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What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

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  #21  
Unread 01-06-2008, 08:05 AM
What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

I hope that you kept anecdotal records of all the conversations you had with your supervisior, your trips to the office, the hours you were there and the work you accomplished. I know you love your job and wouldn't think of a lawsuit at this time and perhaps someone above your supervisior would be more willing to compromise because she seems eager to move, however in some way her treatment of you is harrassment and that is cetainly supported by the comment she made to the other employee about you being out. If she is not willing to find a compromise for a gradual return you may need to have a discussion and present your information to someone above her. I am all for following the chain or command, but because she is your supervisionr and has in interest in your returning quickly, she doesn't have a right to coerce you when you are making yourself available to support the company. Your working there AMA can be a huge liabiliy for them, particularly if it actually adds to delaying your return and they are tnreatening your job because of it. Good luck...sorry you are so stresssed that for sure doesn't help.... - Suzyq
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  #22  
Unread 01-06-2008, 10:40 AM
What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

I work for a huge pharmaceutical corporation as an hourly employee. This company is well known for being a "hard ***" (or read inbetween the lines with the thinking of the word discrimination) when it comes to treating their hourly employees with the same benefits and legal "opportunities" that it does when it compares to the salaried staff. This too is a "at-will" state, which just gives them the legal go-ahead to do whatever it is they want to do with their hourly employees. I think with the Presidential election coming up, the status of "at-will" states will end. The economy is headed for a resession, and that is the last thing a new President wants to deal with (huge numbers of folks who are unemployeed or jobs going overseas).

With my surgery in November, I saved up all of vacation time, and personal days. I was forced to used these in conjunction with my leave of absense (short term disability) that my company has. After 10 years with this company, I was very surprised that this is what they required of me. It really made me realize the cost of working for this company.

I think that how the FMLA Policy is written by the Federal Gov't needs to be more enforced and explained. For myself, I know that there is just no way after 6 weeks of being off I could have gone back to work in the shape I was in. No way. And for my employer to think I could, and try to force my personal physician to write a note releasing me to full time status...just took a lot of nerve. Then they tried to withhold my pay, took away my healthcare benefits, etc. Just trying to encourage me to quit. That way my medical bills would be MY RESPONSIBILITY and not there's. It really has been eye opening.

All I can say after this experience, I think everyone needs to get out and vote. We need more Federal rules and regulations on the books to stop these huge corporations from taking away what we all work so very hard for.

Just my 2 cents worth.
  #23  
Unread 01-06-2008, 11:32 AM
What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

I know that there is just no way after 6 weeks of being off I could have gone back to work in the shape I was in. No way. And for my employer to think I could, and try to force my personal physician to write a note releasing me to full time status...just took a lot of nerve. Then they tried to withhold my pay, took away my healthcare benefits, etc. Just trying to encourage me to quit. That way my medical bills would be MY RESPONSIBILITY and not there's. It really has been eye opening.


That is awful, "criminal" one would say. So they attempted this but didn't succeed? And is it correct that because it is "at will" employment there is no legal recourse for the employee?

Mariah
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  #24  
Unread 01-06-2008, 12:01 PM
What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

Tam: It's disheartening to read that your supervisor is still giving you a hard time about returning to work full time. I feel for you! My original plan was to return to work on Jan.2nd and that was one day shy of 4 weeks. My doc said no way, I could go back on Jan.7th. So, I went in on Friday, Jan.4th for a "clearance" visit because I wanted directions in writing to give to my boss about what I could do at work. The doctor did a pelvic exam, I told her I was still spotting....she found some infection at the stitchline and several stitches that have not yet dissolved. She wrote me a Rx for another week of antibiotics (Flagyl) and ordered me off work until Jan.14th. I immediately attempted contact with my boss and have not yet been able to reach her by phone. I've left phone messages at home and work and sent her an email. No response. I'm sure she is honkerblonked. But, what can I do? Thankfully I do have FMLA.....she can't touch me. I also work under a teacher's union contract full of protections. My doctor really wants me to go back on half-days for the first week and then ease into full days. I'm not sure I can do this considering how long I've been out. Her concern is that I will fatigue and need to go home and lie down to rest after lunch. I'm concerned about that too. Is there a way you can go back on partial hours until 1 or 2 PM and then go home to rest? Perhaps you could try this the first week? This is so emotional for those of us who really love our jobs and yet are realistic about what we are able to do. I tire out so easily, even though my pain is nil. Please keep up updated and know that you've got folks here who do care about what happens to you. hugs!
  #25  
Unread 01-06-2008, 12:35 PM
What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

