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Opinion: I’ll Use My PTO However I Damn Well Please, Pending Manager Approval of Course

So, I work at this awesome place. Free insurance that’s not accepted at any reputable health care provider, an excellent salary if I lived in Bangladesh, catered lunches that give me ulcers, and best of all, unlimited PTO whenever the hell I want! Well, so long as my manager approves it. Try to tell me that isn’t the good ol’ American dream at work!

Anyway, enough bragging. I really wanted to take some time off to go visit my sick mother who was mere inches from the reaper’s cold clutches of death, and nobody was gonna stop me! So, I requested off for a Friday afternoon 3 weeks from then to say my goodbyes. I didn’t hear back, which is totally understandable. I blindsided him! I should’ve known my mom’s cancer would progress more rapidly than expected and prepared for that.

When I called my actively disintegrating mother to tell her I wouldn’t make it to her deathbed because of work, she had some wise words for me that I’ll never forget. She said, “The grind never stops!” Then coughed up blood and died. She went out doing what she loved: dying of cancer, alone. Despite that, I was peeved! I was told I could use PTO whenever I want, and that turned out to not be accurate.

I emailed my manager a piece of my mind cause I don’t take no shit! I said, “How far in advance should I request PTO next time the most important person in my life dies? I just want to make sure I’m as courteous as possible so as to not inconvenience you. Thank you so much for everything you do.” Pretty ballsy, right? I was literally shaking as I hit send.

About 3 months later — long enough for my dad to also die —my manager finally got back to me. He ignored my question and said, “Who’s going to fill out the spreadsheets while you’re out having fun?” Right, again! That’s why he makes the big bucks. God, I wish I had the business acumen he has. Maybe I should take him up on one of his repeated, unsolicited sexual advances one of these days.

Well, lesson learned. Next time, I’m just gonna take the PTO. Right after I ask my manager.