As I sit on my couch enjoying the slow days nursing my newborn, my maternity leave is ticking away one day at a time. She’s only 4 weeks old so I still have weeks and weeks to go, but the end looms inevitably, a constant reminder that I have not yet decided what I want to do with myself. Do I go back to my current job or do I get the guts to branch out and try something new?
The desire to find a new job is strong. I know that this is the perfect time; if I go back I’ll get sucked right into the monotony of my day to day activities and I won’t be able to fight the inertia enough to strike out. No one at work really expects me to come back and the person covering for me now is perfect for the job.
I’m the kind of person who works best under pressure. I need a deadline to motivate me. But like any procrastinator worth her salts I also like to have a safety net; the possibility of an extension. Over the last four years I have accrued eight weeks of sick leave. I also have two weeks of vacation time that I haven’t used yet this year. I mistakenly thought that all of that time was mine and would be paid to me if I were to leave the company before using it up. It was my safety net. In case I wasn’t able to find a new job while on leave I’d have a few more weeks for my search. And if I did find something then the money would be a welcome bonus.
A little Internet search informed me that we were wrong. Vacation time is owed to me if I leave, but sick leave is forfeited. The money was never mine, but I still feel robbed. All those days that I worked from home despite a cold, a fever, or even bronchitis, I should have called in sick. All the days that I felt a little under the weather, I should have stayed in bed. Instead I squirreled away my sick days; just in case, and as long as I thought that I was staying it was worth the sacrifice. Now, not so much.
I could call them and say that I want to use my paid sick leave instead of state disability, but I have a hunch that it would tip them off to my hopeful escape. It also seems like that would be tempting fate. What if I don’t find the job of my dreams and I have to go back? With two young children at home, one of which suffers from asthma, it seems stupid not to have sick leave saved up.
All in all, I’d better get my act in gear and make the best of the next 10 weeks. It’s a good thing that I’ve already updated my resume. Now I just need to figure out what I want to do. Gazing into Little L’s eyes and having tea parties with C is only going to get me so far.