Tuesday, July 1, 2014

When 4 out of 20 is Still Too Much...

Since some of what I discuss here is craft related, I wanted to chime in on the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision.  No matter where you stand on the issue or even if you don't particularly care because its only four out of 20 birth control options that are banned...I just wanted to give you an idea of what it is like when your boss is intimately involved with your personal healthcare.

In the early 2000's I worked as an interior designer in New Orleans for a "mom and pop" contract furniture group.  I was in my early 20's, didn't ask many questions, and just felt lucky to have a job.  However six months in, my boss asked myself and another designer of child-bearing age, in front of everyone, if we planned to get pregnant this year because he would like to save on not paying for our maternity benefit.  awkward.  It just got stranger from there on out.  His wife was a doctor and if you wanted to take off time to see a doctor for anything, it was strongly recommended to see his wife.  I flat out refused and often was not allowed time to see my own doctor and would have to sneak out of work to do so.  Eventually, I just gave up going for preventive care check ups because of the hassle...which unfortunately was the time I began to have symptoms of my cancer.

The most egregious overstep was when they some how found out I was a small dose of Paxil.  I had gone through a bad break up a year before and wanted to be productive and get on with my life.  Short term medication was a plan I made with my doctor.  Not only did my boss find out, he told my supervisor, who in turn told a client!  I found this out from a co-worker that was told by said client she did not want to work with that "crazy" girl anymore and laid out how my supervisor had been quite chummy during a lunch and told all she suspected.  From there I chose to get it all out in the open with my boss and supervisor - to which nothing happened, other than me being even more uncomfortable everyday there. 

Here I am taking a bat to my desk.  I sure hated that place.
So why did I stay?  Honestly, I started looking for a new job that six months in...it was hard though.  Not many opportunities were available to me; plus, I was unaware of the reputation my employer had and that was a lot to overcome in an interview.  I did eventually leave and worked at a few other mom and pops.

This experience though, was the what lit my fire to create my own business.  I never, ever want to work for someone that has control over my choices regarding my health...speaking as a cancer survivor and woman.

What can you do if you work for a company like this?  You need to get out plain and simple.  I know it's hard but take stock of your assets, see if you can upgrade your skill set, if you work with other clients - see if they have opportunities.  The rest of us need to boycott these businesses...support those that not only provide comprehensive healthcare for both men and women equally but pay a living wage.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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