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What should I say to my boss?

Posted by Valerie S on 4/12/01 at 09:13 (044333)

Hi.

My boss left me a message yesterday. He wants me to call him and tell him whether I will be going back to work in a week. I don't see my pod until Monday, and I am only hoping for his cooperation. I have been off work for 4 weeks now, and am not getting better. I know that I am just stringing them along... It would be better for them to know that I was not coming back or that I would be gone for 8 more weeks (FMLA limit), but I don't know this for sure. I am starting to get a hint about the reality of my situation, and probably WON'T be going back ever. I can't tell them this, though because I need them to continue paying the disability and health benefits. I got this PF while working for them on my feet all day, and if I just quit, I will lose my health benefits. I am riddled with guilt, knowing that they are freaking-out busy without my help, and there is another girl there with bad PF, so I look like the wimp or worse (the fraud, insurance abuser, etc...??).

I can't give him an ETA for my return to work until I talk to the doc on Monday, but I know that he will be wanting more of an answer than that. He will also ask me again why I am not getting the surgery (groan).

I could use any input on what to say here. I don't want to burn any bridges, but I also know that I can't even handle 1/2 hour on my feet, let alone 8 1/2 hours!! HELP! I can't just kiss them goodbye, not until my husband graduates and gets a job. I am so depressed.

Thanks! Val.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

ellenw on 4/12/01 at 09:50 (044340)

Val,

You are not abusing the system, and you are not committing fraud. And you shouldn't allow your boss to guilt-trip you into either coming back too soon or giving up your right to disability pay by quitting. After all, it was in the service of this company that you developed this problem, whether or not they want to acknowledge it and whether or not you can get a worker's comp board to acknowledge it. And why isn't he calling just to say how are you, we're concerned, take all the time you need? A compassionate employer would do that.

Sometimes I think this is a female thing -- the desire to please, play the good soldier, do want people want you to do for THEIR convenience. When I'm faced with these kinds of situations, sometimes I find it helpful to imagine myself as a yahoo-young stockbroker on Wall street. If I were an agressive man, how would I get what I want, what would I demand. Then I roleplay with a friend how to respond to situations playing that role, and how to respond to difficult questions that might be asked.

In this case, you may want to first tell your boss that you don't have an answer, and that whatever you do will be based on your doctor's best medical advice. Then work out a plan with your doctor. If he's not an advocate for you, then you do need to find another doctor, quick. If you want to throw the burden back on your employer, you could try to suggest that he bring in an occupational therapist (at the company's expense of course) to see how your work situation could be altered to accomodate your work-caused disability and not aggravate it further.

I think it's really commendable to be dedicated to your work. But you have to also put your job in perspective to the rest of your life. Your boss and your co-workers are not going to be there taking care of you if going back to work there too soon creates a long-term disability for you. You have to think of your needs first.
ellen

Re: What should I say to my boss?

John h on 4/12/01 at 10:27 (044345)

Valerie: I would call and tell my boss exactly the position you are in. If you are sure you cannot go back to work next week then tell him and explain why. Only you know how your feet feel. Tell him you really like and need your job and hope he can hold your job open for another few weeks. Know your company personnel policies and if they have a company personnel policy manual get a copy. Do not resign as that may preclude you from workers comp or unemployment compensation. Small companies usually cannot survive without an employee at work for an extended period of time. Larger ones have more room to be compasionate.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

BrianG on 4/12/01 at 11:07 (044349)

Hi Valerie,

I can tell you what I did, and it was a big mistake. A couple years ago I went out on short term disability for 3 months. At the end of my time off I was no better, but my Pod cleared me to return to work. I came back and have regretted it ever since. I should have fought the system and gone for long term disability. I'm over 7 years into this nightmare now. I advise you do what you have to, healing is most important I do believe.

BCG

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Nancy N on 4/12/01 at 11:29 (044351)

Val--

I would echo everything Ellen said. You are not abusing anything--except your feet if you go back. So stop beating yourself up about it.

