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I Guess I'm Just A Terrible Person

I don't talk about The Day Job much here; I really try to compartmentalize my life that way. But a situation has developed there that has brought up some bigger issues, and I wanted to get your opinions on it.

I've said before that I work for a VERY big company. But I'm part of a very small location of a small division of said VBC. Oh, we got the name and whatnot, but practically speaking we're a very small operation. Small staff -- less than half a dozen, with a vacancy that we hope to fill soon.

Anyway, one of my colleagues (technically my peer in title, but vastly inferior in seniority, skills, and every other metric) has been getting on my nerves lately. She's irritating, she's aggressively wrong, and she's had serious attendance issues -- which means that I've been pulling extra shifts to cover for her.

The boss (whom I've discussed before) had discovered a rather intriguing pattern in her absences and was planning to have a little chat with her, when she pre-empted him with a little chat of her own: she's pregnant.

That prompted another chat, this one between the boss and me: her condition would prompt some changes around the workplace. There would be slack to be picked up, and I'd be getting my share of it. To accomodate her condition, she'll be working different shifts, shorter shifts, and be excused from certain duties.

Which means I'll be getting my schedule yanked around, longer hours, and doing more around the shop. With the only reward being the extra pay for the extra hours -- I know that any "brownie points" will be essentially worthless.

There's the natural instinct I have, to chip in and be helpful. Plus the "help the lady" thing. Add in the pregnancy, and it's tailor-made for a neurotically-driven "helpy-help" like I am.

On the other hand, she's really irritated me in the past, I'm tired at work, I don't want to have my schedule yanked around.

Also, there's a part of me that resents being compelled to "take one for the team," to "step up," and "go a bit above and beyond" yet again. I've done that a lot of times, and the payback has been sorely lacking. Indeed, the times I've done it have not only cut me no slack, it's bitten me on the ass -- I've ended up being taken for granted and had more crap sloughed off on me for it.

So here I am, looking forward to several months of getting bounced around the schedule, extra hours, and extra work, for the relief of someone who has been irritating me for some time.

That's the system, that's the law. Pregnant women are entitled to certain legal protections, and employers are obligated to respect their condition and recognize their rights. And I'm fine with that -- in theory.

In practice, though, the way my company does that is by having me and the rest of the very small crew taking it in the shorts.

So I'm feeling a bit resentful over this, and a bit of unfocused anger. Because I really don't have a good focus for the anger. No one has really done anything wrong that I can blame for this situation.

I already know what I'm going to do. I know myself too well. I'll step up a bit (maybe not quite whole-heartedly, or to the best of my ability -- just a bit of passive-aggressive thing going on there), bitch a little, and get the crap done as usual.

But I'm not gonna be happy about it.

So the real question here is -- how much of a jerk am I being in this?


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Comments (62)

Jay:Keep your eye ... (Below threshold)
Bob:

Jay:

Keep your eye on the ball. You want to do your best to advance your own career. If you don't step up when your company needs help, you'll be thought of poorly by your boss. It isn't a question of your relationship with your female co-worket; it's your relationship with your employer that counts.

"So the real question here ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"So the real question here is -- how much of a jerk am I being in this?"

About 5, 10% I'd say. You're not going "Well, blow this!" and walking out, you're not being a shit to Mz. Preggers, and ... wait, you're getting paid EXTRA for the hours you'll have to work to take up Mz. Preggers slack?

Okay then - you just jumped to 12.73%.

I don't know where you're g... (Below threshold)
Maggie Mama:

I don't know where you're getting the "several months" scenario. Once the baby arrives, she'll be gone on maternity leave for more several months. No? Oh, with YOUR LUCK she'll be bringing the screaming baby in to the office and breast-feeding half the day away.

Seems to me like the only thing you have to look forward to is the possibility that her hormones might have her directing some of her irritability at the boss for a change. So sit back and hope he's on the receiving end.

Sometimes you bite the dog, and most times the b-t-h bites you! ;-D

Time to tell the boss to fill the all-ready existing vacancy with temp help!

Tell your boss how you feel... (Below threshold)
Joe:

Tell your boss how you feel. That covering for people before has not been rewarded as you expected. That you have taken one for the team many times and it is someone elses turn. If all else fails try to find another job in VBC.

If your boss does not listen to your concerns and if another job in VBC is not feasable then look for a job somewhere else. Companies have very little loyalty to employees and your career can take off at any company.

If you feel your boss will react poorly to your concerns then be silent and start a job search. Even in this market you can find a job.

