  I don’t know.

When I came back and re-read it later I wondered what he meant by “non sick leave days”.  So I started my reply to him with that.  I asked him what he meant.  I explained what I’d being doing for the last 6 months.  I also explained what our boss and I had agreed to 12 months ago.  I made a point of acknowledging just how much they had both put up with since October.  And (possibly the most dangerous part) I explained that I could only do the best that I can and that, lately, I have been made to feel that “my best” is inadequate.

Now I just need to wait and see if it blows up in my face.

I know they’ve had enough of me doing IVF.  I know they want me back in the office on a regular basis.  But they have their families.  They don’t understand where I’m at.  They can’t.  They don’t see that me giving IVF anything less than 100% is the same as them giving their children less than 100%.

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2 Responses to “over-reaction?”

  1. ::HUGS:: I am sorry that you are stressed about your job situation. I cannot imagine how you feel as I have not even started this yet. In my heart I know that there truly are good people out there and it sounds like this will not be an issue. I have faith in that.

  2. Hey Jen
    I’m so sorry you are having to go through this at the moment. On top of everything, I am sure it’s the last thing you need.
    The same thing happened to me a few weeks back. I know I haven’t been through IVF – but my boss decided to throw all the time I had off last year due to clomid side-effects, plus that months of terrible bleeding I had, plus the time I had off for my lap operation, in my face.
    I, like you, was totally upfront about what I was going through, despite how terribly personal it all was, and at first, they seemed understanding. When I went to them and admitted I wasn’t coping, they offered me to have Wednesdays off if I worked longer hours on the other days. However, since then, even though I am no longer having Wednesdays off (I stopped as I knew they were getting upset about it), and have only had a few sick days due to other illness – they went off at me about being unproductive.
    I know my story doesn’t help you at all – but what I am saying is that it’s not YOU, perse. With these economic times companies just seem to be getting less and less sympathetic of their employees and want to do whatever necessary to lift production. It hurts when this happens to people like yourself when you know you are trying to do all you can to do the right thing by them, while dealing with your own issues at the same time knowing full well all the time you have had off is for totally genuine reasons.
    I asked them what they thought I had been doing while I was unwell and explained I wasn’t off drinking cocktails by the pool and having a lovely time – but none of that seemed to matter to them.
    I guess this is why I have felt so incredibly trapped over the last few weeks in particular. No matter which way I turn with this job, I can’t seem to reach my dreams of having a family and knowing their reactions to the way I was on clomid – there’s no way IVF is an option here.
    Anyway, as for your email. I think being honest about how you feel about their concerns is really important. They might not like it, but hopefully you will be able to encourage a little bit more understanding from them.

    Please take care of yourself – I really hope things start to improve soon.
    XXXX
    Lisa

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