I heard back from HR that will cover my leave in Q1 under the Family Medical Leave Act — equivalent to a pregnancy — which means it’s a legally protected leave, plus I maintain my health insurance with the company while I’m out and receive my Q4 bonus. It’ll be a little tricky talking about it with my managers, since I don’t need the full time off for recovery from the surgeries — I’d planned to take some extra weeks just to recharge from the accumulated burnout. Which HR is aware of… but if they’re willing to cover the whole thing under FMLA, I won’t say no.
HR also suggested that I apply for short-term disability from the state while I’m out. Looked at the state’s website and “cosmetic” surgery isn’t explicitly covered, but third-party sites said that it was — the state said you need a doctor’s statement that you were unable to work. Obviously I won’t claim the entire time off, but it’ll be nice to have some additional income. Not sure how the state will react to a statement from an out-of-the country surgeon, so I’l have to check with my regular doc and my hormone doc to see if they’ll write the letter for me (I can give them the letter from the surgeon).
Meanwhile, I’m out to two more co-workers. It’s someone in another department, I used to work with a lot, but now only occasionally. Ran into her unexpectedly at the grocery store. But she’s extremely supportive and promised to be discrete until I formally come out at work. At the point the circle keeps widening and there’s a non-zero chance that someone may break confidence — and I realized I’m OK with that. Even if I’d prefer the public disclosure not happen until mid-December.
The other is the general manager for the business division I support. She’s is a soft butch lesbian, who asked one of my co-workers who knows, if I was transitioning, and told my co-worker that if so, she wanted to support me however she could. General manager. realized in retrospect that was a little inappropriate, but given the outcome I’m OK with. She wants me to come over the dinner and meet her wife, who worked with the LBGT Center in SF and helped do employer training regarding transition issues. That in itself, probably isn’t that valuable in my case because HR is already solidly behind me. But having yet another powerful ally in the company is a Good Thing.
I also wrapped the draft of my Trans 101 FAQ, and then revised it after some good feedback from co-workers. HR loved it and told me not to change a word of it. Though I’ll probably continue to do some polishing. Also one co-worker did have concerns about how it reads for folks for whom English is a second language (there’s a lot of foreign-born workers in the engineering department), as well as other cultural issues. Will be interested to see her feedback when she gets a chance to finish it.
In the next week or two, I’ll be coming out to my departmental managers, as well as the the chief product officer (who’s their boss). I’m assuming it should go well — but there’s always the unexpected. It’ll take about three months to find a contractor who can back fill while I’m out, so I have to do this by the end of September, but since I’ll be taking a vacation late September/early October, I figure I should start those discussion now, so that they’ll be settled before I’m out of town. And more to the point, I’m feeling like I just want to get it over with.
Big yeah…. it’s another huge step. <gulp>
I did have a bit of OMG moment when I realized T Day is less than 16 weeks away — and the time is going to go by really fast. Not really panic or second thoughts, more of a “holy shit, this thing is actually happening!” moment. And of course while I can always change my mind if I need to, the stakes of changing direction are getting higher.