Friday, February 22, 2013

FMLA

"FMLA", those 4 federal letters that have given me the last 20 or so days off for the birth of my son.  Federally mandated time, mine for the taking...It has also been one of the more frequent topics of discussion between friends, family, and co-workers. The conversations almost always play out like this;

Questioner:  "How much time are you taking"?
Me: "All of it"

Questioner: "Really"?  That's ALOT of time off".
Me:  " I have 100's maybe even thousands of hours I can burn, and my wife and I wanted to do it together".
Questioner: "What will you do? You will be at each other's throats in no time".
Me: "I suppose we will spend time with the new baby, and my wife and I actually enjoy each other's company".
I understand the typical argument, I sincerely do. It's not like my wife and I are impervious to getting on one another's nerves, and I will admit that the last few weeks were similar to "Groundhog Day" where they somehow managed to pull of making a movie about Bill Murray reliving the same day over & over.
But there has been a by-product of FMLA that I wasn't prepared for, and to be quite honest I am still having trouble wrapping my mind around.
The "insinuation" that a man who takes the full ride off to be with his newly formed family, is somehow "less manly".
I can assure you that it is not my overactive imagination either, as demonstrated by the fact that a co-worker surmised that I was a "derogatory slang word for a feline" when he found out that I was taking 3 months off.    
To say that my job doesn't harbor folks that are a bit "rough around the edges" would be putting it  mildly, and our humor typically starts at crude then devolves to downright inappropriate.  
But it's 2013, and to even suggest a man is anything otherwise for wanting to be with his newborn son is simply ridiculous.
I'm pretty sure if I handed my resume to a total stranger they would read it and have thoughts of Chuck Norris & Surviorman, with a dash of Wyatt Earp.
Read that again if you know me, as I said given to a "total stranger".
My friends would say that I am more suited to one of the "Village People".
But I digress. 
After 25 years on the job the trick is to get out with your family in tack, and I cherish this time with my boy & wife.
I would shout this from the highest peak,and I don't believe I have anything to prove.  
Less of a man?
Look in a mirror...   
 
FMLA...It's fun to sing about it