"your cow-orkers day off is more important than your day off"

This is an old wound that is still festering, and it still pisses me off.

Inspired by this rant, in which aruvqan explains why she may not be able to attend tonight’s Dopefest:

This shit used to happen to me all the time. In a way, I can’t really blame any coworkers, as they just want the time off they think they deserve. I blame the bosses who think they are justified in giving you a day off well in advance, and then pulling the rug out from under you at the last minute, regardless of the plans you’ve made. And often, it’s because some other coworker “really needs the day off.” It doesn’t seem to matter to them that you might need it off too.

I can’t even recall all the times this has happened to me, but I recall one in particular. One summer, I bought a skateboard. Bada bing bada bang, broken wrist. For three weeks. Except after three weeks, it hadn’t healed at all. So I had to keep a cast on for an additional four weeks.

Now, I pretty much knew it had healed up, and arm clinic at the hospital was on Mondays. There was no other time during the week I could go in. I told my manager this. I told her a good two weeks in advance. And I was ready to get that damned cast off my arm. Seven weeks of it was more than fucking enough. It was hot. It was itchy. It sucked in every possible way.

So the Friday before I was supposed to get it off, as I was leaving, the manager mentioned that Robin, a coworker, needed to see a doctor on Monday. I mentioned that wow, two of us would be out that day. When I got home, I got a call from the manager. It seemed that Robin’s time off was more important than my time off, and I had no choice but to come in.

Which meant that I had to keep that miserable cast on for another week.

OK, not a really huge deal in the scheme of things. But still, it bugs me that my boss saw Robin’s time as more important than mine. She basically devalued my time in favor of someone else’s. She told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was a lesser employee. Way to fucking build morale, bitch.

I do remember the time when I stood up to a bully boss, though. I think it was nine years ago.

I was involved in a project that the managers royally screwed up. (Ironically enough, for the same hospital that took care of my arm years before.) What was to be an easy two-week gig turned out to be an entire summer of nights and weekends. Trevor the Prick would routinely come into our office on Friday afternoons and say “Great work, guys. I’m going to need you to go ahead and stay late tonight. Oh, and I’m going to need for you to come in at 7:30 tomorrow. It’ll be a full work day. And while we’re at it, I’ll need for you to work a full day on Sunday as well. So I’ll see you on Monday. I’m off to the Cape for the weekend. Bye! Don’t work too hard, hahaha! Seriously, work harder.”

Insufferable prick. I’m glad he got fired.

But before he did, he called me into his office one Thursday before my week vacation. “tdn, I know you’ve been working a lot of extra hours. We really appreciate it. And we want to show our appreciation by giving you a bonus of $100.”

“Great!”, I said. “It’s nice to be appreciated.”

“I’m glad”, said the Insufferable Prick. “And just so you know, that $100 is partially in appreciation of you postponing your vacation for another week. We really need you next week.”

I smiled. I beamed. I said “Keep your hundred dollars. No doubt, you’ll be able to use it to hire a temp with my specialized skill set at $20 per day to cover for me. You know what? You people have taken away every day of my summer so far because of your ineptitude, but your not taking away the last week of summer. If I postpone it, all the things I want to do will be closed down. And even then, you’re just going to keep postponing it indefinitely. I do not trust you to keep your word. I’m going on my vacation. Bye! Don’t work too hard, hahaha! Seriously, work harder.”

I really expected to get fired over that. I wasn’t.

If I’d been given permission to take a certain day off, I’d take it. If they changed plans and told me I had to work, I’d tell them that it’s THEIR issue, since I did everything required of me to get the time off. Period. If I can change my plans, I might consider it depending on the circumstances. But based on the ones described above, I would have taken the days anyway and let them decide what to do with me when I got back.

From there, if they want to write me up, then they’d have to explain how someone else’s issue trumped mine. Most companies have their day off policies written in their handbook. If you comply with those rules, they haven’t got a leg to stand on. Sometimes it’s like a game of chicken. They want to see which one of you will flinch. I don’t flinch well.

I feel for those who still have to deal with this kind of crap.

Excellent point.

It happens in the Army too. Now if you’re on leave they really can’t make you do anything without good reason, even though I’ve been called in when I was on leave.

But early in my career in the military I noticed that it was always MY turn to cut the HUGE freaking field of grass behind the building i worked in. This was at Fort Campbell KY in the summer and it was as hot as hell outside. No shade either. So one day Sergeant Yells-A-Lot comes up and tells me I have to cut the grass again. I politely ask how it could possibly be my turn to cut the grass again since I’ve been cutting it for months and no one else has. Wasn’t like I was the only private around. He says “I don’t owe you an explanation.”

I say Yes, you do.

Granted, that can be construed as insubordination. But I knew I was being treated unfairly and basically I figured the hell with that. Sergeant Yells-A-Lot was actually taken aback by this and told me that I had to cut the grass because…and get this…I was the last one back from our deployment from the Gulf War. You see, I was on rear-detachment and while the entire battalion was back in the US partying, visiting relatives, seeing their families, going to movies, getting drunk and getting laid I was still in the shithole of the world loading our equipment. Since I was still there the other nine gazillion privates had to take turns cutting the grass until I got back. Yep, that was his explanation. What it really meant was the douchebag didn’t create a roster for it so he just tagged me every time since he figured I wouldn’t complain.