OK, I shoulda said "most of... (Below threshold)

OK, I shoulda said "most of a year, likely." And to clarify -- I'm getting more hours, but not at a higher rate. And not likely to score OT, just creep closer and closer to 40 hours.

Bob, I'm about as high as I wanna be in this company, so future career considerations aren't a factor. I'm still celebrating my 1% raise this year -- a full 1% over last year (the company's been pleading poverty). And I've stepped up plenty of times in the past, with little tangible result (except the pay for the extra hours, occasionally including overtime).

What I'm seeing is, I'm seeing very little upside to busting my ass very much here, and plenty of downside. I'm looking for reasons to do the "nice" thing here -- and they ain't coming.

Which likely means I'll end up going a bit above and beyond, but short of what I could do if I committed myself fully. And I won't be happy while doing it. So they won't be happy that I haven't stepped up as much as I could, and I won't be happy because I'm busting my ass more than I think I should have to. But like Obama would say if he was honest -- it's a lot fairer if you spread the misery around a bit.

J.

I've never had much respect... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

I've never had much respect for women who play up the pregnancy thing for all they can get out of it. Perhaps I'm not sensitive enough myself, but I've had three children and never asked for special considerations, extra time off or been generally bitchy. In fact I got many kudos for not being what I never should have been all along - needy or feeling "entitled." I personally don't blame you for feeling resentful. And this is from a woman's standpoint.

I've worked with pregnant women off and on for my whole adult life and some are great about it and others fell like they're something special. On the other hand, all you can do, Jay, is suck it up. Maybe her pregnancy is fraught with issues. It's one thing you need to consider.

As to your decision I offer... (Below threshold)

As to your decision I offer this.

No half measures, once you cast your lot, go all in.

Your post seems to reflect there are unfulfilled expectations re this female. Analyse and adjust those expectations. Dis-pleasure is an indulgence best left to atrophy.

If these same job impacts were the result of someone getting rear-ended on the way home, your experience would more than likely, be quite different.

My vote is that you are rea... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

My vote is that you are reacting pretty much the same way as most people would. No more jerky than you already are. And since I don't know you, I'm not sure where that is, although from your writing I don't think it is more than average.

Mr. Tea,In my prev... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Tea,

In my previous life I hunted other human beings for a living...and if you gave your enemy even the slightest chance... he'd turn the tables and hunt you. Fun? Hell, No. It was a grim and dirty business.

Having said that, your team was as only strong as its weakest link...and since your life depended on it, you had to find a way to , ah, motivate, inspire, and strengthen that link.

Since you sound like a sensitive guy, my recommendation to you is that you and your team member should have an open and frank discussion on what is expected in the performance arena.

You might be surprised at the result.

Semper Fidelis-

I wish I had some good advi... (Below threshold)

I wish I had some good advice for you.

I guess I'd advise that you contact HR at corporate, and talk to someone there about the situation, couching it in terms of what you *feel* about what has been going on. Let your boss know that that's what you intend, that you aren't going to say anything negative about him, and you're going to do this thing for the team, but it's important that you get a chance to air how it looks from your perspective.

As for the pattern of absences, I think you should tell your boss that you trust him to do the right thing. Goldbricking shouldn't go rewarded any more than going above and beyond should go unrewarded. Everywhere it's countenanced, it naturally leads to poor morale. Compassion is a good thing, but like every other human resource, it is a finite commodity that needs to be conserved and bestowed not where it is most requested or even demanded, but where it is most deserved.

Mr. Collins,I thin... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Collins,

I think you are onto something there. If you need a referee...er, intermediary; then by all means: use all the tools that are available to you.

Semper Fidelis-

Don't worry. She won't be b... (Below threshold)
Locomotive Breath:

Don't worry. She won't be back. She'll use up all of her maternity benefits and then bail. At that point the company is free to hire someone who can do the job.

In contrast, where I'm working now there's a woman engineer who had her third child a year ago and is also pursuing a master's degree through distance learning. She's one of the happiest people I've ever met and haven't seen the first example of whining or slacking.

BTW, the VBC is being a bunch of poopy heads for being too cheap to hire someone part time to pick up the slack. It's not like there are people looking for jobs or anything.

So much for men and women b... (Below threshold)

So much for men and women being equal.

What you need to do is look at both sides of the equation - and remove the pregnant woman from the equation. From your perspective she should be meaningless.

Your company has asked you to step up and cover some missing work hours. You get a benefit of having a little extra coin in your pocket. You need to weigh that benefit against the potential cost to you of not stepping up.

