Advice plz: How to respond to this...

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Sasha

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Advice plz: How to respond to this...
« on: October 14, 2019, 11:35:25 AM »
I work part time in a cafe. No one has a contract, everyone is ‘self-employed’. It is a stop gap for me but I have been enjoying it, and felt very friendly with the staff, including the manager, who is also not on a contract and works on the same terms as us.

Recently we have been discussing deeper things and a couple of weeks I spent the best part of one of my days off responding to texts from the manager as she was worried about a the well-being of a member of staff. Things at work had felt safe and caring, with all staff, and I have never felt that any staff member wouldn’t help another out or would complain if someone was sick and they had to cover. I know I wouldn’t!

This week I’ve had one of my worst CPTSD times in a while, and have been in and out of EF’s that have lasted days, with migraines, dissociation and disorientation. I cancelled work last Thursday, early in the morning, and the manager said she could cover. Yesterday I was due to go in and was trying to get ready however I was in the midst of a flashback, was crying, could barely see and operate let alone think clearly. My partner said I shouldn’t go in, and not to worry as my health takes priority and he called the manager and told her I was sick.

Later in the evening, after a lot of rest, I felt better and I sent a text to explain. This is the text I sent, and then this morning I got the response that follows:

From me:
“Hey [manager name], I'm sorry about today. I hope it was manageable and sorry for the inconvenience caused. I don't know how much to say but I have PTSD. It doesn't flare up too often but when it does it really kicks the * out of me. Has been going on all week, have had to cancel a lot of other work not just [cafe name], and today I was preparing to come in, but was in such a bad way that my partner thought it best I stay home and he called you. Hope you can understand, and hopefully I'll be a lot better tomorrow and in time for Wednesday, as resting today has certainly helped. Sorry again, and I hope you're okay as understand you had a lot going on yourself last week. Best, x”

Reply from the manager:
“I do understand, but really it was too late to be calling in, that decision needed to have been made before then (and on Thursday too). I was meant to be finishing early and had made plans. So [staff name] has to cover short notice again, and I was late with what I was meant to be doing. Everyone gets ill and has stuff going on, I get that. But calling in sick needs to be done with as much notice as possible when we're such a small team and you're relied on to be here so we can be open
You're meant to be working Thursday, not Wednesday, are you able to do that?”

I feel a lot of things about this response, and I am unsure of what to do next. Here are some of the emotions and feelings I can place:

• Anger with myself that I have disclosed information about having a serious condition to someone who seems to have shown very little empathy or understanding.

• Upset at being spoken to like this after I have sent a follow up text to apologise and explain. I am a manager myself in my other part time job and I would NEVER speak to a staff member in this way. Ever!

• Anger that managers speak to staff like this so regularly. I cannot stand it and I won’t stay in a workplace where the consideration I extend to others is not shown to me.

• Worried as I feel I can’t work here anymore, and need to find new work. Again.

• Worried that I have told this person private information and I do not feel like I can trust this person to respect me personally now, due to their reaction, which I find aggressive and quite cold.

• Wary that this person may have little actual control over their staff and their own role due to lack of contracts, and therefore this way of behaving maybe an attempt to control their surroundings. I don’t like feeling controlled.

• Disbelief at the level of inconvenience that the manager has described. I know that sickness and cancellation causes issues however I also know that the staff member who covered has been keen for more hours and I am so sure that if that staff member knew that I was sick they would not be upset to cancel.

• Worried to go in to work again. Following a heavy week I don’t want to be spoken to or treated like this.

It’s been over over two hours since I read the reply. I have crafted a few responses but decided to delete them and sit on it, as they are way too empathetic and understanding, and apologetic. I realised I felt anxious upset and then I decided to get in touch with my feelings and write to you guys here.

Mainly right now I feel like I want to text her back asking her to consider her tone and the way she is speaking to me. I actually feel quite furious at this way of being treated after such a disclosure, and I feel like I want to alert her to her position of responsibility. That probably won’t work, or may create more drama, as she is clearly already stressed.

In the mean time I feel like I should apply for new jobs where I could be safer working in jobs where sickness policy is clear and where there is a work culture of empathy and progressive practice around mental health.

After such a horrible week this really is a foul thing to experience. I just wish people would think more and be kinder, especially when it is needed most. I don’t want to have to defend myself, or take someone’s scolding tone on top of dealing with everything else. It makes me feel so angry and upset to have to deal with this right now.

Any advice welcome! Thank you in advance.

Best, Sasha x
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 12:37:41 PM by Sasha »

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Gromit

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Re: Advice plz: How to respond to this...
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2019, 07:51:45 PM »
Hey Sasha

Personally, I would keep any response simple, 'yes, I will be there Thursday' it is not possible to accurately gauge someone's tone in a text.

I believe, in a cafe, customer safety is a priority, therefore, imagine if you had had food poisoning? No matter how short the notice, you would not be required to work there for 24 hours! At the end of the day the manager has more responsibility than you, that is why they are manager, and, presumably, paid more. Perhaps they need to employ more staff.

As you have no contract it seems sensible to look for something that does but that does not mean leave immediately.

Your partner sounds supportive, that is great.

I hope this helps somewhat.

G





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Rainagain

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Re: Advice plz: How to respond to this...
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2019, 12:12:42 AM »
I agree with Gromit.

It seems to me that you tried to give a full explanation with background but the manager has swept that aside and just wants to know if you will be in work.

So, ok, if they arent interested just give them the facts they need.

Next time I wouldn't bother with any explanation, just text that you arent coming in due to illness and leave it at that.

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Jazzy

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Re: Advice plz: How to respond to this...
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2019, 12:41:48 AM »
Sasha, sorry to hear you have been having such a rough time, and the response you got. I wish things were different, but this is how the business world works. Its been studied, and its a known fact that the type of people drawn to management positions are the type of people that tend to have sociopathic tendencies.

I know its really hard, but it sounds like you have a nice thing at the cafe with no contracts or anything like that. I'd encourage you to stick with it if you can. Like the others said, in the future, I would only give bare minimum information. It would also be good if you could get a letter from a doctor explaining that you have a condition which will require time off.

I don't think it would be a good idea to tell your manager you're not happy with the response. In my experience, that's only going to make things work.

All the best, and I hope you feel better soon. Take care! :)

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Sasha

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Re: Advice plz: How to respond to this...
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2019, 09:18:05 PM »
Hi all, thanks.

I waited until yesterday evening to reply as felt quite anxious about it. Finally got round to simply saying, yes, I’ll be able to come in tomorrow.

Unfortunately she replied to say that she’s given my shift away to someone else.

Have found this really difficult to process today. Feel very triggered as CPTSD has already caused so much grief and disruption to my life.

I just feel so fed up. Have been crying a lot today and feel like all of this will never end.

Also am now down 210 earnings this week, that’s from missing two shifts due to illness and now this one she took away from me.

I’ve literally got 30. Earlier I told my partner that he could be better off not getting involved in my * life. Experienced a lot of poverty in my childhood So this is all very difficult to process.

Trauma sucks. CPTSD sucks.  :'(

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Jazzy

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Re: Advice plz: How to respond to this...
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2019, 10:26:56 PM »
It is very difficult to deal with this stuff. Things will improve though! Wishing you the best in this trying time. Take care! :)