It is April, the month that marks my one-year anniversary as a full-time employee at my station. What this means is I now have ten paid vacation days and one floating holiday suddenly at my disposal!
I’ve heard rumors that this is not how it is at other stations (do I sound like a broken record yet?) but where I work, all employees are strictly FORBIDDEN to take time off or even swap shifts during ratings periods (February, May, July, and November.) Among other reasons, this is why I chose to get married in August. However, all the last-minute preparations/showers fell in July (when I was working overnight and weekends.) Even though I had already found a producer willing to switch with me the Saturday of my bridal shower, I wasn’t allowed because of ratings. So I worked all night and showered all day. Exhausting.
(Just a side note: My boss, who’s worked in news for nearly 30 years, just celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary on February 2nd. How the hell does he get off getting married during ratings? I digress.)
Dan texted me while I was at work a few weeks ago and said, “If you can get June 28 through July 2 off, you’ll be so excited!” This, quite frankly, pissed me off royally. It would be as if someone said to you, “If you could somehow grow wings, I’ll teach you how to fly!” In true masochistic form, I opted to rub salt in my own wound by asking Dan why he wanted me to request to be off those particular days.
“Because I want to take you to Cornerstone!”
WHAAAT??! I’ve wanted to go to Cornerstone as long as I’ve known what Cornerstone is. Being that its geographical disposition is basically a zillion miles away from me, it has never been practically or financially feasible.
So at that point, I instantaneously morphed from angry to supremely depressed. If it weren’t for bloody ratings, I’d be able to go to Cornerstone with my husband. But Dan wouldn’t let it go. He kept begging me to ask the time off anyway, just to see what would happen. Reluctantly, I did as I was told, and received a one sentence email from my boss in response.
“I’m sorry but I cannot allow that during ratings.”
It was probably the saddest “I told you so, Dan” moment of my life.
Just as I was about to leave work for the day, I felt a tap on my right shoulder. I turned around to see my boss holding a vacation request form. With monotonous apathy, he flatly said, “Check your email and fill this out.”
Here’s the email, copied and pasted from my inbox (which is painful, because I want so desperately to correct his grammatical errors.)
SUBJECT: July ratings
Due to the fact that the ratings period for July follows only 5 weeks and that takes away a considerable amount of time for vacations, I am making a one time only change to our July policy.
I will accept limited vacation requests for the end of the last week of June which includes July 1,2 and for the last three days of the July ratings period which are July 26th, 27th and 28th.
No fudging. July 3 through the 25th are not available and this will not happen in May or November or next February. This is a one time only change.
I am not doing this for me. I promise not be off any of those days other than July 9th which the day I am off for working July 5th. I wanted to make sure everyone knew I was not changing the rule to benefit me.
THE VACATION REQUEST IS APPROVED! VICTORY IS MINE!
WE’RE GOING TO CORNERSTONE!