Use Those Days

I’m going to make my friends in human resources uncomfortable so buckle up.😬 Can we talk about 🤧sick days for a minute? I received a certain amount each year. Any unused sick time rolled over to the next school year. I also got personal days.📆 I rarely used any of them. When I retired from teaching, I had 617 hours of sick time leftover. Time that I could have used a substitute in my classroom with pay. You know what I got for showing up to work reliably every year? Nothing. A big fat nothing.😞

Now, before you think I’m advocating for employees to skip out on their responsibilities at work, you’re dead wrong. I am a huge proponent of pulling your weight at work.👍🏻 Every workplace functions better when employees are present. We are paid to show up on time and do our jobs to the 🏆best of our abilities, whether we teach school, work in factories, or perform surgery. There is no substitute for a solid work ethic. Period.

I lost a lot of 🤧sick days when I moved from one school district to another. That’s a different story- I chose to move.✅ I retired this time after years at one employer with no compensation for the unused sick time.😞

Here’s my point. I had many reasons for saving 🤧sick days during my long career. When my kids were younger, sick days were used for them- not me. I would load up with 💊meds and a pocket full of tissues to soldier through my days, knowing I would 😴crash as soon as I got home. I scheduled my own 🏥medical visits for school breaks. I built up sick days just in case. And- “just in case” never came.✅

I had a strong sense of duty to my job.💯 That meant I needed to be there no matter what. There were days when I couldn’t perform at my best because of illness or other issues that took my mind away from my work.😞 I should have protected myself a little more.✅

Any teacher will tell you that it’s easier to be at school than plan for a substitute. ➡️However, it doesn’t mean that we should never be out of the classroom.⬅️ Now that I’m retired, I’m wondering why I wasted part of my benefits package because there were many times I should have used a sick day. 🤷🏻‍♀️The extra preparation would have been worth it.✅

I had enough days to take off more than half of my last year, but I would never have done that. It would have been disrespectful to my employer, co-workers, and students. Besides, there have been very few subs available since 😷COVID. So I couldn’t have been absent if I wanted to!

They say that hindsight is 20/20. Now that I have retired, here’s my clear 👀vision on the subject: use those days. 📆Not all of them. Not without proper planning and concern for everyone that your absence will affect. Just don’t end up with 617 hours left on the table like I did. If you need a day, don’t hesitate to use it. YOU are worth it, and you earned it!💖

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