Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Technician's Kid Gets Sick Means I Work More

This is a serious question to all you working parents out there: What do you do when your kids get sick?

I need to know how the normal person handles this situation because I can't imagine that every single time one of your kids get sick, you call out of work to take care of them. That's what happens with one of our technicians though. She has 3 kids, and every single time one of them has a sniffle, she has to stay at home and take care of the little cretin. She only works 3 six hour days per week, and I can't even remember the last time she went 3 weeks in a row without calling out at least once.

As you can imagine, a technician constantly calling out in a busy retail pharmacy kind of sucks. In fact, it pretty much screws the rest of the staff. Case in point, the last 2 days, I've had to stay well past when my shift was supposed to end because we were short staffed all day and constantly behind.

This really pisses me off. Why does her kid getting sick mean I have to work my ass off even more than I usually do in order to pick up the slack left by our absent employee? I've written before about how much I hate when people call out sick. However, this is even worse because she's not even sick and calling out. It's her fucking kid!

The kid is 13 years old by the way. I just wanted to give additional context. To me, a 13 year old is perfectly capable of taking care of himself at home for a few hours. I know I did when I was 13. However, her 13 year old isn't allowed to be home alone.

While I'm ranting and raving here, let me state as clearly as I possibly can that I don't care about anyone else's kids. They're not my kids. I don't care what they do. I don't care if they suddenly drop dead. However, despite my not wanting to have anything to do with them, they certainly seem to be able to interfere in my life. If I wanted to worry about and be inconvenienced by kids, I'd have some of my own.

Oh, by the way... Driving kids from one activity to another is not hard work! And every time I hear someone complain about having to spend all day playing taxi for their kids' extra curricular activities, I have to fight the urge to unleash an expletive laced tirade. You think driving a car from one place to another is hard work? TRY MY JOB! Try standing on your feet for 12 straight hours with barely a 10 minute lunch break (if I'm lucky) while trying to do 5 things at the same time with the phone ringing all fucking day long. Carting your fucking kids around would be a goddamn vacation for me.

I'm just tired of this shit. I killed myself at work the past 2 days (and have done so plenty of other times over the past 4 years) simply to cover for someone else. Where is the reward in all of this? Most of those extra hours go unpaid, so it's not like it benefits me financially. I don't get extra time off to compensate for working so damn hard. My job is only as secure as the amount of seniority I have in the company (which isn't a whole lot). There are no promotions, so there's no room for advancement.

You want to know the worst part though? The harder I work, the less everyone else works. I used to think there was such a thing as leading by example. You work hard, and everyone else will see your example and do their best to match it. That doesn't really happen though. If people see me constantly do something, they just assume that I will always do it. Therefore, instead of doing it themselves, they'll just leave it for me to do for them. And I always fucking do because I know it has to be done, and it bothers me to not do the absolute best I can.

I'm telling you... I'm getting closer and closer to the breaking point. If I do snap one of these days, I just hope whatever I do really inconveniences someone who has kids.


The Redheaded Pharmacist said...

We've all had to cover for someone else who slacked off or called in sick and it does suck! It seems like you are having to do it too often though. It is frustrating to come to the realization that many people just don't take work nearly as serious as the rest of us. And it is even more frustrating when you constantly have to cover for someone else who is not getting the job done.
I definitely know the feeling. I rememeber days where a technician not only didn't show up but they didn't even call in to tell me that they weren't coming into work. The least you could do is call to say your aren't coming in right?

Anonymous said...

Learn to be a bitch!!! Bitch to your boss, bitch to your help, bitch to your customers about your crappy help! Treat 'em like crap, bark at'em, give Florence Nightingale a couple of weeks off and make the other techs cover and bitch to your boss (on the phone, not e-mail) about how you need techs that will show up and put out (all within earshot of everyone in the pharmacy. The nicer you are, the more you get treated like a doormat.

Anonymous said...

Why is it the harder you work, the less everyone else works? Who is John Galt? You're letting yourself be exploited, son. Retail chains ought to have floater technicians for such emergencies.

