Maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks. Maybe you’ve given up on “The Experience”. Maybe you thought, “Well, that had potential, she just didn’t follow through.” I worry about how many of you thought that, and I worry whether my boss thinks that.
In addition to having some jam-packed days in the lab (absence from blogging excuse), I’ve also had some sick baby days where I’ve been home taking care of my little ones. Unfortunately, the baby just doesn’t want to take a bottle at home, and so it makes no sense for my husband to stay home with her, hungry and sick and miserable. That means that whatever I’m planning in lab has to take a back seat. Experiments are put off, ongoing assays are ruined, cells and materials get thrown away, materials wasted. After being out, I come back to lab exhausted, frustrated, apologetic, and feeling like I’m on probation.
When I chose my postdoc, I was very aware of the fact that my boss was a family man, had young-ish kids, and would understand the occasional sick day. And to his credit, any time I email him that one of the kids are sick and I need to stay home with them, he always replies positively. I worry though. Is he really okay with the time off? He offers to take care of whatever is critical, but I certainly can’t ask him to do the 18 plates of TCID50 assays that would take me 6 hours to complete. And, then, all of those resources are wasted, plates, cells, media, etc.
Our companies and institutions are all very clear in that sick days are part of our benefits package. They all want to be seen at family friendly, striving to help achieve work/life balance for their employees. It all looks great on paper. But when you start to cash in and use those benefits (not abusing them at all), there seems to be some unspoken repuercussions. Certainly my output and achievements will be affected and this will be reflected negatively upon review.
And so, back in lab now, I’m trying to make up for lost work days while still leaving in time to pick up the girls from daycare. It makes for some stressful, hectic days. It makes for long days for the girls too. I’m looking forward to warmer weather, less sick time, and in general feeling more accomplished in all areas of life.