Heads Up: Infertility Sounds Like a Scam to Your Boss

It’s tough to be going through fertility treatments under any circumstances. It’s extremely tough going through fertility treatments while you have a full-time job. Infertility itself is a full-time job. There are things you have to do in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. There are things you have to do on the weekends. Sometimes you even have to go to the doctor’s office on a weekend. You don’t call the shots. (Pun?) Your doctors and your ovaries call the shots. (Pun?) Everything during treatments has to be done when it has to be done. Not the day after. Not on Saturday instead of Tuesday. Most employers don’t want to hear it. And I’ll have to admit: To someone who hasn’t been through it, like your boss, infertility sounds like a scam.

 

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Infertile Holidays at Work

Infertile Holidays at Work: The Interview

“This company is really like a family.”

office-of-angry-people

Why do people think when you’re interviewing for a job, that that’s a selling point? So you’re telling me that you get on each other’s nerves, push each other’s buttons, talk behind each other’s backs, and hold eternal grudges?

Mercifully, most of our extended real family, the ones with whom we spend holidays, are people we don’t see that often. So whatever idiocies are said at the big family gathering…:

I really think you should start having children. You’re not getting any younger.

Or our response:

“I really think you should stop talking. You’re not getting any smarter.

…are said and then we all get into our respective cars, gripe the entire long ride home to ourselves, anyone unfortunate enough to be trapped in there with us, or a BFF on the other end of the hands-free. Then, for the next 12 months, we rehash and badmouth in our minds and to our spouses from the comfort of our own homes, culminating in the next holiday gathering when, upon pulling into the host’s driveway, we’re still hoping that person won’t be there and they are and we apologize simultaneously, hug it out, one of us says: “life’s too short”, the other agrees, and we both swear we never even gave it a second thought. It’s not always as easy after the company holiday event.

woman-arguing-to-man-in-care

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Some Jobs Have Perks THEY Don’t Even Know About

In last week’s post, “Stealing… It’s Such a Strong Word”, I talked about my family’s inclination toward petty pilfering: Just your average, run of the mill pocketing-Sweet-‘N’-Lows-at-the-neighborhood-diner type of thing. (I was once in a supermarket with my father when he saw boxes of them on the shelf and said: “People actually buy these?”)

At a job it’s different. I feel no guilt or remorse for anything I’ve done. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Still, I won’t give too many specifics, because, well, you know… statute of limitations and all that.

Naturally, everyone likes a job with good benefits. I mean health and dental coverage are fine. So are 401Ks. But for me, at a job, just like in life: It’s the little things that matter. For me, the best work place perks that a company can provide are the unintentional ones: The benefits they have no idea they’re providing.

All the “up & up” benefits are published. They’re right there for everyone to see. They’re in the employee handbook. They’re in the handouts at the orientation. They’re on your bi-weekly pay stubs. But if you go into the main employee restroom, hold your pay stub up to a mirror, turn it upside down 3 times and take as many steps backwards as you can without falling into an open stall, you’ll clearly see your “other” benefits revealed.

It’s called the law of inverse reciprocity. (Don’t look it up. You’ll be sorely disappointed.)  This means that the stingier the company, the more “other” benefits you’re entitled to.

For instance, if I get a job and I think I should be paid $50,000 a year for doing what they’re asking of me,  and they only offer me $35,000 a year, then it stands to reason, I’m in a $15,000 deficit. So while I appear to be working diligently for them all year, I’m also working for myself figuring out creative ways for them to make up that 15 grand they owe me.

And it doesn’t matter where you work. The law of inverse reciprocity still applies. When I worked in a fast food place, according to them, I received minimum wage. According to me, I also won a raffle for a lifetime supply of plasticware- Not to mention salt, pepper, and ketchup packets. Granted, I never put salt or pepper on anything, and it would take 40 of those ketchup packets to fill a tablespoon… It’s the principle of the thing. And I’m nothing if not principled.

I’ve worked for some pretty generous places that gave holiday bonuses, incentives, Thanksgiving turkeys, umbrellas… something. Coincidentally, they were never missing office supplies. But the only thing worse than a company that offers you nothing is a company that offers you nothing and thinks they’re doing you a favor. If you think you’re going to cater a smorgasbord for a meeting with the big-wig, hoidy-toidy, grand puba, company honchos and then, when they’re done mauling at it, you’ll toss the plate like a Frisbee onto the break-room table for us commoners to fight over… Watch your back… and anything else not nailed down.