Are you the Pharm Manager? Are you documenting every single absence? Are you giving that associate feedback about how her lack of attendence is negatively effecting team performance? You better be. In this case I would be using these counseling/coaching sessions to build a case for terminating her, or at least cutting her hours down to one day per week and replacing her.

I, too, have a pharmacy manager who claims her 16 year old cannot look after her 9 year old. Therefore, she cannot work any weekend or holiday her husband is already working. Really?? When I was 14 I had to watch my 7 year old sister. Kids today are so coddled! No wonder they're such morons who can't think criticaly or be counted on for any responsibility of action or thought.

Yea, my advice is document everything! Maybe someone like your tech would be better for volunteering somewhere, rather than a job where she is paid to work and be present.

Anonymous said...

For most pharmacies, they will not pay sick leave if your kid is sick, it is only for the employee (very few have family days that you can use for this purpose). I found this out the hard way and had my sick leave clawed back by my employer because I called in ONCE and was honest in saying that my child was sick & not myself. It does sound like this situation happens WAY too often to you and it is very frustrating that it automatically increases your personal workload when the pharmacy is short-staffed (believe me, I have been there LOTS - it does suck bigtime!). There is only a limited number of sick days that employees can use, after that it is considered leave without pay. HR & Management should be fully aware of how many sick days an employee has used at any time throughout the year. Not very comforting when you're pretty healthy & don't get sick often, is it? Then they're called mental health days - use them or lose them :)

Pharm.Tech. RDC'06

Frantic Pharmacist said...

This has been a problem with someone in virtually every place I've worked. An absence is an absence, regardless of the cause. Sure, everyone has the occasional emergency with their kid, but like so many situations this requires a manager/supervisor with some backbone. Whether you are full time or part time, if your kid is sick you need to have a BACK UP PLAN, otherwise you cannot keep the job. Period.

The other Mike said...

Someone needs to do a study, man. Pharmacy Technicians' kids get sick WAY more often than ANY other segment of the population. I know what you mean, as I have experienced that phenomenon at other positions I've held. None of the techs where I work now have school-age kids (all grown). Thank GOD.

My dad was a school principal and my mom was a kindergarten teacher-- I cannot remember ONE time when either of them were able to "call in" from work because I was sick. If they couldn't find a babysitter, I stayed @ school in the nurse's office. And once I was 12ish, I stayed home alone. Just the way it is.


The Ole' Apothecary said...

If one is a pharmacist who has no children, I can understand the resentment. I have the same resentment, because I have no children. But, if I did have children, I might think differently. I would say to myself, "I have the familial and the financial responsibility that you don't have, so I think I have a right to call in sick on this basis, even though I'm not the sick one."

However, I certainly agree with you that the privilege is being abused. I can understand if the child was so sick that he/she was bedridden, and urgently needed the parent's attention. But I sense this calling in sick often is being used a ready source of all-purpose paid time off, and, being unscheduled, it places a whopper of a burden on a retail pharmacy.

The Nail Narc said...

Do your techs get paid sick days?? Seems to me most retail pharmacies do not have paid sick days for non-managment.

Single Dad and Tech said...

I have a solid work ethic. I don't call out sick for every sniffle my child has. So I understand your frustration. When I take my time off there is a damn good reason or it was well planned in advance. And as a long time tech, I get more paid time off days than i know what to do with. They are mine and I earned them. I'll use them as I please.

Where I take offense, is that you are under the impression that managing a kids schedule is not hard work. I beg to differ. I bust my ass in the pharmacy, and I bust my ass as a parent. Just because you have no kids and a hard job does not degrade what someone is doing outside of your pharmacy.

I'm a single dad that works two jobs, in addition to getting my kid to scout meetings, baseball practice, and play dates. And that's no vacation after 60 hour work weeks.

Take the high and mighty route of saying "don't have kids if you can't handle the responsibility" route if you want to. Spend a week in the single parent's shoes.. Even with your six figure pharmacist salary, pile a bunch of kids in an SUV and drive them around for a night after you worked 12 hours then tell me it's not equally a chore as a full time job.

