Monday, December 17, 2012

It's the Season

Boy, this time of year.  I deliberately try to make it easy on myself, with not making appointments and getting Christmas shopping and cards done early and nothing hanging over my head like an impending cloud of holiday doom.  But it always sneaks in, doesn't it?

My presents are all ready, but not yet wrapped.  Saturday I'll be wrapping, and cleaning, and doing laundry, and packing.  I usually make peanut butter cookies with Hershey kisses on top, but I think I may let that go this year. We'll be leaving for Georgia early Sunday morning, by Sunday night we will be having breakfast for dinner at IHOP and settling into the retirement home's guest room.  Christmas Eve will be lunch with my sister and her husband, and presents after dinner per our family tradition.  Christmas Day will be meals at the retirement home since restaurants aren't open (sometimes we go back to IHOP, the only one that is open) and spending time with Mom.  The day after Christmas will probably start painfully early with a drive back home.  And the day after that we'll both be back at work...

When I was offered this job, I was a bit reluctant.  I actually had nearly two month's severance paychecks that got cut off when I accepted this job.  I told them I wanted a few days to think about it.  I questioned their time off policy, because going up to Georgia a few times a year is very, very important to me, and was told that my paid time off amount would be nearly what I had had at my previous job.

Now they are telling me that they made a mistake, and that's not the policy I fall under.  The difference is pretty major, the paid time off is about half what I was expecting.  I went to the HR manager and after investigating she told me that they are really sorry, but it can't be changed. I went to my boss, and he said he'd look into it.  I have a meeting with him tomorrow, and have a pretty strong feeling I know what he's going to say.

I hate stuff like this.  I don't want to get screwed, but I don't want to get all litigious or anything either.  They attached a detailed description of the time off plan with my emailed offer letter, and my friend in HR tells me that counts as "getting it in writing".  My supportive husband has said that he is fine with whatever decision I make, whether I just wuss out and pretend it's not a big deal or I quit on the spot and walk out.

My boss is an extremely direct, brief, concise person who walks fast and will typically answer a meeting request within 1.5 minutes.  I've only sent him emails twice, and he answered those immediately too.  (He has an iPhone that he checks constantly.)  I have to admit I am curious about what he would do if I, the technical, geeky, very quiet 46-year old woman who he seems to make an effort to be nice to (I always have time for you! What can I do to help you? What do you need? even as he also asks: How do you spell your first name?), just got in his face and declared anything other than honoring what I was promised would be UNACCEPTABLE and he must FIX IT now or I would MARCH OUT.

The problem is, there's at least a 30% chance he would stand up and yell right back at me, at which time I would completely crumble and start sobbing.  Hmmm.

Anyway.  Merry Christmas!


  1. Can you say in a very reasonable and pleassnt tone that you accepted the job based on written terms that included the vacation package and that you feel strongly that they need to honor those terms and that anything less would be a violation of the contract they made with you?

  2. Replies
    1. My boss went up the HR ladder and got nowhere with anyone, he had several meetings with people attempting to arrange for me to be transferred to another department that would fall under the time off plan I was promised but no dice there either. (Although one IT department manager told him: "Ellen is awesome, I would love to have her on my team" which is pretty cool of him to say to my boss.)

      My boss worked out a deal where HR agreed to give me a few more paid days off to partially make up the difference, and he will get me a laptop/remote company network access so I can work at home sometimes too. He said we can consider those days more "on call" than having to do 8 hours of work, depending on what is actually going on. He knows I am primarily concerned with having a few days off every 3 or 4 months to drive 8 hours to visit my mom, and he said that's fine.

      I am still in a bit of a gray area, as working from home privileges are hard to come by at this company and unheard of at my level, so though it's approved by HR, it's not in writing and could go away if my boss goes away. Overall, I am disappointed by the whole mistake and subsequent unwillingness to fix it, but happy about the efforts to compensate me. Greg pointed out that they wouldn't work this hard to make someone happy if they weren't happy with me, and I guess that's true.

      I do love the idea of working from home, even if it's only a couple of days a month, I have to admit.

    2. Working from home is THE BEST. Maybe clarify with your boss a work from home schedule, say two or three days a month? Or maybe one four day weekend a month where you work from home both the Friday and the Monday? or something. So he's clear? I agree with Greg. They want you to be happy.

    3. He said that as long as I let him know in advance, he is perfectly willing to be flexible. Working at home really does sound awesome. :)

  3. I agree with Greg. They want to keep you around and keep you happy. And good for you for standing up for yourself!

    1. Thank you! It's never easy, but I'm trying to stand up for myself.

  4. Happy holidays, by the way! Lots of love!

    1. Holiday love back to you, my friend!


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