If the company is pleading poverty justifiably, consider that they may decide not only to not fill that vacancy but maybe reduce the staff even further. If it comes to that, do you want to be the person who didn't step up?

If there are better shifts/hours to be handed out or crap tasks that no one likes to be assigned, to you want to be the guy on the sh!t list?

Stop whining and get to work!

(All of the above may be discounted as frustration over my being unemployed for 16 months.)

Get the flu. Call in sick. ... (Below threshold)
MjM:

Get the flu. Call in sick. Often.

But really, bithcin' about creeping "closer and closer to 40 hours.", given the current employment situation, makes you sound rather pathetic, Jay. As one who is now working - crappy little short-term inane contract jobs - for less than half the salary made two years ago, consider your steady position it's own bonus.

On the bright side, the more Preggers is gone the less irritating she can be, yes? And it may come to pass that her position may come to be seen as uneccessary.

Let's just say that I perso... (Below threshold)
GaryL:

Let's just say that I personally don't think the pregnant woman is the point. Given the current state of the economy (and the associated uncertainty introduced by the current regime), the point is...

Businesses are not hiring (additional help or otherwise)... be glad you have a freaking job!!!

As to whether you are acting like a jerk or not, my dear Jay... re-read the last sentence above and I'll let you decide.

MjM, I gave the wrong vibe ... (Below threshold)

MjM, I gave the wrong vibe on the 40 hours thing. VBC is death on payroll, so we're all scheduled to less than that -- and still run over. What I meant was that they will run me as close as they can to 40 hours, and then cut it off to avoid letting me score the extra loot that would entail. And, even more importantly (as the actual dollars wouldn't be that much to VBC), the numbers would look bad -- and we are SO governed by the mindless bean-counters.

I'd take the overtime in a heartbeat -- especially as I could really use the money right now.

But I know that they'll move heaven and earth (including giving us "loaners" from other locations) and spend a hell of a lot more than I'd make in overtime -- as long as they can tuck the extra money under different line items on the budget. Pay me an extra hundred for overtime? Nah, better to pay another shlub 50 bucks (plus 100 in travel expenses). Because that makes the beancounters happy.

Being a grunt for VBC has ups and downs. This is one of the downs.

J.

Contacting HR is the best a... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

Contacting HR is the best advice so far. AND, you need to document every meeting. Write an e-mail to yourself is the easiest because it has date and time. Document the name of the person you spoke with at HR and their position, what your questions were, when they would get back with you with an answer. You need to let your immediate supervisor know that you contacted them and follow that conversation up with an e-mail to him or her. If they are put on notice that you are keeping everything open and "legal" this will definitely change their attitude toward you.

Pregnancy is the real crux ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Pregnancy is the real crux of the feminist problem. When whining about lack of advancement in the workplace, they never want to take into account placing their careers on hold to have a family. Starting/continuing a family is a noble choice as far as I'm concerned. Just stop whining that you can't have your cake and eat it too. Family requires sacrifice, as does not having children.

I understand. No one likes... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I understand. No one likes getting dumped on and it sucks to have to pick up extra hours your don't want.

I manage a dept that is open 24/7/365. I recently had a staff member diagnosed with cancer. She started Chemo last week and everyone has to chip in to pick up the slack. Now, it helps that she was on time, worked hard, and was always a significant contributor, but I think that if your coworker were not pregnant but instead were seriously ill you might feel different.

just saying.

Mr. Tea,If its DO,... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Tea,

If its DO, REA, ME (compensation) you are really after, then its time to promote yourself to the VBC bosses and demonstrate to them that you are really worth the extra scratch. Sounds like their mechanism to control costs are a numbers game. Ok, you got that down pat; now go destroy that model by presenting to the head cheese what you can do for them productivity and efficiently wise - i.e.- it will make VBC piles of money. Trust me, if you got your ducks in a row, and they got a lick of business sense; they'll take you up on your plan and run with it.

Semper Fidelis-

Depending on circumstances,... (Below threshold)
Joe Miller:

Depending on circumstances, it's an opportunity to have some fun. My last job--from which I was fired--sounds like yours. But, I had a place to live, rent-free, money in the bank, and no family obligations. Something at work went wrong (the computer system) and they needed someone to blame (me). So they changed my position in the company. The new position required overtime for which I was not paid extra because I was salaried. I put in my 8 hours and hit the door. My boss braced me for this and I got to brace him back. "You can have me for a solid 8 hours or not. I have no bills and money in the bank so you can't really hurt me. This is a simple business decision. Make It!"

