General Question

poofandmook's avatar

Getting to work in the snow: "I did it, so can you!" How true is this?

Asked by poofandmook (17277points) March 2nd, 2009

As a lot of you probably know, here in Jersey, we’re getting a lot of snow at the moment. I called my boss to let him know that I wasn’t driving anywhere today. His response was, “well, you know what I have to tell you… I live in Pennsylvania and I got in today…”

Now, because of the nature of my job, I am able to have one of our drivers come to my house and take me to the office, which is why I called my boss; I wanted him to send a driver to get me. I was never calling out.

But, should that “I got here and I’m further away, so you have no excuse!” type thing hold up? Should that be a valid excuse? I definitely see his point… he lives in the mountains and I live in a suburb, but should I be held responsible because he’s willing to risk his life and vehicle to come to work, and I value my safety more than a day’s pay?

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39 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

No. You should not. And really, I think an appropriate response would have been, “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m just not comfortable on the road today.” Something polite, but that makes the point. A small flurry isn’t something you call in about, but I suspect you are getting stuff like we had yesterday—and if you aren’t comfortable in that stuff, you have no business on the road. It makes you a risk to yourself and others.

Bri_L's avatar

He’s a bully. Give me an address. I will drive there from WI, kick his ass and say “I drove here from WI and kicked your ass, so stop picking on Poof!, or you know what she can do”

DrBill's avatar

No matter how good a driver you are, you also have to consider what they drive. If I make it in in my 4WD SUV, maybe the guy driving a 20 year old VW can’t.

Just because one person makes it in, is not justification for all to make it in.

JoeyDesignsStuff's avatar

In West Virginia, how far you have to go doesn’t matter. It’s all about what part of town you live in, because parts of the same city can be relatively flat or carved into the side of a mountain. We had several days this winter when one or two of us couldn’t get to work and the rest could; no one questioned it because we all know where each other lives.

My mom has an Audi with heated leather everything and all-wheel-drive, but she has my dad take her to work when it’s nasty out. There are some people who, just by nature of their driving habits or demeanor, I wouldn’t want driving to work even if I could make it.

Aethelwine's avatar

He does sound like a bully! I had a manager that berated me for missing work for a few days because my sons were sick with strep throat. She said “I’ve worked here for 5 years and never missed a day”. She made me feel like crap.

Like you said, you were just asking for a driver, don’t feel bad for wanting to be safe.

syz's avatar

From the other side of the equation, I can tell you that it is incredibly frustrating when employees don’t even try to get in.

Our situation is such that no one gets to leave until their relief shows up (we have patients that require constant care). I am management, but I got in with no issues at all (in my 2 wheel drive Honda). In the meantime, I’ve had two people call out for the day and one has already said she won’t be able to make it in tonight (!?!). We got less than 2 inches of snow and it’s in the mid thirties. It’s not that bad. I have a hard time believing that my staff is not taking advantage of the situation.

El_Cadejo's avatar

How much snow you got up there poof? We have about a foot down here right now and i did the same exact thing. Called my boss and said sorry, but theres no way im coming in today.

hearkat's avatar

My Mini Cooper and I made the 44 mile commute just fine!

I’m not the boss, but I do get annoyed that I live the furthest away, and I am typically the first one in.

I did debate cancelling today, but I saw that the snow wasn’t as bad where I work (Burlington County) as where I live (Ocean County). My 9:00 patient did come in!

jbfletcherfan's avatar

From living here in Iowa, I know it definately depends on the conditions of the roads & the vehicle you drive. Also it’s how brave you are. There’s a lot of things to consider.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@hearkat im in burlington country (mount laurel) right now and the roads are crap. Probably around 6–8in right now, im surprised your Mini was able to make it through that, theres no way my mustang is able to go anywhere in this.

cookieman's avatar

Where I work the rule is that all managers must come in. Period.
Everyone else, it’s up to the manager to decide for his or her people.

I’m considered a manager, so guess where I am right now.