  Quote:
Originally Posted by morgainec
I love that "3 prenatal tours" - every day I become more and more appreciative of the resilience women have - we just walk thru so much - I guess men do in their own way, as well - but my experience when men get sick they become complete babies. The X-husband had an appendectomy and the world came to a complete stop! Also, I think our ability to talk about what is going on is just amazing...
I agree! Women are expected to handle a whole lot from their bodies, yet pick right up and keep going. We are incredible.

  Quote:
Originally Posted by Arly3
iluv2digiscrap - would the company lawyer have a copy of anything useful - such as going back to work too early and how the company could be liable?

If you don't want to give out your supervisor's number, find out a good time for your supervisor to call your doctor - make it an appointment.

You can say, reasonably, "Look, why don't you talk to my doctor? That way you are getting first-hand information to make decisions with (the best kind, right? )

Thank goodness you have a great doctor...I don't know how you would get through all this without her!
I don't really have the option of calling the company attorney. He's not on staff, he's retained, and only the owners of the company have access to him.

At this point, it's probably moot to try to schedule a phone call on Monday as that's the day that my supervisor will be getting back into town... and then she'll be in the office on Tuesday. I do like your way of suggesting that my supervisor and my doctor have a phone conversation, though.

  Quote:
Originally Posted by MsDee2
Yes Tam, thank goodness you have a good doctor because that supervisor of yours is an ***! Your dr. is running the show, not your supervisor. I would tell your supervisor no fulltime work until you're released by the doctor. What if you had a major complication? Is the company prepared for that? I'd be expecting a big salary increase when I returned as the place can't run without you. Or so your supervisor would lead you to believe. She has her own agenda. It's all fun and games until it inconveniences HER.
Oh, I'm definitely telling my supervisor that I won't be returning full-time until I have my doctor's release... and when I talk to her in person, I plan to bring up the fact that requiring me to be back in the office AMA is a liability for the company.

The thing is... yes, when my supervisor is not in town, I do run the administrative office. Once I've returned to the office full-time, my supervisor is leaving... they're going to run our west coast office, and then I'll be running the office on a day-to-day basis. Supposedly, I'm going to see a dramatic pay increase this year... and I'm hoping that happens soon, given the stress I've had to deal with over my recovery.

It's true, she does have her own agenda. She co-owns the company, so she essentially can do whatever she wants. She and her husband also devised company plans, without bringing the rest of us into it immediately, and now my recovery is creating a hitch in those plans.

It's really tough. I see both sides of it... I know that my recovery is of absolute #1 importance to me. I also know that company progress is of (probably) absolute #1 importance to her.

  Quote:
Originally Posted by suzyqsuzyq
I hope that you kept anecdotal records of all the conversations you had with your supervisior, your trips to the office, the hours you were there and the work you accomplished. I know you love your job and wouldn't think of a lawsuit at this time and perhaps someone above your supervisior would be more willing to compromise because she seems eager to move, however in some way her treatment of you is harrassment and that is cetainly supported by the comment she made to the other employee about you being out. If she is not willing to find a compromise for a gradual return you may need to have a discussion and present your information to someone above her. I am all for following the chain or command, but because she is your supervisionr and has in interest in your returning quickly, she doesn't have a right to coerce you when you are making yourself available to support the company. Your working there AMA can be a huge liabiliy for them, particularly if it actually adds to delaying your return and they are tnreatening your job because of it. Good luck...sorry you are so stresssed that for sure doesn't help.... - Suzyq
Yes, I am keeping record of how often I'm being contacted, but I really don't think there's much legal recourse. I've done some research, and in my state, it's perfectly legal for a company to terminate you for being sick, having surgery, etc. even with a doctor's order. Do I think I'm going to be terminated? It's not likely. But the company sure is making me miserable as I attempt to heal properly. Once this is all over and done with, I plan to at least approach them to discuss the fact that a disability policy as part of the company benefits package would be to both the employee's advantage and theirs. I'm sure a lot of this has to do with timing - since none of the employees knew how quickly the company was going to be expanding this year - and a lot has to do with the fact that the company is paying me full salary to hang out at home, recovering. Nevermind the fact that I've suggested ways that I could work from home, and they've said, "not necessary."

