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Manager won't let me take MCAT date off, what should I do?


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Hello!

I registered for the MCAT a week ago without going through it with my manager. I HAD to go with this particular date as it was the only one available around the time I'd be done reviewing, in all of Canada. I can't write in the U.S. as I work and would have to quarantine after returning to Canada.

Anyways, my manager declined me as someone else took the day off. I guess that was fair so I asked if I could get the day off if I got the new casual staff to work that day, to which I was still declined... manager said we are technically understaffed so getting the casual to work that day would bring us to the required number of staff so I would still be declined... this did not really make sense to me as there would still be the same amount of people scheduled...

Anyways! I have the opportunity to apply for other jobs within the health region as my field of work is chronically understaffed. I have 2 options:

1) Try to reason with my manager, a.k.a, say the MCAT is my priority and that I'd be willing to move positions to make it happen... Btw, asking my co-worker who has the day off to work is not really an option as they are going to their cabin and I want to keep this MCAT stuff on the DL. Only my manager knows about the MCAT.

or

2) Simply obtain another position within the health region and peace out, and request the day (or week) off as condition to acceptance.

I have concerns with both.

Concern with option 1 is that I'd be working for another year feeling like I essentially black mailed my manager, which I know will make me feel icky. Also (maybe irrational), but I feel like I could expect more attention and criticism towards my work too. 

Concern with option 2 is that my current workplace will be EXTREMELY understaffed so I would feel guilty. Also (maybe irrational), my manager would know exactly why I left and I'm worried bad things would be said about me.

Other thoughts: I feel like I don't owe my life to my job. I believe workplaces should be accommodating especially for circumstances like this. Tbh I'm shocked by the double decline, it kind of lacked empathy. I gave over 2 months notice. I felt like my request was treated on the same level as a request for a beach day. :/ The MCAT is no beach day, maybe if the intention is to drown haha. :lol: If I don't write this summer, then I for sure won't have chances of matriculating until 2023! Anyways, what would you advise me to do? LOL pretend this is a CASPER question. Thanks! :)

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21 minutes ago, jrooooo said:

Hello!

I registered for the MCAT a week ago without going through it with my manager. I HAD to go with this particular date as it was the only one available around the time I'd be done reviewing, in all of Canada. I can't write in the U.S. as I work and would have to quarantine after returning to Canada.

Anyways, my manager declined me as someone else took the day off. I guess that was fair so I asked if I could get the day off if I got the new casual staff to work that day, to which I was still declined... manager said we are technically understaffed so getting the casual to work that day would bring us to the required number of staff so I would still be declined... this did not really make sense to me as there would still be the same amount of people scheduled...

Anyways! I have the opportunity to apply for other jobs within the health region as my field of work is chronically understaffed. I have 2 options:

1) Try to reason with my manager, a.k.a, say the MCAT is my priority and that I'd be willing to move positions to make it happen...

or

2) Simply obtain another position within the health region and get the days off conditionally.

I have concerns with both.

Concern with option 1 is that I'd be working for another year feeling like I essentially black mailed my manager, which I know will make me feel icky. Also (maybe irrational), but I feel like I could expect more attention and criticism towards my work too. 

Concern with option 2 is that my current workplace will be EXTREMELY understaffed so I would feel guilty. Also (maybe irrational), my manager would know exactly why I left and I'm worried bad things would be said about me.

Other thoughts: I feel like I don't owe my life to my job. I believe workplaces should be accommodating especially for circumstances like this. Tbh I'm shocked by the double decline, it kind of lacked empathy. I gave over 2 months notice. I felt like my request was treated on the same level as a request for a beach day. :/ The MCAT is no beach day, maybe if the intention is to drown haha. :lol: If I don't write this summer, then I for sure won't have chances of matriculating until 2023! Anyways, what would you advise me to do? LOL pretend this is a CASPER question. Thanks! :)

I was going to say it sounds like a Casper question hahahaha.

But yeah MCAT is the priority.

I'll try to reason with my manager. Tell him it is important and why. Come up with replacement ideas. Eg asking another (not new) staff to fill in.

f it doesn't work...well f*ck off hahah.

You don't have to feel bad, it's not your job to deal the staffing issues. At the end of the day, you did everything to accomodate him. The least he could do is to accomodate you.

