Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Boss Marty as God

In his sermon over the weekend, our pastor commented that bosses are not God, although some may think they're God. I'm wondering if he''ll call Ron's boss and straighten him out.

Ron's boss (Marty) pressured him to work intensely and ("24/7 is the goal. This is an emergency." Never mind that so-called emergencies occur monthly ) and late into the night last Thursday and Friday. Ron offered to take work home this weekend, but that wasn't "acceptable." Ron stated that he wasn't working this weekend....he's diabetic, his blood sugar is high, and he felt rundown. Our doctor would disapprove. Marty said no problem. I understand.

Ron trudged home exhausted at 10:45 PM on Friday. He hadn't seen Andrea since Tuesday. We settled in for a quiet, restorative family weekend, to be finished with a Sunday dinner celebrating the start of autumn...turkey with parsleyed red potatoes, buttered sweet peas and freshly baked pumpkin pie. Kevin, my stepson, was driving 20 miles to join us for this family gathering and fun, seasonal feast. An early fall thanksgiving dinner.

At 8 PM Saturday after church, Ron was popping old-fashioned popcorn when the kitchen phone rang. Marty. Said he needed a document, and couldn't find it. Where might it be? A few minutes conversation while Ron continued to pop the corn. Marty....irked that his guilt trip wasn't working, irked that he was at work and Ron was at home.....finally commented...."I can practically smell that popcorn through the phone."
Ron stayed at home, and munched popcorn as we watched baseball playoff highlights and an old movie. But he felt stressed out and guilty. Marty was on his mind.

9 AM Sunday morning, when most of the world is worshiping at church, Marty leaves a phone message. It's really bad....it's an emergency. Everyone but you is here. Call me on my cell as soon as you get this. Marty was worshiping at work.

Ron had two choices...call or not call. If he ignored the message, he would be fired. That was the implicit threat. We can't afford that. If he made the call, he would be going to work on Sunday. Family dinner would be cancelled. A sacred occasion sacrificed for overtime at work.

With my defeated encouragement, he called. Andrea and I drove him to work in Irvine 30 miles from home, only to find just three cars in the company parking lot. One belonged to Marty, the others to his dep't employees. Ron worked until 8 PM Sunday evening.

Marty won. And Ron is not rested or feeling well, Andrea and Kevin haven't spent time with their dad lately, and I don't have my husband's attention. Ron wants...needs... to be at home and church, not work, on Sunday.

(And get this....once Ron was at work on Sunday, Marty said "Tell your wife I'm sorry." Marty, if that's a apology, I don't accept. You're not sorry, and you've certainly not seen the error of your ways. You've neither repented nor committed to change.)

When pastors tell us that our bosses are not God...that our allegiances are misplaced when we work too long and hard.....I wonder if they realize that it's often not that simple. Ron sets appropriate boundaries as much as possible, and he gets punished for it. Saying no, as he did this past weekend, inflames some bosses that you stood up to their unreasonableness. They just pressure and pester you more.

Ron and I know that Marty is not God. Like I said at the start of this thought....I'm wondering if our pastor would like to call Marty and straighten him out. We're not having any success at it.

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