The Fourth of July is almost here, and there is so much to celebrate. First of all, there were a variety of women who dominated in the recent D.C. Primary Election, from Muriel Bowser to Mary Cheh. Women were also able to get in the spotlight through Washingtonian's Best of D.C. article. Below, see what Capital Women has to offer with links to different news articles and events you should stay on top of as well as today's podcast episode with chef and dietician Jessica Swift.
I’m interviewing for a new job that I’m really excited about, but it would involve a slight change in schedule. I currently work an earlier shift, so making my Thursday 5 p.m. therapy appointments each week has been easy. Now that I’m looking to change jobs, I know that that timing won’t work as well. I can stop going if I need to, but I’d really prefer to keep the appointments. Unfortunately, my provider doesn’t have any later evening appointment slots. Any help?
First, please know that you’re not alone! There’s still a significant stigma around mental health and treatment, but tens of millions of people in the U.S. see therapists. Therapy is an important cornerstone of treatment and maintenance for people at all professional levels from all walks of life. It’s absolutely normal and okay to want to keep your current therapist and see them at a time that works well for you, especially when you’re going through something as stressful as changing jobs.
The key here is to treat your therapy as you would any other important health appointment. And like other important health appointments, your only obligation is to work with your employer to help reduce any negative impact of keeping those appointments. Leaving a half-hour early once a week is not an especially egregious accommodation, especially if you come in a half-hour early the next morning, say, or if your boss just trusts you to make it up in smaller bursts as needed.
There’s no need to bring this up in the interview or even offer stage. Especially since you are willing to give them up if you absolutely needed to, I would honestly wait until either the week before you start, or even your first day, to raise it with your manager. Something like “Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I have a weekly standing medical appointment on Thursdays. It’s nothing that will impact our work here, other than that I’ll need to leave at 4:30 on Thursdays. I’m thinking it’d be easiest for me to just come in at 8:30 on Fridays to make up the time, but I wanted to work out with you if that’s the solution you’d prefer.”
You can do this via email if that makes more sense than an in-person meeting, but if you do talk out the details IRL, make sure to follow up with an email confirming everything to make sure you and your boss are 100% on the same page (and, so you have it in writing). Just be matter-of-fact and solutions-oriented, and that will help remove any hint in your manager’s mind that you’re trying to shirk responsibility.
But do stand your ground! Your employer should value your mental health for all the same reasons you do: because you’re a happier, more productive, more creative, and more relaxed person when you’re looking after yourself. But as much as it is the organization’s business if you’re leaving early once a week, the reasons aren’t. If your boss responds by prying for details, feel free to set boundaries: “I don’t like to talk about my medical details at work, but I assure you, it’s nothing to worry about!”
One note: if your employer is really a jerk about it, and you really want to keep your appointments, consider talking to an employment lawyer. You may have a diagnosed or diagnosable condition that would entitle you to legally enforced accommodation under the ADA. Especially given that the accommodation asked for here is so small, you shouldn’t need it, but it is an option you have a condition that’s covered under the ADA, and your company should be equipped and prepared to work with you to accommodate your medical needs.
- Mayor Muriel Bowser, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, Ward 1’s Brianne Nadeau, and Ward 3’s Mary Cheh dominate the D.C. Primary elections among others. [Washington City Paper]
- These musicians want to introduce D.C. to Classical female composers. [DCist]
- Here is the best of Washington, D.C. Some of the women to look out for in this list include R&B star Kelela, 11-year-old Naomi Wadler, and the ever-comedic Ariel Edwards-Levy. [Washingtonian]
- Meet Jenny Abramson, the D.C. native fighting for equality in venture capital. [Washington Business Journal]
- Fairfax school board approves LGBT-inclusive sex ed curriculum. [Washington Blade]
- See what it means to be a sex consultant in D.C. [DCist]
- July 5: Head to the second installment of GIRLAAA, a party powered by women, for women. Here, expect a social atmosphere with DJs, musicians, and artists.
- July 14 to 16: Join young women-identified leaders and allies at this convention to learn about how women are succeeding and paving the way for others.
Michelle Goldchain and Kim Stiens contributed to this newsletter.
Special thanks to the tipster who suggested the DCist article on what it means to be a sex consultant in D.C.