We have threads with some regularity about bosses/workplaces who just don't understand - or don't care about - horsepeople. I've read posts from people who go to great lengths to "cover up" their horse activities if they have to take time off - even paid time off that they have earned! - to tend to the beasties. And I figured it was about time to have a thread about the GOOD ones: the bosses who, even though they don't have anything to do with horses (or other animals) themselves, still seem to manage to treat their employees like, well, humans, and recognize that work is not the only thing going on in people's lives!
I work weekends (at the moment, anyway), at a camp, taking care of pretty much whatever the groups who come up here for retreats and such need. I have to be onsite and ready to work from sometime Friday afternoon till sometime Sunday afternoon (as well as regular working hours 3 weekdays ). I work my butt off, but I love it, so it's OK.
I've just gotten a new lessee for my boy. They're an hour and a half away, and can't really come to pick him up except on the weekends. And I need to be there, because his soon-to-be former lessee is very sad to have him go and doesn't want to be there when he leaves. Plus, hey, it makes me feel better to be the one handling the transfer, anyway - it just seems right that way. But you see the potential issue, here...
So I went to my boss and said that I needed to take a couple of hours off on Saturday to send my horse to his new home. And my boss says, in as many words, "OK, just give the group my cell number in case there's an emergency. It's good you found someone for him!" (And then, "Which horse is this?" "The one you rode." "OK, that's what I thought." )
Let's just say that's a far cry from the people who have to lie just to be allowed to go to an emergency vet appointment!
I should add that all of my coworkers (above me, below me, and beside me - though we don't stick by the hierarchy thing too much ) ask after the horses regularly, have questioned me in-depth about what eventing is, and often check in to make sure I'm riding as often as I should...
So let's hear it for the supportive workplaces, where they care about more than just how many hours they can squeeze out of their employees each week!
I 2nd that...although I am extra lucky in that my boss is my best friend, and we have our own law office together...so I have extra perks..but even my previous boss understood as far as family and pet emergencies. There really are good people out there, but of course I never took any of that for granted (and still don't) meaning I don't abuse time off or anything like that..but if I want to leave early to go ride I just let her know (as long as we don't have clients coming in). Of course that is exactly why I left my corporate job 7 yrs ago so that I could have that flexibility. Gotta love the "real" people bosses as opposed to the "corporate robots"
I've been lucky and had very understanding supportive bosses - the (previous) one who gave me the time off and sent me flowers and sympathy when I had to have my mare put down - the (current) one who let me shoot out of work with no notice at all when I got emergency phone calls saying one of the RDA horses was cast and couldn't get to his feet (SEVERAL times that happened). I am VERY appreciative of their understanding.
I have great bosses, but work for an online and retail tack shop. I've had to go home because I've had loose horses, sick horses, farrier, vet, foaling, etc. They cheer with me when a mare foals and I get the call at work that I have a new foal in the field. They understand why my eyes are held open with toothpicks when I've slept in my car on foal watch. But then again I bring to the workplace 27 years of intense equestrian knowledge. I love my bosses! And they are pretty good friends too!
Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
& FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt www.frostyoaks.com
I'm also lucky enough to work in a place where they understand people have other things in their lives besides work (probably why everybody stays - we're treated like people and not commodities).
In fact, he told me one of the reasons he hired me was because I did have horses - he felt I would be grounded. He knew I had horses because the day I interviewed I was still bruised and battered from being kicked by one of my youngsters (Youngster was being fractious, I tried to catch him and being silly he kicked out. POW!!! Flattened. Brat.) The receptionist and I still laugh about how I ran into her in the elevator and she thought I was looking for a personal injury firm. Nope, just interviewing
I work for a large, multi-national corporation. Last Friday my boy colic'd very badly and had to go to horsie hospital, which is a 1.5 hour drive from here. I was mid conference call when I realised he was down again. I just hung up, sent someone an instant message saying I had to leave to deal with a sick horse and was not back until mid afternoon. I got an email from my boss just saying she hoped everything was OK. Very flexible.
Another nod here to understanding bosses- of course, I do work at dressage/ breeding farm.
My DH and I bought our farm a little over a year ago and it was not set up at all for horses- Right now I have a cleared ring area, but no footing, fencing or lights. My job lets me change my hours during the winter so that I can get home early enough to ride in daylight. I also am welcome to come and use their facilities anytime pretty much- how cool is that??
“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain
I also have a fabulous boss, and actually most of the management at my work is very understanding. I do work for an animal health agency, so even if we're not all vets we all have some connection to animals. They also understand the importance of life outside of work. People ask how my horse is doing, and don't get upset if I have to meet the vet/farrier, take a call or whatever.
My company has nothing to do with horses or any other animals, but it does understand personal priorities and even has a formalized flexible work arrangement program. As I'm salary, I often come in outside my normal business hours and do quick tasks at home with my company laptop and tools, as well as come in the office on weekends for upgrades or changes to the applications I support. So when I need to come in a few hours earlier or later, my boss is fine with it. She'll even okay leaving an hour or so early to catch one of our horses racing in the afternoon. It all works out in the end and keeps employees happy and productive.
My boss was not so understanding when I started here 9 years ago but over time I think that he realized that they weren't "just horses" too me and that they are just as important as my daughter. My company is kind of strict about the hours we work (everyone in the office works 8-4:30pm) but my boss made an exception and let me change my hours to 7-3:30 so I can ride at my trainers after work. He also doesn't bat an eye when I have to drop every thing to tend to my horses.