The thing here is... there is no one above her in chain of command, except for maybe her husband, who stays out of the administrative side of the company. My supervisor and her husband are technically the owners of the company (even though we're incorporated, they're the only shareholders). Administratively, she's the top... and then I'm next.

  Quote:
Originally Posted by Roseptl
I work for a huge pharmaceutical corporation as an hourly employee. This company is well known for being a "hard ***" (or read inbetween the lines with the thinking of the word discrimination) when it comes to treating their hourly employees with the same benefits and legal "opportunities" that it does when it compares to the salaried staff. This too is a "at-will" state, which just gives them the legal go-ahead to do whatever it is they want to do with their hourly employees. I think with the Presidential election coming up, the status of "at-will" states will end. The economy is headed for a resession, and that is the last thing a new President wants to deal with (huge numbers of folks who are unemployeed or jobs going overseas).

With my surgery in November, I saved up all of vacation time, and personal days. I was forced to used these in conjunction with my leave of absense (short term disability) that my company has. After 10 years with this company, I was very surprised that this is what they required of me. It really made me realize the cost of working for this company.

I think that how the FMLA Policy is written by the Federal Gov't needs to be more enforced and explained. For myself, I know that there is just no way after 6 weeks of being off I could have gone back to work in the shape I was in. No way. And for my employer to think I could, and try to force my personal physician to write a note releasing me to full time status...just took a lot of nerve. Then they tried to withhold my pay, took away my healthcare benefits, etc. Just trying to encourage me to quit. That way my medical bills would be MY RESPONSIBILITY and not there's. It really has been eye opening.

All I can say after this experience, I think everyone needs to get out and vote. We need more Federal rules and regulations on the books to stop these huge corporations from taking away what we all work so very hard for.

Just my 2 cents worth.
Wow, I am sorry that you had to go through that! I went through something similar during my first pregnancy, back before the days of FMLA. I had doctor-enforced bedrest, and the company responded by terminating me when I returned because I hadn't brought in a doctor's note for one of the single days previous that I had missed. They forced me to take COBRA to cover my medical expense, and I practically bankrupted myself trying to pay my monthly premium so that I'd have medical coverage. At that time, I was young (20), naive, and terrified of the prospect of a lawsuit and how it might impact future employment opportunities... so even though the EEOC told me I had a case, I didn't follow-through. (Partially, too, because they wanted me to come to them, an hour away when I was on bedrest.)

(This previous experience, of course, contributes to what makes me feel so anxious over this experience... although my title and responsibility level with this company is far different from my first employer.)

My company doesn't offer any kind of short-term/long-term disability in its benefits package, and last year I was only entitled to a week's vacation (due to my duration with the company) and, although company policy is 5 sick/personal leave days per year, salaried employees don't have their sick/personal time counted against them. Thankfully, I became a salaried employee in August. With not getting my diagnosis until late October, and having surgery in December, I didn't have any of my vacation time to offer.

You bring up an excellent point, though... I've never really paid much attention to political candidates' labor platforms. I'm going to go back and take a look at those.

  Quote:
Originally Posted by morgainec
That is awful, "criminal" one would say. So they attempted this but didn't succeed? And is it correct that because it is "at will" employment there is no legal recourse for the employee?
Not being a lawyer, I can't really give you a definitive answer there. But from my web research, I've reviewed all sorts of labor law sites, and as best as I can gather... it's perfectly legal for an employer in my state to terminate a sick employee - whether it be short term illness, long term illness, surgery, etc. The only exception being pregnancy, because that's protected under discrimination laws.