It felt great. I got fired several weeks later when the big bosses in New York heard about it.

Does your aspect of VBC hav... (Below threshold)
Jay:

Does your aspect of VBC have the 3 strikes in 30 days policy that mine does? Professional curiosity. They are allowed to be selective if they want, but are less so since people abused it.

BAN HER!Oh wait...... (Below threshold)
MunDane68:

BAN HER!

Oh wait...dang, that's not the solution.

In my experience, people like that tend to take the time they get off for pregnancy and turn it into a vacation. When it is over, they don't want to come back. But they tend to manufacture a reason for HR to become involved in their quitting so they get some extra cash to support their lifestyle. Try not to get splashed as she detonates...

Looking after yourself vs. ... (Below threshold)
tomg51:

Looking after yourself vs. being yourself.
It never ends.

I would state that it sucks, and then do it anyway.

And make sure your performa... (Below threshold)
tomg51:

And make sure your performance is noted at your next review.

If it is not, you know what to do next time. I once was told that something I worked on wasn't really important, so it did not matter for may performance rating. I said I would never accept an assignment that wasn't important again.

You got a job? You lucky ba... (Below threshold)
Rich:

You got a job? You lucky bastard.(lots of monty python in that)

Realize that what ever deci... (Below threshold)
epador:

Realize that what ever decision is made is made by management. And look at the way they are handling it now.

That says it all. They know she's a problem child but don't want the HR hassle of dealing with her.

They know, from experience, you'll step up and do her work.

If you start bitching, you'll become a liability. They'll probably fire you when she comes back, maybe after finishing breast feeding, and that's the thanks you'll get - two weeks notice.

I say shut up and color if you want the job, or quit now and save yourself some frustration (assuming you can get another job).

I went through this, trying... (Below threshold)
J-Ho:

I went through this, trying to have a great and supportive attitude. After the pregnancy and an extended maternity leave (because we wanted to accommodate her, she decided she didn't want to come back to work after all. Which was great, but then meant two more months of trying to replace her and get that person up to speed.

I left a job recently because I am a "helpy-help" and I was miserable trying to be the ace in the place. Remember, you only have one life to live. That's it. Be happy (well..."content") or find something else to do.

Indicative and ins... (Below threshold)
ron:

Indicative and insensitive. If you do this right your lot could be bettered. Do it wrong and your lot could be worse...
Fate hath sent thee a thorn.......

I have been there. by the judgement of all around me I have always done it wrong. Yet I have succeeded in being me and though judged a mega failure yet still I retain the most important part that makes me, me.

The last career job I had my boss and owner told me I had to lie to the customers. Without using the words I told him to F-off. I told him I was only going to tell them how their stuff worked no matter what he wanted...I never want to work for someone who wants liars to work for them.
The pay was good to very good but the emotional trauma this boss put on me was not worth the job. I recused myself from the meeting and went my way. And I shant ever give the man a recommendation.
He was a multimillionaire when I left.

Mr. Miller,Perhaps... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Miller,

Perhaps backing management into a corner can be fun. It sounds like you got exactly the results you wanted. Ok, fine. But the real art to negotiations is to leave them an out...and to make it so subtle, that it will appear (at least to them) that they came up with the solution on their own.

It makes them look good; and they get the credit. That's OK too. Isn't knowing you got your or your organization's needs met too - good enough? Of course it is.

In my previous life I could back the LT or the Colonel into corners in a heartbeat...It was my job after all, to keep them from doing dumb things. But unless you wanted to fall on your sword (or get crushed)...you had to be smart about it, and give them an escape hatch.

Life is not fair, and sometimes all you can do is your best... so, if you coach your boss wisely and with sage advice...if he or she is smart, the light bulb will come on an they'll run with it. If your advice is not prudent, reasonable, and smart -then expect to get beat over the head with it. Managing bosses is truly an art.

Semper Fidelis-

Jay,Talk to your b... (Below threshold)
MC Hammer:

Jay,

Talk to your boss and get them to hire a temp to fill that position for the time she is out. My company is doing that for my pregnant colleague. It is no picnic training a temp for 2 weeks but it does help relieve the extra workload during a busy season for my company.

U R whining too m... (Below threshold)
Edward A. Schuster:


U R whining too much. Find the father and
kick the crap out of him.

