I'm a tattletale. I finally talked to Chris about Michelle's absences, and how they all seem to occur only on Tuesdays.
As I drove in today, I thought about whether or not it was wise to talk to Chris about Michelle's continued absences on Tuesdays. I couldn't decide if "tattling" was the right thing to do, and told myself I'd just play it by ear. Imagine my surprise when Chris and I ended up being the only ones in the office today, and to celebrate, just sat down and had a nice, long chat.
The conversation just naturally flowed into the subject of Michelle. Chris asked me if there were any problems regarding Michelle's workload, etc, while she was gone. I was able to smoothly interject that yes, there was a little something going on, and I had been hesitant to bring it up, but.... I was able to tell Chris that Michelle called in sick last Tuesday, and before I could say anything more, Chris said "Again?"
Chris said that she had sort of noticed this trend, and thought it odd, since in the 8 years Michelle worked at her other job, she never called in sick once. And, then she was working 5 days a week, not 4 like she is here.
I told Chris that I noticed these absences almost always took place after a holiday weekend, or after a particularly stressful week and/or Friday (Friday is the day Michelle has to deal with Dennis all by her lonesome).
Chris said that she noticed Michelle had called in a few times, but wasn't sure of the amount. It was then that I admitted to keeping track... I told Chris that, initially, I wasn't, but after the third occurance I started writing it on my calendar. I added that I believe she's been gone six Tuesdays, but again, wasn't positive because the first couple of times I did not write it down. Chris said she was going to look at the records.
She then said that the last time Michelle was out, Chris asked her what was wrong and Michelle said it was acid reflux. I refrained from rolling my eyes (and believe me, it was difficult to do) and said that acid reflux can be activated by stressful situations. I noted that that particular incident happened after Michelle had a very difficult Friday with Dennis.
Chris said "You know, PJ, I'm not surprised you brought this up. Michelle actually brought it up to me not too long ago." She went on to say that Michelle told Chris that "PJ is cold to me after I call in sick," and went on to say that she is afraid that I believe her absences reflect badly on me, being as I referred her for the job and all.
I didn't really comment on it one way or the other, and Chris (thank God) didn't press me to.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well the conversation went. I wasn't accusatory or mean. I just simply stated that I thought there might be a problem, and Chris seemed to agree. She further stated that she had checked Michelle's "temperature" a few times after particularly stressful Fridays, but Michelle insisted all was well. However, that might not be the case, being as she seems to call in sick after each stressful incident.
Chris said she's not against people taking a mental health day if they need it, and for sure she's not against calling in sick when one is really sick. She said she'd much rather have the person rest at home than spread their germs in the office, and I agree. However, she did indicate that it was interesting that all these sicknesses were on Tuesdays (giving Michelle an even longer weekend than she normally gets), and added that she'd be checking the records to see if there was, indeed, a pattern.
Most surprisingly, though, Chris thanked me for bringing it to her attention.
So, that is off my chest and I feel much better. At least about that...