Have you looked into WC yet? I would advise you to do that ASAP so you have something else to back up your claim--I'm not familiar with disability at all, but doesn't WC cover disability pay as well? Laurie R would be the expert on this one. Seriously, while you're at home, call a lawyer and find out what all your options are, especially if your doctor agrees that your PF is work-related (if he doesn't, see if you can find one who does, because I would be hard-pressed to buy an explanation to the contrary).

Also please listen to Brian's Voice of Experience. Don't sacrifice yourself for this job, especially if they are not compassionate enough to call to ask how you are, rather than bullying you about surgery.

Hang in there, and let us know how things progress.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Laurie R on 4/12/01 at 16:29 (044376)

Hi Val,
What I would do is two things. First I woul dlisten to everyone that posted back to you... All very ,very good advise... Second I would call your boss back and tell him that you really can't tell him anything until after your doctors appointment. I think we need to still work on your doctor .... I hope he does not put youback to work with the pain you are in..... That will just mess up any rest you have had so far.Now thi sis just my opinion.I have been there.I had to call my boss too,everytime I would see my doctor in the begining .... He was always mad when I would call. I even went back to work for three months when this all started ,BIG ,BIG MISTAKE >>>>>>> If I had to do it all over again I would of stayed off .....Please listen to your feet. We only have two and we need both of them....Let me know if I can help you with WC.... I don't know everything just what I have been through. Take care Val I know how frustrated you are....MY heart really goes out to you...Laurie R

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Steve P on 4/12/01 at 16:55 (044379)

Hi Valerie ---- By now you probably know what I'm going to say. But I'll say it anyway........

1. There is more at stake here than your job. Don't risk permanent damage to your feet. You cannot possibly go back next week, period.

2. As John H says, know your company's leave & disability policies & the tie-in to WC. You may want to see a WC lawyer, at least for a free initial consultation.

3. Please, ****PLEASE**** don't feel any sense of guilt or shame! None! Everyone who has posted above knows exactly what you are feeling & what you are going through. Please listen to us!

Best..........Steve

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Kim B. on 4/13/01 at 00:28 (044431)

Hi Valerie,

It's not as if you chose this for yourself, it's just what has happened to you. Don't feel guilty for things that are out of your control. As far a the other galwoh has PF, you can't fight her PF battle for her and as you can see, being there isn't going to heal either of you. Don't mention it to her, but, consider yourself 'blazing a trail' for the both of you. If you use this time wisely and find the right path, she can follow in your foot steps, and, in that respect, the time you are taking now, may actually benefit her as well down the road. Bottom line is 'YOU CAN'T TAKE CARE OF ANYONE ELSE, UNLESS YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST.'

I ecco so much of what the others have said. The only other advice that comes to mind is that, Next time your Boss presses you and you've run out of ways buy more time, don't quit. That's what he want's you to do because it takes the company off the hook on a several issues.

Make him fire you. Tell him you understand he is trying to run a business and he'll just have to do 'what ever he has got to do', and you'll undestand. Tell him you're simply not a quitter, and if you knew for sure it was a hopelss situation, you would tell him, but that you truly don't know what to make of the situation. Tell him it is your desire if you can find a way. But for now, what you need most is more medical leave time.

As far as the surgery. Tell him that the surgery is dangerous and unproven and you've read and heard that some people are actually worse off after certin nerves and tendons have been cut. Tell him that when/if the surgery results are more in your favor you'd be happy have it done. For now, the last thing you want is to trade one set of problems for another.

If they fire you for absenteeisim, or for an inability to perform your job function. That information will serve you better on a dissability form or a Workman'c Comp form, than 'I quit on my own'

Good luck, Kim B.

Re: I talked to my boss.

Valerie S on 4/13/01 at 09:51 (044454)

Hi everyone, and THANKS for your help and encouragement.

I feel so weak and depressed lately, like I am surrendering to this darned PF. Your advice helped me get the courage to talk to my boss again.

He was understanding and did not seem surprised by my telling him that I wasn't getting any better and that I would most likely be taking more time. He said (surprise...) 'I really don't understand why he won't just do the surgery...' I told him that it was more complicated than my coworker makes it out to be, and that it has the potential to leave people worse off than they were before they started. 'Oh.' It is kind of sad that I have to be prepared with a surgery comeback every time I talk to them at work... oh well.