Brucepall--I've ac... (Below threshold)
Joe Miller:

Brucepall--

I've actually learned from my experiences. Now I manage several people. My job is to make it easier for them to do their jobs. Part of that is insulating them from the decisions that get made above them. I respect them and, I think, they respect me. I've been here 23 years.

I had to get out of the old job. Too many egotistical idiots in the financial publishing industry.

1. Ask for the requirement... (Below threshold)
Matt:

1. Ask for the requirement to pick up the slack in writing. Put it in diplomatic terms along the line of not wanting to forget something.
2. Get required timelines and due dates for preggers work you will likely pick up. You need to know what is what, not filtered through her.
3. Make sure you document every bit of preggers work that you do or heavily assist with.
4. You do not want anyone to assume that preggers is actually pulling her load during this, unless she actually is.
5. Feign cheerfulness, never get caught grumbling about having to cover for the pregnant chic etc. Complaints about preggers status, lack of ability to complete mission etc will only be seen as not being supportive of company EO policy etc and held against you.

Your payback will come down... (Below threshold)
glenn:

Your payback will come down the road when you are my age and you shave every morning. You'll be looking in the mirror at someone who did their job, all of it, every day. It's not about her, it's about you.

"Find the father and kick t... (Below threshold)
Maggie Mama:

"Find the father and kick the crap out of him."

LOL. Darn, why didn't I come up with that great solution?

1) "Break break - Shovel 6 ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

1) "Break break - Shovel 6 this is Baker 3, get to the rally point".

2) "Baker 3 this is Shovel 6, I've got eight Echo Papa Wiskies" (Enemy Prisoners of War)

1) "Shovel 6 - they better not be there when you arrive" (WTF?)

2) "Baker 3 - you ordering me to kill em?" (What pressure is the LT under? So I put him on the spot. Depending on what he says, perhaps my radio is fixing to malfunction).

1) "Shovel 6 - Do the best you can." (That's more like it!).

2) "Baker 3 - Shovel 6 - Wilco - Out." (Wilco = will comply)

Sure be yourself, and do the right thing. I'd follow ANY order, as long as it wasn't illegal or immoral.

Semper Fidelis -

J.T.,First,... (Below threshold)

J.T.,

First, thank the 95th Congress and Jimmuh Carter for giving us the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 which grants some of those protections to women. That was a 'camel's nose under the tent' moment.

Second, thank Bill Clinton for the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. That was a 'camel taking a dump in the middle of the tent' moment.

Third, thank the EEOC for making sure your boss is a big impotent weenie scared of lawsuits from whiney-assed employees and retribution from corporate suits, because, after all, employees have zero responsibility to their employer.

Thank you, nanny state.

I've work for a big company (as opposed to a VBC) and I've been self-employed. I've hired and fired more than a few people.

There are three kinds of people I won't hire:

1) people with tattoos and/or piercings. If they'll mutilate their own body that way, it draws into question their judgment about all else.

2) smokers - for the same reason listed above.

3) married women of child bearing age, for the same frustrating reasons J.T. lists in his post.

I once hired and subsequently fired a single woman who got pregnant. She made no secret of quitting and trying to draw unemployment once her child was born.

She tried to sue me, but later withdrew that frivolity in arbitration once it was pointed out that there is legal precedent for an employer to have a reasonable expectation that a married woman will have babies, and legal precedent for an employer to have a reasonable expectation that a single woman will not have babies (talk about defense of marriage!).

But, I digress.

Your problem is two fold, J.T.

The first is you: "I've been pulling extra shifts to cover for her..." If she's jerk at work, why? Let her take the consequences of her own actions. If she makes your boss's department look bad, she will get the boot. As it is now, she's under the nanny state's pregnant umbrella and you suffer.

The second is what I said above; your boss is a big impotent weenie for letting it get this far out of hand, and this situation has you by the short hairs. Thank you, boss.

Are you being a jerk in all this? Maybe a little, but it is partly your own doing, and worse - anything short of exemplary performance only hurts your cause even further.

When there' a fork in the road, take it. Either, tough it out or go start your own business, be your own boss and hire n fire whom you like (subject to nanny state over sight, of course. And law suits).

JT, I have been in manageme... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, I have been in management for many years. What some forget is when management gets together to decide FTE's and their hours, it is always lean to start with. In other words, being fully staffed doesn't necessarily mean work load will ease. So, if your boss knows this person is going to be missing a lot of work, etc., it is on him/her to put a temp in to pick up the slack. I have an idea that your boss is under a bonus system that rewards lean and extra lean savings. So, not only is the bitchy pregnant women abusing you, so is your boss. I would explain to your boss that it has already been determined by corporate that two people need to work your particular task so it is unreasonable to expect you to fill that gap on an ongoing basis and expect it to be done correctly. Never get in a pissing contest with the boss though, you will lose, but attack it pragmatically on his/her level. ww

"So the real question here ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"So the real question here is -- how much of a jerk am I being in this?"

