A woman lived a single and childless life and held a firm stance on not getting bogged down by overtime. However, she would soon find that these personal values would be questioned when she refused to help a colleague in need.
A Progressive Workplace
The woman was fortunate to work within a highly progressive team. “We are very lucky that we have a forward-thinking manager and team leader”, she explained.
The woman’s team members shared the work tasks in a highly flexible manner. “Once we divide the tasks, you can do them whenever as long as your report is handed in when it should be”, she explained. Work from home, from the office, at 3am, less than 40hrs… it doesn’t matter.”
The Slacker Colleague
However, the woman had one colleague who was always finding ways to work the least possible hours. “She is either always pregnant, on maternity leave (4 months), on her yearly vacation (a month), or conveniently sick when it is time for some heavy-duty work”, she explained. “She also uses her kids as an excuse all the time.”
The Team’s Unwilling Enabler
The team usually covered for this co-worker’s absence by taking on extra work themselves. They would willingly step in to ensure tasks were completed, but the woman was determined not to be an enabler for her colleague’s habitual slacking.
An Unprecedented Request
The situation took an interesting turn when the team was assigned to audit a larger company in another city. This time, every team member was required to contribute fully. For the first time in six years, the slacking co-worker was neither pregnant nor on maternity leave and had recently returned from her annual vacation.
An Unexpected Request
Unsurprisingly, the co-worker approached the woman and asked for a favor. She wanted to switch roles, allowing her to stay at the office while the woman went to the other city. Her reason was a need to care for her five children, which she couldn’t entrust to her husband alone.
A Firm Refusal
“I said no,” the woman stated. She saw through her co-worker’s attempt to guilt-trip her. The co-worker argued that the cost of childcare for her children exceeded what she would earn for the entire month of the audit. The woman’s response was both direct and unapologetic: “Well, they are not my kids, so I don’t see how that is my problem.”
The woman’s refusal to switch roles with her co-worker created a stir in the office. Some colleagues began to question her level of compassion, arguing that she couldn’t comprehend the hardships of a hardworking mother. They believed that she should be more understanding.
The Woman’s Perspective
However, the woman was not phased by her colleagues’ criticisms. She was sick of her colleague’s excuses and was fed up with people enabling her to do minimal work. She recognized the hardships that mothers faced but felt that this was not her problem.
A Choice Made
With her decision firmly in place, the woman faced the consequences of her choice. The dynamics in her team had shifted, and she found herself at the center of a controversy.
Asking the Internet
The woman headed online to explain her decision, asking for second opinions from internet strangers. Thankfully, readers were quick to validate her actions. “Not your kids, not your problem”, one commenter agreed. “If she can’t travel because her husband can’t take care of them, then she should change job to something not requiring travel.”
A Controversial Perspective
However, not everyone took the woman’s side. “You seem very annoyed about her taking time off she is entitled to”, a critic wrote. “Being pregnant or taking her vacation time doesn’t count as working the least amount possible. You’re allowed to take that time off and shouldn’t feel pressured to put your family life on hold.”
Another commenter agreed with this sentiment. “Being pregnant and taking care of 5 kids everyday is likely more difficult than the job you think she is ‘avoiding’.”
However, such criticism was rare, and most commenters stuck up for the woman. “I don’t know why people with kids think they have more rights than others… she decided to have 5 kids, so she shouldn’t mess around the rest who choose not to have”, another commenter stated.
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