  Quote:
Originally Posted by leannjax
Tam: It's disheartening to read that your supervisor is still giving you a hard time about returning to work full time. I feel for you! My original plan was to return to work on Jan.2nd and that was one day shy of 4 weeks. My doc said no way, I could go back on Jan.7th. So, I went in on Friday, Jan.4th for a "clearance" visit because I wanted directions in writing to give to my boss about what I could do at work. The doctor did a pelvic exam, I told her I was still spotting....she found some infection at the stitchline and several stitches that have not yet dissolved. She wrote me a Rx for another week of antibiotics (Flagyl) and ordered me off work until Jan.14th. I immediately attempted contact with my boss and have not yet been able to reach her by phone. I've left phone messages at home and work and sent her an email. No response. I'm sure she is honkerblonked. But, what can I do? Thankfully I do have FMLA.....she can't touch me. I also work under a teacher's union contract full of protections. My doctor really wants me to go back on half-days for the first week and then ease into full days. I'm not sure I can do this considering how long I've been out. Her concern is that I will fatigue and need to go home and lie down to rest after lunch. I'm concerned about that too. Is there a way you can go back on partial hours until 1 or 2 PM and then go home to rest? Perhaps you could try this the first week? This is so emotional for those of us who really love our jobs and yet are realistic about what we are able to do. I tire out so easily, even though my pain is nil. Please keep up updated and know that you've got folks here who do care about what happens to you. hugs!
Oh boy... good luck with your supervisor! It's great that you have legal protection, although I'm sure it's still somewhat stressful to you.

What concerns me right now is that, since my supervisor is trying to force me back AMA... she's likely to be expecting that to only be part-time. I'm sure she's planning on me being back full-time as soon as I have the doctor's release. To her, I've been gone "long enough" and I can't help but wonder if she thinks I'm somehow getting the doctor to not give me clearance because she thinks I don't want to be back at work yet. She may see it as me getting a free ride right now. What I'm probably going to have to do is really hammer-out my release with my doctor and have her specifically state whether I'm cleared for part-time or full-time hours, with maybe a duration for my hours to be part-time before I return fully.

And now I'm all the more stressed, since I'm being sent to a surgeon for my breast issues that developed since my hyst. On the one hand, I know that I should be forthcoming about it with my supervisor, but I don't want to say "surgeon" quite yet. I'm thinking that I should tell her that I'm being sent to a specialist, for the time being. Even if things do reach the point of surgery, anything done would be outpatient, and I'd have minimal downtime. I could probably have any procedure they want to do done on a Friday and be back to work on Monday.

Perhaps I should even use this to emphasize my need for the full-recovery time off. I've developed a new issue that seems to be as a result of my hyst, it's going to require medical visits, wouldn't it be better for me to take care of that now rather than come back, then have to take some more time off?
  #26  
Unread 01-06-2008, 12:39 PM
I feel for you...

I can related to the pressures of working for a small company and being responsible for the financial end of the business. I'm an Office Manager/HR Director for a corporation. I handle all the HR, including payroll, plus manage the administrative staff and handle the internal financial statments and cash flow for the business.

When I found out I was having surgery, I took a look at the worst case senario, that being out for 8 weeks and that's what I told my boss, the VP of the company. I called our CPA's office and secured an accountant type assistant from their office to come in and cover the confidential items that I couldn't turn over to anyone on my staff. We also set up a courier service to deliver and pick up from my house twice a week, documents that needed my review and sign off. We set up a remote desktop connection for my computer so that I could log on to our company server and I could access all my work files from the comfort of my computer at home. I honestly thought I'd be back to work in a couple of weeks, but I'm glad I haven't rushed it.

Our company doesn't fall under the guidelines of FMLA either, nor do they offer disability insurance coverage. I took out my own policy a couple years ago as an income replacement plan, in the event of something like my TAH happening. When I filled out the paperwork, I had to have a doctor's statement showing when my return to work release date would be. My surgery was 12/17, and my doctor signed a statement saying she would not return to work until 1/28, so I gave a copy of that to my boss, so there was no misunderstanding that this was major surgery and that I'd return as quickly as possible, but not before I was released by my physican. I opened the door to allow them to call me via my cell, but that I'm not answering every single phone call and will let it go to voice mail, and I'll return the call at my pace, not theirs. I guess my position was to lay down the ground rules up front on how this was going down, and not to expect too much from me on this end. I told my boss and the President, that I only have one opportunity to heal right, and if they wanted me back 100%, they'd have to be patient and understand that just because their wife or sister or mother had "the same thing" done, that I'm not that person and we all heal at different rates. Luckily, they agreed with me, and the fact that I planned ahead to have someone else cover me, has gone a long way in preventing me from having stress.

