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I’m sick. Came down with something today (Tuesday, not Wednesday, though this will publish Weds.). It hit sometime in the afternoon and suddenly I was nauseated, dizzy, feverish, and hot. Luckily, except for this post, I have finished my words for the day. I’m well ahead of schedule, but I doubt I’ll take a day off unless I have to. I just can’t. Don’t even want to. If I’m able to sit up and focus at all, I’ll be writing. I hope it won’t be a huge pile of crap.

So you might be wondering what I plan to talk about today, beyond me and my body fluids. I’m here to talk about time off and being sick. I know, inspired, right? Wonder how I ever came up with that? Seriously though, as freelancers, writers aren’t paid for sick leave or vacation. It’s really easy to therefore never take time off. Which is a good, quick road to nutjob city. Crazyland. You’ll find yourself getting more and more anxious, angry, resentful, and less and less creative. It won’t serve you. (This is me after saying I plan to work tomorrow despite being sick. So now’s where you say, ahem, Doctor heal thyself–and you can, because I am a doctor, even though it’s of literature and not medicine). Anyhow, why am I going to work tomorrow when I am sick?

Part of it is that if I’m not so sick that I can’t work, then I should be working. However, that’s up against the fact that I’m trying to finish by a couple weeks from now because family is coming to visit and I want to be able to take a week or two off from my writing. In other words, I don’t want to waste vacation time on being sick or waste time getting to be with my family because I didn’t get done what I wanted when I wanted. 

Is that wise? Is that healthy? I don’t know. If I can’t work, then I won’t. (Keep in mind every time I say tomorrow, I really mean today because, writing v. posting. I’m sufficiently dizzy and goofy now that I’m not able to be particularly clear. Or maybe I am. It’s hard to judge from this side of sick).

I think the other issue is that it’s really easy to take time away from the job when I’m the boss. I mean, who’s going to stop me from siting on the couch watching movies or catching up on TV shows (alas, there are so many I’m behind on, probably permanently)? What qualifies as too sick to work? It was easier to decide when I was teaching. If I couldn’t walk to school, if I couldn’t focus enough to talk to students, if I was feverish and would make others sick, I stayed home. I had sick leave, which didn’t hurt. Or rather, being sick didn’t hurt my bottom line. And really, one or two days here and there, won’t hurt my bottom line either, unless of course I miss when I have a close deadline and miss it. But I don’t want to create a bad work habit. I wanted to be more professional than that.

But every day I have to make sure I’m taking care of myself mentally, emotionally, and physically. I have to consider if I’m being stupid. That’s the key. Regular gutchecks and self-evaluations. Evaluate yourself as an employer. Evaluate yourself as an employee.

Most of all, have fun. And don’t barf on your keyboard.

 

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9 comments to Appropriate Title Here

  • I remember one year, when I lived in New Jersey, as September was sliding into October, people started going nuts. Just rude tempers, doing whacked out things, etc. It was pervasive in the state known for rudeness; at the place where I worked even shy programmers were snapping at managers. One newspaper did an article – seems EVERY weekend that summer – from May until late September it rained on the weekend. Really. Something like 23 weekends of rain. Bright sunny weekdays, rain on weekends. People were going nuts on a base level without realizing the issue. They hadn’t had a day out enjoying the sun in far too long. Like Diana indicates above, don’t let the creepy, crawly lizard brain demand time off – because it will find a way.

  • Here here hear hear. OR Hear hear here here.

    Anyway, I’m sleep deprived because I am female and spent the night in a state of the buzzies. Some of you will know what I mean. Others will not. But last night I crawled out of bed at 1:30 and wrote for an nour. Three pages. Pretty good stuff I think. Now I am grouchy, ornery, and getting ready to write. Again, for the second time today. If I was my boss, I’d say, “Good work, Faith, on getting ahead of page count.” And then writer me would say back to my boss something that would get me fired. Then I could catch up on sleep, right. Unfortunately I find me amusing when tell myself to do something anatomically impossible. So I am back writing. Grumpy and grouchy.

