Monday, August 21, 2006

The Rich Stay Healthy, the Sick Stay Poor

I want to say nice things about my job.

I'm now halfway through antibiotics, 20g having been dropped into my body over the past five days. I've made it into my assigned office one day in the past six working, and an office two days (this being the second).

If this were twenty years ago—or even ten—one of several things would have happened. I might have missed all of last week. I might have forced my way into the office and sweated and coughed all over people. Or I might have been told not to come in until the antibiotics were finished.

As it is:

  1. As a salaried employee, I will be paid in full on Wednesday (paid sick leave, as Tom has noted, is an incentive in employer selection)
  2. I was allowed to postpone this week's scheduled vacation trip to South Bend
  3. The drugs were mostly covered by our insurance plan (not the best, but better than paying $110 out of pocket and eventually being reimbursed for some—or not being reimbursed at all)
  4. I was able to work via VPN and file transfers so that I only lost two days to illness (and the company gained two days of productivity while I was out of the office).

All of these are advantages one could take for granted. But in reality, they are hard-fought accomplishments gained over several decades of effort—which we can tell, in part, by the simple fact that many lower-level workers are not provided with some or all of the advantages that are clear in that list above.

Today—and especially Wednesday—I celebrate the good fortune of an employment agreement that often seems far from ideal, but which is much better than the vast majority of workers have.

(Cross-posted from Marginal Utility)

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