Sick Day

When writing about work, a good rule of thumb (it seems to me) is not to write anything you wouldn’t want your supervisor — or *their* supervisor — to read. So, keeping my boss’s boss in mind…

This morning, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror for a good two minutes straight, fighting with myself. I’d been having some gastrointestinal discomfort (read: poop cramps) all day Sunday, and they’d kept me up for part of the night into Monday morning. I’d finally gotten to a comfortable place in my sleep cycle when my alarm went off; I turned it off without hitting snooze, then realized what I’d done. But, in my half-asleep state, I didn’t really care. I let myself drift back to sleep.

So, as I stood in front of the mirror, finally, I was already running late. Which is to say, later than usual. I was still mildly uncomfortable, and definitely still tired, and very much not ready to tackle a day of figuring out what questions to ask to learn a new technology (SSIS, for any geeks following along at home).

I made a decision: I went downstairs, booted up my computer, fired up my work webmail, and e-mailed my supervisor (and her supervisor, too, since I knew my supervisor was planning to be out of the office today) and said that I wasn’t feeling well, and that I wouldn’t be coming in today.

Then I went back to bed.

I drifted in and out of sleep for the next three hours, waiting for Aaron to wake up enough that I could tell him I’d called off of work. The UPS man woke us both up around 11am, at which point I told Aaron that I’d called in. He went back to sleep, then, and I got up.

My gastrointestinal discomfort had passed (so to speak) by 11:30, and I briefly considered going in to work for a half day. The prospect of another afternoon at home with my husband was too alluring, though; anyone who reads my blog regularly will likely know that Aaron works nights, so I only get to see him on the weekends, and for fifteen minutes after I get home from work on weekdays.

So, I stayed home. And I did have an enjoyable afternoon with Aaron, although I spent a lot of time mentally flogging myself for taking the day off of work when I probably certainly could have pushed through it.

The thing is? I didn’t *have* to go and push through it. I have plenty of sick days to use — more than I’m used to having at my disposal. At my old job, I got five personal days (to be scheduled in advance) and five sick days (to be used as needed). For the whole year. End of story. Here, I still start with 40 hours sick time at the beginning of the year, to be used in half-day increments. Once I dip into those hours, though, I get eight more hours added onto my balance per month, to bring me back up to a max of 40 hours of usable sick time.

If I felt like my presence were necessary and vital — like, say, my supervisor’s is — I’d feel more guilty for using this sick time for anything less than bronchitis. Truth be told, though, this under-experienced “piece of clay” is feeling a little overkneaded. I could really use some time to dig deeper into what I’ve learned so far, instead of switching to something completely new. At the same time, I really do want to learn SSIS, and now seems to be good timing for it, project-wise and personnel-wise.

I’m so, SO grateful for the opportunity to learn, basically, an entirely new skill for me: data warehousing. I’m glad to no longer be living paycheck to paycheck. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I just need to fix myself. I need to realign my brain to be more OK with the not-knowing.

No more sick days this year. I’ll have them to burn, yes, but I won’t. I won’t do it.