Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Accomodation

Unless you're new here (welcome!) you've probably seen me whine about my horrible boss. He redefines asshole for a new millenium, but he is a family man. So, even though he's cut sick days completely and is forcing me to work 2.5 hours per week for free, he does make allowances for parents in the office.

Specifically, there are two secretaries that have children of school age and both are given what I would call accommodations. One is allowed to leave early to attend her daughter's sports games, the other leaves at 3:00 every day to pick up her children from school.

Some people in the office complain, rather bitterly, that these two are "special" and get "privileges". I don't see it that way. They have children. Those children require certain things of their parents, my boss is allowing the parents to provide those things. I don't need to leave early and when I do go home, nobody's clutching at my leg and wailing or asking me for $20 after telling me they hate me. (Children, they're awesome!)

This is how I see all forms of accommodation. Sure, people with handicapped tags get the cool parking spaces. You get to walk. I guarantee you you wouldn't trade for all the best parking spaces on Earth. Hey, Christians, do your Muslim coworkers get to take several breaks to pray*? Well, you get all your important holidays off without even having to ask! How cool is that?

Look, here's the thing about accommodation: yes, the person being accommodated is getting something awesome that you are not, but it's in exchange for their life being significantly more difficult in some way than yours. Persons with blindness get to bring puppies into restaurants- they also can't see the restaurant. Persons of colour can get into college with lower test scores**- and nobody ever assumed you were in a gang simply because of the colour of your skin.

Does that help any at all? I realize the analogy isn't perfect, but just a bit? Maybe?

*I have seen this complaint. As if anyone's having fun while they pray.

**I could write a book on why those test scores are lower, but I'm just going to say Racism, it's endemic! and leave it at that.


  1. I have fun praying. ;)

    Also, that puppy the blind person gets to bring in? It's a working dog and it's on the clock. This means the blind person has to treat it like a working dog rather than a pet. I'm glad the blind person can have zir helper with them, but I'm just as happy to stay home with my puppy where I can cuddle and play with him.

    Thirdly, I totally agree with the point you're making.

  2. The companies I have worked for in corporate America have a tendency to shut down early on the day before big holidays. So the day before Thanksgiving they send everyone home at, like, 1 PM or whatever. There's always some jackhole who then gets back the next week who bitches about how they took PTO on that day, but everyone else got to leave early, so they should only have to take, like, four hours instead of the full eight. To which I tend to have three responses:

    1. You probably knew that going in. I mean, I half expect it to happen.

    2. Shut up.

    3. Oh, look, the President of the company just sent out an email saying they're going to cancel the early close thing. Thanks for ruining it for the rest of us (true story, the company I work for now didn't send anyone home early at Thanksgiving or Christmas the year before I started).

  3. I am a parent, and let me tell you, most of the time, I'm totally jealous of all of you who actually get to sleep through the night and/or spend money on yourselves! Sure, I get to use my sick time to take care of a puking child or take them to the ER because they've put a pencil eraser inside their nose and it won't come out.

  4. when you're right, you're right - i just wish your bosses were as considerate as YOU, so that YOU could have fewer problems...

  5. ha! i come back with a CoolStory about accomodating bosses.

    i didn't start frequenting this blog until AFTER I Turned Thirty [And Everything Broke] so... that whole saga isn't here.

    i was delivering for Pizza Hut at the time.
    for FOUR MONTHS [as in beginning of November til the end of Febuary] i worked with my arm in a sling because i had dislocated my shoulder AGAIN.

    at one point, a new guy tried to make me take the end of shift. i was off at 9, he wasn't off until 11, and he came and said "hey, i'm gonna have you work my last 2 hours."
    and i said "no you aren't"
    and he just gave me *WHAT?!* face and went to "complain" to the manager.
    manager came to see me. she said "what's this about taking some of new guy's hours? you CAN'T take his hours"
    to which i replied "I KNOW i can't take his hours - he came in here and just informed me i WAS, to which i said "NO, i'm not" and then went to you."
    the manager says "and told me that you were taking his hours. AFTER you said no?"
    me "yep"

    so she calls the guy into this room [the room where we prepped food - i could do most food prep one-handed, so i did that as opposed to dishes] and asks HIM how the conversation went. and HE says "i said, "hey Liz, take me shift" and then came and told you"
    manager asks "what did Liz SAY when you said that."
    he says "i don't know. why does it matter? she can take it, she's only working 5-9! she can take 2 more hours"

    manager says "look closely at Liz. see that sling? it's NOT a fashion statement. she's only ALLOWED to work 4 hour shifts because of that. FURTHER, *YOU* do not tell people to "take your hours" - you can, at best, ASK them to do so, and if they say "no", it's a NO."

    so he spent the next TWO WEEKS bitching about discrimination - how i, the white chick, was "allowed" to work less than him.
    at one point, i snapped "i'm not white you fucking moron" and at another i said "if you don't want to work those hours, change your fucking availability! don't sign up for them and then expect someone to take over for you!"

    he tried to sue over me saying i wasn't white, calling that "proof that i was racist and the managers allowed it". [and then he met Pete - and didn't change his mind at all] and he was pretty quickly fired - because he kept going up to people and saying "take my hours" - except he no longer went to a manager, just left when he wanted.

    then, I Broke - and those awesome managers who bent over BACKWARDS to accomodate my dislocated shoulder, they kept me employed another 2 months. i came in and did paperwork. i sold advertising. i scrubbed the freezers [which i could do sitting] i did any and every job that i was physically capable of - at $2 MORE an hour than i made delivering [base rate, i mean - i went from $5.15, minimum wage, to $7.25] to "make up" for my loss of tips.

    it wasn't until i was ORDERED by my doctor to stop working that i did - and even then, i still did a few things now and thing, until May of that year.

    and mind you - this was a CORPORATE store - by all rights, they could and maybe SHOULD have let me go when i dislocated my shoulder [at least until it was healed enough for me to not need the sling] and there is NOTHING, ANYWHERE, that says that they can or should find alternate jobs to replace duties i cannot perform.

    i wish YOU had bosses like that - i wish EVERYONE did!


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