Editors note: This post was actually written in the last week of September, but stayed in "Drafts" without me realizing it... Technically My article on October 9th refers to this article... Forgive the odd timeline.
There has been a death in the extended family lately. By extended, I mean not a blood relative, but a relative of my girlfriend. This relative had no children and is survived only by an elderly Mother, a handicapped Brother and a Niece and a somewhat estranged Nefew of barely adult age. She was also somewhat handicapped and had been in a nursing home for the past year as she was deemed unable to perform many of the basics required to be self-sufficient (cooking, laundry, bathing). Given that she was not extraordinarily old we can say the death was rather unexpected, was completely not planned for, nor even paid for.
Knowing that planning a funeral was going to take a great deal of effort and strife. I requested 3 days off unpaid (2 to plan and get all the paperwork in order, 1 for the funeral) and explained the situation person had nobody and would be left to the care of the Government if nobody stepped up. The H.R. manager agreed that these were in-deed extenuating circumstances and that this family was more akin to a dependent child, than to adults.
2 long and stressful days of realizing that I either need to make and pay for my own arrangements now, or learn the secrets of immortality. I return to work for some much needed rest (or at least a more finite day). Some people had concerns and there were the well-wishers around who are being sympathetic, and that is nice, but it hardly compensates for the Management...
Well, you see. They (the managers) have graciously let me off with a verbal warning and allowed the 2 days unpaid, which I had advised them of and been in contact with, and even worked from home for a short period of time on one of the days during prime hours that I should have been progressing with arrangements and legal paperworks and other such things. And I would have use a vacation day for the 3rd day, because there is no provision under the law for Aunts, also because this is not my own blood relative.
WHAT?! Why on earth would I want to Vacation to a Funeral?! I know the first 3 letters are FUN but I suspect this event will be anything but. Why was it WRONG to request UNPAID TIME? Technically, this unpaid time also nulifies my quarterly bonus, so I am really saving some money for the company... And all the while not even knowing if there is enough insurance to cover the cost of all these arrangements, so really, I am asking the company to please screw me out of 3 days pay and a quarterly bonus so I can spend money I may never get back on the least fun activities I can possibly think of having to do, yet they are treating me as if I have asked for some kind of favour that they have to bend over backwards for because of what the LAW says.
I have just spent 2 of the most excruciatingly depressing days of my life trying to lighten the mood enough to keep it 2° higher than shooting myself in the face... Allowing me to do this was no favour to me... Hiring somebody else to do it for me would have been.
I REALLY NEED THAT VACATION NOW...
When did the law become so rigid that it is now used to beat us all back into submission? When did examining things on a case by case basis stop being prudent. When did the reward for doing a good deed start to feel like rape? And why the fuck is it apparently illegal to take 3 unpaid days off to plan a Funeral for someone with absolutely nobody else who can do it for them?! I don't care if it's a complete stranger, a spouse, or a 3rd cousin twice removed, planning a funeral is expensive and less fun than a root canal without anesthesia, and I can think of absolutely no reason to reprimand this act other than to be a douchebag controlfreak.
So if corporations really are people, that means they are douchebag controlfreaks... As if there weren't enough of those in the world already.
Has it always been so? Maybe, but I don't think it has. It's true that I have looked at it all through more youthful and naive eyes but I have worked places where I did not always have to feel the hatred. I have had managers who felt no need to be a douchebag. I have even had some who put in the same or more effort and the same or more hours to 'help' get the job done, with little need to point out that we were doing it wrong (especially if we weren't). No, I am pretty sure my perception has not been altered, but that things have gone downhill.
Well, all that said, if there is ever a next time, I am just going to lie about it. I will call in sick for the required time unless I am within the law to ask for paid bereavement leave (death of: spouse, child, sibling, parent, or grandparent are all that count). Then the douchbag controlfreaks do not need to know my damned business either. Besides, it is probably easier to get a gynecologist to write up a note that states I had a head cold and fever for 3 days than to try and explain that family does not always share blood