I did call the two people that work for me and told them to stay home
Also, I personally don’t mind driving in the snow

btko's avatar

What you need to do is used the key word “safe.” As in:

“I’m not driving in to work today because I don’t think it’s safe.”

bananafish's avatar

I HATE bullies like that! I’ve worked around them all my life – the snow’s NEVER deep enough for them to justify not going out. But I’m sorry, I don’t want to risk my life and die a violent and icy death!

Plus, we can’t all afford snow-worthy vehicles, and we all are coming from different neighborhoods. I live in a sub in Michigan that never gets plowed. My low riding car often won’t be able to get out of the sub for two days after a major snow. Glad if boss man’s rich enough to hire someone to plow, but I’m not!

Your boss is a huge jerk, and you’re not alone!

hearkat's avatar

@uberbatman: I had at least 8” on the Mini when I went out at 6:30 this morning. There was more on the ground, but with the way the wind was whipping it around, it was hard to get a good idea of just how much. I almost didn’t make it up the unplowed hill to get out of my development; but we were fine once we got out to the county roads and onto the interstate. There was definitely more snow further east than there is here in BurlCo (I’m up near the Bristol Bridge).

The Minis are Front-wheel drive, as opposed to the rear-wheel on your Mustang; plus with the 6-speed, she handled it beautifully! And thanks to the Governor delaying the opening of State offices, there was hardly anyone else on the road.

elijah's avatar

As long as the roads are mostly plowed, people should attempt to get into work. If you live in a hilly place and your car doesn’t get good traction, you probably will still make it as long as the roads are plowed and salted. The key is to leave earlier, drive slower, and be aware of every car around you. Driving in the snow is difficult, and I understand that some people don’t feel safe. Unless your city has a driving ban in affect, you should try to get to work. The buisness is open and needs its employees.

cookieman's avatar

@elijahsuicide I tend to agree.

When I was an academic chair, I had 12 to 15 professors and instructors working for me.
The college wouldn’t be cancelled but I still had about half the teachers call in because of the snow.
So I was left with 5–7 classes with students and no teachers. I would cover about half of them and have to beg the remaining instructors to cover the rest. Everyone is on salary so there was no additional compensation.

elijah's avatar

Well I live in Buffalo, so if everyone called in sick everytime they felt scared to drive, we would be screwed. What’s next? Scared to drive in rain? Scared to drive at night? All these situations are more difficult than perfect driving conditions. I still get scared in snow but you just adjust your driving style to the weather conditions.

poofandmook's avatar

@uber: I stayed in Hillsborough (Somerset Co.) last night and we got about 7 inches here. I drive a low-riding Tiburon too.. and apparently the county forgot where they put the keys to their salt trucks LOL

That’s the thing… if I didn’t have 30 drivers available to me, I would’ve gone in a bit later or done what I had to do. Maybe have my boyfriend drive me. But I just wanted one of the nice SUVs to come get me instead! I still came in 2 hours early!

El_Cadejo's avatar

@hearkat yea i just tried moving my car into the driveway from the side of the road and ended up sliding to the middle of the road and not able to move from there lol. Yea my car is no good for the snow.

@poofandmook yeaaaa no salting going on here either, roads are horrible.

hearkat's avatar

@uberbatman: Yikes! Did you have to push the car! I hate when that happens!
We squeezed all 3 vehicles in our driveway yesterday afternoon, mine went across the sidewalk and almost into the street, but we figured no one would be out walking that late in the storm!

Grisson's avatar

@DrBill I’m not sure about a 20-year-old VW, but my old ‘66 beetle could go anywhere a 4WD could go. (And some where you wouldn’t want to take it).