I'm really, really sorry that you're having the issues you're having right now, and I honestly feel sorry for you because stress after having major surgery can slow down your healing process. I strongly suggest that you get either a letter from your doctor or even have your physican call your boss and tell them that you are not released to go back to work yet. You're not going to be any good to anyone if you rush this, and the hostility that is building between the two of you will have adverse effects on your job once you do return to work.

Call your doctor and get some sort of letter to your boss from your physican. Suggest that your boss have someone from her accountant or CPA's office help out, something, anything....but stop allowing her to bully you into a quicker recovery. It's not good for you! Gosh, honestly if I had to deal with someone treating me the way your being treated, I seriously take a look at the type of person you work for and whether or not it's worth it. I worked for a corp. who felt business was first and everything else could wait, and I ran screaming from that nightmare and found another job where I mattered as a person first, as a wife and partner to my husband second, and as long as my job fell in the top 5 of my priorities, that was OK with them. Life is way to short to be stressed out.

Good luck
  #27  
Unread 01-06-2008, 01:02 PM
What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

  Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillow1960
I can related to the pressures of working for a small company and being responsible for the financial end of the business. I'm an Office Manager/HR Director for a corporation. I handle all the HR, including payroll, plus manage the administrative staff and handle the internal financial statments and cash flow for the business.

When I found out I was having surgery, I took a look at the worst case senario, that being out for 8 weeks and that's what I told my boss, the VP of the company. I called our CPA's office and secured an accountant type assistant from their office to come in and cover the confidential items that I couldn't turn over to anyone on my staff. We also set up a courier service to deliver and pick up from my house twice a week, documents that needed my review and sign off. We set up a remote desktop connection for my computer so that I could log on to our company server and I could access all my work files from the comfort of my computer at home. I honestly thought I'd be back to work in a couple of weeks, but I'm glad I haven't rushed it.

Our company doesn't fall under the guidelines of FMLA either, nor do they offer disability insurance coverage. I took out my own policy a couple years ago as an income replacement plan, in the event of something like my TAH happening. When I filled out the paperwork, I had to have a doctor's statement showing when my return to work release date would be. My surgery was 12/17, and my doctor signed a statement saying she would not return to work until 1/28, so I gave a copy of that to my boss, so there was no misunderstanding that this was major surgery and that I'd return as quickly as possible, but not before I was released by my physican. I opened the door to allow them to call me via my cell, but that I'm not answering every single phone call and will let it go to voice mail, and I'll return the call at my pace, not theirs. I guess my position was to lay down the ground rules up front on how this was going down, and not to expect too much from me on this end. I told my boss and the President, that I only have one opportunity to heal right, and if they wanted me back 100%, they'd have to be patient and understand that just because their wife or sister or mother had "the same thing" done, that I'm not that person and we all heal at different rates. Luckily, they agreed with me, and the fact that I planned ahead to have someone else cover me, has gone a long way in preventing me from having stress.

I'm really, really sorry that you're having the issues you're having right now, and I honestly feel sorry for you because stress after having major surgery can slow down your healing process. I strongly suggest that you get either a letter from your doctor or even have your physican call your boss and tell them that you are not released to go back to work yet. You're not going to be any good to anyone if you rush this, and the hostility that is building between the two of you will have adverse effects on your job once you do return to work.

Call your doctor and get some sort of letter to your boss from your physican. Suggest that your boss have someone from her accountant or CPA's office help out, something, anything....but stop allowing her to bully you into a quicker recovery. It's not good for you! Gosh, honestly if I had to deal with someone treating me the way your being treated, I seriously take a look at the type of person you work for and whether or not it's worth it. I worked for a corp. who felt business was first and everything else could wait, and I ran screaming from that nightmare and found another job where I mattered as a person first, as a wife and partner to my husband second, and as long as my job fell in the top 5 of my priorities, that was OK with them. Life is way to short to be stressed out.

Good luck
It sounds like we have very similar jobs, though my company is probably a bit smaller than yours (we don't have any VPs).

