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Ask the Doctor

08-January-2018
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Ask the Doctor

Dear Sir,
I was on maternity leave and just got back after six months. While I have been welcomed back, I somehow feel everybody around is being a little patronizing. Even clients are sounding a little distant and I am finding all this a bit worrisome. I was the best performer at work before I got pregnant. While my assignment on the return is unchanged, a lot of my responsibilities seem to have been diluted while I was away. What should I do?
Kavita C.


Dear Kavita,
I think you are over-reacting and perhaps seeing things that are actually only in your imagination. 
You have been away six months. So it is possible that you are a bit frosty without actually realizing it. I once went back to driving a car after six months of not doing so. The first few days I too felt a bit odd despite the fact that I had been driving for a good 20 years. The work is the same, the environment is the same and it's just that your absence for a while makes it all a little strange. 
If I were you, I would not worry too much. The rhythm will come back soon enough and you will start again to enjoy your work. Ask your favourite client out to lunch. Laugh and catch up on things while you were away. Chat. Gossip. Exchange notes. Show pictures of the baby. Very soon any distance will melt away. 
As far as work is concerned, your agency folks may be giving you a lighter load at work considering your return from pregnancy. Appreciate it. Slowly everything will come back to normal. The responsibilities will pile up soon enough. 
You are blessed to be working for a good organization that has welcomed you back without any strings attached. You have got your earlier role and clients. Not many organizations are so considerate and accommodating.
Imagine if you had been moved to a new set of businesses? So, calm down. Let a few weeks pass. The good old times will be back again.

Dear Sir,
I want to go on a year-end vacation. I had planned for it six months ago. I booked my air tickets nearly three months ago and my hotel too. Now when I asked my boss for leave, he just threw a big tantrum citing too much work in the office and didn’t accept my leave. When I tried to reason with him, he said I could put in my papers. If I go on the holiday, my job is at stake. If I don’t go, my family will be very unhappy and I will also lose all the money I have spent on the bookings. I do not know what to do. Please urgently advise me.
Puneet S.

Dear Puneet,
I don’t want to take sides but I think you got this entire issue muddled up yourself. The right procedure to follow was to first ask your boss for permission to go on vacation on the dates you wanted to take off. If he agreed, you could then book your air passage and hotel accordingly. If he was not agreeable to the dates requested by you, you could have looked at alternative dates so that your planned vacation was okay with priorities at work. 
You chose to book your vacation either believing that your request for leave would never be denied. Or, you thought taking a vacation was your birthright whenever you wanted the time off. 
Either which way, your supposition was wrong. I don’t really blame your boss. 
Now, my only suggestion, though a risky one is to actually put in your papers. If your boss is serious about his threat, then at least you know you have a choice to make between the job and the vacation. On the other hand, the resignation may trigger a truce. Either which way your boss will not have anybody in the office, whether you quit or go on vacation. He may just go soft and let you take the vacation with some amount of unpleasantness. You decide whether the resignation gambit is worth doing or not.

Dear Sir,
My agency has given me a temporary transfer from Mumbai to Delhi to fill in for someone who has gone on urgent personal leave. I have been told I may need to stay there for a few months till they find a replacement. I have a young wife and don’t want to leave her alone in Mumbai. She also works and it is impractical to take her with me. What should I do in these circumstances?
Kumar M.


Dear Kumar,
Negotiate with your office that you can fly back to Mumbai every Friday and fly to Delhi every Monday. Some weeks your wife can do the same at your office’s expense. I think your request will not be turned down. This can be a win-win for both. 
I think most times we hesitate to discuss personal issues with the boss. If he is not aware of a problem, you cannot expect him to find a solution for something he does not know. So, if the wife issue was bothering you, you should have brought it up with your boss. If the request was justified, he wouldn’t have a reason to say no. 
Problems normally happen when issues are either not tabled or not properly articulated. Organizations per se are considerate and fair employers but perhaps not sensitive enough to all personal issues. So, rather than fret and fume, just go and have an open chat.

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