Sal Story #6: Vacation Time

Most companies provide some sort of handbook, web page, or cheat sheet for common reference of things you might need to know when you accept a job. For instance, how many vacation days do I get?

Since there was no manual, Bev called the group together and decided to create her own permission slips that we would have to fill out in detail to request days off. I thought this was bogus seeing as we were highly overworked to begin with. Tell me, honestly, what jobs outside of investment banking require 12 plus hour days, sometimes weekends, and the occasional migration to China by 1/2 the squad every six weeks for about four weeks? As Ling Ling put it best, “It’s just freaking shoes,” though her choice of expletive was much more entertaining than mine.

“Girls, I want you to all come over here so we can talk about a few things,” Bev insisted. We all gathered round. At this time, the small group of us included myself, Ling Ling my Filipino desk-buddy, Fatima from ATX whose Spanish heritage seemed to confuse Sal, Maid the “hardworking not-so-intelligent poorly educated immigrant from Brazil (in Sal’s eyes)” and I’m pretty sure Jebediah the metal-elbowed street style chick with wicked illustration talent. We sat down in pow wow formation, wheeling our desk chairs to hear mother hen out.

She explained that if you had to take any vacation days, which should be rare, you were to fill out the attached form and submit it for approval and signatures by your superiors. “For those of you who started in June or before, you will have ten days vacation, July forward, you will have five.” I freaked out. What great fortune! I started on June 23, just in time. And seeing as I had a non-flying boyfriend thousands of miles away, I think I had already burned through my five vacation days. I made some sort of exclamation of joy when Bev looked in my direction. It seems she didn’t realize I had actually started in June (she didn’t take much of a liking to me…). “Well, Katelin, you should really have five, that’s what everyone else has.” I looked around, puzzled. It was like, this was ‘fair’ or something. And her piercing words were the final say.

I resented her and “vacation” time for the rest of my tenure. Whenever I wanted to go somewhere, I did. Sure, I asked, I got my signatures. I think my growing discontent was only pacified by my vacation days and they knew it. I lived for my vacation days. I may have even staged a major illness on a particular vacation day to make my flight. As Ling Ling heard all too well from my mouth, “If they don’t let me have this day, I’ll quit.” It’s a dangerous mentality that has followed me around. Oh Sal, you maharajah of footwear (thanks Jeb), you cannot take my freedom.

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