Eight days out: How do you ask for help?

As the days pass and the day of my surgery approaches, I am faced with a dilemma. However, while others will hopefully not face the same situation, many may find themselves in a place or time where they must face similar issues.

I have indicated that I will likely be away from work for 6 to 10 weeks. I am hoping for 5 and planning for 10. As a part of that planning, I am aware that I only have about 4 weeks of combined annual leave/sick leave/comp time. [note: if I did not set such good boundaries at work I would have more comp time – an interesting thought] So, I have requested both advanced leave and donated leave.

It is the latter that has led me to this conundrum. First, I am a manager at work and as such, there are procedural and ethical considerations. I am unable to accept leave donations from my staff (the most likely people to donate as they like me the most – which is a gift even without donated leave). As a manger, I would be violating union protections and ethical rules if I were to ask non-management employees (any) to donate leave. However, I can accept leave from them. I can also accept leave from peers and others in management as long as they do not supervise me.

But knowing who can and cannot donate leave is only the beginning of the problem. In my place of business, requests for donated leave are sent directly to a shared website to which all employees have access. Very few actually go to that website. Therefore, no one is likely to know that I have requested donated leave unless someone tells them.

I have battled with this. As a psychologist I do believe that asking for help is very important. I struggle with it, but when necessary I have been known to ask. This one is different. This involves asking for the equivalent of time. You see, if someone gives me their leave, that leaves less time for them to spend with their families, friends, on vacation, or (hopefully not) on their own health issues.

While I would definitely pay it forward as soon as I was able to bank some leave, it does not remove the difficulty of asking. I have had people approach me and offer to donate and with discomfort I have thanked them. I know that, if I were to ask, some would donate happily and freely while others would donate out of obligation to a friend/colleague. But I don’t have to ask. If, for some reason (very unlikely), my request for advanced leave is denied,we would be in a difficult place. But I am sure we could figure it out.

So what will I do? It is my surgery and while I don’t get to make all of the decisions, I do get to make this one. I am not going to ask. You might not agree with my choice, but I must feel good about my decision and this is what seems right for me.

3 thoughts on “Eight days out: How do you ask for help?

  1. Interesting how different unions handle the same type of thing. Our sick leave bank is administered by a committee of volunteers. We all contribute a day once every few years. They take applications from union members and vote on who gets the extra leave based on the circumstances. We never know who gets what.

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