Saturday, April 29, 2006

In a pickle

A few weeks back, my boss announced he would be conducting evaluations with all the staff. He called them 'half yearly' evaluations, which got a snicker out of the veterans at work, since the last one I remember happened two years ago. I only worried about it briefly, because I figured he wouldn't get around to actually doing them for months. I figured wrong. I'm slated to see him next week.

The timing doesn't suit me all too well, but I didn't have an excuse handy to stall. My next doctors appointment is still a full week away, and only then will I get a better idea of how many monitoring appointments there might be during the upcoming cycles and if they'll be during work hours or not.

Basically, I'm wondering if this is the time to come out of the closet at work. Entirely out, a little or not at all?
A couple of scenario's are churning in my head.

* I don't say anything, no-one notices that some of my absences are non-work related, even though it says 'private appointment' in my electronic diary, in stead of work-related meetings etc. Ask me no questions, tell you no lies. Just to be clear, I'm not supposed to use vacation time for medical appointments, it counts as sick leave.
This is how it has been up to now. When someone did ask (rarely), I fobbed them off by saying 'doctors appointment, nothing serious, always a different ailment, blah blah,..' Of course, things are going to get much more involved from now on. One appointment per cycle isn't going to cut it, I assume.

* I don't say anything, someone does notice the rather frequent 'private appointments' and starts to think up all sorts of things. Like:
- I'm absconding to do shopping (yeah right, wardrobe stays drab as ever)
- I'm absconding to go to interviews for a new job
- I'm absconding to see a doctor for a dreadful illness
- all of the above
This would be very bad.

* I tell my boss I will be having a number of doctor's appointments in the upcoming months. I keep quiet regarding the reason, but reassure him he doesn't have to worry, "not life-threatening, chronic illness, treatment to ensure high quality of my life, blah blah blah".

* I tell my boss I'm 'unvoluntarily childless' and seeking treatment to change that. I ask that he respects my privacy, meaning that he doesn't tell a certain Co-worker with whom he shares more than just the office (all above board, nothing sordid, but still a delicate situation at times).

I'm strongly leaning towards scenario three. I have many reasons for not wanting to come out completely.
Though I don't think my boss would violate confidentiality willingly, I do think it might slip out. Especially if said Co-worker, his partner, starts asking him questions. Just my luck that she would be the first who might notice something is up, as she's in charge the day-to-day planning. So why not bring her in to the loop and swear her to confidence? Well, she a well-meaning person, but couldn't keep a secret if her life depended on it.
The last thing I want is to be the topic of hushed conversation at work. I don't want to spend my time educating my colleagues. I don't want to dodge thinly-veiled questions about how the treatment is going.
And I don't want to face the gloating smirk on the face of The Moron(R) when he finds there is finally something at which he excels, after all he is a CHOSEN one, a father not once but twice over. I'm sure he'd be perfectly happy to remind me that they had to try 6 months for #2.

I've been trying very hard to not think about IF when I step into my office. Some days are better than others and often I feel I'm just keeping up appearances. If word gets out, it will only be harder.
The risk of scenario three is that my boss starts guessing what horrible affliction I could have, and draws the wrong conclusions. I don't think IF will spring to mind. I do know - from said Co-worker - that he knows all too well what a ravishing grip illness can have on a person's life (a relative of his). You see where I get the idea that she doesn't know when to stop sharing.
Perhaps I should have more faith in my boss, especially because he has experience with such matters. But once told, there is no untelling, and I know some of you have regretted telling some person or other. It's a gamble either way.

EJW, over at Wiscadoo, is also wondering what to tell her new boss.

Does this post count as one weird thing about me? I was tagged, to my surprise, for the 6 weird facts meme by Squarepeg.
Still thinking about 5 others.

As far as the rest cycle is concerned, it's going well enough. No temping or cm-checking. I'm sampling my way through our bar. I'm still addicted to blogreading. I'm not succeeding very well in forgetting IF and thinking of work first. Oh well.

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At 30 April, 2006 03:41, Blogger Bronwyn said...

I think option #3 sounds very reasonable. If you had allergies or were a diabetic it would be perfectly reasonable for you to seek regular treatment without causing a major kerfuffle. I don't think that your boss needs to know the intimate details of your family planning. If it only means missing a couple of hours once a month, couldn't you make it up by working late a couple of evenings? I hope you find a solution that you can live with that doesn't cause you any undue stress at the office. Good luck!

At 30 April, 2006 15:14, Blogger Mary Ellen and Steve said...

I think that scenario 3 is a good one. I decided to tell my bosses about treatment, and it has sort of turned into a nightmare for me. They were very supportive. However, they have been taking away hours and not giving me good cases to work on in the event that I might get pregnant. Not only is it illegal, it's also infuriating. I hope that everything works out for you!! Good luck!!

