Thursday, January 13, 2011

Life Is Good: Work Ethic

There are 2 different sides of my life. On the homestead, there is a husband and 2 children counting on me. Additionally, there has almost always been a dog, frequently another small pet or two, and currently livestock as well. All of these count on me for very basic things like food and safety as well as less basic things like attention and comfort. I have a paying job as well. There are other managers and executives who count on me to get things done, keep things running smoothly, and report back on day-to-day business. The staff counts on me to answer questions, solve problems, and back them up when things go wrong. All these people/animals are counting on me to balance all this need in a way that takes care of everyone. I take that responsibility very seriously.

Some days you feel like doing things, others you don't. Essentially, each and every day you need to decide what you are going to do and how much effort you are going to put into doing it. There are a lot of factors that influence people's choices of whether or not to go to work or do work. When making those kinds of decisions, I usually base them on the fact that someone is depending on me.

Sick children, unreliable child care, and child related appointments and commitments are sometimes unavoidable. It is not impossible to balance children and work, however. A little planning is all that is necessary to deal with the appointments and concerts, parent/teacher conferences and such. These things are known in advance, so it is not that challenging to arrange for someone else to take care of the professional work that needs to be done. Preparation is the answer to emergencies as well. Babysitter sick? It's going to happen, so you should have a backup or two that you can call on. Kid sick? Again, if you have a couple people you know can watch the little darling throw up all day or who can run Princess Phlegm-Factory to the doctor, you won't have to miss that meeting or leave your co-workers without your expertise or someone to do the heavy lifting. Anything can happen, so the more eventualities you prepare for, the less unscheduled absences you will have at work.

Everyone loves a snow day off- adults included. A working snow day means you have to get dressed, clean off a car, shovel, shower, dress, and go to work on less than ideal roads, surrounded by inexperienced and nervous drivers. By the time you get there, you are exhausted, your nerves are shot, and - oh, yeah- you are practically the only one there. D'oh! Who wouldn't prefer to sleep in, eat a big breakfast of pancakes and bacon (that you wouldn't have time to make or eat on a working day), then lie around in pajamas sipping cocoa until noon? But if you work in an office like I do, a snow day is chaos for co-workers and clientele alike. The work still needs to be done, and there is less help to do it. The reward for all your dedication is nothing more than a bad day at work and the satisfaction of knowing that the majority of the workers will be begging for sympathy while you are the example they are using to say, "Well SHE made it to work, and she lives on a mountain, in a low-budget, private community without the most modern snow-removal methods... and she drives a sedan!"

All this aside, going to work on a snow day has long-term rewards that outweigh that single bad day. Your boss(es) will remember your dedication, especially after a whole day of hearing horror story after horror story from those who made it and those who didn't. If you're lucky, maybe that co-worker who makes you crazy will choose not to brave the storm, and your day might actually go smoother because of it. And most of all, you have saved that emergency day off for a real emergency- like if you were to get the flu or the power goes out so you oversleep for lack of an alarm clock.

If I didn't sleep well, have a minor cold, or am heartbroken because of some major stress, I might want to stay in bed. If I do, the children might not get lunch money, which means a mushy PB&J instead of a hot lunch at school. They might forget to walk the dog, who will then be miserable until he breaks down and goes on he floor- then gets punished for it. My son may try to cook a hot breakfast unassisted, creating a large mess and a bad burning smell. Someone I promised to call that day from the office won't get that call, and they will think my company doesn't care about their business. Some manager may need historical information to make a good decision, but since I usually have those things, (s)he will have to wing it. Another supervisor will have to carry my share of the load, unprepared. In light of all these possibilities, maybe that extra couple hours of sleep isn't worth it.

Being responsible means thinking about the impact of being irresponsible. If I fail to do what I need to do, for whatever reason, others suffer. So I have options set up for childcare issues. I get up an hour or so early if there is snow on the ground so that I can get to work on time. I force myself out of bed when I have obligations, even if I don't feel like it. The rewards are undeniable, and the advantages to small moments of self-indulgence are negligible.


NOTE: This is a rant. I chose to word it in a positive fashion, because I am a positive person. What I really meant to say was something along the lines of "Don't people realize what their ridiculous excuses lead to?" Rather than say that, I figured I'd answer that question, and blow all their excuses out of the water. NO EXCUSES. TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS.

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