You're not. You're being taken advantage of, period. When someone in "upper management" takes on added duties - the hourly rate goes up "They are assuming more duties!". When a worker takes up the slack it's called "taking one for the team". Bullshit!

Pregnant women. Sore spot. Got into it with the city's HR guru on one occasion. I lost. Had a female officer graduate the academy. She moved on to her 4 month field training - training which can be extended if needed. They have a manual to be completed before they go out on their own. They receive daily evaluations / weekly summary indicating areas of demonstrated competence in field duties, and areas needing improvement AS WELL AS FAILURE TO IMPROVE.

Well Missy got herself PG two months into her field training. Since her pregnancy was "difficult", her doctor sent a letter saying she needed to be taken out of the field and given a desk job. I wrote a memo to HR, stating that her probationary period would be extended - she hadn't completed her Field Manual - and wasn't going to complete it any time soon. HR went off the rails, as I was being "discriminatory"? HUH?

Like I said, I lost. Missy completed probation behind a desk - with no certification in demonstrated competency in field duties. When I retired she was still behind a desk, thanks to numerous doctor's notes about her "frail" condition. Since she was no longer "probationary" the department could not fire her. Wonderful how that works out.

JT-Having w... (Below threshold)
The Other Jay:


JT-

Having worked for a looonnng time for HFC, I can tell you with confidence that you occupy the middle of the bell curve with your current experience.

To improve your place on the bell curve, your "co-worker" will need to "have some problems" necessitating Short-Term Disability, followed by Maternity Leave. This will keep her out of the workplace - but paid - for the next nine months at least.

In some ways, that's actually better, because it removes the unpredictability of scheduling, coverage, etc. from the equation. You'll KNOW that she's not going to show up and spend the morning walking back and forth to the bathroom and breakroom. The STD arrangement also prevents you from having to listen to the complaints of weight gain, bloating, back problems, hemorrhoids, and unpredictable sex drive.

You're not close, but you may want to drop some subtle hints about other people "in her delicate condition" who had to use STD to protect the priceless life within her.

Yes, that's a lot of spreadable growth enabler. It also gets Her Hormonal Majesty out of your hair for the immediate future.

All the people who said to ... (Below threshold)
galoob:

All the people who said to bitch to HR, confront her or the boss about performance and the unfairness of the situation are wrong.

You will never win a pissing contest with a scheming pregnant chick. Remember, when she comes back she will want all of the promotions and step increases she would have had, had she stayed.

You have two choices:

1. stay, work hard and use your increased indispensability to raise your status, shut your mouth, suck it up and put your trust in your managers.

2. start an aggressive job hunt, get hired elsewhere and leave with a final fanfare.

Your choice depends on things like how trustworthy your managers are, which nobody here can judge.

Mr. Tea,Putting th... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Tea,

Putting this out there the way you did IS pretty smart. Just like my Lance Corporal peers (back in the day), they were twice removed from my individual situation and could come up with some pretty darn good resolutions and advice.

Some serious life experiences have come out on this thread...and I'm sure you read them all, and can find something which you can, in turn, apply to your situation.

Best advice in life is free (make of it what you will).
My experiences - perhaps not so much. So be it.

Semper Fidelis -

The big thing here is: Trad... (Below threshold)
squidgrunt:

The big thing here is: Trade. You are trading your experience, time, abilities and knowledge (collectively described as service) for money. This happens every pay period. Your company is willing to give you more money in exchange for more of your time. If you are willing to accept this trade agreement then do it with honor and integrity. If you feel that you are not being compensated fully for your extra service then you can try to negotiate. Keep in mind the one commodity that you both use to negotiate is leverage. Who has more of it? I am not sure of the local job market where you are at, but I would guess that your employer has more leverage at the moment. They are not asking you to do more work without compensation. The age old adage "it is just business" applies. you may want to approach this with a long tem outlook. If this person is pregnant and missing time before the baby arrives, the "soft" schedule will not change once the baby arrives. Let your management know that you will be re-evaluating this arrangement once the pregnancy is over and this person is back from maternity leave and is expected to continue with her full work schedule. If this proves not to be the case (as I suspect will be the case, a leopard can't change their spots so to speak) you will have more leverage within this VBC. In order for you to obtain this leverage in the future you will need to make sure that other managers, say from HR, are aware of your increased time and effort during your increased workload (documentation is yoru friend) and the expectation from you to re-evaluate your past accomplishments with the outlook of increased compensation.

