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Employee grieving late mother-in-law stands up for herself after CEO asks her to 'smile' in office

'Your workplace doesn’t understand how to handle grief and bereavement,' says the employee and people agree with her.

Employee grieving late mother-in-law stands up for herself after CEO asks her to 'smile' in office
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @thedeadbook.co

Paid time off (PTO) is a vital benefit companies give to all employees, but many employers seem to undervalue its importance. Despite its intention to promote work-life balance and employee well-being, PTO often goes underutilized due to workplace cultures that prioritize productivity over rest. This disregard can lead to burnout, decreased morale and ultimately reduced productivity. Jessica–who goes by @thedeadbook.co on TikTok–shared a video about how her boss had expected her to come into the office 'smiling' a week after her mother-in-law passed away tragically.

Image Source: TikTok | @thedeadbook.co
Image Source: TikTok | @thedeadbook.co

The video has a text overlay that reads, "Your job is to smile," where Jessica is hinting at how most employees were expected to forego personal emergencies and keep working at their jobs without taking any time off. It has received nearly 155K views and 168 comments on the platform. The woman starts by stating, "Two days after we had discovered my mother-in-law dead in her kitchen, my CEO texted and said, 'You're coming into the office next week, right?'" She let him know that she would not be doing that, as she wanted to have a sense of "normalcy" before returning to work.

Image Source: TikTok | @thedeadbook.co
Image Source: TikTok | @thedeadbook.co

Jessica reasoned that she would not leave her husband alone at home, especially considering how she could work from home with her job. One would expect the CEO to get the message and allow the woman some time off to grieve with her family. However, a month later, they were celebrating a life event and she had specifically requested PTO to spend some quality time with her family. "It was a day to focus on family and nothing else," she says. However, the CEO called her twice that day to discuss a job description, which Jessica believes could have waited till she returned to the office.

What made the situation worse was when the CEO insisted she needed to show up at her job with a smile and "bring camaraderie" to her workplace even though she was grieving. She expresses, "I wanna have this conversation because I think it's so important that we understand where people are at." The woman pointed out how people would eventually have to return to routine following a personal loss but that there was a certain way such things should be handled. The text overlay at this point of the video reads, "Needless to say, I don't work there anymore."

Image Source: TikTok | @savannahelayne
Image Source: TikTok | @savannahelayne
Image Source: TikTok | @thaaagirlny
Image Source: TikTok | @thaaagirlny

People fully agreed with Jessica's stance and shared their thoughts about the issue in the comment section. @mvanwine said, "PTO is paid time OFF. Not paid time to take calls. I hate how the boundaries have been blurred by so many in the corporate world." @suzhorton expressed, "It is horrific that grief PTO is so short and is often discounted. It is the most painful moment in life." It turns out that there were some employers who took care of their employees during such hard times. @moofmc shared, "When my father died, the company I worked for was so supportive. It breaks my heart that so many people don't receive that."


@thedeadbook.co POV: your workplace doesn’t understand how to handle grief and bereavement. The cost of living allows pur careers to rule how we grieve and the space we need to do so. Let’s change the conversation here. #something #100k #account #workplaceproblems ♬ original sound - The Deadbook™

 

You can follow Jessica (@thedeadbook.co) on TikTok for content based on modern estate planning. Also, check out her website, to learn more about her and her husband's work.

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