My first day back to work after being “gone” for about a month, due to a personal crisis, is not a happy occasion. I’m soon to find out that MY absence caused extraordinary hardship. I’m one person on a team of many. I’m a per diem nurse. However at this point it appears that I am so important and vital that my absence has opened a can of worms.
I arrive at work upbeat and happy to share fresh baked scones that I made for my co workers. It was my way of saying that I missed them and that I was glad to see them again. Everyone kind of looks at me oddly…..like they know something’s about to go down. Boss shoots me an unsmiling look. They are not running around crazy busy so that’s not it. I’m concerned that I’m late or I’ve shown up on the wrong day or….some other blunder.
She says for me to get my things organized and then we need to “talk.” Something’s wrong. What is this about? Did I do something bad? Did I hurt someone? Did I kill someone? This couldn’t possibly be about me being out for the past month….could it?
The “talking to” starts. The beginning of “the talk” is vague. Unhappiness with me is clear. Is the problem my absence from work or something else?
I’m blind sided with the fact that I’m on thin ice. Termination is possible. I had no idea. No indication. I made sure that I communicated my plans as soon as they became clear to me. I was NEVER asked to seek coverage for the days I would miss. Traveling across the country to alleviate the family crisis I felt SHOULD be my priority. I was not asking for my job be there for me when I returned although I had no reason to believe that it wouldn’t be. Other co workers had gone through personal crises and absences from work. Part of the demand for my work as a per diem RN is so that I can fill in when that happens. Believe me nurses are people with all kinds of personal crises. I was told my crisis was not important enough. What do you mean? Since when does someone judge that? Plus I’m confused why a lowly per diem nurse was suddenly so important? Am I the GLUE that holds this department together? NOT!
I apologized fervently. I am so sorry to have caused such pain and suffering. I’m truly sorry. Though I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. Tears sting my eyes when I’m told no one can trust me now. If I hadn’t responded to the crisis I would have felt horrible. I had to make a decision. In the whole scheme of life wasn’t it more important for me to respond to a family crisis than to a JOB? When I’m 80 years old looking back on my life will I be glad that I helped during a crisis or would I have been happier to do my per diem, no benefit job? There is no doubt in my mind that I did the right thing.
part 2 to follow.