Should People Without Children Be Compensated For it at Work?

 

What? People who don’t have children should get something more?

Yes. And here’s why.

First, many jobs give paid days off to care for family members who are sick. I can only speak for education, but every district I have ever worked in gave at least five days for Family Illness.  The stipulation is that it had to be someone in your immediate family and/or in your household.  In my last district, we were allowed five Family Illness Days.  That is a full week’s worth of pay.  Many people with children end up taking these days because their children inevitably get sick.  I know numerous colleagues who would take at least three of these days for their children whether they were sick or not (i.e. – for doctor’s appointments or scheduling conflicts with snow days, spring break, to stay home and catch up on grading etc.)

In 20 years in education, I used two Family Illness Days.  I was single for the first 15 years of my career and lived alone.  I had/have no children. Now, I only live with my husband and dog.  Thank God our parents are relatively healthy and I have not had to use them.  But I certainly could have used a day or two off over the years and could not use a Family Illness Day to do so.   The way I figure it, I am owed about 19 weeks vacation or 19 weeks pay.

In addition, we can never use the reason of leaving work early or not staying late due to a child’s game, play, practice, etc.  Therefore, we end up working more and longer than those with children.  It’s just a fact. Here is an example.  A friend of mine  was working as a cashier in a grocery store and was always getting called to come in when others with children would call off or not be able to work a full shift due to illness, practice, lessons and whatnot. I remember her saying that it wasn’t fair that just because she didn’t have kids, it didn’t mean that she didn’t have a life.  I thought it was a bit harsh at first, but she was right.  Whether or not you are single or married, not having kids does not mean that all of your extra time should/could be devoted to work.

Listen, I have been saying for years that the Women’s Lib movement screwed us.  While it’s great we have more choices for careers and more rights, they unknowingly made it more difficult for us to not only raise the children and take care of the house, but also work a full day to survive in this world. Many women struggle with the balance of a  career and family and I truly feel for them.  I think it’s great that more and more companies allow parents to stay home with their children when they are sick. After all, who doesn’t want their mommy when they don’t feel well? But I also think it’s not fair that those of us who do not have children are kind of penalized for it.

We are the ones that get asked to stay late.

We are the ones that are asked to do extra work.

We are the ones they call to come in on the weekends.

We are the ones saving our companies money but not using these days offered to us.

We are the ones who end up complying and doing all of the things asked of us.

Yet we make the same amount as those who are allowed to leave early, stay home, work from home, etc because of their children.

Shouldn’t we somehow be compensated?

 

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Go Past David Bowie and Make a Right

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Like so many, I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of David Bowie.  He was an icon in music and his unique sound and look was unforgettable.

I always liked his music, but honestly, I was not a fanatic.  I loved his “Dancing in the Streets” duet with Mick Jagger and thought he was kind of cute in that video so I started reading more about him (there was no internet back then!) When I saw his looks from the 70s, I was slightly taken aback.  I didn’t realize he was quite so… colorful in his early career.  I decided to block those images out and focus on how he looked in the 80’s. Even now, when I think of David Bowie, I think of him with short blond hair and a long trench coat on his long and lanky body.  That was sort of what he looked like when I saw him in New York City about 15 years ago.

My girlfriends and I were dining at our favorite Italian restaurant in Little Italy happily munching on some crusty Italian bread dipped in olive oil waiting for our Gnocchi Sorrentino when suddenly, my friend Theresa whispered loudly, “Oh my God! It’s David Bowie!” Our eyes widened and suddenly, the food was the last thing on our minds.  We attempted to nonchalantly turn around to see this legend in the flesh without looking too obvious.  Sure enough, there he was. Dressed in white pants and a white flowy shirt that was unbuttoned almost to his naval. He was carrying some shopping bags and appeared to be dining alone.  He looked just like he did in the “Dancing in the Streets” video – tall and slim with short blond hair- with a just a few more wrinkles than he had in the video that was, by then, almost 20 years old.  But he was still totally COOL.

My friends and I did not want to bother him and appear to be tourists (even though we were), so we took another look at him and then went back to our endless conversations about dating, teaching, traveling and all of the other things that single girls talk about. We also talked about celebrities walking around in public and how they must feel comfortable in New York since so many of them live there. We had seen several celebrities before, as has anyone who has spent any amount of time in New York City, can likely attest to.   I remember thinking of Elvis Presley. He could not go anywhere in public without being mobbed by fans, which led to him being quite reclusive in his later years.  We could not imagine living like that. It was pretty nice to see a star as huge as David Bowie shopping and eating lunch in the city, just like a regular person.

My friend had to go to the bathroom and got up to leave the table.  When she returned, I decided to go, and asked her where it was.  Her reply was “Go past David Bowie and make a right down the stairs.” We all started cracking up rather loudly and I got up and started to walk towards him. I didn’t want to be obnoxious but felt like I HAD to say something to him.  But what do you say to DAVID BOWIE?????  I took a deep breath and just as I was about to pass him, I smiled and said, “I don’t mean to bother you, but want you to know I am a big fan.” He looked up, flashed that huge boyish smile and thanked me.  As I walked down the steps to the bathroom, I felt all giddy inside. I talked to David Bowie!

As my friends and I were leaving, we glanced at Bowie, who was now about to also exit the restaurant. People were on their way in and he held the door for them as they entered.  The people looked up and thanked him and then realized just WHO was holding the door for them.  Their eyes widened and they began saying, “Oh man!  David Bowie!  Thank you!” He nodded and slowly walked out the door back onto the street, blending in with the crowd.  He had no body guards, no security guards. It was just him.  Enjoying a day of shopping and lunch in a city he loved. I wonder if he knew how much that city, or rather the people in it, loved him.

Rest in peace, Mr. Bowie.  You gave the world music that will play forever and you gave a few single girls a memory that will always make us smile.