    All that to say, I totally get ya. Totally. Hope you feel better. Now get to work. (whip snap) And stop whining. LOL

  • Feel better soon, Diana. *hugs* I hear you on wanting to push oneself to get work done even on days when one doesn’t feel the greatest. Sometimes I just have to listen to my body. Not that the argument ever stops. I’ve been guilty of taking my laptop to bed on sick days. It’s so effective: I lie there with the best of writing intentions for about two minutes, and then promptly fall asleep.

  • Erin: When I moved to Montana originally, May was completely overcast. Normally it’s super sunny. So I got into a foul mood and finally realized why when it cleared. Weather makes you crazy and you hardly even know it.

    Faith: Luckily, when we’re grouchy, ornery, and moody, we work alone and so don’t make other suffer. Sadly for me, boy is also home sick. Guess who gave me the sick? I could whine last night. Words were done. Now I’m bleerily looking at the chapter and trying to make words form.

    Laura: Thanks! I know, take the laptop to sleep with. Somehow, there are no osmosissy words. Dangit.

  • So sorry you’re feeling rotten, Di. I adore my kids, but they used to bring home the nastiest germs. Now they’re older and they bring home a whole set of other problems. I didn’t get much done yesterday and I’m struggling today — other issues on my mind. But I’m cracking the whip, trying to make myself work. Hope you’re better soon.

  • Sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well. I was sick last weekend–or was I? I went through the same questions: am I really sick enough not to grade papers? Not to write? Not to do laundry? I ended up getting very little done in any area of my life, but I never really gave myself permission to just lie on the couch and feel bad, either. So at the end of the weekend I was totally cranky and grouchy. I think I’d be better off if I just said, “No work today” and went to sleep or watched reruns or ate chicken soup.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  • Marlie Harris

    I’m sorry that you feel horrible. I hope you are better soon. In my old life, before writing, I was the boss of a pack of nurses who would go to people’s homes and make them better, hopefully. It was a fight to get these caregivers to stay home when they were sick. Not because they would lose money. This was a valid point because we hadn’t offered benefits. Not because they weren’t sick enough to stay home. Nurses have notoriously high tolerances for illness. But because they didn’t want to let down and pass the buck to someone else. They cared about what happened to the people they administered to. They cared deeply and with enough passion to gird themselves with latex gloves, masks, and bottles of antibacterial hand gel. I was always in awe of them. That commitment to their craft. I did what I could and got them benefits so they wouldn’t lose money and then fought them every flu season to stay home and take care of themselves.

    I don’t have a pack of nurses anymore, just me. But I remember that commitment to your craft. That drive to continue with what you believe in. Of giving the reader the best you have so they can enjoy something for awhile and perhaps be better people for the break from their reality.
    I’m just trying to get in the habit of writing daily. I don’t need any excuses like illness to get me to stop, but when I’m sick I just want to be alone in my misery. My grandmother always made chicken broth from a can. It made me feel better somehow.

    I’m wishing you a speedy recovery.

  • Vyton

    Hope you are feeling better soon. I feel I need more of the work and less of the taking advantage of feeling poorly.

    From Down, Down to Goblin Town (The Hobbit, 1977 Movie):

    Swish, smack! Whip crack!
    Smash, grab! Pinch, nab!

  • David: I hope your issues on too serious. Get back to work!!! 😀

    Sisi: I hate grading papers. It’s always easy to be too sick for that. 😀 But you’re right. If you don’t give yourself permission to be sick and just rest, then you don’t actually get the rest you need. Don’t do that again!

    Marlie: I’m with you. If I’m sick, I want to be alone. Except I also want deliveries of sprite and tea and crackers. I need a house elf.

    Vyton: we need that on a shirt. Maybe tattooed to the inside of our eyelids.