It's frustrating, because I made my attempts to lay the groundwork prior to my surgery. No matter what I said, in my supervisor's head she'd decided that 2 weeks would be sufficient because that's how soon she was ready after her hyst. I suggested bringing in a temp for additional office task coverage. I suggested having DH run paperwork for me, since his employment is so close in proximity to mine. I suggested establishing remote access so that I could have accessibility to the applications that I need to accomplish any tasks. I told them that I'd be available via cellphone, email and Instant Messenger for questions. All of that was pooh-poohed with "not necessary" (except the phone/email/IM) because my boss just really refused to believe that I'd require more than that 2 weeks off. The kicker is that... quite a few of those days after the 2 week point, business was completely dead due to the holidays. My management-level co-workers have been trying to fight my battle with me, they've been telling her that there's really not a dire need for me to come in. With the exception of the invoicing (which I could've done remotely), retrieving the receivables and processing them could've been done by my assistant while I walked her through it on the phone. My needing to go in this past Friday would've been moot, had we had a temp.

I am kicking myself, however, to not having thought ahead to purchasing my own private disability coverage. I guess it was due to thinking that I was invincible. Sure, I'd been having female problems, but I was floored when it came down to needing surgery. By then, it would've been too late to establish a policy. One of the first things I plan to do, once I'm released, is get quotes for a private policy. Well, maybe I'll see if I can't convince the company that disability insurance coverage is beneficial to everyone, first.

As far as the type of person that I'm working for, this has shocked me. Up until now, I've absolutely loved my employers. They are typically caring and compassionate. I've come to work sick, and been told to go home and rest. They give us personal gifts all the time. In fact, my supervisor and her husband often treat me like family. The downside is that my supervisor is also probably a workaholic.

I still love my company itself, and very soon I'll be working less directly with the actual owners of the company. I suspect that part of the problem here is that they don't have anything built into their business plan for how to handle a longer-term employee having a medical situation. With the expansion that our company is going to be going through, my employers are seeking staff input on management of the business itself. We're also going to be bringing on quite a few more employees over the next few months. Maybe now I can help them to develop some better employee relations policies.
  #28  
Unread 01-07-2008, 01:13 PM
What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

Well... imagine my surprise. I went into the office today, and my supervisor had returned, a day early. That was frustrating, since I did call my doctor's office this morning for a letter stating that I have not yet been given a medical release - but I don't have it yet. Imagine my surprise even more when, after being in the office for 5 whole minutes, my supervisor told me that I didn't need to stay because she's back.

The IT Director told me that he asked her if she was going to call me and let me know that I didn't need to come in, and she told him no. So she intentionally wanted me to come to the office... I'm sure she knew that, once I was there after making the effort, I was going to take care of a few things. I ended up staying a couple of hours to process paperwork that was on my desk, and then I printed out some reports and work that I could bring home with me.

Oh, and she drove me nuts while I was there. "Don't open that file drawer. Don't pick that up! Don't stay too long, you're going to overdo it!" She yelled at me for picking up half a ream of paper!

It seems that she's decided to take a new tack with me... she asked me when my 6 week appointment is, because she knows that's when I anticipate being cleared. Then she told me that she doesn't want me pushing myself, only come in if I feel up to it... just keep track of my hours.

Yes, they're going to pro-rate me. They're going to start only paying me for hours worked.

If she can't force me back because I'm going to stick to doctor's orders, she figures she'll force me back by cutting my income.

*sigh*
  #29  
Unread 01-07-2008, 03:13 PM
What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

Amazing. Truly amazing. Did she put anything in writing prior to the surgery regarding "the agreement" for how the company was going to continue to pay you while you were on medical leave?
  #30  
Unread 01-07-2008, 04:15 PM
What to do when your employer is pressuring your return to work

No... she didn't put anything at all in writing, and that's where I'll never go wrong again. I suspect that the company likes to leave these things informal for a reason - to keep them in control of the situation.

And, then amazingly, my supervisor called me later this afternoon. She wanted to make sure that I didn't feel like I *had* to go home today, when she kept telling me that I should take it easy, not overdo it, and go home to rest.

Now she says that she's "leaving it up to me" so that I don't do more than I feel up to doing. Sure... now that she's affecting my budget.
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