At 30 April, 2006 15:38, Blogger Thalia said...

Personally, I tell people, I just find that easier, but I think my attitude is a bit wierd compared to american bloggers, so you have to do whatever makes you most comfortable.

At 30 April, 2006 17:51, Blogger InDueTime said...

Lut, do what you think is best for you. I think I would tell in my case but I also work for doctors sooo... Keep us updated on what you decide. Hugs my friend!

At 30 April, 2006 20:56, Blogger Ladybug Ann said...

Lut, I wouldn't bring anything up at the evaluation appointment. But once you do know how many times you are going to be late coming into the office etc, tell your boss scenario 3. I used that same one when I took a week off after lap surgery. My boss was concerned that (1) I mentioned surgery (2) despite all my protestations that it was non-life threatening, he wondered if I was donwplaying my own fears. Anyhow, after a couple of weeks of that, I had to fess up and told him everything. He was actually starting to wonder if I was really sick.

At 30 April, 2006 21:44, Blogger Mellie said...

While I haven't actually SPECIFICALLY told my boss that I'm going through IVF, I'm pretty sure he knows exactly what's up. I'm lucky (I guess) in that my work hours are 10am - 6pm, so my monitoring appointsment don't interfere at all with work. But I bet you'd feel better saying SOMETHING rather than NOTHING. Otherwise you'll imagine that they're making your absence into a bigger deal than they really are.

At 01 May, 2006 10:19, Anonymous llama said...

Hang in there Lut. It's a tough one and you have to work out what you are comfortable with them knowing. That said its often hard in the workplace to keep your secrets when others are convinced they are entitled to know what's going on in your life. When we were having the initial tests done I had to leave the office for a couple of specialist's appointments, a blood test and the HyCoSy. I only told my work that I was seeing a specialist and having tests done, nothing specific. There were only 5 other employees and they were all close friends so they talked about me when I was out of the office. I found out later that they were all convinced it was cancer. I don't really know what my point is here - I guess maybe that some co-workers might choose to discuss your "situation" whether they know the truth or not.

At 01 May, 2006 23:29, Blogger Just another Jenny said...

I like option 3 as well. That was my plan but when my boss seemed very empathetic/worried, I went for option 4 and it went well. Lying to everybody else has been difficult though. It is amazing how nosey people can be. I missed 8 days of work and was late 3 - that's hard to find a lie for. Kidney Infection was my lie of choice - it lasts for weeks, causes backpain (re. walking funny) and is very painful so nobody should question time off. If you do use that, google symptoms-treatment. People are BEYOND nosey!
Good Luck!

At 02 May, 2006 12:06, Blogger Sandy said...

Having been a boss who has had coworkers who were undergoing medical treatments, I preferred to be given the heads up that time away from the office was going to be required. I don't know about where you are, but where I am, we can't ask why the time is needed. If the time is due to the person (vacation, sick or otherwise) and could be documented medically if needed (infantile...but a note from your doctor saying you were attending an appointment), that's all we have the right to know. It helped me to know that certain employees were going to need time away, and they handled it very appropriately - much like your option 3 "time away for appointments; will do my best to make them not interfere fully with the day; nothing serious; etc etc".

Good luck...let us know which route you choose!

At 02 May, 2006 13:22, Blogger Chee Chee said...

I didn't say anything at all in my office. Our clinic opens for monitoring at 7am, any other appts. in the middle of the workday, such as IUI, I just mention to our admin. that I have a doctor's appt. Our office has a pretty informal setting.

However, given the scheduling issues, sick vs. paid leave, maybe option #3 makes the most sense for you.

At 02 May, 2006 14:40, Blogger Pamplemousse said...

I did not tell until I started IVF as the appts were just too numerous and the time out required meant that I could have paid leave from my employer. Nice perk but I think I would rather have the privacy.

At 02 May, 2006 16:45, Blogger Liz said...

If you must tell I would go with option #3. I know it's hard since you want to maintain your privacy but also have concerns about taking time off and what they are thinking. Good luck.

At 02 May, 2006 22:56, Blogger candy said...

I say option 3. I am in the same boat as mary ellen and steve. Told my boss what was going on and he was a complete jerk. Then did not give me a promotion when I deserved it, ended up having to jobshare, you know, in case one of us was "out for a while" the other could pick up slack. Hmm... wonder why no one else in the office was jobsharing??? I left in December to start my own business. Sorry. Still a little bitter. Go with 3. The whole truth is no good.

At 03 May, 2006 12:34, Blogger Meg said...

Lut - You know I've talked about how I feel about these things. I have told my employer - well, I told the most trusted boss and told her to tell people, anyway. I just didn't want anyone to think I was "wagging" work. But do what is right for you. Hope you got it sorted out. :)


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