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Vacation Time Is Sacred

, , , , | Working | January 25, 2021

Due to several coworkers suddenly quitting and then a series of store events, I have to push my vacation back by over six months. When I finally get the okay to take it, I make it clear to the store manager that I will not be able to come in, that I will be out of state, and that if he needs help he is to call the shift leader, as I’m the assistant manager. On day three of the trip, I get a phone call from the store.

Me: “Hey, what’s up?”

Manager: “Are you busy today?”

I immediately realize what she’s asking.

Me: “Yes, I am busy every day, all day, until [date my vacation time ends].”

Manager: “Are you sure? [Coworker] called out and—”

Me: “Did you miss the ten conversations I had with you about not being available?”

Manager: “Well… no… but…”

Me: “I am not able to come in. I told you to call [Shift Leader] instead of me. Goodbye.”

A couple of days later, I get another call.

Manager: “Hey, do you think we could swap shifts? I’m behind on cleaning the house, but I can work your shift next week.”

I’m furious at this point.

Me: “No. I’ve told you too many times, I am not able to come in. Period. No exceptions. I waited way too long for this. I am not leaving my vacation early just because you don’t wanna work.”

Manager: “But [My Name], it would mean so much to me!”

Me: “Yeah, well, it would mean a lot if I could take my vacation without being harassed about work. Call me again and I’m reporting you to [District Manager].”

I hang up. A couple of hours later, while at dinner, my district manager calls.

District Manager: “Hey, I heard you refused to come in this week.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m on vacation this and next week. [Manager] called and keeps trying to get me to come in.”

District Manager: “Wait, vacation? She told me you just didn’t wanna come in.”

Me: “Yeah, I waited over half a year to take this because of everything happening to the store. I made sure she knew I wouldn’t be able to come in, even if somehow I wanted. Both times she called, I reminded her that I was on vacation, but she didn’t seem to care.”

District Manager: *Long pause* “I’ll take care of this. If she calls again, don’t answer.”

She does call — five more times over the trip. I don’t even look at the voicemails until I get back home. The first is a lecture about how I shouldn’t get the district manager involved because it isn’t that big of a deal. The rest are her asking if I could come in just for a couple of hours. I call the district manager again after hearing them.

Me: “Why do I have four voicemails asking for me to come in to work, all left while I was on vacation?”

District Manager: “I don’t know, to be honest. I told her to stop harassing you, to not even call you until you got back. I’ll have a meeting with her tomorrow. If you’re back, you’re more than welcome to come in so I can talk with you, too.”

Me: “Sure, what time?”

The next day, I show up at the store. I’m clearly dressed casually, as I still have a couple more days of my vacation left. As soon as I walk in, the manager smiles at me.

Manager: “Oh, [My Name], you’re back! Do you think you could cover me so I can run some errands?”

The district manager walks in right after me. My manager’s smile falls.

District Manager: “[Manager], office. Now.”

While they “talked,” I hung out on the floor and talked with some coworkers. Apparently, the manager complained about me being out of town and they thought she was trying to ruin my vacation because she was jealous. Any time someone called off, she refused to call someone besides me to cover it, even when they reminded her I was on vacation.

After a bit, I see the store manager walk out of the office, glaring at me. The district manager calls me over.

Me: “How’d it go?”

District Manager: “Don’t tell anyone I told you, but that woman is a f****** idiot. She admitted to only calling you to try to get you to leave your trip early because she wanted to take one herself. I told her she had approved yours and that she was harassing you the entire time you were out, and she said she could do what she wanted, since she was your boss.”

Me: “What?!”

District Manager: “Yeah, and I reminded her who her boss was and wrote her up. I also told her that if she ever does that again, I’ll fire her.”

A few months later, someone else went out of state for a funeral. The store manager called them, during the service, asking if they could come in to cover a shift. I could hear the yelling from my desk across the office. They also called the district manager, who made good on his promise and fired her.

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