I think I am going to look around for some complete and concise brief comments about the PF surgery that might help them to understand why I am not rushing into the surgery. Who knows, maybe my coworker will look at her situation differently. She won't even try anymore conservative treatments. She is chomping at the bit to get her other foot done, even though she is still hurting in the one that has been cut already.

Thanks again. Now I just have to get my doctor to agree to keep me off work ... Monday will come soon, I am sure.

Take it easy.
Val.

Re: I talked to my boss.

Steve P on 4/13/01 at 18:51 (044496)

Val --- I like the direction things are taking. Stick to your guns!

Foot surgery is not to be undertaken lightly. A certain number of operations turn out badly, some very badly. There are people who will NEVER walk properly again because of surgery gone wrong. Don't be influenced by your friend, your boss, or anyone else on this.

They're your feet.

Steve

Re: I talked to my boss.

Nancy N on 4/13/01 at 18:55 (044498)

Val--

I'm glad you got it over with and that it went as well as it did. I hope your doc is on your side, too. I would think, if they give you grief, that your doc should be able to write something up for you about why you're not having the surgery, to placate the folks at work (though, if you're entitled to 12 weeks, I shouldn't think there's much they can complain about until the end of Week 12). And forget about the one who's already had the surgery--if she still hurts afterwards and still wants to have someone cut her other foot, that's her problem, not yours.

Get on the horn to a WC lawyer and see where you can get there, too. I think this would be especially important if you think that you might be fired over this once the 12 weeks is up. It's far better for you to be as informed about all of that ahead of time, I would think.

Remember--you are not surrendering to anything. Quite the opposite. In taking care of yourself, you're doing everything you can to thwart this beast. And nobody's going to look after you if you don't do it yourself, so I think you can feel good about what you're doing. It's more than a lot of people would do, and they end up with miserable, chronic cases of PF that last for years as a result.

Hang in there!

Re: I talked to my boss.

BrianG on 4/13/01 at 19:05 (044499)

Hi Val,

I'm going to be forwarding a link to you that might give you something else to think about, surgery wise. You can never have too much informaton, right :*)

BCG

Re: What should I say to my boss?

JudyS on 4/14/01 at 00:07 (044530)

Valerie, the most important thing to understand is that you should not quit your job. That would absolve your employer of any medical responsibility for you. There are so many great responses here - remember that most of the people who have responded here are professionals and know of what they speak. You seemingly have a well-defined case for Workman's Comp and you may have to consider just taking the plunge and finding a WC attorney.
Also, your case can simply not be compared to that of your co-worker. First, she still hurts, right? More importantly, your feet are not like her feet! My husband had successful surgery but I don't want surgery if I can avoid it. I know there's a chance I wouldn't respond to the procedure as well as he did because he has very 'flat' feet and I have just the opposit problem.
Hopefully you can tolerate your boss a bit more while you explain that surgery is simply not the 'easy' ticket for everyone......and suggest that he walk around with a couple of stones in his shoes for a month and see how it feels!
Good Luck, my friend....and keep us posted every minute, OK?

Re: Thank you friends.

Valerie S on 4/14/01 at 10:21 (044563)

Hi.

I am so grateful to have such a great and supportive network of people who listen, care, understand and respond. I am so sick of complaining about my feet...

I see my doctor on Monday, and am anxious to hear what he has to say. I am also going to make myself pick up the phone and call a lawyer, I guess. This situation has gotten totally out of control. I really thought taking a rest from work would help at least a little bit in my pain level. And like when I first started having pain, I keep thinking it will resolve itself, just go away if I am patient enough. My patience ran out a long time ago, and I am sick of crying about it. God, please help me.

Thank you all for your patience with me too... I am so glad I found you! I would probably be getting surgery now, if it hadn't been for this website.

Thanks, and may God bless you all with peace for this holiday weekend.

Your friend, Val.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

diane on 4/16/01 at 23:50 (044783)

do you have any vacation you can take. i to have lost my job. i am burning 4 weeks vacation and at the end of this month (28th) i will no longer hvae my job. i filed for long term disability. can you do this.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Valerie S on 4/17/01 at 08:20 (044797)

Hi Diane.