MacBean's avatar

I drive a ‘79 Oldsmobile Cutlass and I live on a mountain. Anyone who tells me I can make it somewhere just because they did can kiss my grits.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

It’s not the snow that will get you, it’s the wind. I’ve seen 4×4 trucks lying upside down in the ditch because they got too cocky on wind-swept winter roads. It’s all about safety, and taking into account yur driving skills. Not everybody is a great driver, and many that think they are, really aren’t. If you don’t feel safe driving in the bad weather stay home. Trust me, I rolled an eight ton truck in the snow once, and if you think going into the ditch in a car is bad, try it in a 16,000 lb truck with a 28 foot box. That was over a decade ago, and it cured my ‘driving reckless in the snow habit’ real freakin quick.

jca's avatar

To me, if i try to make it in, and get into a car accident, besides the point that my health and safety would be at risk, my car would be out of commission for perhaps weeks while it waits at the body shop, and then i would not be able to get to work at all because i live in a rural area. My health and safety, my child’s heatlh and safety, and my car not crashing are my three reasons, and if they don’t like it, fuck them.

elijah's avatar

You can have a car accident no matter the conditions of the road. Just be careful and more aware. If I was the boss I would have no choice but to fire people if they didn’t show up. How can a company run if people only drive when they felt safe? You are never safe in a car. Of course if it is a driving ban it’s another story. If the wind is blowing so you can’t see a foot in front of your car, if the power is out and the stoplights are down, then of course you shouldn’t drive.

jca's avatar

elijahsuicide: there are some circumstances when it’s snowing, icy, and it’s just not practical to risk it. if companies fired everyone who did not show up in the snow, they’d have a high turnover rate! like i said in my post, if i tried and got into an accident then was it worth it? you say “you’re never safe in a car” well, on a regular day with dry conditions, there are not “accidents all over the roads” on the news like there are in a snowstorm. this year, a few weeks ago, we had an ice storm. I could not even get to my car unless i wanted to break a leg. did i try to? no.

elijah's avatar

I guess we have different views on what constitutes life threatening weather.

jca's avatar

i guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. i think the majority of people where i work agree with me, because from what i understand, when it’s snowing bad or a bad storm is coming that day, 90% are absent. life threatening, car threatening, health threatening, or come-in-and-have-a-three-hour-ride-home-in-a-snowstorm = not worth it.

cookieman's avatar

I think this also depends on your relationship with your employer.

If the employer consistently takes your needs into account (salary, hours, work environment, time off) then you might feel more inclined to make the effort when it snows.

If they clearly don’t care about you and treat you like a lemming, then you’ll find any excuse to stay home.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@elijahsuicide we had close to a foot of snow here in NJ. Thats life threating weather for us.

hearkat's avatar

@uberbatman: In addition, in NJ we have poorly maintained highways with massive suburban sprawl and tons of non-residential and commercial traffic passing through—and most drivers are too self-absorbed to notice that there are others on the road. That’s life-threatening driving conditions regardless of the weather! :-D

El_Cadejo's avatar

@hearkat yea we are the worst drivers after all lol.

elijah's avatar

I live in Buffalo. A foot of snow is normal. I guess I can only relate to my own person experience. If youre not used to it I guess it is more dangerous. Sorry for assuming.

hearkat's avatar

@elijahsuicide: In colder climates, when the ground stays frozen, the snow stays frozen and light. However, the ground is never frozen for long around here anymore, and we often hover right around the freezing mark, so we end up having a lot of ice and slush. There’s a huge difference in driving in those conditions.

Also, it’s not just how used to the snow the driver’s are, but how well-equipped to remove the snow/ice/slush the government is. They seem to be clueless on how to clear the roads around here, because it is so wet and heavy and then freezes over.

elijah's avatar

Yeah we have that problem here, it starts to melt and turn to slush, then it get colder and it turns to black ice with powder on top.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

He is being unreasonable. The road conditions and type of vehicle he drives may be totally different, Just because my Unimog can make it in doesn’t mean that your Ford can.

hearkat's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land: What is a Unimog? I have done very well in my front-wheel-drive VWs and last winter in my MINI Cooper front-wheel drive hatchbacks.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@hearkat A Unimog is a heavy-duty 4WD truck, normally used on the farm. With tire chains and a 26” ground clearance it can go just about anywhere.

WestRiverrat's avatar

It depends on your job. If your job is willing to send a driver and a vehicle to get you then you have no excuse not to get to work.

My mother had to go to work on the back of a snowmobile a couple times when we lived in North Dakota. She was a nurse and when they needed her she had to go. Even when there was 2ft of snow and 50 mph winds.

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