|Dear startup employer,|
It's a workday, but I'm not at work. I'm pretending to work from home. Company policy says I should file for PTO, but I won't. You'll never know; I'll feel guilty.
But I need this day. You took a lot from me. I didn't hesitate for a second when I dropped all my weekend plans and rushed to fix what was broken. I worked all weekend, late into the night. I was there first thing Monday morning, and again on Tuesday. Then I stayed up all night Tuesday because it was release night.
I didn't do any of this because you pay me to. I did it because I take pride in my work. Things were broken. I'm responsible for them.
Now I'm taking time to eat a meal. I'm having the day I should have had last weekend. I'm breathing. The stress is ebbing away. I'm recharging so I can do great work for you again tomorrow.
Startup employer, I need this day so I can be awesome for you. But you want to take this day from my PTO, and that's just not right. You took my whole weekend. You took dinner with my spouse. You took a whole night of sleep and I came to the office anyway, because my coworkers depend on me. I'll never complain about these things because I'm an internet engineer and this is my job. If it's down, I'm up, no questions asked. In the morning we'll do the post-mortem work to see how to make it better.
Startup employer, we need to talk about our vacation policy. I wish you'd read this article about Netflix: <https://hbr.org/2014/01/how-netflix-reinvented-hr/ar/1>. Please read it, because when I read it, I want to send them my resume. I love the idea that we can be honest and reasonable with each other about my time. I'm flexible for you. Why can't you be flexible for me?
Startup employer, please stop tracking my PTO. There's a lot of other things in that Netflix doc I'd like to talk to you about but let's take this first baby step together.
We can do this. We'll both be better for it.
-exhausted tech worker