Monday, September 30, 2013

Sick Day

The other morning, driving into work with Angelo, which is all of a three-minute drive from our house, (Yes, I know I should walk...don’t remind me) I said to him,  “I wish I could take a sick day.”

We both laughed.

I woke up that morning with a sore throat and while it wasn’t life-threatening, it did make me feel like staying in bed longer, drinking tea and reading the new book I bought two weeks ago that I hadn’t even cracked open yet.  It sounded like such a good idea.

But as all self-employed people know, the infamous Sick Day is not a benefit typically available to us. You would think it would be the opposite. In fact, most traditionally employed people probably think we self-employed folks sit around in our jammies, catching up on Netflix and playing Words With Friends most days. This is, in fact, mostly not true. We self-employed folk don’t have the luxury of a 9 to 5 time frame in which to complete our work. We are more often working at 7am or 10 pm and most hours in between than not, responding to emails, writing up invoices, composing reports, looking at ways to bring in more business. Because the other thing we don’t have the luxury of is a regular paycheck. (Or insurance, but that’s a whole other bottle of pills.)

So, why is it so hard to take a sick day? It is true that we can make our own schedule.  And, to be honest, we are very lucky in being able to do that. It allows me to babysit my grandson, take a trip to Maine without submitting a request for vacation days to an unsympathetic boss or wait for the cable guy’s outlandish timeframe for arrival. And, if we don’t have any morning appointments, we actually can stay home in our jammies and make calls and write emails and have a second cup of coffee. But we’re still working.

I guess the work ethic is strong in most of us raised in a certain societal climate and time.  I had a hard time calling in sick when I had a traditional job, so staying home -- in bed!-- when I have a business to run certainly sounds like lollygagging to me. In my own office I can cough or sniffle or moan and no one is there to complain. Well, Angelo is, but I also listen to his complaining, so it makes it even. And I make an effort to not moan and groan too much with clients. Work hard, that’s the mantra that plays again and again in my head, even through a head stuffed with congestion or over a throbbing toothache.

But taking care of my own health should be as important as the health of my business, yes? And yesterday my back went out and it’s still really painful today. I have no appointments on the calendar.  I have some emails to respond to, but I’ve already covered how I address that. I have a book to read.

I really don’t have anything else to do but finish this sentence.