Well, I was on a short sabbatical from writing over the holidays. It was not intentional, but rather circumstantial.
In these months I had time to ponder how US suffers from presenteeism. I was sick several times, because co-workers keep coming to work sick. Why? Because you have to save sick time for something important. Like what? Probably coma, because people show up with pneumonia too. Most people I know have around two weeks of sick time (or less). This concept is very hard to explain to my European friends. I am frequently asked, what happens if you are sick more than that or your children are. "I guess we burn through vacation time". I don't have sick time, I cannot hold on to it, because I need to take my Mom to appointments. So, I too go to work sick. I have no choice, like thousands of other people.
If you want to hate me for the following comment - go ahead, I don't mind. Even USSR was not that inhumane. We presently have a system, supported by Protestant work ethic and corporate culture that requires our presence at work dead or alive. Most employees are tired and sleep deprive, developing life long health conditions. The human things that come with each employee, such as children and time off for them or parents and time off them are an annoyance. In a way you are punished for having a family. Family demands your time, but your job hardly gives you any. The job wants all of your time. My Dad's performance rating at worked was lowered because he took a vacation. He took a ding for being absent. When he pointed out that he earned it, he was explained that still he was absent those days. I am not kidding you. He works for HMS Host, if you are curious.
Some people are afraid to take time off. They feel they can be replaced by somebody who will not take any time off at all.I see so many people in all different occupations being completely useless at their work place, because they are sick or too tired.
In Europe people work less, have more sick time and more vacations. And before you say "just look at their economy - it sucks", let me point out that ours is not exactly blossoming at the moment either. Nevertheless foreign companies continue to function. The code gets written, accounts are made payable, children get education (frequently better than ours) and the bread gets baked.
Is there a point to this? Not really, it is a rant. I just want a more humane environment to work in.