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The anti-casper option is to use any personal emergency leave on day-of. Or call in sick, but that will obviously look suspicious since you've asked about it ahead of time. Otherwise just say that you have a very important personal matter to attend to and you are sorry that your work is short staffed but you have no option but to not be there, and will accept any disciplinary actions that come of it... Unless you think they will fire you for it, then maybe you should resign so that you can still get a good reference for a different job?

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It’s definitely not an ideal situation. My recommendation is that you try to make your manager understand the importance of this date. If she still does not allow you to take the day off then your option is to resign or tell them that you will be unable to make this shift and that you are willing to take any repercussions. Then highlight that you are giving them several months warning.

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so let me get this straight... they are understaffed, but they think they can ensure worker satisfaction and loyalty by not being accommodating for one day? 

look I know it's always better to try and negotiate and come to a mutual understanding and agreement... but this workplace isn't looking out for your interests at all

if you aren't going to advocate for yourself who else will? 

- G

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now or later, from the vibes I get from this place, it doesn't feel like a good place to work at. if you have the privilege of leaving and finding a new job, I suggest you do. I believe taking the MCAT will do you more good than pleasing a manager who doesn't seem to understand that his/her staff have other long term goals (especially with the many months of pre notice). You do not want to wonder many years from now if you would've gotten into med school if it wasn't for that one shift/ job standing in your way. 

think about it this way : what is the opportunity cost of taking the mcat ? loosing your job, but ig you'll find another soon, and probably in 15 years it won't change your life trajectory if you don't get in med school. what is the opportunity cost of not taking the mcat ? missing out on becoming a medical doctor. 

if you aren't sure what healthcare profession you want, having doubts was inevitable. If you know an MD is #1 for you, I suggest you go for it. 

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While I don't usually advocate for this type of behaviour, I agree with @w8list, I would definitely call in sick!!

Something similar happened to me before where I begged my boss to give me a day off to study for an exam, and he still wouldn't, so I called in sick. I felt really guilty at the time but ended up calling in b/c while my work being short staffed for one day would be annoying for them, that day will pass and they'll be OK at the end...but if I end up failing an exam worth 90% because I went to work that day, that has a much more permanent impact (aka gpa). 

I obv would never do that under normal circumstances and this isn't the most ethical, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do if they're not listening to you

 

 

 

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If you call in sick, they’ll know why. What’s the point? In my experience, it’s rarely worth it to lie. I would just be frank and say that this isn’t a negotiable thing, and you will do your best to help them out in other ways, but no matter what they say you won’t be there. And if they still can’t be reasonable and insist you have to be there, peace out and find another job if that’s actually an option. Doesn’t sound like a great place to work.

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^ Agree with the above. In a working environment, compassion and empathy are a two way street. You've been shown a stark lack of compassion and empathy by your higher-up, and should feel under no obligation to uphold that which is not being extended to you. I understand that jobs are more difficult to come by re: COVID, but as everyone has stated, this is your life, and within reason you need to do what's best for your future. You did your due diligence in notifying reasonably in advance, and trying to find coverage. You owe them nothing else.

When I was a second-year undergrad, I was doing a summer NSERC position while studying for the MCAT. I had been working 8-6 and studying 6-12. Spent my weekends studying. The PhD candidates/post-docs usually worked Saturdays/half day Sundays. At one of my meetings, my PI reamed me for not coming in on weekends, stating that it was the culture of the group to work 6.5-7 days a week. I referred to the grant guidelines, which cited an average work-week of 35-40 hours (which I was more than meeting). I was meeting all of my productivity deadlines. He didn't care. Well, neither did I. I told him I would continue to not come in on the weekends. Finished my term and never spoke to him again. Got a reference letter from a visiting professor from the UK with whom I worked with quite a bit over that summer instead. When asked why I didn't get a reference from my actual PI at my interview, I told them this story. Didn't stop me from getting in. I doubt a managers ridiculously unfounded poor impression of you will manifest in ANY material way either. Of course, this is an N=1, but just my $0.02 on the matter. 

Whatever course of action you decide to take, I wish you the best of luck OP. You're a better human than I for feeling guilty about this situation ;).

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Let this be a learning experience to anyone reading this, if you need a day off and it is non-negotiable: just call in sick. Look at what OP is going through. BTW OP, if you work have a union (I'm assuming you might because you work in healthcare), you should be able to call in sick day-of and even if your manager is suspicious you won't get in trouble. You pay union dues for a reason, they'll protect you.

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