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My boss believes in 100 percent attendance

(MoneyWatch) Dear Evil HR Lady,

My supervisor has no family and no kids. She is in her 40's and believes in 100 percent attendance. I had to take off yesterday most of the day to get my daughter organized to get her permit, her car ready, etc. My supervisor got angry at me because I was gone and decided that the vacation I had planned for the future was declined. Basically, the one day I was going to take off at another location that I work at (there are three employees backup there) was declined.

I cannot express how sad I am. I was really angry earlier, but now I am sad. She made me get an FMLA report because I need to go to the doctor once every six weeks. I just can't believe it.

This is not the job for you. It's a job for someone, but it's not for you.

Managers certainly have the rights to set attendance policies. They have the right (in most states and in most cities) to require 100 percent attendance, although most do not require that. (Connecticut, for instance, requires sick leave, so that would be an exception.) If they are subject to FMLA, then they are required to give you leave for a qualifying event or illness, which it appears your boss is doing. It's not a punishment to have you fill out FMLA paperwork for a medical condition that requires time off from work. It's keeping your ducks lined up in a row.

From the way you wrote your email, it sounds like you didn't plan to take vacation time in advance to get your daughter's driver's permit ready. It sounds like you just went and did it. I don't know if this is true or not, but if you didn't get a vacation day approved in advance, I can see why your boss is furious. I'm a huge, huge, huge fan of vacation and letting and encouraging your employees to take vacation, but I'd be annoyed by an employee who disappeared for several hours to get a driver's license for their child all sorted out. I wouldn't be annoyed if an employee disappeared to take their child to the emergency room for a broken leg. The car can wait until a scheduled vacation day.

And that may be where she's coming from. You see what you need to do as so important and she sees it as taking you away from the office unexpectedly.

Now, if this was a previously scheduled vacation day and she still freaked out and canceled your upcoming vacation then she's a nut case, and again, you need a different job.

The great thing about at will employment is you aren't required to stay there even 5 minutes longer. You can quit. Now, I don't recommend that path. I recommend going out and finding a new job and then quitting. But, you do need to move on. There isn't much you're going to be able to do here to convince your boss that there are things more important than the job.

If she's got an understanding boss, you can certainly appeal to the big boss. But, keep in mind that there are consequences for going over your boss's head. Sometimes they are worth it and sometimes they are not. You'll have to make that evaluation yourself.

At the end of all of this, though, we have a mismatch. This is why I try to convince people that job interviews should go two ways.It's not a beauty pageant where you're trying to impress a judge. It's more like a date where you try to find out if you'll be a good match for the company and if the company will be good for you.

Your boss, I suspect, is irrational in other areas as well and is probably not a very pleasant person to work for, in general. So, freshen up your resume and start the job hunt in earnest. Hopefully you'll find something soon that will give you the flexibility that you need.

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