As I place the cursor on the nearly blank page, I smile. Warmth expands in my chest because I realize that some of you who have ‘known’ me for a few years can often predict what my take on an issue will be, which means that you really do know me. These virtual connections can really be so fulfilling. Thank you for that!
Back in the day, I would go years without missing a single day of school. While I complained about having to go on my Birthday or when it was snowing so hard you could barely see a few feet in front of you, I always felt very happy and proud at the end of the school year when among awards for other things, I received a book for not missing a day. Not many people got those, so it made me feel special. More books meant more fun things to read during summertime when I did not go anywhere.
My parents insisted on me going to school every single day (even if I did not feel my best) so that I did not miss out on anything. The only time I got to stay in was when I was visibly sick and a doctor would prescribe antibiotics and order me to stay home. Then, I would arrange for my friends to bring me their notes on a regular basis so that I could ‘catch up.’ After all, I had nothing better to do while stuck in bed.
In order to call someone my friend, I need to be able to rely on them. It does not mean that I will call upon that often, anytime soon, if at all, but having that peace of mind that if you do ask for help someone will be there for you is huge. It seems to me that reliability is one of those traits that used to be valuable in the past but seems rather forgotten these days.
A work ethic had been instilled in me long before I went into the workforce. I have been told to do my best and work hard to get what I wanted. While that mostly worked in school, I caught on fairly quickly that adult life is not always fair. Working harder does not always mean that you will be paid more than those who do not, or that you will be promoted over them. I tried to care less, but it is hard for me to maintain that state. Instead, I choose to believe that if you work for the right person, they will see what you do and they will recognize you instead of those who do not put as much heart and effort into their job. (I feel like my current boss is one of those people, but I think that their boss is not, which might be a problem later down the line.)
Over the weekend, I read about certain individuals (Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) are asking for Amazon’s leave policy to be investigated because they believe it penalizes people for taking time off due to emergencies. If your first reaction is – ‘That’s good, right?’ – just give it a moment.
I still remember how I called my co-worker one evening asking them what I should do because I was having a terrible migraine and I did not think I would be able to go in to work the following day. They told me to simply call our boss and leave them a message saying I would not be in. ‘Keep it short,’ they told me. Even though I felt physically terrible due to the headache that felt like my head was going to explode, I also felt terrible for leaving my workplace short-staffed. In my mind, my supervisor would ask a million follow-up questions about my absence. Turns out – even though I was missed and had extra work to do when I got back – the world did not collapse and I did not get fired (I was not even questioned).
My direct supervisors have always been rather understanding, which I truly appreciate, but never dared to abuse. When my mom was nearing the end of her journey here on Earth, I filled out FMLA paperwork (Family and Medical Leave of Absence) just to make sure that no actions could be taken against me if I did not come to work because something emergent happened to my mom. I only used it when I had to and still did my work around it whenever I could.
Having had such flexible jobs has always been a blessing that I recognize. Not everyone would be able to do the same in some of their jobs.
No matter how urgent my situation was, I always found a moment and a way to call/text my boss to warn them I would not be in the next day (or once or twice even the same day). To me – that is just common courtesy. I would have to be in a coma to not let work know I was not coming in. But, apparently, not everyone feels that way. Throughout my professional life, I have encountered MULTIPLE people who just either showed up late or not at all without a single phone call or a message. We had to call them to find out they were not coming in. What? How do you expect to be taken seriously? And yes – these people were totally capable of getting in touch.
The lawmakers are ‘worried’ that people are penalized for not notifying their supervisors about their absences. “Amazon’s Attendance Points Policy punishes workers for missing work unexpectedly, regardless of the reason,” their later states. It later goes on to say that Amazon has a policy that allows the company to accrue points against an employee if they do not report their absence at least two hours before their scheduled shift. If you have three such infractions in 60 days, then your employment will be reviewed. Three. In 60 days. Unscheduled.
The example they use is a mother with a kid who has an asthma attack and is taken to the Emergency Room the night before. When I read things like that, I remind myself to breathe (no pun intended). Of course, your kid is more important than work. However, you cannot tell me that you do not have a moment throughout the entire night to report your absence. Do it when your kid is asleep. Or when the medical professionals are working on them and they ask you to leave the room. Do you not go to the bathroom the entire time? Call from there!
There are terrible bosses and terrible employers, but you have no right to complain about fair bosses if YOU are a terrible employee. For the majority of us, if we do the right thing and give notice, the law should be able to protect us. But, if we expect the law to protect us without doing our part… then we are just entitled brats. As if we need any more of those…
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