Today is a snow day for me. We had several last year, but this is the first one of winter 2015-16 here in Little Rock. It was absolutely beautiful this morning, and I have been up since about 6:30 enjoying the day. Last night was also wonderful. For the very first time in nearly 16 years, I have a snow day with zero guilt. None. It’s also the first one that I have spent alone without kids at home. Let me tell you – it is fabulous!
I can work from home if I need to or if I want to. I’m an attorney, but like most attorneys I am not in court every day. I have hearings a couple of times a week, with some weeks busier or slower than others when it comes to court appearances. I love court, but when I am not in court and have no appointments, I can work from home if I want to. I typically don’t, just because I like going into the office, but when it snows like this and I am able to, it is just about the best thing I can think of doing.
Some folks don’t like the snow. I understand. Kids stuck on the house, have to go to work anyway, need the notorious bread and milk, and perhaps the power goes out. I have no kids at home, so the first one is a non-issue. Unlike the last 16 years of my work life, I don’t have to go to work, so the second one is gone, too. I already went grocery shopping earlier this week, well actually Sweetie did, so we are all set on food. (I never did get what bread and milk would do for you anyway. Who wants a milk sandwich for dinner? No one that I know.) Our power is both underground and thankfully quite reliable, so wee typically have power during snow. We have only been without power a few short times since we moved here 18 months ago, knock on wood. So, for me, a snow day is what it is supposed to be – a fun day off work where I can sit by the fire in the fireplace, work from my laptop, and watch movies once I’m done. I can also catch up on laundry and eat my lunch at home. Nice to be able to do that every once and a while for a treat and not a have-to. I can also view the absolutely gorgeous scenery around me, when the woods come alive with snow and the peacefulness of it all. There is nothing quite like the quiet of a snowfall, although the quiet out here is not a lot different than the normal quiet we have just being in the country.
The biggest thing about snow days for me now though by far is the fact that I have absolutely zero (as in no, nada, zilch) guilt about staying home. Working at my old job, a hospital, I was expected to come in to work even though my job was classified as “non-essential.” Not that being classified as that made me feel good when they started talking about cut backs and lay offs, but it did mean that they could do without my position for a snow day.
They didn’t see it that way. They felt like if the medical staff and other essential employees had to come to work, that everyone did. This was just out and out stupid in my opinion. Let’s go over the reasons why:
1. You are putting more cars on the road, when every state agency is telling people to stay off the roads.
2. You are asking non-essential, sometimes lower-paid people to literally risk life and property to come to work. Mind you, if there is a loss of life or property, the company is most certainly not going to pay for it.
3. Most of the time, business is really slow during the snow anyway, since all of the smarter people are staying at home.
4. You are asking people with kids, whose day cares and schools are closed, to somehow come to work, and find alternate care. What if they are single parents? What if they have no family in the area?
5. People are very resentful of companies who do stupid things. Watch Office Space for a reference for this one.
6. The non-essential people didn’t sign up for a career that would cause them to never have a snow day. Pretty sure that the accountant doing budget work can stay home and the world won’t end.
7. The non-essential people also don’t get the same perks as the essential ones. Higher pay, faster raises, more parties and other “Yeah us!” celebrations at work, etc. but, they are expected to be there a snow day because it’s unfair to essential staff otherwise. Seriously?
It wasn’t always like that there. For the first several years, non-essential people were actually asked to stay home. Then some nurses complained, so they changed the policy. I was actually told to tell my very pregnant non-essential staff member to come to work during an ice storm. I refused. I told them they could fire me but I didn’t think there would be a laminate color emergency that day, and that I wasn’t asking a very pregnant non-essential staff member to risk her and her child’s lives to come to work for nothing. I didn’t get fired, but I was serious.
I’m not technically a rebel. I’m a realist. I’m logical. I’m Spock-like as someone said once. I took the latter as a compliment. If something doesn’t make sense, just because someone wants you to do it, do you? It’s the old “jumping off a bridge” challenge. You don’t. Or at least your shouldn’t.
I have enjoyed this stress-free, guilt-free snow day to the best of my ability. I am so very happy to have the opportunity to work from home. I’m so fortunate to be at this point in my life, at last.