Monday, April 16, 2007

Clocking Out

For my entire adult life I have arranged appointments around my work schedule, lobbying for first thing in the morning or the last appointment in the afternoon or perhaps even a lunch-time appointment. But that's all about to change.

The government is actually quite generous when it comes to annual (holiday) leave. After 15 years a government worker earns 26 days of paid vacation time a year. That same worker earns 13 days of paid sick leave a year. But most of us have scrimped and saved to make the most of this time off.

When our children were young and were subject to the typical children's diseases, some of our worst arguments were over who had to stay home. It was not at all that we didn't want to be with our children, but it was the pressure of needing to be at work and not wanting to use too much leave of any sort.

I remember with a feeling of great guilt leaving 4-year-old Rachel covered with the chicken pox at home with an 85-year-old woman who could barely get out of the Lazy-boy lounger. Rachel ended up heating up her own lunch in the microwave and pretty much fending for herself. What bad parents we were.

There were those dreaded calls from the school: Your child is in the office with a fever of 100 degrees. Please come get him as soon as possible. Groan!

Home repairs rivaled sick children as we both struggled to go to work. There was always a 4-hour window during which you had to stay home because you never knew when and if they would ever show up to fix whatever was broken.

Routine doctors' appointments always had to be arranged around a schedule of meetings, training, and other work demands. If I scheduled an appointment around the middle of the day, I could sometimes get by with using just an hour of sick leave, racing into the city in 25 minutes and then back, having used my entire lunch hour as well.

This will all change in a mere 14 days. I can take the times that are still available on the doctor's calendar. I can practice my music while I wait for the appliance repair man to show up. There will be no leave taken because every day will be a vacation day.

I'm sure there will be a necessary transition to this new unscheduled life of mine. But it's one I am looking forward to embracing!

9 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

I hope you find your new schedule works for you.

I have often heard of people going stir crazy because they didn't know what to do with themselves.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

You're finding the perks already as you make your next appointment for hair or dentist at 10:00 a.m.!!!

5:28 PM  
Blogger avocadoinparadise said...

The key is having hobbies.

And remembering that all of us worker bees are startlingly envious... But also wishing you well.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- My father-in-law was just one of those people who went stir crazy when he retired. He had no hobbies or interests and couldn't figure out what to do with himself, so he went back to work. That will not be me. I know myself only too well to see that I will probably continue to overschedule my time, even when I have 50 extra hours a week!

MOI -- YES!

Avocado -- I guarantee that I have some serious hobbies, so that is not a problem. I always wished I could retire when I was in my 20's and then work when I got older, but that's just not how it worked out! I will definitely make the best of it. Thanks for your good wishes!

10:25 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah, there will definitely be some transitional issues, hard to imagine, but after so many years of steady work, naturally your body and being will react.

I'm hoping you'll be gentle with yourself when you feel restless or just weird. I'll be there for you.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- I'm counting on your friendship and support as I launch into this next phase of my life.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous employment said...

That's great that the government gave you at least some sick leave. Many employers don't provide any sick leave for their employees.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Employment -- I actually have no problem with the policies of my agency, which are quite generous. It's just some of the people I work with and for who have helped me make my decision to retire.

5:12 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Transition? Waht transition? No transition. Just the freedom to be where you want or need to be when you want or need to be there.
That, my dear, is heaven.
What bliss to go to the grocery store in the middle of the day when there are no lines. Are you kidding? Nope, no transition. Just joyful glee as you skip through the store with all the time in the world. I'm jealous

11:21 PM  

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