The Caramel Crunch #8

I have been following Melody from Caramel (Learners at Love) for quite some time now. Recently she started a series called The Caramel Crunch and although I like to participate I usually leave a short comment on her post. This week I felt that I had a little more to say on the subject so here is my response to The Caramel Crunch #8.

Mel’s question was:

You have a horrible cold and you realize you are infectious. However, there is a culture in your workplace of still attending work when you are ill. You realize that if you phone in sick, your manager will then have to spend time ringing other staff  and may not be able to find someone else who can cover your shift. You realize that the other staff will be under a lot of pressure to keep up with the work. They always turn up for work even when they are ill.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Image by Mojca JJ from Pixabay

My answer to Mel’s question is probably not going to be very definative. I realised that I have made different decisions on this very matter depending on the workplace that I have been in.

Many years ago (before my children came along) I worked in a personnel office for the Roads Department of the local authority. I don’t remember having a cold while I worked there (although I was signed off work with anxiety for 6 weeks) but if I had I probably would have taken time off. It was a large open plan office. There were around 8 of us on the team I worked in and most of the staff were fairly young and healthy. I think in that situation my colleagues would have been more upset if I had gone to work and infected them than if they had to pick up some of my workload.

When my kids were very young I did some waitressing and bar work in the evenings when their dad was home to look after them. I guess working with food is a different ‘kettle of fish’ than working in an office anyway but I would have taken time off if I’d had a heavy cold in that situation. I don’t think the customers would have been too impressed if I was breathing my germs all over their food. It definitely would have created more hassle for the managers in the restaurant though. I know they often had difficulty getting shifts covered so they probably would have been cursing me for being ill but equally they probably wouldn’t want me in looking like death warmed up and sneezing all over the place either.

When I was teaching it would have been a very different story. For a start schools are rife with germs. There are always children there with heavy colds in the winter time so this would almost definitely be where I’d picked up the infection from in the first place. There is very much a culture of going to work when you’re ill among teachers. There are several reasons for this:

  • If you stayed off every time you were ill you’d never be at work because there are so many germs floating around in schools. Obviously if we were talking anything more serious than a heavy cold that would be a different story.
  • It can be more stressful to communicate the plans you had for your class for the day to someone else than it would be just to go in to school and do the best you could. I remember times when I really was too ill to attend having to email lots of instructions and resources (PowerPoint presentations, worksheets and the like) in to the school before I could relax and begin to recover.
  • In my area if you were absent from work on more than two occasions you were put on a disciplinary plan. As no one knows when they might be unwell staff didn’t want to take time off for something as straightforward as a cold in case they ended up being unwell again and had to go on to a disciplinary plan. I don’t know the ins and outs of what one of these plans involved as I never needed to go on one but the name in itself was enough to scare people into being at work if they possibly could.
  • Often the effect of your absence on the pupils would play a big part in the decision too. You realise that (no matter how good they are) the children’s education will be affected by having a supply teacher in while you are off. Having the consistency of a teacher that knows the pupils and their capabilities, knows what they have already covered and what they need to work on next and what their abilities are and what support they need is hard to replace. Many teachers attend work when they are ill simply because they feel the knock on effect on the children’s education would be too significant.

As a self-employed sole trader, I now have a different set of issues to work through if I am unwell. I’d be letting my clients down if I didn’t go to work as there is no one to replace me. I wouldn’t get paid if I didn’t turn up as sick pay and holiday pay are not available – I get paid for the hours I am actually there to do the job. I do have the flexibility to be off in the sense that no one would be having to worry about covering me and there are no disciplinary plans to worry about. I am still largely working in germ infested schools though so I guess I would decide on a case by case basis depending on how ill I really felt.

So to go back to Mel’s question I probably would go to work under the circumstances she described since it seems to be what everyone else does anyway. It sounds like I may well have picked up the infection in that workplace and also like it would have more of a negative impact if I did not attend work than if I did. I think I do tend to weigh up the options in this kind of situation though so it might also depend on the importance of what I was working on at the time.

Well if you’ve made it this far thanks for reading. I realise this was a bit of a long winded answer but it let me chatter on for a bit which will save my hubby listening to me go on about it later 😂. Thanks to Melody for the question too. Do let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts on what I’ve said.

New Routines

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with routines. We all have them, even if they’re as simple as going to sleep at night or brushing our teeth in the morning. I love them because I feel more productive if I follow a routine but I hate being tied down to them and feeling like I can’t do what I want to do because of BORING routines! There have been times I’ve got so bogged down in them I’ve felt like I HAD to follow them and that just made me feel caged.

One of my good routines has been exercise. Exercise is not something I’ve always found easy (See this post for more) but I got into a good habit with it. Then when I was at my lowest point with depression I wasn’t doing as well with that routine although I’ve mostly managed at least a couple of times a week. I’m getting myself into a new routine with exercise now just to change things up a bit. The last couple of weeks I’ve gone to a class with my friend A on Tuesday mornings and gone swimming on Thursday mornings and I’m still trying to do some weights in the house too on other days. I’m not as consistent with that as I was though.

