Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cutting Back at Work

I need to use my lunch break to blog about work.

For the past few weeks, my work schedule has REALLY gotten to me. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, working full-time and taking care of myself leaves me with very little free time. And being pregnant has made this worse. No big surprise. But, the past few weeks have been downright awful. Work has gotten extremely stressful, thanks to management totally overloading me. I have a Type A personality and like to do everything well. So, I’m not good at handling things when I am trying to cram 50-60 hours of work into 40 hours and can’t produce work up to my standards. People have been constantly calling me, stopping by my office, and emailing me asking for stuff. And they are getting annoyed with me.

To make matters worse, my sweet little babe has been keeping me up at night, so I have been exhausted. I try to go to bed around 9:30 and sleep until 7:00, but that’s still not enough time. But, with my current schedule, there’s no way I can go to bed earlier and still get in my workouts and breathing treatments. This means I have been exhausted and even less able to deal with the stress.

Last week things hit rock bottom and I ended up sobbing at work. If you really want to hear more about my craptastic week, I vented about to my Maine Nesties in these threads:

And, as I usually do when I get rundown and stressed-out, I got a little sick. Over the weekend my lymph nodes started hurting and my cough increased, meant a mild lung exacerbation.

Therefore, Greg finally convinced me that I needed to cut back my hours at work. I was (and still am) feeling extremely guilty about it, but, I asked the women on the CF forums for advice, and they all agreed it was the right thing to do. It was such a relief to learn that I am not asking for too much!

Luckily, I’m already approved for intermittent FMLA for my CF, so it should have been a simple conversation with my boss, right?

Of course, it hasn’t been quite that easy. My boss is not exactly the compassionate type - he comes from a company where, during job interviews, they have been known to tell people they expect work to come before family. So, when I explained things to him, he didn’t say, “Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.” Or, “Your health comes first.” Or even, “We’ll see what we can do to reduce your workload.” He just looked at me and asked me to provide him an explanation in writing. Ummm…excuse me? You want me to provide you with a write-up about my health condition? I.don’ I don’t mind talking to him about my CF, but I am not a big fan of providing that in writing. At all. So, I told him, “I am not comfortable with that. I am going to talk to HR.”

HR suggested I have my doctor send them a note explaining things, and then they will send my boss something in writing that excludes info about my CF. The woman at CF clinic that I need to talk to is out this week, so hopefully I will be able to get this all taken care of next week. In the meantime, I told my boss that he can expect to see me between the hours of 10 and 4 and I will work more than that if I feel up to it. He still hasn’t offered any help, of course, so I think this is going to be a work in progress!

I think part of the reason I hate doing this is because, at my last job, someone overheard a manager say that I am not a reliable engineer because I have cystic fibrosis. That was the first time in my life I had heard of someone saying something like that about me. I guess if you consider me taking 10-15 sick days a year and busting my ass to make-up work when I am out as unreliable, then, yeah, I am. Otherwise, Fuck You :P

And now I don’t trust anyone in the working world. I have always been so open about my CF, and now I am afraid to say anything and feel like people are thinking less of me when I have to sacrifice work for my health. And I feel like they don’t believe me, (you can’t work because you have to go to the gym???), because I AM so healthy most of the time and many people are ignorant.

ANYWAY, so today there was a great article on the front page of the Austin American Statesman. The title was Running for His Life, and it’s about a boy with CF who has become an extremely successful runner, and how that has helped his CF. I think my favorite quotes are:

"His parents, Laura and Jimmy, started Brice in running when he was a younger boy with too much mucus in his lungs. Their story included the strong belief that Brice would be better prepared to manage the genetic disease if he were in top physical shape."

"When Brice was diagnosed at the age of 9, his parents reasoned that scaling the bleachers and running around the track at Connally High School would make Brice stronger."

"He soon will be individually responsible for taking his medicines, wearing the vibrating chest that loosens his lungs and going to the hospital, if he needs to, when he needs to. Because he has to."

The article is currently sitting in our breakroom right now. I think I may show it to my boss (See! I’m not making things up!).

And now, back to work!


Serendipite said...

What an asshole. He can get in a lot of serious trouble for discrimination, and I would make sure that you file reports with HR every time he says or does anything that rude. Good luck!

Alicea (mnbride1013) said...

Wha a jerk, I'm so sorry! I hope for your sake, my son's sake and all the other CF'ers out there, that a cure is found soon. I hate that anyone has to deal with this disease and there are so many ignorant people out there who just don't understand it.

Amy said...

I work for a family-friendly company but my husband works for a giant non-family-friendly company/boss so I can relate to what you're saying. His boss didn't understand when my husband called in on the day I had a miscarriage at home a few years back and wanted to stay home to take me (and our miscarried fetus-sorry for TMI) to my doctor's office. Of course, his boss has no kids and never will. I hope you get this all worked out so it doesn't cause you further stress. So glad your pregnancy continues to go well!!! :)

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