The Vine: December 3, 2008
Apologies for the brevity/tardiness of today's Vine; lots going on behind the scenes here at TN HQ today.Stay tuned…
This is probably more an etiquette question than anything else.When, if ever, should you tell your boss that you are embarking on IVF?I ask because I'm now into my fifth attempt, and due to some unfortunate timing I'm finding that I'm having to really juggle work issues with hospital appointments without actually telling her why.
I didn't initially tell my boss for a couple of reasons, of which the main one was that I didn't tell her when we started trying either, and it's kind of the same thing.Except, of course, it's not — far more medical appointments for starters, and random (well, from the outside) hospital visits.
On the other side, my husband told his direct supervisor in confidence, for those same medical reasons (someone has to drive me home and make sure I don't collapse suddenly or something after the general anesthetic).
So now I'm uncertain if I should tell her what's been going on, which then begs the question of why I didn't mention this, oh, about a year ago.
The hormones aren't helping me think much either.
Any advice welcome, thank you,
It depends on what you want to result from your telling her.My general feeling in these situations is that, if you don't anticipate the issue affecting your work — either the quality or your ability to make up time if necessary — and you don't anticipate it being held against you in any way vis-Ã -vis promotions and so on (which is illegal, but which does happen), then it's just easier for everyone involved if you give your boss the basic facts of the situation.You won't have to feel like you're hiding something, she won't have to wonder about your comings and goings and think maybe she needs to start worrying about your productivity — it's just simpler.
But I do mean "basic"; no need to tell her every detail, and that includes how many attempts preceded this one.Just ask for 15 minutes of her time in private, then tell her that you wanted her to know you're undergoing an IVF course, which involves various inconveniently timed appointments and complex procedures, and that in turn means you will be taking sick days, occasionally leaving work early, or whatever it actually means.Add then that you wanted to reassure her that it's nothing untoward, that you're committed to doing your best work, that you'll make up any missed time and don't expect special treatment, and that if she has any concerns about that part, you're happy to discuss them, now or any other time.
Yes, there's the risk that she'll hold it against you somehow, but overall, it's a lot better to treat it forthrightly; by acknowledging that she could have concerns about it as far as your work goes, you're showing her that you're still focused on work, and able to balance these parts of your life.
Put another way, if I'm your boss, I'd rather know what's going on.It'd give me a jump on staffing your mat leave, for one thing.(Knocking wood, of course — good luck!)
But take a deep breath and don't overthink it — this isn't technically her business, but the business is her business.Just keep the discussion on that level; it'll probably go better than you think, and then it'll be over with.
Tags: etiquette workplace