if you know me, then you’ll know that i love zoos. in fact a few years ago, i made it a mission to see the zoo of every city i visit. so far, i’ve been to central park zoo, the dallas zoo, the austin zoo and the houston zoo. my usual partner in crime is my boyfriend, who lovingly agrees to escort me on my crazy adventures.
imagine my delight when, a few weeks ago, i find out that he got hired at the houston zoo as admissions supervisor! the weekend before he started, we even arranged for our zookeeper friend to give us a backstage tour and got to play with ernie the porcupine.
his first day was last monday and every day when he got home from work, i would ask him questions about what he did. he was really enjoying it and looked forward to being able to work outside. boyfriend is an active guy and anytime he’s not just sitting around being sedentary is a good time which made this job perfect for him!
but this is where things get dicey…
on tuesday evening, he received a voice message from his doctor about the results of his MRI and he asked him to come in the next day. on wednesday, boyfriend went into work hoping to ask his manager, whom we’ll call “doubles,” if he can leave early to go to the doctor. come to find out that doubles wasn’t there and wouldn’t be back until sunday. he talked to the other supervisors there and they were fine about letting him go. the two of us then drove to sugar land to see his doctor who told him that he had a full ACL tear, two meniscal tears and a bone bruise, which required knee surgery. being that his health insurance under his dad was set to expire two days later, they scheduled his surgery for the next day, thursday. as soon as boyfriend found out about his surgery, he called into work again to notify them. again, he was told it was ok and that doubles wouldn’t be back until sunday.
on surgery day, we get up at 5 am to get him to the hospital by 6. he went into surgery around 8 am and was on his way home by 11 am. he had a nerve block on his surgical leg, which meant that he wasn’t able to put any weight on it until it was removed three days later. of course, this meant that he was basically confined to bed until the nerve block was removed.
on friday, he called into work and got the same response: “it’s ok. call back on sunday when doubles returns to work. we’ll leave a note for her asking her to call you.” he called on saturday and did the whole thing. come sunday, doubles called him back and told him that she needs to speak with human resources about the situation. it is now monday and earlier this afternoon, HR called my poor, sweet crippled boyfriend to let him know that doubles no longer wishes to continue his employment with the houston zoo because boyfriend “just disappeared” and that she did “not like the way he went about the situation.”
how did he “just disappear”? he called every day, besides surgery day, to notify anyone who will listen about his surgery. you didn’t like that he talked to people who were actually at work instead of tracking your personal contact information down to let you know himself? NEWSFLASH: we googled you and facebooked you before his interview and you have no online presence. your name and number are NOT listed on the houston zoo’s staff directory. he had only been at work two days and wasn’t given any other numbers besides the one at the zoo. what did you want him to do–endure the excruciating pain of having had someone cut into your flesh long enough to pull a charlie’s angel and find out on which sofa you’re freaking bumming around? his pain meds made him delirious. he couldn’t exactly concentrate on much else besides recovering after surgery.
and when he tried to see if there was anything he could do, you refused to budge. why? who knows? he was under 90-day probation so you’re not legally bound to justify your actions. allow me to take a stab at it–you’re lazy. this is nothing but lazy management. you hired someone who, under normal circumstances, was obviously qualified to do the work you required. however, when he had to take time off for surgery, you refused to work with him because you might, oh i don’t know, actually have to be creative about how you can continue this professional relationship. instead of rising up to this challenge, you gave up. you’re lazy and there’s nothing anyone can tell to convince me otherwise. i wonder what your policy would have been if he had been in a major accident that required him to immediately take off work. it’s not like he got a nose job. it was knee surgery!
and this is why i will no longer be patronizing the houston zoo. don’t get me wrong–there are people who work there who have been great. but just as every good employee represents the zoo in a positive way, every bad employee represents the zoo in a negative way.
the irony, of course, is that the company i worked for, and dearly love, before going back to school had a close relationship with the zoo (i might end up ruffling some feathers over there, as well, as a result of this post). besides designing and building the zoo’s website and newsletters, they also maintained various updates that needed to be made practically on a daily basis. i know–i’ve done some of the work myself along with a slew of other people i worked with. the difference between the two organizations, however, is that the people i worked for believed in hiring quality people and finding places for them within the company. unfortunately, the zoo obviously has different hiring policies. they don’t need people; they need bodies and at the moment, boyfriend’s body is quite limited.
in the end, it’s still boyfriend who loses. it’s the zoo–how much damage could my own little boycott do to them? granted, i probably go to the zoo a little more often than the average person but so what? they averaged around 24k/day during spring break. we’re just two people. two people and a pair of crutches.
goodbye, houston zoo, it’ll be years before you see me again.
***update: the houston zoo put up a job post for boyfriend’s position today. really, houston zoo? bad form.***