I took my vacation at the beginning of my leave, used it up 3 weeks ago. Right now I am collecting on my short-term disability insurance, which pays me 60% of my pay for up to 12 weeks, as long as doctor verifies that I cannot work. After the 12 weeks are up, I can file for long-term disability.

Hopefully my doctor will cooperate and agree that I am unable to stand all day... He is starting to act like he will want me to go back to work next week. He needs to help me get proper support in my shoes before he can reasonably expect that.

Good luck to you...

Val.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

ellenw on 4/12/01 at 09:50 (044340)

Val,

You are not abusing the system, and you are not committing fraud. And you shouldn't allow your boss to guilt-trip you into either coming back too soon or giving up your right to disability pay by quitting. After all, it was in the service of this company that you developed this problem, whether or not they want to acknowledge it and whether or not you can get a worker's comp board to acknowledge it. And why isn't he calling just to say how are you, we're concerned, take all the time you need? A compassionate employer would do that.

Sometimes I think this is a female thing -- the desire to please, play the good soldier, do want people want you to do for THEIR convenience. When I'm faced with these kinds of situations, sometimes I find it helpful to imagine myself as a yahoo-young stockbroker on Wall street. If I were an agressive man, how would I get what I want, what would I demand. Then I roleplay with a friend how to respond to situations playing that role, and how to respond to difficult questions that might be asked.

In this case, you may want to first tell your boss that you don't have an answer, and that whatever you do will be based on your doctor's best medical advice. Then work out a plan with your doctor. If he's not an advocate for you, then you do need to find another doctor, quick. If you want to throw the burden back on your employer, you could try to suggest that he bring in an occupational therapist (at the company's expense of course) to see how your work situation could be altered to accomodate your work-caused disability and not aggravate it further.

I think it's really commendable to be dedicated to your work. But you have to also put your job in perspective to the rest of your life. Your boss and your co-workers are not going to be there taking care of you if going back to work there too soon creates a long-term disability for you. You have to think of your needs first.
ellen

Re: What should I say to my boss?

John h on 4/12/01 at 10:27 (044345)

Valerie: I would call and tell my boss exactly the position you are in. If you are sure you cannot go back to work next week then tell him and explain why. Only you know how your feet feel. Tell him you really like and need your job and hope he can hold your job open for another few weeks. Know your company personnel policies and if they have a company personnel policy manual get a copy. Do not resign as that may preclude you from workers comp or unemployment compensation. Small companies usually cannot survive without an employee at work for an extended period of time. Larger ones have more room to be compasionate.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

BrianG on 4/12/01 at 11:07 (044349)

Hi Valerie,

I can tell you what I did, and it was a big mistake. A couple years ago I went out on short term disability for 3 months. At the end of my time off I was no better, but my Pod cleared me to return to work. I came back and have regretted it ever since. I should have fought the system and gone for long term disability. I'm over 7 years into this nightmare now. I advise you do what you have to, healing is most important I do believe.

BCG

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Nancy N on 4/12/01 at 11:29 (044351)

Val--

I would echo everything Ellen said. You are not abusing anything--except your feet if you go back. So stop beating yourself up about it.

Have you looked into WC yet? I would advise you to do that ASAP so you have something else to back up your claim--I'm not familiar with disability at all, but doesn't WC cover disability pay as well? Laurie R would be the expert on this one. Seriously, while you're at home, call a lawyer and find out what all your options are, especially if your doctor agrees that your PF is work-related (if he doesn't, see if you can find one who does, because I would be hard-pressed to buy an explanation to the contrary).

Also please listen to Brian's Voice of Experience. Don't sacrifice yourself for this job, especially if they are not compassionate enough to call to ask how you are, rather than bullying you about surgery.

