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Celiac At Work
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Hi All,

 

I'm looking for some input about an on-going situation I've had at work. When I started at my job about 2 years ago (I'm 25) the lady that trained me (my predecessor) indicated that it would be my responsibility to pick up bagels for the office every friday morning. I've always kind of resented this part of the job, though I've come to a point where I understand that things like this are an element of many entry level positions. I dislike bringing these bagels in my car every week, because I've definitely gotten crumbs on the seat and floor that I'm not sure I will ever be able to get out. It's not a big deal, but it lends to my general sense of gluten-related anxiety, which can be fairly oppressive at times.

 

Since then, I've been promoted, but I still pick up the bagels every week. This is sort of an unspoken expectation. Everyone at work knows I have celiac disease (and generally I think they think I'm sort of nuts.) I've had conversations with co-workers where they've said "what will really happen to you if you eat gluten." This is awkward, because it's a complicated answer. My sensitivity to cross contamination seems to fluctuate with my stress levels. I've accidentally picked up/sipped my boyfriend's beer bottle before (when I had a redbridge right next to it) and ended up totally fine. Other times, I've gotten SO sick (joint swelling, hives, bad poops, fatigue, fog, etc.) from eating "gluten free" at restaurants or my dads house (I'm not sure how good he really is about checking things/cross contamination.)

 

Anyway, my boss gives me an amex giftcard and I've resigned to picking up the bagels every week. It's really fine, except when I run out of money on the giftcard. My boss will sometimes take weeks to get me a new card. In the interim, I end paying out of pocket for these stupid bagels because people get upset when we don't have them. I always submit the receipts to accounting and get reimbursed, but I'm starting to think my boss purposefully delays giving me a new amex giftcard. He'll wait weeks and let me pay out of pocket, then when I finally get fed up and come in to work without bagels, he'll hand the card over that day. I don't understand why he's difficult about this, because it's not like the bagels are free during that time. I'm still getting reimbursed via direct deposit. On principle, it bothers me to pay out of pocket, wait for reimbursement, and complicate my weekly budget when I can't even eat the things. 

 

Am I being a brat here? Input appreciated. 

 

 

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IMO... no - you're not being a brat.  When your current card is about to run out, let your boss know that as of the end of this card he/she is going to need to find someone else to complete this task.  Not in a way that sounds like you're asking permission.  Not in a way that sounds confrontational.  Just as a matter of fact, just giving you a head's up kinda way.  And then don't do it anymore.

It's been two years already.  And you don't even eat the stuff.  Not only do you not eat it - it is poison to you.

 

And when they ask you what would really happen if you ate gluten... ask them if they have ever had food poisoning.  It's like the flu on steroids.  They don't need to know that it might not always be that bad... it CAN be that bad.

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That's a tough one - there's 4, maybe 5 issues going on at once:

1 Potential Cross-Contamination

2 General disrespect for your Celiac

3 Delayed reimbursement

4 Resentment at still being the one who picks up the bagels, 2 years in.

5 Resentment at being asked to pick up something you can't eat (kind of goes with #2, IMO)

 

I'd work on solving the ones you can:

1. Keep a garbage bag in the car and transfer bagel bag to that

2/5. When you get the disrespectful comments, direct them to a site (this one?) that really  hones in on the long term damage - I find that's the one people don't get. If they don't see you go into anaphalaxys (sp?) they don't think it's real.

4. Can you have a quiet talk with your boss, take Celiac out of the equation and say "Look, I'm 2 years in now, I have other responsibilities, and isn't it time for someone else to get the bagels?"  In my office, that would be respected.  I can't speak for others.

 

Good luck.

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Thanks for the response. I guess the big issue is that despite being promoted with handing off bagel duties is that no one ever came in to replace my old position. I'm still doing all the administrative stuff on top of my new responsibilities/position. It's a small company and they're definitely cutting corners cost-wise. I work in the entertainment industry. This practice (doubling up duties for younger employees) is not necessarily ethical, but it's not uncommon either in small production companys. I'm still the lowest ranking employee here, though I am getting paid more and have a new title. I've thought about getting a new job (in general, not because of the bagels) but I think my resume should be stronger before I move on. 

