Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Day Protocols and Other Stories...

It 's a cold snowy day out there today. Normally, it'd be a day on which I'd have to scrape or brush off my car but, fortunately, I have a garage and so I managed to crawl to work without that added step, at least.

It's a snowy night out there. It's the sporadic kind of snow that falls reluctantly but constantly, a slow, steady shower of frozen snowflakes that, over time, makes the world white. The next couple of days are supposed to hold much more snow. I believe we're supposed to have up to six inches.

I'd like to state, for the record, that I did NOT do the snow dance. I did not grab my dachshund's paws, Sausage's paws, and say, "Snow, Sausage, snow!" I am certain that, if I had, he would have growled at me and retreated to his pet bed and covered himself with my dad's old sweater.

No, I did not say the 'magic' words, though I confess I thought them. I got a new necklace for Christmas, a snowflake, cast in silver ,that I consider to be my unofficial talisman. I've worn it a few times already and, though I hate to admit it, no day upon which I've worn it has been without snow.

I know, without a doubt, that it is a coincidence. I am not able to conjure snow with the wave of my new Harry Potter Replica Wand (courtesy of my lovely brother for Chrismas) and say "Accio, Snow" or any such spell. I just, merely, love snow.

It seems to know that. It has fallen steadily, constantly for two days now. It's supposed to increase in heaviness over the next few days. I'd say I'm sad about this but, in all honesty, I'd like to see it. Even though it means I'd be confined here, forced to spend my birthday pitifully alone, I'd like to be snowed in. I'm not sure what that would mean in terms of work but I'd like to see it happen.

Though, in terms of work, I got fed up of wondering how heavy snow might affect our happy, independant little company. Every day, I hear people muttering under their breath about how they don't want to have to commute if it snows, how it's 'not fair' if they have to drive their long distance to get to work while the snow is heavy on the roads. Thus, I decided to just ask my boss. Sometimes, direct action is the only way.

After much deliberation between the managers, I was told that my request for a company policy was, in fact, being answered. Our beloved HR manager was going to draft an amendment to the employee handbook as to the "Inclement Weather" policy. Given that I tend to think of our HR manager as I do of Sausage- sweet but really dumb- I was relieved that my boss pre-defined the policy for me: If bad weather occurs, it's ok to ask permission to work from home. However, we should NOT assume permission is granted.

This is...helpful. I had originally asked if working from home was even an option and, if it was, for whom it WOULD be an option. I'm spoiled: I live 1.5 miles away from my office. Nevertheless, when it snows, I still have to dig my driveway out from under the snow and I still have to skid the 1.5 miles to work. I am/was a little worried that there would be a distance limit on the snow emergency- i.e, those of use living within 2.0 miles were required to report for work as normal.

Here's the thing: If they'd have stated that, I would have understood it. I wouldn't have liked it but I'd have understood it. Personally speaking, I think if the roads are bad, it doesn't matter if you're 30 miles or 1 mile from your destination: Accidents happen. Nevertheless, I know I'm going to feel bad if I don't go into the office after a radical snowfall. They haven't said how far you have to live in order to be exempt from the 'work at home' possibility. Yet, I'm close to the office. I could make it in. Perhaps, if I were in love with my job, I wouldn't care. However, the truth is that I feel like I have to force myself to get out of my warm cocoon of a bed each day. If there's a snow emergency out there, am I going to feel like going into the office more than someone who is (un)fortunate enough to live much further away? I don't think so.

I'm lucky- I live very close to my workplace. I don't deny this fortunate fact. It is nice. I like being able to leave 15 minutes before I'm due in the office and still arrive five minutes early. Yet, if it snows, is it still better with the distance? I now have to take 30 minutes to shovel my driveway to get my car out from the garage to the street. I still have to add an extra 10 minutes to the commute through my residential neighbourhood to make sure I don't slide through the stop signs. I still have to drive, on edge, to the office. I know it's a lot less distance than many others but, truthfully, is it any less dangerous?

I don't know. I never recieved a proper answer to my question, you see. Thus, if it does snow on Thursday and we're handicapped by the frozen white substance, does this mean I have to gently and worridly maneuver my little car to the office? Do I have to shovel my driveway to get my car out so I can drive slowly to the office.

I tried to answer confusion by asking a direct question. I'm still holding out hope that my question will be answered, that I will be told if it actually is permissible for me to request a chance to work from home, even if I am a lot closer than some of my colleagues. For me, it's not about distance, it's about traction. If there's 25 miles of no traction vs. 1 mile of no traction, I still think it's a close match.

More than anything, it's about my attempt to avoid passive-aggressive gossiping by asking an actual, direct, question. I know, based on experience, that it's likely to be recieved by much eye-rolling and muttering about 'gossips' and 'spoiled brats'. I've overheard way too much in my tenure at my company to expect anything else.

However, the truth is, up until a few months ago, we worked for a university that did have a clear-cut policy about weather. Since we no longer have a policy, I figured it was the right thing to ask, even if it made me the outsider. I've made one of my New Year's resolutions to be more direct about asking for information and not waiting around passive-aggressively to be told without asking. If you want an answer to a question, you have to ask the question, no matter how awkward, how cruel, how direct. I've learned from this approach that whether good or bad, you usually get a response.

In my case, you get a nice, vague, non-committal response. We may or may not be allowed to work from home. I'm not sure how this applies to me but since it was so vague, I think it means that it can apply to me. Thus, if it's snowing out there and digging out my driveway seems impossible, I'm going to contemplate calling in. All my boss can do is say no, right? And, if he does...I forsee another blog in my future.

I'm accuentuating the positive. That's what 2010 is about. Happy Wednesday!

1 comment:

heidiclements said...

should never have brought you snowflake necklace

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