The PTO Debate

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The end of the year is coming, and you know what that means?! Yes, ok, so the holidays are right around the corner, but you also need to schedule the rest of your paid time off!

Having recently started an adventure with a new company, I tossed and turned a bit with this issue. With so many projects going on at work, I felt like I shouldn’t be taking any time off, but, what was I supposed to do? At my place of work, if you don’t use it, you lose it. I was at a cross roads.

So, I decided to level the playing field and take a few days off in November and a few in December. This past week, I used two and a half days, and what did I end up doing?…I drilled out a few work projects.

Was I happy with my progress? Sure! But, when you use your “paid time off,” aren’t you supposed to be using it to relax, or spend time with family, go on vacation, etc.? I know that many people in my office use it for doctor’s appointments, going to the dentist, etc. because they have SO MANY days of PTO that they don’t know what else to do with themselves. On the other hand, some people that I work with end up using all of their PTO before the end of the year because they have children, and their children get sick, have dentist appointments, etc. Either way, they’ll end up working on a project, responding to emails, or doing something work related during their day, or few days, of PTO.

And, in my case, with having to use all of my PTO before the end of the year, our office constantly stresses using it “wisely” and “thinking about all of the projects we have to do” before deciding which days are the “best” for us to leave.

The truth is, there really is no “good” day to leave the office. And, sometimes you just have to use your PTO so that it’s gone. My recommendation is to NOT take a huge chunk of time off during one specific month, but to split up your days between months. But, your PTO time is also YOUR time. If your boss or coworkers want something from you, they need to reach out to you before you leave on vacation.

I recently got in trouble because I scheduled a family vacation during our office’s holiday party. But, like I said, it’s YOUR TIME. What are they going to do? They gave you X amount of days off. It’s the company’s problem if they find that too many people are taking off on specific days. And then, they’re going to try and pin it on you for taking those specific days off? PTO shouldn’t come with rules. It should be considered a gift from the company!

The more hours I work in corporate America, the more I believe that we’re all overworked and underpaid, and we’re constantly made to feel bad about the time that we want to spend with our families. Sometimes, I laugh silently to myself when I think about the unemployment rate in this country. Really? You don’t want to hire a few more people to help out with your work load? I know that I could certainly use an assistant, and I’m not even a manager, I’m on the ground floor!

And, might I mention, what the hell happened to the days where shops were closed on Sundays? What happened to Sunday being known as “family” day? Since technology has come around, it’s caused so many of us to think that work is more important, because our “world” is right at our fingertips.

In the end, our jobs and our possessions aren’t going to be there for us when we’re struggling on our death bed…it’s going to be our family and our dearest friends who will help us, and make us forget about our pain by bringing up the good times that we shared with one another. But, what if we’ve been so wrapped up in what we’re doing, that we never allotted time for the “the good times?” What do you think about that, corporate America?…

 

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Negative

negative

This past week, I had one of those big “smack you in the face” karma moments…Let me explain.

Since I’ve known the definition of teen pregnancy, I’ve been completely against it. I was also against having sex before marriage for the longest time (and boy am I glad  that’s changed). In general, I’ve always frowned upon teenagers and even women in their early 20s getting pregnant. Seriously, just wrap your tool!

And with all of the TV shows nowadays like “16 and pregnant” and “Teen Mom,” young pregnancy has been glorified and presented as a “trend.” I actually heard a story a few years back about a girl that got pregnant at a young age just so that she could audition for “Teen Mom.” Needless to say, she didn’t get the part, and now she’s stuck playing mom without the cameras…what?

And, in my early college years, my roommates favorite TV show was, coincidently, “Teen Mom.” I recall watching it with her and commenting on how stupid all of those girls were. And to this day, my friends and I constantly pick on old classmates from our home town that got pregnant while we were away at school, or right after they graduated college.

So, never in a million years did I think that I would go to the doctor to get a blood pregnancy test. Yes, yes, yes, you might be utterly confused right now, but here’s the deal….I’ve noticed within this past month that my body has been going through some major changes. I’m seeing fat (particularly around my belly area) that has never been there before, and aunt flow hasn’t paid a visit since September. Needless to say, with the constant bloating and missed egg drop, I freaked out.  But, before I went to the doctor’s office, I took three home pregnancy tests within three weeks of each other..all negative. I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

Needles to say, the blood test also came back negative. But, I’ll never forget how the doctor’s office made me feel. Coincidently, my mother works at the clinic where I took the test, so registering at the front desk was a bit awkward. The day I took the test, I walked in and Martha was the only woman sitting behind the counter. Now, I knew Martha from the few times that I’ve come for an appointment with my mother, but I also knew that she never remembers who I am.

As I walked up to the counter and gave my last name, a bit of a smile crept across her face. You could tell she was thinking, “Oh, you’re her daughter, how nice.” But, as she opened my chart and saw why I was there, her smile faded. And the way she spoke to me changed. The minute she realized my situation..she wasn’t having it. “Are you in college, or are you employed,” she said with a snarky tone. “Employed..” I whispered. Then, she took down my information and told me to “JUST go downstairs!” I felt like I was in major trouble…like the teacher had caught me talking for the third time in class. I felt so ashamed. I felt like I wasn’t Marsha Brady anymore. I was imperfect because I thought I might be pregnant.

Even when the nurse called to tell me the test was negative, she said, “I’m assuming that’s what you wanted?” Yeesh, thanks for your concern, lady!

So, what did I learn from all of this? You can’t pick on someone if you haven’t been in their shoes. Again, NEVER EVER in a million years did I think I would take a blood pregnancy test. If you’ve ever been in this situation, even if you’re the man and it’s your girlfriend who thinks she’s pregnant, it’s by far one of the scariest times. So many questions run through your head. “If the test comes back positive, what do I do? How do I tell people? What are my next steps?” I mean, what if the girls on “16 and Pregnant” or “Teen Mom” just forgot to take their birth control one day? It happens! We all forget! I actually have a friend who took the morning after pill, and her boyfriend used a condom, and they STILL got pregnant. Not everything works…even if it’s 99.9% effective.

At the end of the day, I think I’m just getting fat because of my desk job…but I definitely know that I won’t be making fun of young moms anytime soon…good grief!

Granny Smith – over and out