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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Not To Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth, But...

 Ever had a really hard time feeling grateful for something?  If so, you're not alone!

Recently, at work, we had a video call with one of the higher-ups in the company.  It was this higher-up talking to (I think) all the facilities under her leadership.  In the course of this call, this person revealed that (for reasons that may become very clear in a moment), they were having trouble retaining employees, and that they wanted to express their thanks and appreciation to all of us.  As a gesture of appreciation, they were giving us a small gift meant to signify the company "taking a step in the right direction"...

They had gotten a pair of crazy socks for each of us.

To be specific, we had our choice of either an argyle or a striped pattern in bright colors that some people might say clashed with each other.  The company name was prominently interspersed with the pattern.  The socks are of a dress sock weight, with a distinctly casual look.  Which I'm realizing as I write might be unfair to the entire concept of "casual."

So far, only one of my coworkers has claimed a pair.  The rest of them are creating clutter in our shared office.

The higher-up in question assured us at the time that the company wasn't thanking us with socks.  But honestly, the fact that she felt the need to clarify that point makes me think that that is exactly what they are doing.

There are far worse problems to have, of course.  I am grateful to have a job.  But truthfully, I would have gladly taken whatever minimal cash value those socks had over the socks themselves.  Really, when you think about what employees would like at work, I don't think crazy socks make the list for many people.  More money and more time off are probably the most popular perks for everyone.  But mentorship, training, and educational opportunities are also welcome, and not all of those have to cost much money or time.  When all else fails, food is probably a more popular perk than socks.

Starting a new career during the pandemic has been an interesting journey.  I've been fortunate to find work, but none of the jobs I've had since graduating from Grad School 2.0 have been a dream job, to say the least.  As a result, I always have a wish list of things I'd like to have in a job in an ideal world, as well as ideas of how to make the next job incrementally better than the current job.  Short of a dream job, maybe I could shoot for moving up from free socks to free t-shirts.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Pandemic Daze: First Cold

 What with all the time I spent at home during some portions of the pandemic, and all of the mask-wearing and hand-sanitizing during the other portions, I have only now gotten my first cold since the pandemic started.

Naturally, this has inconveniently coincided with my having started a job a few weeks ago.  I haven't accrued much paid leave anyway, and this particular job does not allow me to take paid leave until after I've spent 90 days on the job, so I'm sitting at home not being paid.  Boo.

When to stay home with an illness is one of those points of pandemic etiquette and procedure that I imagine will be evolving.  In the past, I probably would have gone to work like this and powered through, probably at the cost of getting sicker myself (and possibly at the cost of spreading it to someone else).

But now, people are more likely to view respiratory diseases with some alarm.  My work place does a daily temperature check, so in the event that I ran a fever, I would be sent home anyway.  Also, I'm currently working with  a medically vulnerable population.

However, it's worth noting that temperature checks and social expectations are not fool proof.  Not all infections cause a fever.  Temperature readings can be artificially low if someone has been outside in the cold.  And quite a lot of people are unable to afford unpaid days off from work, and will very likely try to go in no matter how awful they are feeling, and no matter how many dirty looks they might get every time they cough or sneeze.  

It's hard to say what the answer is to this problem.  Mandated paid sick leave is a start, but it's hard to know how much is adequate to keep people at home when that's where they really need to be.  But I'm hoping the pandemic will make people start asking these questions, if not for the sake of the people who feel forced to go to work no matter what, then for the sake of everyone else.  If there is anything we should have learned, it's that the person coughing, sneezing, or whatever else through the workday may be spreading more than a few a crummy days and an inconvenience.