Most jobs are the same to me. They’re really just glorified office supply stores. I’m a writer. Writers need lots of paper… and copies. We need to print things: Double-sided things… in color… and collated.  We need those giant staplers, paper cutters, markers, envelopes in all shapes and sizes. (You can keep those ones with the windows. We have no use for those.)

To these companies I ask you: “How else could I possibly afford those things? You know better than anyone how much I earn. You don’t want to stand in the way of my dream. Do you? Don’t look at it like I’m stealing from you. That just spreads negative energy. Instead, consider yourself an investor in the career of a budding “young” author. Doesn’t that feel better?”

Surely you’ve heard of silent investors. Mine are not only silent, they’re totally oblivious.

So if you ever work for a job where they give you a polygraph before you’re even hired, and they have cameras every three feet of the building, keep the copy paper, ink cartridges, and paper clips in a locked cabinet that you need a combination to open, and have all the pens and staplers chained to the desks… I am so sorry… I take full responsibility. I probably used to work there.

If Only I Had 2 Cents for Every 2 Cents I’ve Put In…

There is an art which I have yet to master. No, I don’t mean the art of writing. I mean the art of minding my own business. Every year on Yom Kippur, I throw bread into a lake. To Jews everywhere this symbolizes casting away our sins. To others, it symbolizes feeding the ducks. (Occasionally I’ve been chased by zealous park officials: Apparently tossing away sins is prohibited there.) Every year, for as long as I can remember one of my “sins” that I throw away is “minding my own business”. Unfortunately, it usually limps out of the lake and boomerangs back to me about two days later.

Don’t you hate those people who, when you’re having a conversation, just show up out of nowhere and start commenting? That’s me. And it could be about anything from gardening to why the husband of the woman talking ran off to Brazil.

I just float in like Tinkerbell to save the day:
“You told us months ago that he’s been learning Portuguese. Come on Alyssa, the red flags were everywhere! You probably didn’t give him enough attention and oh yeah, ditto for your tomatoes. That’s why they’re not growing. It’s all related somehow.”

And I’m sure after I put in my two cents and finally leave the room, they look at each other and say: “I’ll bet she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it.” That’s where they’re wrong. I realize it. My problem isn’t ignorance, it’s arrogance. I just always think I have something vital to contribute to their otherwise humdrum conversation. I know more than they do. There are thousands of topics in this world I’m sure I know nothing about, from UN policy to opera, but that doesn’t stop me from playing “Jeopardy!” or from being an authority. As my ex-boyfriend used to say:

“Hi I’m Lori and I’m pretty sure I’m some sort of a genius.”

That’s not why we broke up. I mean, he had a point. I think this is a trait I inherited from my father. You’d be working on something: Putting a toy together, washing a dish… and he’d nudge you aside and say: “Better let me do it.”

And you’d think this would make me more compassionate and understanding toward others with the same affliction and yet it doesn’t. Quite the opposite. If I’m having a private discussion and a third party interjects, I’m incensed. How dare they interrupt? I get annoyed and obnoxious: “All who want your opinion raise their hand.”

But when I “intercede”, I’m a master at it. I don’t even have to do it in person. Often I butt in over the cubicle wall. You know when you’re sitting at work in those “sound-proof” “offices” with no door or ceiling? I eavesdrop. Everyone eavesdrops. The discreet, professional thing to do of course, is to pretend you don’t hear a thing and go on with your work.

I’m a busy woman. I have no time for either discretion nor professionalism. It works well in my work environment. My coworkers have chosen to embrace my true self as a buttinsky, yenta, and general annoyance. People have gotten so used to me listening-in uninvited that they’ll just use me as the wealth of information that I am. They know that Big Brother may be watching, but I’m always listening. There will be two women talking in a low voice two cubicles over: “Did they say that meeting is supposed to start at 9 or 10? I can’t remember what time they decided on…. Lori?”
“9!”
See? I may be rude, indiscreet, and unprofessional, but I’m the company’s most vital resource. I seriously doubt if they could function without me.