Even though we could all use a break from the stresses of work from time to time, taking a mental health day to recuperate and care for ourselves still isn't very common, since there's a stigma to missing work when you aren't on vacation or sick. So even among those of us who really need the time off, many don't bother asking.
Not Michigan woman Madalyn Parker. She recently emailed her team, including her male CEO, letting them know she would be taking two days off to focus on her mental health, and because of this, she got a pretty astounding response, reports ATTN.
The CEO of her company, Ben Congleton, actually replied thanking her for always notifying him when taking such days off and commending her. "Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health—I can't believe this is not a standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work," he writes.
Now here's a boss who really gets it. He understands that employees need their downtime so they can return to work refreshed, and he's aware that it's difficult to be honest about taking mental health days.
Parker shared the email exchange on her Twitter account, and so far, it's garnered over 10.5k retweets and over 34k likes.
Some Twitter users applauded Parker for sending the email and being so open about why she was going to miss work, but they also envied her for having such an understanding boss. "Damn, that’s awesome you have a boss like that. Sadly they seem to be a rare breed these days," one user wrote. "That is bloody incredible. What a fantastic CEO you have. I hope one day to work with a business with exactly this attitude," said another user.
Others responded that if they tried to take a mental health day, they wouldn't have gotten such a positive reply. One user wrote: "I took a mental health afternoon at my last job and got passive aggressive documentation about the mental health coverage in our health plan." Another said, "This is amazing and I literally cried reading the post from the CEO himself about it because I'm emotional today. I had to take a mental health day recently and lie about my reasoning for not coming in, because it's not seen as a viable excuse for missing work."
As for the awesome boss? He ended up discussing his now-viral email in an essay for Medium earlier this month. "I wasn’t expecting the exposure, but I am so glad I was able to have such a positive impact on so many people," he writes. One of the highlights of his piece is this quote: "It’s 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance. When an athlete is injured they sit on the bench and recover. Let’s get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."