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“I Just Broke Up With My Girlfriend. I Am Taking Some Time Off.”

3 July 2008 2 Comments

The good folks over at Wisebread (a personal finance website I follow) wrote a piece today asking the question “Will Companies Ever Woo Again?” I started reading the post and I knew where it was going, so I wasn’t soiling my pants with anticipation of the information. Good writers, good blog, but know the issues and the topic so I was not going crazy with anticipation. They were simply saying that times are tough and they were exploring the issue of when, or even “if”, companies will be interested in offering perks to woo potential employees again. That is, right now, it is a buyer’s market and perks are disappearing here in the US very quickly. Companies just don’t need to offer them to get the right employees on board.

Then, out of the blue, they decided to drop a dookie in the pool when they cited a recent blog post that referred to an India Times article discussing a new trend of “heartbreak” leave for employees that have recently broken up with a partner and need time to cry it out.

What? Check it again…that doesn’t sound right.

Well, smack me in the ass and call me Sally – it’s right. The company, a Japanese firm called Hime and Company based in Tokyo, offered those who had broken up with their partners one day off per year if they were younger than 24 years and two days off if they were between 25 and 29 years. Those older were eligible for three days off to ‘cry their hearts out and return to work refreshed’. It really reminded of another great post by The Art Of Manliness on when crying is manly.

I know us Americans tend to be all work and no play when compared to our counterparts in Europe and other places around the globe, but this sounds a little obsessive to me. No one died. No one is sick. Just a “broken heart” causing some pain will be enough to claim some time away from work. I see all kinds of issues that need to be explored here.

Implementation by the employer has to be near impossible. Even if you grant this leave without any questions asked, how do you know it is being used for the purpose it was intended? What if an employee abuses the perk in February and then has a real relationship crisis (not sure there is one, but I’ll play along) in November that causes the heartache to get in the way of your job duties. The perk is already used up and that employee now has to come into work while they are all “broken up inside?” How do you implement this?

Confusion of when to use the perk will haunt the employee. My head is already spinning with the risk of emotional disaster of not knowing when I really need to use the time off. I am not sure what would qualify as heartbreak leave. Do you have to prove anything? Could I have used this time when my beloved Pistons lost to the Celtics this year? What about us married guys? If the wife decides to kick me out of bed one night for breaking the Dutch Oven rule, can I authorize the free time? Also, the unabated opportunity of abuse is endless (on second thought, love the idea…sign me up).

Raising the stakes is another issue. What is next? If this perk has to be offered to woo employees, then the dot com era of insane perks is on its way back. Next, you will be revisiting the lovable “bring your dog to work day” and the endless Nutrigrain bars in the coffee room available for your feasting.

Finally, real men not only have to baulk at something like this, they have to fight against this atrocity. This screams of the return of the softy (men and women alike). As we move away from metrosexual man to the retrosexual man, I can tell you that this would not fly in the old days. Could you imagine your father, or even worse your grandfather, showing up for their 12 hour workday down at the factory or mill and telling their boss they need time off to mourn a break up with their girl? And no, this is not evolution in getting in touch with our feelings. That is so 90’s….

Tell me what you think! Good idea (since you are just minutes away from watching another episode of Dr. Phil and crying at the end) or bad idea (since you would like to kick Dr. Phil in the beans)?


  • nathan said:

    It’s almost difficult that companies don’t have policies like that – with qualifications. Like a death in a family, a lost relationship is a death of a dream, and it makes “going to work” seem like vanity.

    I had a job as an admissions counselor at a school when I broke off things with my old fiance. If I could have taken the time off, I most certainly would have done so – and that probably would have saved the company from watching me walk away, embittered and charbroiled from inner angst.

    Such things make a man depressed unlike other losses because a man must commit inwardly before truly opening his heart – or, at least that was the case with me. I would have gladly accepted two days bereavement.

    nathans last blog post..Mystic River

  • Lance said:

    I actually think this is a fine idea, although for my own nefarious reasons. Firstly, any freebie day off is always welcome, and secondly, if I just broke off my LTR, I could use 2-3 days of “getting back in the saddle” to find more girls!!!

    Lances last blog post..Weekend Roundup: TSB Edition

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