Honestly, I don’t know anyone who is particularly thrilled with their job right now. I’ve worked for the same employer for the last eight years, and while there’s value in the longevity and stability, you really start to see how the sausages are made after a while. In my first ever job, at a restaurant when I was in college, it was drilled into me that you never called out. Even if you were half dead, you came to work and if you seemed bad enough, they might send you home.
It seems ludicrous, in the midst of a pandemic, but the truth was they’d rather have you at work with a head cold (over FOOD) than to call out sick. And in college, my time off always aligned with spring break or holidays. I didn’t have vacations, I just went home to see my family.
By the time I got through college and working two crummy jobs and grad school and the multiple jobs I had during that time, taking time off was just not something I did. I remember when I first came back to my home state after grad school, I worked as a barista from like, 4:30 a.m. to noon and then I took a nap and then I worked my minimum wage library job from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and that was most of my week. Sometimes I only worked one job, but for a good year, I just never even had days off. I had to negotiate both jobs to give me the same day off, and that was hard!
So when I got my government job at a public library system, for the first few years I barely took vacation. It got to the point where I’d accrued so much vacation I was going to start to lose it and I had to start taking it.
I’m better now. During this pandemic especially, I’ve taken more time off than I think I ever have since I started working any job. Our location was, and still is, insanely busy and we’ve been going hard ever since we reopened, so rest days and mental health days have become mandatory to survive it.
All of which to say, I’m on my two week vacation now. I always take two weeks off in October. I take other time, but this is my good vacation, the long stretch and it’s been really good and really needed. I’ve tried hard to actually rest. We went to Tahoe and lucked into some snow. I saw a bear! My husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. It’s been great.
I don’t necessarily WANT to go back to work on Monday, but I’m not absolutely dreading it, and I think that’s a good sign. It means I got some rest, had some time to reset, got to work on some other projects that I don’t usually have time for during regular work weeks.
Take your time off, if you can. Everything is so difficult right now, we need to take care of ourselves and find a way to make our creative endeavors our priorities, if only for a little while.