Shoe on the Other Foot

My son is having his wisdom teeth removed tomorrow.

At least I think he is having surgery. Yesterday the oral surgeon’s office manager called to alert me that my dental insurance was terminated February 12. When I vehemently protested that it absolutely wasn’t possible, she said, “Well, you need to call HR.”

I said, “I am HR.”

For all the good it did me.  The HR Coordinator and I spent the rest of the day calling our dental carrier, our TPA and broker. By the end of the day, we learned that coverage was terminated for random employees, but we didn’t know why, or when the correction would take place.  Will my son go under the knife tomorrow? I don’t know.

Because the surgery was carefully planned to occur in the tiny window between wrestling and lacrosse seasons, having to postpone will probably cause disruption and inconvenience.  Be that as it may,  I have this annoying habit of always looking for a lesson or a silver lining. So I asked myself what I could learn from the situation.

First of all, with my twisted sense of humor, I had to admit the situation was actually kind of funny. The HR person’s benefits are cut off! How ironic!  Priceless, actually.

But beyond that, I decided the lesson is this:  For a couple of days, I have the opportunity to put the shoe on my other foot and experience being a ‘regular’ employee. I was able to live and feel–firsthand–the frustration and inconvenience when benefits don’t perform as expected.

No doubt about it, having to deal with the fluke cancellation of my own coverage will help deepen my empathy and compassion for employees in difficult situations.

photo by gadl

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