My bosses are great. Shortly after I started here, one of the horses coliced and I had been up with him all night and he still wasn't great. I called and let them know I wouldn't be in.
The next day when I came in they told me I could use my sick time for the day I missed and that they had never had someone call in for a sick horse before. Little did they know what they were getting into.
They have been fantastic. My co-workers know who I am talking about when I mention Fog or Sport and check in from time to time to see how they are.
My co-workers have no clue about horse or why I get excited to go to clinics or do cowhorse events (what we are concentrating on now). My boss is semi-clueful (LOL) and gets a big kick out of my horsey life - even when I'm taking multiple days off to do horse-related activities. He'll ask about it, but after the first sentence his eyes usually glaze over ... even though I'm still talking a mile a minute ...
I have wonderful co-workers & bosses (in fact I've now had a few in a row!).....hmmm, maybe it has to do with the fact that everyone is this city thinks Spruce is the be all & end all & all are quite knowledgable about show jumping! Anyway, my current one is amazing. Completely understood when, last week I told him that "ohmygosh, my seller has backed out of buying my mare an hour before the vet check. Is it ok for me to go to show at Spruce? It starts tomorrow so I'll need the next 3 days off?"..........he just nodded & said, "no problem, I just assumed you'd be going anyway!"
Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!
well. I work in a prison. so there are pretty strict rules about timeliness, family or sick time. But one time I was fretting about my dog, who was in the hospital- its also very difficult to call and talk to the vet while at work/having them call you is hard too. My boss was out on rounds and she said. Hey you look like hell. You must be sick. I think you should go home. I said (being sort of slow) Im ok, just worried... she said. I think YOU ARE SICK. I will have your relief here shortly. And that was it. I got a clue. Went home. Never will forget it.
When I first started working for him we were at a much bigger company. I was living in TX. We were on a business trip in Montreal...in the middle of a BIG client meeting--when I got a text saying my horse was down. My 28 YO gelding who I'd had since childhood.
Boss saw the blood just drain from my face and called for a short break. I went out to call home and see what was going on...was almost in tears. By the time I hung up, he had already contacted the airline to get me home and was prepared to charter a plane if need be.
Since that time, we left our old company and started a new one up here in MI. He is the one who drove me around to look at boarding facilities. When I was working overseas, he checked in on the critters for me.
When my dog got real sick this spring, he arranged to front me part of my year end bonus to go towards the emergency vet bills.
My coworkers in general are great about it...but my boss even more so. In fact, my monster dog is here at the office w/ me right now. LOL
It's taken lots of years of "training" but he knows so much about horses now! Knows what "HOTL" stands for. Knows most of the "key" players on my horse bulletin boards. Even asks me from time to time to post a question on the horse boards for him about tractors or land.
And I know a lot more than I ever wanted to about golf and astrophotography. I think that's the key....taking interest reciprocally.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
I also have a fabulous boss and office staff. We are one of the leading family law practices in our area, which of course can lead to very "uptight" and stressful moments in the office (especially during trials), but I have always had the flexibility for my horsey things. When Disco was sick, I had to take numerous days (over a stretch of three months) off from work to trailer him to different specialists and clinics (many over two hours away one way) and no one batted an eye. When I had to take a day off to have him euth'd, there was no hassle. I just simply informed my clients of what was going on and they were also very understanding. We all "have each other's backs" and can cover when another colleague is out and we understand that sometimes life just gets in the way and work has to take a backseat. Now that I am leasing a horse, they have all enjoyed hearing about CJ (or as the principal partner likes to call him - the "rental horse"). In fact, our receptionist came out and watched us at a show this past weekend, which was very nice (she knew I was going alone and had no one there with me, so she stopped by to see how it was going and to see if I needed anything like lunch or coffee). They are just as understanding when it comes to my son (I am currently the only one with a young child) and welcome him if I need to bring him in with me for an hour or two. I love working here, and have no plans to leave, because (as we all know) not every office/boss/staff understands that you have a life outside of work, and very few are as flexible as where I am now.
So many good stories - and nice people! It makes a person think there is hope for the world after all.
I should add that the current job is not the only horsey-understanding one I've had. Pretty much every job I've had where it's ever come up, my boss hasn't had a problem with my horse life occasionally encroaching (of course, I do my part by making sure it's only occasional!). Some are more interested in the details than others, of course, but I do believe my current boss is the only one who's ever ridden the beastie!
My boss is about as non-horse as they come, she admits she is terrified of them and knows nothing - except what she has learned from listening to me. But, even though I work in a very busy family law practice as a paralegal, my boss has no problem with the fact that I hike out the door at 3:30 every Thursday for a riding lesson. Love her!
Here's to bosses who understand human emotions - even if they dont understand the "horse thing"!
I work in a public school, so getting time off means hiring a sub - very little flexibility. When my horse had to go to the Big Clinic for diagnostics, my boss told me to put in for "family illness" leave ( I have no kids and had never used this kind of leave). He even asked how he was when I returned. I have taken a few other days or left early (after getting someone to cover my responsiblities) several times since then.
I so appreciate this understanding and, in return, would never abuse that concern by taking "horse illness time" I didnt need.
Even when you don't share someone's interests, it is heartwarming when your bosses recognize the emotion involved and offer that kind of human kindness.