Pharmacy Mike said...

Single Dad,

You misunderstood my criticism, and it's probably my fault for being unclear.

Driving kids around on top of working full time IS hard work. It's very hard, and I admire people who can manage it. Right now, I don't think I would be able to do it, and that's why (among other reasons) I don't have kids.

My problem with my tech is when she walks out the door in the middle of the day and says, "now, I have to go cart kids around. You want to trade places? I'll stay, and YOU can go drive my kids around."

Umm... If I could leave the pharmacy after only working 5 hours in the middle of the craziness and spend the rest of my day carting kids around, I'd do it in a second. If we're comparing one task to the other, carting kids around is a breeze compared to being a pharmacist in a busy retail pharmacy.

Doing both is another story entirely.

And it's not that I don't think people should get to use their sick time or personal time. Those are great things. My problem is that this particular employee (and one other that we have) burns through all the sick and personal time in the first 3 months of every year but continues to call out.

The company has no policy on absences. You get a certain number of sick and personal days, but you can continue to call out and take unpaid days off. I've asked around, and I can't find any other company that treats absences in this way.

rinter said...

I'm fascinated by a different topic. Why are American kids so overscheduled? My parents worked so much that driving me around was too much an extra burden for extracurricular activities. We couldn't afford it. Why aren't kids disciplined and self-sufficient enough to play an occasional round of stickball or hoops once in a while with friends?

Mike, WHAAAA you don't get overtime pay? The only reason I tolerated Walgreens as much as I did was that at least I had overtime pay!

I'm reminded also of an Oprah eppy where the overworked busy single mom wouldn't let her teen daughter help drive her younger son to activities. WHY? She could drive and the extra help was there!

Nathaniel said...

Once you accept that fact that society punishes responsible children free kids you will understand. Having kids you may or may not be able to support is the quickest way to extra unspoken privileges. My wife and I are punished on a regular basis for not wanting kids.

bcmigal said...

I hardly know where to begin.....I am a pharmacist and single parent. I have sent sick kids to school, left them home alone when they were 9, hide them in the employee restroom until my shift was over. While employed at one chain, I was lucky enough to get an hour lunch break, which i spent picking them up at 2 different schools. I, too, worked 10-12 hours after which I fixed dinner, helped with homework. Driving "mom's taxi" is only a small part.
I get more upset when some of our young and single techs call in sick quite often or are late for no apparent reason.
I think what you are justifiably po'd about the state of our profession. I wish I could offer a solution, but it seems we are just whores for our chains...we need rehab!

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha, ha. Loved that comment by bcmigal. I had a female pharmacist boss once who dealt with her 'charges' by a system of favoritism. We female pharmacists were quite a wicked bunch of personalities. (This was in early 80s when there weren't many males in institutionalized settings.) When I was having a particularly trying day watching all that opportunists 'got away' with I'd try to imagine which character in a brothel we represented.

pharmacykid said...

Throughout an entire year of rotations, I missed 1.5 days. One day because of a court date for speeding and 0.5 day for doc appt.

You should pretend to catch something serious, let's just say malaria, and call in sick for a week. See what their reactions are.

pharmacy chick said...

We are handcuffed by the law that says that an employee can call in sick because they are taking care of a family member. And because one of my former employees knew that she was the proverbial pain in the ass: every time she didn't have a babysitter, she'd call in sick b/c "my kid is sick". this kid was the sickest kid on the planet. I was never so happy when she moved on. I never want to hire another single parent again.

bcmigal said...

a word to pharmacy chick.....read my comment on being a pharmacist and single parent...I was also a pharmacy manager at that time... And with the exception of maternity leaves, the number of times I have called in sick is zero. My manager knows that if I call in, I am either dead or dying. To be honest, I did take a "family leave" of 3 weeks when one child was seriously ill in the hospital. So please do not paint all of us with the same brush.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your life is so hard! Get over it and stop complaining so goddamn much over such a tiny thing! Why don't you try & put it into perspective and be grateful for all the good things you have? What ridiculous negativity.