Today is Handsome's Pine Wood Derby with the Cub Scouts. I wanted to go watch, since I worked on the car with him so much, but I was scheduled to work. I have a rotating day off, and this week it happens that it falls on Wednesday rather than Saturday. There are things I could do that would allow me to be there, just as there s at any workplace in America; taking time off, etc. But I work for the Postal Service, where things are not that easy. I managed to be at the Derby today, but what I went through to get there is today's story.
Three weeks ago, I asked for today off. I have plenty of vacation time saved up, it shouldn't have been a problem. But I was denied.
"We really need the full complement that day," was the reason given.
Okay. Fine. There are other ways... like I could swap days off with someone who's scheduled day off was today.
I went to two different people who were slated to have today off. Both of them said they would have swapped, but the boss (who refused my day off request) had already asked them to work that day for overtime. Since they were working rather than having the day off, that wouldn't fly.
So I tried a 3rd guy, who was also slated to have this day off, and had not been asked to work like the others. He was very helpful, agreed right away, and we started to file the paperwork that would allow us to swap schedules like that. My buddy went up to the Supervisor's Desk with his, talked to the Boss for a moment, then walked my way with a weird look on his face.
"We have a little problem," he said. "Boss said to hold off on putting these slips in, he might want me to work that day."
Seriously? The guy I was trying to work this with isn't even on the overtime list. He's not supposed to work his days off, unless there' some sort of emergency. If you know about an emergency more than 2 weeks in advance, is it really an emergency?
Fine. I made one last attempt, had one last option. I couldn't take a vacation day, and I couldn't swap days off with anyone. I'd have to work a split.
I put in a slip to change my schedule so that on that day, today, I could go into work for just an hour, then leave for a long lunch, say 2-3 hours. I could go to the Derby, but then I'd go back and finish my route for an 8-hour workday.
This plan was fine with Boss, as long as I was going to be there to do all the work, in whatever stop-start method I liked. That was terrific, as I had to move the time of my long lunch once the Scouts released a schedule for the Derby and I found out I was going to miss Handsome's race anyway.
So there I was, after three weeks of fairly continuous effort, all squared away with work and the Derby. I would leave the one to go to the other, and then go back and then go back and finish my job. I had the times all set, and I was good to go. Then, yesterday, when I got back to the office after finishing my route, Boss came over to me.
"Hey, about you going to that thing tomorrow," he began.
My stomach dropped. What was he going to say now? What had suddenly come up that would stop me from working my split. that would keep me from getting to the Derby after all, after all this time and effort? I tried not to throw up, and looked at him.
"If nothing goes wrong, like if I don't have any sick calls or anything, I think I can get you right out of here if you like."
"Huh?" I said.
"I think you can just set it up and go, not even worry about coming back. If no one calls in I can cover it. That be okay with you?"
In other words, he was offering to give me, with the exception of about an hour, the whole day off. Just like I had asked for 3 weeks earlier.
Do you think he knows just how close he came to having one of his employees just sitting there screaming?