Hang in there, and let us know how things progress.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Laurie R on 4/12/01 at 16:29 (044376)

Hi Val,
What I would do is two things. First I woul dlisten to everyone that posted back to you... All very ,very good advise... Second I would call your boss back and tell him that you really can't tell him anything until after your doctors appointment. I think we need to still work on your doctor .... I hope he does not put youback to work with the pain you are in..... That will just mess up any rest you have had so far.Now thi sis just my opinion.I have been there.I had to call my boss too,everytime I would see my doctor in the begining .... He was always mad when I would call. I even went back to work for three months when this all started ,BIG ,BIG MISTAKE >>>>>>> If I had to do it all over again I would of stayed off .....Please listen to your feet. We only have two and we need both of them....Let me know if I can help you with WC.... I don't know everything just what I have been through. Take care Val I know how frustrated you are....MY heart really goes out to you...Laurie R

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Steve P on 4/12/01 at 16:55 (044379)

Hi Valerie ---- By now you probably know what I'm going to say. But I'll say it anyway........

1. There is more at stake here than your job. Don't risk permanent damage to your feet. You cannot possibly go back next week, period.

2. As John H says, know your company's leave & disability policies & the tie-in to WC. You may want to see a WC lawyer, at least for a free initial consultation.

3. Please, ****PLEASE**** don't feel any sense of guilt or shame! None! Everyone who has posted above knows exactly what you are feeling & what you are going through. Please listen to us!

Best..........Steve

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Kim B. on 4/13/01 at 00:28 (044431)

Hi Valerie,

It's not as if you chose this for yourself, it's just what has happened to you. Don't feel guilty for things that are out of your control. As far a the other galwoh has PF, you can't fight her PF battle for her and as you can see, being there isn't going to heal either of you. Don't mention it to her, but, consider yourself 'blazing a trail' for the both of you. If you use this time wisely and find the right path, she can follow in your foot steps, and, in that respect, the time you are taking now, may actually benefit her as well down the road. Bottom line is 'YOU CAN'T TAKE CARE OF ANYONE ELSE, UNLESS YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST.'

I ecco so much of what the others have said. The only other advice that comes to mind is that, Next time your Boss presses you and you've run out of ways buy more time, don't quit. That's what he want's you to do because it takes the company off the hook on a several issues.

Make him fire you. Tell him you understand he is trying to run a business and he'll just have to do 'what ever he has got to do', and you'll undestand. Tell him you're simply not a quitter, and if you knew for sure it was a hopelss situation, you would tell him, but that you truly don't know what to make of the situation. Tell him it is your desire if you can find a way. But for now, what you need most is more medical leave time.

As far as the surgery. Tell him that the surgery is dangerous and unproven and you've read and heard that some people are actually worse off after certin nerves and tendons have been cut. Tell him that when/if the surgery results are more in your favor you'd be happy have it done. For now, the last thing you want is to trade one set of problems for another.

If they fire you for absenteeisim, or for an inability to perform your job function. That information will serve you better on a dissability form or a Workman'c Comp form, than 'I quit on my own'

Good luck, Kim B.

Re: I talked to my boss.

Valerie S on 4/13/01 at 09:51 (044454)

Hi everyone, and THANKS for your help and encouragement.

I feel so weak and depressed lately, like I am surrendering to this darned PF. Your advice helped me get the courage to talk to my boss again.

He was understanding and did not seem surprised by my telling him that I wasn't getting any better and that I would most likely be taking more time. He said (surprise...) 'I really don't understand why he won't just do the surgery...' I told him that it was more complicated than my coworker makes it out to be, and that it has the potential to leave people worse off than they were before they started. 'Oh.' It is kind of sad that I have to be prepared with a surgery comeback every time I talk to them at work... oh well.

I think I am going to look around for some complete and concise brief comments about the PF surgery that might help them to understand why I am not rushing into the surgery. Who knows, maybe my coworker will look at her situation differently. She won't even try anymore conservative treatments. She is chomping at the bit to get her other foot done, even though she is still hurting in the one that has been cut already.

Thanks again. Now I just have to get my doctor to agree to keep me off work ... Monday will come soon, I am sure.

Take it easy.
Val.

Re: I talked to my boss.

Steve P on 4/13/01 at 18:51 (044496)

Val --- I like the direction things are taking. Stick to your guns!