It was easy enough to fix. I did cut the grass but I also mentioned it to the company XO since she was the only officer in the company with any morals, common sense and the ability to think about other people before herself. I never cut that grass again before I was reassigned somewhere else.

*PS: I don’t want to make it sound like I hate the Army. I hated Fort Campbell and practically 95% of the people I knew there, but thats a different story.

They have two people who can do the job, and the other one is lazy and useless. So, are they going to fire you if you call in sick?


I cannot even imagine this situation. I have had a coworker whom I liked come to me privately and ask if I would switch with her occasionally. And this year I had that same coworker postpone her vacation by a whole week so I could go to Vegas with my family. (She didn’t have any real plans, but it was still damn nice of her).

I would do the same thing as Boggette - just say I already had plans and no way can I change them. I don’t usually tell my coworkers my plans either, it’s none of their damn business. Just “personal business”. And I never take unexpected days unless I am genuinely sick, so they have no ground to stand on.

Does she have the cow-orkers home phone number? The cow-orker may not be aware just how badly she is screwing the OP writer over and might be convinced to change her mind to come in.

Of course, if she’s a bitch about it, then its war, and I’d get resumes to Monster.com as soon as you can. On the bright side, the CBS news radio says employers are hurting for employees just now anyway.

The same qualities that make one a good worker are quite often the same qualities that make one a total pushover. It’s a blessing and a curse.

I’ve had this situation happen before and I took the days off anyway. I’d already bought my ticket to an event, no way was I going to miss out to stand under those hot Walmart lights. Of course, I was probably not what you would call a stellar employee when it came to that job, at least attendance wise.

One thing that helps in these cases is making it clear that you will lose money if you cancel your plans. It really, really shouldn’t make a difference–plans is plans–but to some people with seriously limited imaginations, canceling plans = no big deal. Losing money = unthinkable. So claim your hotel room, your plane tickets, your rental car, whatever, is non-refundable, so you have to go. Say this with a wide-eyed look of regret, as if it makes perfect sense, as if it were just a matter of not seeing your 98-year old grandmother for the one day she is in town, you’d be happy to work, but since you bought $15 tickets to a community play, you have no choice. It doesn’t always work, but it can.

When a manager asked me to cancel a vacation, I told him I’d need to be reimbursed for a $500 deposit. It was no lie. When he came through with the money (“in six to eight weeks”), I told him no deal.

He got me back, though. I had worked on a project for 9 months, and it involved a buttload of nights and weekends. Although we were salaried, I complained that we got no overtime pay. We were basically not paid for all the extra work. He eased my mind by saying that he’d “take care of” us, financially, when the project ended. Cool, I gave up my winter, spring, and summer, and I might get a cool thou for it.


Wrong. Since I took my scheduled vacation, I was not a team player, and didn’t deserve that bonus.

I’m just incredulous at some of these stories. Demanding that you put off getting a cast taken off? Offering you a hundred bucks to essentially cancel your vacation?

There’s only one cure for that kind of idiocy, and it involves lead pipes or socks full of nickels.

…or imprinting the words ‘Louisville Slugger’ backwards across a forehead.

“Its a line-drive up the middle…”

No no no no. The label always faces up. If the label’s facing forwards, you’re gonna crack the bat.

Yeah, but then you can get creative with the splintered end.

Actually, the cure for the second one was to simply say “Keep your money.”

Not as much fun, though. :frowning:

Trust me, the next week I had plenty of fun. In many ways it was more satisfying, too.

But I was glad when that asshole got fired. It’s distressing that he claimed he was let go because of his gay “lifestyle”, but kroners to crullers it was his management style, not his lifestyle. One good thing about that company was that taskmaster managers who refused to share the load didn’t usually enjoy extended careers.

In the Army it was always married people who had priority, especially if they had kids. You could put in for leave on Christmas (or Halloween, or 4th of July, or Thanksgiving, or pretty much any holiday) a year in advance and it wouldn’t make any difference. If a couple days before Christmas a married guy says, “gosh, sorry I didn’t put in for leave in advance, but the kids are so looking forward to it.” That’s it. “Single-guy, your leave is canceled. Married guy needs the day off. You don’t hate families, do you?”

I had the same thing happen to me. I was on an assignment, and there were 4 of us, and only 2 were needed to be “on” until 5, but one was usually off. Thus, one other coudl usually scoot out the door at 3. (Salaried job, you understand). The Lead was a working Mom and so were the other two cow-orkers. When one of them woudl ask to leave early as “Her daughter has ballet that day”- the answer was “sure”. But when I asked to go attend the local comission meets so I could ask some questions, the answer was “no”- when I enquired it was “family comes first”. Fuck, I though it was “community comes first” or even “hey let’s take turns” or even “draw straws”. But no- “mommie-dom solidarity” ruled.

And the thing to do is *not * make a big deal of it, just call in “sick”. Feign a cough.

Huh. And here I was giving my boss all kind of crap because she very meekly requested that I come in at noon one day next week instead of one pm. I just about had her browbeaten into bringing breakfast for me. I told her that if she promised to provide food, then I’d “think about it.”

It’s good to be valuable.