Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Winter roads have been unbelievably nasty in parts of Canada and the United States and Facebook was deluged with stories about near-misses and horrifying drives as people struggled to get to and from work today.
I'm pretty much retired (meaning I'm too old and fat and crabby to get hired anywhere) but, up until last May, I was a working stiff who regularly faced the "should I stay or should I go" dilemma.
This happened for two distinct reasons:
1. Illness. Although health providers everywhere tell people to STAY HOME when they're sick – to avoid spreading germs – there's an unspoken rule at most workplaces that says "good" employees go to work no matter what. A manager would never admit that, not to your face, but employees who do go to work with hacking, infectious, nasty colds are treated with more respect and, I dare say, given promotions and raises more often than people who call in sick when they are, in fact, sick.
I can't tell you how many times I agonized about going to work. There's such PRESSURE to fight the good fight, to show you're dependable, to get the job done, that people who call in sick are thought of as weak and not serious about their careers.
2. Bad Weather. If you get snow and ice every winter, you learn to cope with winter driving. But a few times every winter there are such rotten storms that police close highways and tell people to stay off the roads. There are a ton of people in Canada and the U.S. who are dealing with record-breaking snowfalls and winter storm warnings as we speak. When there's a blizzard raging, you can't see a few feet in front of you. You don't know where the road is because it's covered in drifts of snow – occasionally those drifts are so big a car can completely disappear. Usually bad storms are accompanied by ice. Have you ever driven your car on a skating rink? Fun, eh? And on top of everything else, there are bitterly cold temperatures. If you get your car stuck in a ditch, or you get in an accident, you could literally freeze to death waiting for crazy-busy emergency vehicles to haul your sorry arse to safety.
And yet corporate culture dictates you go to work – or at least try.
I don't care what you do for a living, or how important it is that you show up to do the thing that desperately needs doing, unless you're a paramedic or a police officer or some other emergency services provider, you do not need to go to work.
Think of it this way: if you don't go to work, your boss might be pissy at you for a while. If you go to work and get killed or badly hurt, the people who actually care about you are going to be REALLY pissy. Your boss might pretend to miss you, at your funeral, but once the coffee and triangular sandwiches are devoured, he/she is thinking who to hire to replace you ... and they'll probably never think about you again other than to say, "So-and-so was a really devoted employee."
Why is it we value what our employer thinks of us over what our family thinks? Your boss can hire someone else in a heartbeat, but in the eyes of your children and your husband or wife, you truly are irreplaceable.
Be safe this winter. Stay home.