Friday, December 18, 2009

Disparity

Well, it's been another week and no posting from me.  Yes, it's been a fairly uneventful week at work.  Same stuff, different days.  I should be thankful for that.  But.... *shrug*  Just not motivated.
One thing that bothers me, and I didn't realize how much it bothered me until yesterday is how unfair maternity leave really is in my company.  And believe me, I would never want to be in my coworker's shoes, but....
Let me see if I can explain and have it make sense.  One of the women I work with has been going through some pretty horrible cancer treatment this past year.  This, I wouldn't envy her in the slightest.  She had started on chemo last fall and had surgery in January.  She only returned to work part time the beginning of November and full time just a week or two ago.  But... she got to keep ALL her vacation time and we've been trying to schedule it, as she works in parts.
I so totally don't want to feel bitter about this.  I mean, she's been through hell, she deserves her vacation time.  But, on the same hand, I had to use my vacation time in order to stay home with my son for more than 8 weeks if I wanted to get paid.  Sure, the government "allows" me to take off for up to 12 weeks without fear of the company firing me.  And I'm not saying that we shouldn't stand behind people like my friend who are fighting this beast but.... It's hard for me to be happy about her vacation time when I feel like I got shafted and had to come back to work at 10 weeks or not get paid.  I mean, I don't think she was getting her full pay check this past year, but still.
Am I a bad person to feel this bitter?  Am I a bad person not to be glad that she was able to come back and actually take her vacation?  I feel like I should be happy for her, but I just can't be.  I just get caught up in how unfair it is to new parents.  And I'm a lucky one!  I had vacation time to use.  I had "short term disability" coverage for 8 weeks!  (Only because I had a C-section though, only 6 weeks if he'd been born vaginally...)  I mean, I can understand companies, especially in today's economy, not wanting or able to pay a person leave and have to have a temp cover their position.  Thing is, there wasn't a temp covering my position (or my friend's... actually, that became me in June when I switched to my dual role....).  Of course, the mess that happened with my position and my department while I was on leave is a whole different kettle of fish.  I mean, as much as I'd love to have taken the entire first year of Boo's life off, or working part time, even if it meant getting paid less, I wouldn't have.  I would have liked to have taken 6 months maybe, or at least more than 10.5 weeks!
So, despite the fact that today is my last day of work for the week and I'm on vacation next week, I'm feeling a bit bitter and angered at "the way things work".  Not that I'd want a horrible illness like my friend had to go through, because I know it was much tougher on her than any work week ever will be, but I just can't help feeling cheated in some small way.

Well, I've got to get dressed and get my butt out the door.   Hopefully by 4 I'll be in a better mood.
Peace to all and may your world be "right" from time to time.

2 comments:

abilee30 said...

I probably shouldn't comment, because I have such strong feelings in the opposite direction. But I guess I feel I must, just because of the streangth of my opinion as well. And, please let me preface this with two things, I don't want to spark an abortion debate, and well, I don't like most kids(nor do I want any of my own ever). Not to say Boo isn't adorable and all, just saying I am not that cool with having many if any kids in my life.

I kind of view parenthood as a choice, and cancer as a f'd up twist of fate. I mean there are so many ways to avoid parenthood, that if you really didn't like the disparity, you could choose to not have kids. You can't choose to not get sick or have cancer.

Also, from the single gal with no kids point of view, I hate the disparity between the work expectations of me vs a mom or single dad. For example, the girl who got fired in April(and the new guy who is screwing up big time had his kid for the last few weeks) was a single parent with few childcare options and even though she was the lowest on the totem pole and was screwing up, they HAD to allow her a preferential schedule of 9-5 all week, regardless of what it did to the rest of us, seniority and our schedules. Also, all us single folks with no kids are always looked to "to fill in the void" when extra work is needed or odd hours are expected.

I know you and I are entitled to our differing opinions, and neither is right or wrong. But I just wanted to put a different perspective out there.

Sorry if I offend...

Addey said...

Abi, you know I value your opinion, and well, I do see valid points to it. I was the single/married with no kids person for quite a while dealing with the issues that my coworkers with kids brought with them.
Like I said, I didn't want to feel bitter about it, I know everything I've gone through in the last 10 years doesn't begin to measure up what my friend's gone through in just this one. I'm thrilled she's able to come back and cause problems with her needing to take her vacation time.
And yes, Boo was a choice, a very adorable choice that I'd made ages ago. I just don't understand how "we" (and I use the generic "we" here) can justify and afford hiring a temp for 10 months when someone gets sick, but refuse to do so for someone who wants to start a family. There needs to be some middle ground. (And, to add a slightly bitter spin to this, my friend was pretty much forced to come back when she was, or they were going to let her go... so... yeah....) I don't think we need to go as far as Canada goes, but something has to be better... and FMLA is for ANY family emergency (although harder to get for non-child things) and is far from perfect.
Like I tried to say in the post, this is a bitter, twisted issue where there really isn't a right answer.