Managing a heavy period at work isn't easy. This is especially true if you have a boss who isn't willing to go with the flow (pun definitely intended).
That was the case for one woman who posted her on-the-job period problems in the FGB Community. In a discussion thread for women with heavy periods, the FGB'er shared her tale of menstrual woe while working under a boss who definitely didn't get it. And the way she ultimately forced him to get it is quite simply epic.
“I was the first woman to work in my tech office a few years ago shortly after giving birth, and my flow was heavier, too,” the woman began. “So I asked for a small set of drawers to keep under my ‘desk’ — our desks were long tables with workstations set up at various intervals. I was told no.”
The FGB'er was intending to keep the extra feminine supplies needed to manage her heavy flow within the set of drawers, so that they'd be close at hand. Wanting to spare her boss the details, she told him the requested storage was for "general office equipment" needed for her job. The drawers would cost just $50, she noted, and the budget for individual equipment requirements for her office was $1,000. Even still, she said her boss responded: “This is not individual equipment requirements. It'll get in the way of sweeping, and your coworkers will hit their knees while working with you."
The woman then told her boss she had a medical need which required the extra drawer at her desk.
“He didn't get what I was saying,” she wrote. “Others came into the area, and I wasn't comfortable elaborating at that time. I tried a few more times and was denied — until the day my flow was way too heavy and I made three runs to the corner store to get additional supplies and replace my skirt. I tried again to request drawers, and my boss just walked away from me.”
Feeling at a loss for options, this FGB'er then decided to bring her sanitary supplies to work in a shoe box. She planned to keep the box under her desk during the day and place it on her chair when she left, so that it would be out of the cleaning crew’s way. This plan, too, was foiled.
“The shoe box was thrown out after two nights. According to the cleaning crew manager, whom I finally was put in touch with two weeks later, nothing was allowed to be under the desks (the seat of the chair was under the desk) except authorized office equipment," she wrote. "Anything else was listed in their contract as trash.”
When the woman asked her boss about her belongings that had been thrown away, he told her to keep future personal belongings in her purse, adding that he "certainly wasn't going to replace whatever personal items were thrown out."
“Spoiler alert: I'm a woman in tech with a small baby in an infant seat, a large diaper bag, a laptop bag, and a lunchbox which I must get into the car in the mornings — not counting jackets, blankets, umbrellas, and sweaters depending on the weather and the hour, and any other random thing you find yourself carrying out in the mornings," she wrote. "I don't carry a purse."
At this point, feeling incredibly frustrated by the lack of support she was getting and the hassle it was ultimately causing, the FGB'er hatched a plan. The next day, she brought her full bevy of personal items into work, including tampons, liners, pads, an extra pair of pants and a cardigan, Pamprin, Midol, a heating pad, and more.
“I put it all on my desk, next to my screen. Everything had fit very nicely into the shoebox before, but I was really peeved," she wrote. "This time, I didn't bother with the small bottles and boxes, which I had replenished daily before as a convenience to my coworkers. I also made certain that whenever a coworker came over, he knocked something over or had to push things out of his way. I left the bottles with the caps barely on, so they spilled a lot. I flipped the lids open too hard so I had to chase them across the room or so someone else would bend down to pick them up for me. I made a big deal of knocking everything over when plugging in the heating pad."
At this point, the main concern for this FGB'er was no longer about being professional. It was about "making a point."
“No, it wasn't professional," she wrote. "Neither is the sexism of 'keep it in your purse.' Neither is requiring a woman to buy five pairs of new pants in two months because you won't give her appropriate office equipment. Neither is ignoring informal requests, formal requests, and formal ADA requests made with doctor's documentation. Neither is throwing away personal belongings of an employee, and then making no attempts at reparation. Neither were all the little comments about women in the workplace (and the home), 'that time of the month' at all times of the month, and so on.”
She didn't stop there.
“A few coworkers offered empty cardboard boxes to corral my belongings, and I loudly and unashamedly told them every blush-inducing detail about the rule of nothing except authorized office equipment under the desks, and how all my possessions had already been trashed, and how I was out nearly $150 in medical relief, not counting the slacks and cardigan which had been trashed, and how I needed these things to keep large blood stains off our furniture and to soothe my great deal of pain after giving birth to my son such a short time ago. I was loudly, repeatedly making a point.”
Ultimately, her protest worked.
“Monday, I arrived at the office to find a small set of two individually keyed drawers between every other workstation, so that every employee had exclusive access to at least one drawer.”
And thus, an FGB legend was born!