Sunday, July 28, 2013

"I Want to Work. . ."

Meet Jill. Jill is an office manager at a prestigious financial firm that’s part of a global enterprise. They have offices in America, Canada, China, Egypt, and Italy. Everyone in her office loves her sweet disposition and dedicated work ethic. She is also well-known and highly respected among her colleagues in her local office as well as their sister offices all over the world.
Two years before Jill started working at the firm, she was diagnosed with a degenerative disease. The job she had at the time proved to be too strenuous for her condition so she quickly had to find a new gig. Fortunately, her church member knew about an open position at her son-in-law’s office and persuaded him to give Jill a chance.
The financial firm was the perfect work environment for Jill; most of her office supplies were in arm’s length of her desk and all of her work assignments could be done electronically. Their office had a flexible leave policy designed with families in mind. Even though Jill was single and her condition had left her barren, she was thankful for the policy because it served her well when her condition flared.

Jill was very successful for many years at not allowing her illness to negatively impact her work. Her absences were few and even though she had bad days, she still managed to put in 8 to 10 hours a day. But gradually, Jill’s condition began to worsen and she was forced to tell her bosses. They were sympathetic and assured her they would work with her.  

Jill’s body could no longer handle 10 hour days so she limited them to 8 and had to use her lunch breaks for doctor appointments. Her bosses were becoming increasingly frustrated because she wasn’t as available as they were used to her being. They started giving her a hard time whenever she asked to leave early and started requesting she bring back a doctor’s excuse though she never had to do that before. She did one better, she brought them a letter from her doctor detailing her chronic condition and explaining she may need time off periodically.
One day, her immediate supervisor called her into his office.

"Jill, have a seat. How are you feeling today?"

Taking her time to gingerly sit in the chair across from her boss' desk, she replied, "Much better today, sir. Thanks for asking. I really appreciate you and the rest of the firm for being so helpful and understanding in terms of my condition."

"Jill, you know you are one of our most valued employees. We are here for you. But... your absences are becoming too frequent," her boss said as he leaned on the side of his desk."

Hesitantly Jill answered, "Yes sir, that's why I brought in the letter from my doctor. I wish I could be here more but sometimes my body doesn't want to cooperate with me," she concluded with a nervous laugh.

"This last time, you didn't even bring in a doctor's excuse," her boss added in a stern voice. What little sympathy he previously had in his tone, now gone.

"I didn't go to the doctor this time. Frankly, if I had the energy to get up and go to the doctor, I would have used that energy to come work. No need going to the doctor every time a chronic condition flares up. It's nothing the doctors can do," Jill stated tersely.

"Well maybe you need to file for disability."

Jill could not believe her ears, "I don't qualify for disability benefits. Most of the time, I can work. If the firm could just continue to work with me, my condition will not be a hardship on the company. I am still producing and executing a great work product. With all do respect, people often complain about individuals who can still work getting disability but when those individuals try to work, the employers are not willing to provide reasonable accommodations."

"Jill, I don't know how we can help you anymore. I'm afraid I'm going to have to let you go."


Do you know any Jill's? Can you relate to her? Or, are you a supervisor that has had to make this difficult decision? Please share in the comment section below, tweet me @msasmoore, or on my facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. Love this story. Fits my husband perfectly. He was the dedicated employee that did whatever his bosses asks him too and almost never missed work and then he got diagnosed with Meneire's Disease. He started missing more and more work until they told him that he was going to either have to resign or they were going to have to fire him. It was a very awful moment for someone who wanted to do nothing more than go to work and provide for his family....