I work for a large corporation that has businesses in countries all over the world. Because of the size and structure of the corporation the holiday schedule of the division I work for sometimes has a few days different a year than the corporate holiday schedule. For the most part this isn’t a big deal, except for the fact that I work in accounting and there is a holiday difference for year end. My division had scheduled the first Monday of the New Year as a holiday. Corporate did not have this day as a holiday and had an accounting deadline on this day. Some of us in my department had to work the holiday. This again isn’t a big deal. It was expected and I was told that by working the division holiday I could exchange it for another day off. The problem with working in accounting and having year end deadlines is that the majority of us don’t take a day off during the first few months of the year. I actually had a day in mind I was going to use, and it was a day last week. I have been having some problems with my endometriosis and I had scheduled an appointment with a new specialist that I had been hearing a lot of good things about. This specialist is in a city, a little over an hour away from where I live and work, so I would need to take some time off for this appointment. I received an email from my boss 3 weeks ago concerning those of us that had worked the holiday. He asked those of us that had worked the holiday to take Presidents Day as our substitute holiday. He said knew the first of the year was hard for my department to take days off, but he thought it would be a good substitute since the schools in our area would be out and we could have the day off with our children.
Ok, to anyone else this email went out to they would not have been bothered by it. They were probably relieved that this was suggested or planning to take the day off anyways. If he would have left off the part of school being out and spending the day with our children I don’t think I would have thought twice about taking Presidents Day off and would have scheduled some paid time off for my appointment last week. But it bothered me, and I sat and stewed about it for days. I kept thinking how I didn’t want that day off. The old me would have sat in silence, taken tomorrow off, and spent the day miserable at home because I was reminded that I didn’t have any children at home to take care of. Maybe it was because my endo pains are making me really grumpy, maybe it was because I am tired of feeling invisible, but after stewing over the email for a few days I went to talk to my boss. I told him that I had made an appointment out of town that I would like to use my exchanged holiday for. My boss told me that they want us to use our day soon so they do not have to keep track of who has and hasn't used their exchanged holiday. I told him my appointment was the week before Presidents Day and that Presidents Day would not be a benefit for me to take off because I didn’t have children out of school to take care of. And then I held my breath, I couldn’t believe that I had actually spoken those words out loud. They just tumbled out of my mouth. I kind of wanted to run out of his office and hide in the bathroom that is just down the hall. My boss gave me a curious look and said “OK, take the day off for your appointment.” So I thanked him and walked out of his office.
I couldn’t believe I did it. I couldn’t believe I had said what I did. It felt so freeing to stand up for myself, and to anyone else this probably sounds like a silly thing to get so stressed out about because a day off is a day off. But I was stressed and annoyed by what the email said. To me it felt like a small victory.
I had my day off last week with my new Dr. I really like him so far and he really listened to my problems and took me seriously. He actually showed empathy! I am so used to my old Dr that gave up on my endo problems when I told her I didn’t want to pursue having a child anymore that my eyes welled up with tears in his office (I wasn’t expecting to have those emotions). I have some follow up procedures and appointments to determine what needs to be done about my pain and problems, but I feel really positive about getting help for my endo. I will be at work tomorrow, not sitting at home being depressed because the other people in the email took the day off to spend with their children. I’ll be holding the fort down at work happily.