Foot surgery is not to be undertaken lightly. A certain number of operations turn out badly, some very badly. There are people who will NEVER walk properly again because of surgery gone wrong. Don't be influenced by your friend, your boss, or anyone else on this.

They're your feet.

Steve

Re: I talked to my boss.

Nancy N on 4/13/01 at 18:55 (044498)

Val--

I'm glad you got it over with and that it went as well as it did. I hope your doc is on your side, too. I would think, if they give you grief, that your doc should be able to write something up for you about why you're not having the surgery, to placate the folks at work (though, if you're entitled to 12 weeks, I shouldn't think there's much they can complain about until the end of Week 12). And forget about the one who's already had the surgery--if she still hurts afterwards and still wants to have someone cut her other foot, that's her problem, not yours.

Get on the horn to a WC lawyer and see where you can get there, too. I think this would be especially important if you think that you might be fired over this once the 12 weeks is up. It's far better for you to be as informed about all of that ahead of time, I would think.

Remember--you are not surrendering to anything. Quite the opposite. In taking care of yourself, you're doing everything you can to thwart this beast. And nobody's going to look after you if you don't do it yourself, so I think you can feel good about what you're doing. It's more than a lot of people would do, and they end up with miserable, chronic cases of PF that last for years as a result.

Hang in there!

Re: I talked to my boss.

BrianG on 4/13/01 at 19:05 (044499)

Hi Val,

I'm going to be forwarding a link to you that might give you something else to think about, surgery wise. You can never have too much informaton, right :*)

BCG

Re: What should I say to my boss?

JudyS on 4/14/01 at 00:07 (044530)

Valerie, the most important thing to understand is that you should not quit your job. That would absolve your employer of any medical responsibility for you. There are so many great responses here - remember that most of the people who have responded here are professionals and know of what they speak. You seemingly have a well-defined case for Workman's Comp and you may have to consider just taking the plunge and finding a WC attorney.
Also, your case can simply not be compared to that of your co-worker. First, she still hurts, right? More importantly, your feet are not like her feet! My husband had successful surgery but I don't want surgery if I can avoid it. I know there's a chance I wouldn't respond to the procedure as well as he did because he has very 'flat' feet and I have just the opposit problem.
Hopefully you can tolerate your boss a bit more while you explain that surgery is simply not the 'easy' ticket for everyone......and suggest that he walk around with a couple of stones in his shoes for a month and see how it feels!
Good Luck, my friend....and keep us posted every minute, OK?

Re: Thank you friends.

Valerie S on 4/14/01 at 10:21 (044563)

Hi.

I am so grateful to have such a great and supportive network of people who listen, care, understand and respond. I am so sick of complaining about my feet...

I see my doctor on Monday, and am anxious to hear what he has to say. I am also going to make myself pick up the phone and call a lawyer, I guess. This situation has gotten totally out of control. I really thought taking a rest from work would help at least a little bit in my pain level. And like when I first started having pain, I keep thinking it will resolve itself, just go away if I am patient enough. My patience ran out a long time ago, and I am sick of crying about it. God, please help me.

Thank you all for your patience with me too... I am so glad I found you! I would probably be getting surgery now, if it hadn't been for this website.

Thanks, and may God bless you all with peace for this holiday weekend.

Your friend, Val.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

diane on 4/16/01 at 23:50 (044783)

do you have any vacation you can take. i to have lost my job. i am burning 4 weeks vacation and at the end of this month (28th) i will no longer hvae my job. i filed for long term disability. can you do this.

Re: What should I say to my boss?

Valerie S on 4/17/01 at 08:20 (044797)

Hi Diane.

I took my vacation at the beginning of my leave, used it up 3 weeks ago. Right now I am collecting on my short-term disability insurance, which pays me 60% of my pay for up to 12 weeks, as long as doctor verifies that I cannot work. After the 12 weeks are up, I can file for long-term disability.

Hopefully my doctor will cooperate and agree that I am unable to stand all day... He is starting to act like he will want me to go back to work next week. He needs to help me get proper support in my shoes before he can reasonably expect that.

Good luck to you...

Val.