Hillary Zinks is a makeup and effects artist in the film industry, and she also has a side job as a waitress at a local resort. Here's the story of how her sister's unexpected death helped her have an eye-opening work/life moment.
Hillary told BuzzFeed that last month, while on set, she got a call that her sister had been declared brain dead. "She was completely unresponsive and the nurses were looking for next of kin to make decisions on her behalf if need be. I was broken-hearted, frozen. I didn't even have time to register all of this before deciding to leave to be with her," she said.
When Hillary told her first boss — the department head of the TV series she was working on — that she needed to leave, she was treated with basic human empathy. "She is very well known and HUGE in the industry. To have someone with her experience in film and life tell me to 'never let a job get in the way of life' and 'do whatever I need to do' was exactly what I needed to hear."
However, when she told her other boss about the situation and why she would not be able to make it to work, she was disheartened. First, her boss was upset at the "late notice"...
...And then made her feel guilty about missing work because they had a large party to serve that day. "I was angry and upset about it the rest of the drive. The closer I got to the hospital, the more I realized how her behavior was absolutely unacceptable and I couldn't work under her any longer."
So, when Hillary got to the hospital, she quit.
Hillary said she decided to share her story on TikTok to show the difference between a boss and a leader. "We don't need to work for people who barely see us as humans with emotions and families. I hope that anyone who has that type of experience has the means and courage to quit. I hope any managers that would have done something similar would now take a step back and learn from her mistakes," she said.
Hillary's video went viral, and the comment section is full of people sharing how terribly they have been treated at work.
Some employers think people lie about their loved ones dying...
...And others will flat-out tell you they just don't care.
Medical emergencies may not even be excusable at some workplaces.
Hillary has one final message to employers. "Your employees are so much more than robots here to make YOU money. Real life doesn't stop so people's work lives can proceed uninterrupted. Treat your employees with kindness and compassion in situations like these," she concluded.
A few days after the terrible interaction, Hillary got a call from the resort where she worked and was informed that her old boss no longer worked there. "The supervisor asked about my sister and I let him know she died that weekend. His heart sank for me. He then offered me my job back. I gave myself a few weeks to grieve and then let him know that I'd come back. My sister died as a hero, donating four of her organs."