 

 

 

That's a tough one - there's 4, maybe 5 issues going on at once:

1 Potential Cross-Contamination

2 General disrespect for your Celiac

3 Delayed reimbursement

4 Resentment at still being the one who picks up the bagels, 2 years in.

5 Resentment at being asked to pick up something you can't eat (kind of goes with #2, IMO)

 

I'd work on solving the ones you can:

1. Keep a garbage bag in the car and transfer bagel bag to that

2/5. When you get the disrespectful comments, direct them to a site (this one?) that really  hones in on the long term damage - I find that's the one people don't get. If they don't see you go into anaphalaxys (sp?) they don't think it's real.

4. Can you have a quiet talk with your boss, take Celiac out of the equation and say "Look, I'm 2 years in now, I have other responsibilities, and isn't it time for someone else to get the bagels?"  In my office, that would be respected.  I can't speak for others.

 

Good luck.

 

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Definitely not being a brat. I think you could/should just flat-out tell your boss that you aren't able to pick up bagels anymore because it's hazardous to your health to be handling them. Surely someone else can pick them up. That's just ridiculous.

Of course, I'd bring it up in a calm and respectful manner, but you shouldn't be doing this simply because you feel your obligated to. the money issues is also a problem.

OR you could find something you CAN eat and bring some in for everyone. that'd show em (and cost twice as much).

 

Anyway, hope you figure it out.

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Definitely not being a brat. I think you could/should just flat-out tell your boss that you aren't able to pick up bagels anymore because it's hazardous to your health to be handling them. Surely someone else can pick them up. That's just ridiculous.

Of course, I'd bring it up in a calm and respectful manner, but you shouldn't be doing this simply because you feel your obligated to. the money issues is also a problem.

OR you could find something you CAN eat and bring some in for everyone. that'd show em (and cost twice as much).

 

Anyway, hope you figure it out.

 

LOL- buying expensive gluten free bagels would be a good response. I brought in gluten free cupcakes one time and my one co-worker was weirdly fascinated by them. She even took one home and said she was trying to eat "healthier and less processed foods." I laughed a little inside, because they were made of white rice flour and refined cane sugar. Delicious, but they were almost 600 calories per cupcake.

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OR you could find something you CAN eat and bring some in for everyone. that'd show em (and cost twice as much).

 

 

 

I love it.  Bring in a big fruit bowl.

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I think you have every right to be upset by all this even though, and I have to say it, there is so little risk of cc in the act of picking up bagels because no one should be touching bagels with their bare hands that others are going to eat.  And unless you are licking your car seat, the anxiety you have going on stemming from having them in your car is another issue entirely.  We all have to live and thrive in a gluten filled world and it can be done successfully without getting sick.

 

Having said that, here is what I see as the problem......it is extremely rude and ignorant of anyone to ask a Celiac to stop and pick up food they cannot eat.  And the fact that everyone gets upset if you don't bring them?  What are they....3 year olds?  What immature behavior!  You should never, ever use your own money and wait to be reimbursed for food that is not necessary for the job.  And bagels are not necessary. I would just kindly tell, not ask, your boss that they need to find someone else for this task.  You can keep the fact that what they are doing is illegal to yourself, unless you need to make that information public, in a nice way. 

 

Celiac is covered under the ADA and I'm sure any good lawyer could tell you that they could be in trouble with the Labor Dept. over this.  I used this info once in my career to obtain a small fridge in my room at work because I refuse to put my lunch in a fridge that is contaminated from top to bottom and just plain gross.  My company is trying to save money and conserve energy and mandated that everyone had to use the large disgusting fridge in the kitchen.  I don't think so, buddy.  I reminded my boss, in a really nice way, that Celiac is covered under the ADA and why I really needed a dedicated fridge and poof!..... the fridge appeared!  ;)   It's a small one but fits the bill perfectly.  I also made sure I thanked them to let them know I appreciated their effort to keep me from getting sick. I have been here a long time, though, and this may not work for everyone.