Or just "bitch a little, and get the crap done as usual" and then give us Wizbang addicted folks great stories from time to time.

Jay, your situation doesn't... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:

Jay, your situation doesn't seem fair, which seems to be your chief complaint, but life isn't fair.

If your job is worth keeping, then you will have to find a way to resolve your issues with your co-worker.

Sometimes all that you can do is to respond to her in a calm, professional manner.

Your employer may not reward you for doing so, but sometimes a demonstration of maturity on your part is its own reward.

You are not being a jerk!<b... (Below threshold)
inge:

You are not being a jerk!
What I'm about to say may rub some the wrong way, but here it is: Being european (german) being pregnant at the workplace is a reason to be substituted by others to pick up the slack. I worked during my pregnancy until the day ob labor; it is normal there. One thing I have beef with is many american women want to be equal in pay, promotion etc., but yet also have special privileges such as this collegue of yours, or breastfeeding, whatever it may be. To me, it's hypocracy, either you want to be equal, and pull equal load, or you're not.

With all due respect to eve... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

With all due respect to everyone here, I don't think Jay was looking for advice on how to handle the situation so much as asking if he was unreasonable or a jerk for feeling the way he does. I'm confident Jay will handle the situation appropriately. It's my opinion that unless her health is adversely impacted by being pregnant then his feelings are justified from what he's told us.

No time to read comments ab... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

No time to read comments above, but my take: your relationship with your employer is strictly cash and carry. No credit.

Never do anything in the hopes of a reward later, because later will never come. If they want X, they give Y - on the spot. Otherwise, they pound sand. (Don't say that, of course; just don't do anything until Y is forthcoming.)

Look at this way: every day you should be prepared to be fired and not be pissed off that they owe you something. At 5 pm everyday, the accounts should be square.

Reciprocity is the key. Companies are not loyal to employees, employees should not be loyal to companies (other than duty of loyalty in performance, i.e., not selling out the company, as distinct from throwing yourself on grenades).

If you become inconvenient to your employer, he'll shitcan you in a heartbeat. Mirror that perspective at all times.

My $0.02.

Think about it as her produ... (Below threshold)
jim2:

Think about it as her producing another taxpayer to support your retirement.

In the office in which I wo... (Below threshold)
LissaKay:

In the office in which I work, also for a VBC, but a smallish location with about 30 employees, we have had to accommodate various employees as they each deal with aspects of Real Life(tm). We've had a father dealing with his son's kidney cancer, a mom who's daughter has leukemia. My dad's illness and death, my mother's illnesses, my (adult) children's crises, my stepson's 5 week adventure in the trauma ICU. My boss is out this whole week due to his father's death. Our manager had 6 deaths in the family in a single month. Another fellow's grandson was born with hydrocephaly. The youngest guy has a young family - sick babies, kindergarten parents' day, many doctor appointments. But here we work as a team, and knowing that, at some point, we will all need time away to take care of family and personal business, we just cover for each other.

Jay, it sounds more like you are just irritated with this woman in general because of her attitude and past work habits, and the impending situation that will require even more from you has you unhappy. That pregnancy is such a sacred cow makes it that much worse - you don't dare get upset with her, she's in a delicate condition!

I understand, Jay ... no advice, but I do understand. I pray that you can find the grace to carry on, and remain happily in service to your employer and colleagues.

I don't mean to sound cold-... (Below threshold)
Madalyn:

I don't mean to sound cold-hearted, but this woman should not get special treatment because she is pregnant. It was her choice to work there, and probably her choice to have a baby. Suck it up woman. Do your fair share and don't expect other people to do it for you. They all have their jobs to do. If management wants her to let up on some of the responsibilities, let them hire a part-timer to help out. It is not the responsibility of co-workers to do their jobs, then have to do someone elses' too.
Just my opinion.

With the only reward bei... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

With the only reward being the extra pay for the extra hours -- I know that any "brownie points" will be essentially worthless....taken for granted and had more crap sloughed off on me for it.

