Work Life Balance is a policy that was put in place to make working conditions more amenable to both employers and employees. However it appears that there are so many loop holes that many of us have to fight for that balance. That’s a fight that I’m ready to have.
Why should I have to choose between being a good employee and a good mother, supportive wife, and respectful daughter? I have the ability, technology and work ethic to do both. My last three (3) performance appraisals confirm it. In fact, employees who telework ”
take less time off and feel more fulfilled with their job by an overwhelming 67%”
according to the most recent survey (2012). When your professional and personal life are in harmony, life is sweeter. The sweetest parts of my life are being good at what I do and having time for my family and my children.
Spending time with my children is important to them, therefore it is important to me. My commute to and from work is 3-4 hours per day. Think about it. That’s 15-20 hours per week that I don’t get to see my children, visit their schools, volunteer in my community. I’m tired most of the time and extremely limited in what I can do with and for my family, my community, myself. Since I started this job, the commute has increased as more people, like me, are forced to accept positions further from home.
After my first year, I was told that I could not telework but an alternative work schedule would be approved. So I’m forced to continue to work and take more leave than required by my co-workers for doctor’s appointments, teachers conferences , etc because I live so far away. Now there are others in my unit who started working at the same time as me who live further but have a flex day and a telework day/s. They’ve had this arrangement for over a year prior to the new contract being signed.
Since my department offers the option to telework, my position is 100% telework eligible, and I have proven that I am able to telework when we tested telework capabilities, there is no reason for me not to be granted at least the minimum telework available per the new contract which is one day per work week. My work can be done from an alternate work site. I am even willing to work from another government building closer to my home which is another option for teleworkers.
However, after submitting that request, I am told that I can only telework one day per pay period. That is less than our employment contract allows. Why should I accept less when I’ve proven myself and received favorable ratings throughout my tenure with this company? Why should I accept less when the contract calls for which is one day per week?
I tried reasoning with my supervisor and being upfront about my need and she threw it right back in my face. She tells me that I agreed to this position and I knew where the job was located. I countered with the fact that the position was listed as telework eligible and human resources assured me that the position was a telework position. My supervisor insists that my performance is not the reason for the denial, but she won’t put the denial in writing. She wants me to resubmit but I submitted what was acceptable to me the first time. I would only be resubmitting what I provided the first time.
As I’m sure this narrative indicates, I am frustrated. I’ve waited 2 years in a job that I enjoy, but I am waiting for the one benefit that means the most to me. I have to wonder if I should work on a team that prefers for me to come to work and do little to nothing all the while being unfulfilled. More tenured staff have told me just come to work when you can get here. Do I want to work for people who prefer presence over performance? I’m not just fighting for the telework option. Maybe, just maybe, I’m fighting for the need for fulfilling work, for my work to mean more than me being present and accounted for. Is that all that you think I’m worth? Guess what, I’m worth so much more and if my supervisor doesn’t recognize that than it’s not just her loss, it’s the department’s loss.
Today, I’m willing, able and ready to fight for my worth, for my rights and for my life.