 

I totally get the multi-tasking that you described.  Every industry is doing this today and it isn't going away.  I have no problem with doing 2 jobs at once but I would not ever pick up bagels for anyone...unless they were the gluten free kind that I could eat also.  I have the same problem at my job.  We have rewards lunches and Christmas parties and I cannot eat a damn thing at any of these functions but bring my own food.  I refuse to supply anything for these parties because they cannot be bothered to include me, food-wise.  That works for me!

 

I wish you luck with this but let's face it...you work with inconsiderate dopes.  You may end up having to look for another job sooner than expected because what they are doing just isn't right.  Would they ask a diabetic to pick up a pastry platter?  :o

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Unless it has been outright mandated where the bagels come from, I would simply find the closest gluten free bakery. Special order enough for the next Friday and go pick those up. See how that turns out and how quickly you get replaced as the bagel person. HAH! Or at least you'll be picking up something you can eat and won't have to resent it and they'll still get your bagels. It's win/win. :D (Of course I'm also passive aggressive, this may not be the best option, but it's still what I would do.)

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I think you have every right to be upset by all this even though, and I have to say it, there is so little risk of cc in the act of picking up bagels because no one should be touching bagels with their bare hands that others are going to eat.  And unless you are licking your car seat, the anxiety you have going on stemming from having them in your car is another issue entirely.  We all have to live and thrive in a gluten filled world and it can be done successfully without getting sick.

 

Having said that, here is what I see as the problem......it is extremely rude and ignorant of anyone to ask a Celiac to stop and pick up food they cannot eat.  And the fact that everyone gets upset if you don't bring them?  What are they....3 year olds?  What immature behavior!  You should never, ever use your own money and wait to be reimbursed for food that is not necessary for the job.  And bagels are not necessary. I would just kindly tell, not ask, your boss that they need to find someone else for this task.  You can keep the fact that what they are doing is illegal to yourself, unless you need to make that information public, in a nice way. 

 

Celiac is covered under the ADA and I'm sure any good lawyer could tell you that they could be in trouble with the Labor Dept. over this.  I used this info once in my career to obtain a small fridge in my room at work because I refuse to put my lunch in a fridge that is contaminated from top to bottom and just plain gross.  My company is trying to save money and conserve energy and mandated that everyone had to use the large disgusting fridge in the kitchen.  I don't think so, buddy.  I reminded my boss, in a really nice way, that Celiac is covered under the ADA and why I really needed a dedicated fridge and poof!..... the fridge appeared!  ;)   It's a small one but fits the bill perfectly.  I also made sure I thanked them to let them know I appreciated their effort to keep me from getting sick. I have been here a long time, though, and this may not work for everyone.

 

I totally get the multi-tasking that you described.  Every industry is doing this today and it isn't going away.  I have no problem with doing 2 jobs at once but I would not ever pick up bagels for anyone...unless they were the gluten free kind that I could eat also.  I have the same problem at my job.  We have rewards lunches and Christmas parties and I cannot eat a damn thing at any of these functions but bring my own food.  I refuse to supply anything for these parties because they cannot be bothered to include me, food-wise.  That works for me!

 

I wish you luck with this but let's face it...you work with inconsiderate dopes.  You may end up having to look for another job sooner than expected because what they are doing just isn't right.  Would they ask a diabetic to pick up a pastry platter?  :o

I love this response.....And so agree!

I think the biggest issue is not so much "gluten free" is that you are being dumped on and no one is validating your health issue.  There is no respect here for you.  So, I think I would have to go along with the buying gluten free bagels.  Pop into the store, buy a few bags of Udis (or whatever) and call it a day. 

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I love this response.....And so agree!

I think the biggest issue is not so much "gluten free" is that you are being dumped on and no one is validating your health issue.  There is no respect here for you.  So, I think I would have to go along with the buying gluten free bagels.  Pop into the store, buy a few bags of Udis (or whatever) and call it a day.

And be sure to eat at least one while everybody is watching. Loving it.
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Celiac or not my question is...is picking up bagels in your job description?

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Celiac or not my question is...is picking up bagels in your job description?

 

It's in lots of people's job descriptions. As is getting muffins, coffee, lunch, or doing about a hundred other errands. I do know that this all falls under the heading of administrative assistant. I also have a friend who was in law school and working through his summer as a legal aid and this all fell under his job description too. It's the world of entry level work today. <_< I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying it is.

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