I used to be pretty good with my housework routines too. When my kids were little I discovered the Flylady (www.flylady.net). She has great suggestions about how to work short routines into your life to keep on top of everything. I never did follow all of her routines but I did try to do an evening and a morning one and did certain housework tasks on certain days of the week (like cleaning toilets on Thursdays 😂). I did struggle a bit with resentment at times when I felt like I was doing everything in the house and the rest of the family weren’t pulling their weight. In reality I put it on myself though. No one asked me to do it or expected me to do everything. Anyway my housework routines have gone to pot. I still try to keep the house tidy when I have the energy and the motivation but the routines are out the window on the whole. Maybe I need to try to work up to doing better with those again? While I’m on this subject I’d love to know your thoughts on this. What works best for you – cleaning a whole room at once or doing one job, like dusting for example, in all the rooms and then vacuuming all the rooms at another time?

The Flylady 😊

My work routine used to be pretty easy. Mondays, Tuesdays and alternate Wednesdays I was in school. On Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings I took relaxation classes. Now that I’m totally self employed that routine is less defined at the moment too. I do have some classes booked in on regular days but quite a few are still up in the air. I think routine is helpful in my work life so that I feel like I’m being useful and productive. I’m getting there with this one though. My latest decision is that Fridays will probably be my day off. 😁

The other really helpful routine I had was my devotional time. I used to be so good at getting up early and spending time reading the Bible and praying and listening to God. I’m not so good at getting up early now. I’m still reading every day and praying but it’s not like it was before. I miss those times. I know I benefited from spending that time alone with Papa God. I need to get back to this routine. This was highlighted for me at church today too. The pastor said ‘sometimes we get frustrated and disappointed rather than hungry.’ I think I’ve done that. I need to get hungry for God again. I know He satisfies.

Anyway enough of my random patter for now. I’d love to know what routines you find helpful? Maybe I could incorporate some of them into my week? Do you struggle with routines sometimes? What helps? I could use some assistance with this. 🙂

Life Update

So I haven’t updated you on life since getting back from Tenerife.  We were very quickly back into the routine as I had work the day after we got home.  As soon as I’m back at work it pretty much feels like I was never away – I imagine most jobs are the same?  As well as work and running three classes last week I also did some babysitting for a couple of different friends.  I met up with my previous pastor’s wife and with a woman who wanted to find out more about the business I run.  We went to a worship night at a friend’s house, I got my hair done and I went to see my counsellor.  I had a new experience last Saturday too.  I joined a march organised by the teachers’ unions in Scotland.  I’m not particularly political and I’ve never done any sort of demonstrations before but it seemed right to take a stand on this and of course we arranged to go for a few gins after the event 😉.  It was a great atmosphere as there were somewhere between twenty and thirty thousand people there (depending which report you read).  We went to see a couple of friends in their AmDram production of The Sound of Music – there were some pretty talented people in the cast and we reckon that one of our friends really suits being a nun! 😂  I also finally got round to picking up our finished pots from the Craft Pottery – here are some pics for those of you who are following that experience.  Now we just have to decide what to do with the finished products.  Our options so far are: have some fun smashing them up, stick them directly in the bin or give them to some of our poor unsuspecting friends and family for Christmas 😂 – they might never forgive us!  Cast your votes or make a suggestion in the comments 😝.

img_5940  img_5939

This past week was much the same as the last with work, classes, counsellor and babysitting.  We also went to visit a friend in hospital and went to the cinema to see A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.  I really enjoyed the movie and the music was great although my hubby thought the storyline was a bit slow moving.  Last night I had a work night out for my boss leaving – it was a bit of a strange one as most people are not that upset that she’s gone.  There was a good turn out though so there were plenty of people to talk to.  I had planned to leave early and go on to another friend’s house for drinks but I ended up spending half the night waiting for friends who said they were just leaving and didn’t even order another drink because of that!! What a disaster! 😆

In between all the ‘calendar events’ and the more mundane aspects of living (like housework) I’ve watched some TV shows, read some books, listened to some music and played some guitar.  Here are some of the details of what I’ve watched, read and listened to recently if you’re interested:

TV Shows I’ve Enjoyed
Killing Eve
The Cry
The Great British Bake Off
The Good Place (new episodes still to come)
Suits (went back to this after a break to finish it off – still got a few to watch)

Books I’ve Read
I already told you about Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning
When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson (still working through the devotional at the back of this one – it’s really challenging)
Anatomy of an Affair by Dave Carder (if you’re married or thinking about getting married this is an interesting read)
Life with No Breaks by Nick Spalding (this one’s just for a laugh and I’m not finished it yet – don’t read it if you’re easily offended though)

Some of the Songs I Like Right Now
Overcomer by Mandisa
Write your Story by Francesca Battistelli
Bulletproof by Citizen Way
Prodical by Sidewalk Prophets
Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (from the movie)
Lost Without You by Freya Ridings (love her voice)
Promises by Calvin Harris & Sam Smith
All I Am by Jess Glynne

Songs I’m Learning to Play
Do It Again by Elevation Worship
Abba (Arms of a Father) by Jonathan David Helser
Thy Will by Hilary Scott and the Scott Family
Who Can Compare to You by Matt Stinton (Bethel)
Your Love Defends Me by Matt Maher

So that’s about it for now.  Have a great weekend and I’ll write again soon. x