Re-negotiate the compensation for the added work, for sure. Make your case with examples of where you've stepped up and gone above and beyond your job description; then present how you'll be doing even more so now. Worst case? Your boss says there's no money for it, but in a subtle yet succinct way you get the point across that you're unsatisfied with your workload and compensation. At best, you get the 3% raise you're asking for. (That's right, you're going in asking for 3%, but be willing to go down 2%. If you get the 2%, plus the 1% you got earlier this year, you get a 3% for the year. ;)

Money won't make you happy, of course, but it takes the sting out.

Good luck!

I always like to play a mea... (Below threshold)
Howie:

I always like to play a mean joke on someone. Give her an Upper Decker. If you ever get a chance to go to her house (I.e. Baby Shower), take a crap in the upper part of her toilet that holds the water. It will never go away. It may not make you work less, but you can smile everytime you see her.

You're not being a jerk at ... (Below threshold)
Patty:

You're not being a jerk at all. I would resent her as well -- first, she's a slacker and now you are seriously inconvenienced because she's pregnant...but don't obsess over it. It's just one of those things.

Do obsess over obtaining more satisfaction in your job - or another job - so you build a happy job future.

IT'S a JOB, your not... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

IT'S a JOB, your not supposed to be happy!! .....and some people can be a pain in the ass...that's life.
The pregnant thing throws a little monkey wrench into how you would normally deal with this crap, but the bottom line is...walk it off, get through it.
Once she goes on leave have a sit down with the manager, get crap off your mind and see if things can be made better.
.................................
or start drinking heavily....

Jay, not a jerk, but realis... (Below threshold)
Russ:

Jay, not a jerk, but realistic. Sure, for company "harmony" you and others must now pick up her slack. I'd recommend, though, that somehow, you get the boss to document what they expect her RESULTS and PRODUCTION to be, NOT her effort. By making sure she is SOLELY responsible for something, anything, you can rest peacefully knowing that you've done what you need to do. Good luck.

Mr. Peter F,I like... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Peter F,

I like your raise idea.

Money can't buy you LUV or happiness...

But it sure can improve your bargaining position.

Semper Fidelis-

Hi Jay,Nope, not a j... (Below threshold)
jdgjtr:

Hi Jay,
Nope, not a jerk. You are being screwed without being kissed. I had five long years of a job, working weird hours and pulling extra shifts because of female co-workers and their problems. One in particular was extremely good at manipulating the female boss. My solution: put up with it for the short term, let them pay for my degree, then get the hell out. Now they have a completely different crew working there two years later. Can't hold on to people, no one can maintain the equipment and the boss has to work extra unpaid hours to cover the slack. She is salaried and the bean counters won't hire PRN (temps).
PBH.

Either you are loyal to you... (Below threshold)

Either you are loyal to your employer or you are not. If you are loyal, then you need to know where your loyalty boundaries are. I would not imagine you are being a jerk in the least. You are just reviewing your trade with your employer. You give time, they give you income. It should not have anything at all to do with the coworker because she is not the one you are helping. She does not pay you, she has no contract with you, nor you her.

So in conclusion, ignore the fact that she is the one you are covering, because your not covering for her, you are really covering for a worthless boss who picked your coworkers poorly. Determine if the new work load is worth the reward and make choices accordingly. Remember, unemployment is high, and chances for getting a good job out there are slim.

Work the extra hours and sa... (Below threshold)
Mrs. Right:

Work the extra hours and save the money you make from the extra time, or invest it in gold for the coming economic collapse. I don't think you sound like a jerk at all, you just don't seem to like change. I'm right there with you - I don't like it much, either. However, change is inevitable.

Jay, I gave the... (Below threshold)
MjM:

Jay,

I gave the wrong vibe on the 40 hours thing.

Well, the vibrator is still runnin' cuz I am not understanding.

You say you'd take OT in "a heart beat" yet appear to be complaining of having to work up to 40 hours. This makes no sense to me unless your hourly wage is so low that after-tax pay for hours 33 to 40 just isn't worth it for some reason - like a very long commute or your need to run this blog.

In two days my latest crummy short-term contract gig - also w/ a VBC (check the IP) - is over, with nothing on the horizon but a big fat mortgage staring back at me.

Alls I'm sayin' is, I'll trade ya.

btw, no you are not being a jerk.

Not being a jerk.Yes... (Below threshold)
tyree:

Not being a jerk.
Yes, it is a good time to ask for a raise. When she comes back, schedule a vacation, you will be earning it. And, the best advice I saw up above written by Bob that reads, "It isn't a question of your relationship with your female co-worker; it's your relationship with your employer that counts. ". Keep them happy.




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