Disappointed in my Manager. Should I Talk to Her?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about losing a week’s  pay : Two weeks ago I really got sick, lost my voice, couldn’t go to work, so I called my work that same morning to inform them. The other manager picked up, said she understood and wished me well, that was it. I lost pay because I didn’t bring a doctor’s note within 48 hours.

I am really disappointed with my manager. I’ve been working at the place for 3 months now and just got my contract renewed which apparently was hard to do. That’s what my manager said; she told me she really had to fight for my spot as other were getting fired. Other than that, I thought she is good at what she does, uses constructive and fair criticism and gives compliments on a job well done, of which I got a lot throughout my time working there. I’m very good at what I do; others have said it, and I always do my best.

Two weeks ago I really got sick, lost my voice, couldn’t go to work, so I called my work that same morning to inform them. The other manager picked up, said she understood and wished me well, that was it. So I had to stay home for a week. During that week my manager calls me up and starts to tell me how mad she is at me for not keeping them up to date on my condition. I apologized and told her that I was still quite ill and would get the doctor’s note to her as soon as I could. Here is the problem: apparently in my county you’ve got 48 hours to file the doctor’s note. Otherwise you’re considered absent and won’t get paid for that time. This is my first job ever, which my manager knows, so I wasn’t aware of his rule. I simply didn’t know. I told her all that in honesty. She wasn’t pleased and told me this normally ends in being fired, but ok, not his time. I was still sick, but immediately took the note to her. She told me while smiling that it was too late and would inform me later. The next day I learned that I won’t be getting paid for that week.

I’m totally disappointed in her, I feel betrayed. I never got the benefit of the doubt and was approached by her like I was lying about being ill. I went back to work one day later still ill and voiceless. Normally we get one day off during the week, which we choose ourselves. Being silently mad at her, and with the permission of the other manager, I could have the next day, just after coming back, for one day off. I told them I should take that day off and recover further. She wasn’t pleased, but couldn’t do anything about it.

Later that night I gathered my thoughts and decided that I would look better if I came to work anyway, on my day off, as the team was a little understaffed. So I did. My colleagues thought it was nice of me; I was still ill and coughing. My manager didn’t say a word about it. That was this morning. Now I’m in bed with a fever and a full-force flu. I should never have gone back for those two days, trying to please and impress her.

Now I got to thinking about how disappointed I am with her. I feel sabotaged. She called me up 7 days after I told them I was ill. And yes, I should’ve informed them about my absence, but I simply didn’t know the rules! I told her that. Shouldn’t I have gotten the benefit of the doubt, being the good worker I am? Why couldn’t she call me during those first two days and be mad then, so I would’ve known I’m losing my money. I’m on her team. She interviewed me, hired me, and fought for me to stay. Then why this? I trusted her. She’s the leader of the team. Shouldn’t she have been more considerate? And more importantly, should I talk to her about my feelings? I feel wronged and treated unfairly while I really did my best at work. Sorry for the mistakes, please answer.

Signed, Sick and Lost a Week’s Pay

Dear Sick and Lost a Week’s Pay:

It took some time to make numerous changes to your lengthy unhappy account. I trust that these changes didn’t distort its meaning. The very length of it indicates you consciously or unconsciously see yourself as a victim. Probably you have played and replayed this story in your head and possibly told your family and friends how poorly you were treated. And if you didn’t bite your tongue, I think once you returned to work and got your voice back, you badmouthed your boss to coworkers.

If so, that was a mistake. You might have developed a habit of allowing hurts to play over and over again like a broken record. I may be wrong but such a stream of woe will lead to brooding about this and an escalation of ill-will toward your boss fester. You apparently want sympathy and I can empathize with how disappointed you feel, just when you felt good about your boss fighting for renewal of your employment. But now is not the time to carry a grudge. It would have been good if you had been informed about the call in rule, but confronting your boss about that and your disappointment in her, is something I would think twice about and then put that thought to bed. You’ve apologized and have now learned the rule the hard way.

Bosses expect to be kept informed. Take your lumps and resolve to soak up all you can about the rules of your work culture. Focus on adding value but finding ways to cut wasted supplies, time, and money. Be a cheer leader of others. Make your manager’s job easier. Talk with her to clarify assignments. Ask yourself how much value you can add to your workplace each day. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. One step toward that is to be interested in others as much as you are in yourself. My reaction to your question has been candid. It is free and you can reject it. I hope it makes enough sense now or later that you will see your job as not just a job but as the beginning of many happy times on a career path.

William Gorden