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.