Friday, June 5, 2009

Leave, Parental and Otherwise

Today I'm taking a personal day. I don't have anything pressing to do. But at the end of June, I lose my vacation, sick, and personal days. If I haven't used them, they disappear. My leave does not roll over. So, I'm using up the last of it this month.

I have more leave than I expected. I've spent the last year afraid that I would run out of leave days, so I haven't taken as much throughout the year. Now I have almost more than I can use. I wish my leave rolled over.

Of course, I realize that I'm lucky that I get paid leave at all. Many workers in America don't. One of the benefits of being classified as Administration instead of Faculty is that I have more flexibility about when I can take my leave. As Faculty, I was expected to take my vacations when the students took theirs (always during the expensive travel times of the year, June and Christmas), and I got 6 sick days a year.

I have this topic on the brain not only because of my own situation with leave, but because I was listening to an NPR story on a possible new parental leave policy for federal employees (go here to listen later this morning when the audio is posted). I also listened to this segment of the Diane Rehm show about a new book, Womenomics, which talks about the ways women are trying to change the work force. I've been thinking about work that can be done over a wire and how to keep that work, work like my job, from being offshored. I've been thinking about work-life balance: the strides we seemed to be making before the economy crashed, and the ways our attitudes may be changing now.

But for today, let me turn back to work that matters to me. Let me return to some poetry projects: manuscripts into the mail, updating my records, plotting a submissions strategy for the summer, and some reading of the poetry books that are stacking up on my unread books shelf. For today, there is rich coffee and a comfortable chair and a crisis-free morning. Today, I resolve not to think about the schedule of upcoming classes at my college, and since I'm not thinking about it, I won't fret about whether or not we're making our numbers, and will have to cancel classes. For today, there is poetry and a day of paid leave to turn my attention to one of my first loves. I'm a lucky, lucky woman.

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