I arrived home a few weeks back and began ranting to David about California state workers. I had been listening to our local NPR station on the way home. An employee representative was complaining that, due to the tough economic climate, CA state workers are being “forced” to take 2-day-a-month “furloughs.” Essentially, time off without pay.
“Seriously?” I asked, “I mean…..really? State workers are so spoiled anyhow, and they’re bitching about having to take a few days off a month?”
“Penny, that’s like a 10% pay cut,” David responded, giving me a searing look as if I had just kicked our cat in the head.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am sympathetic. And, I am allowed to make fun of state workers. I live in the California state capital; I am surrounded by them. My father is a chemist for the CA EPA.
I suppose my irritation is rooted in the fact that, at the beginning of Q4 last year, my company informed us that we would be taking some mandatory days off. Actually, it went something like this:
“The office will be closed on XYZ days. You can take those days unpaid or use PTO. Have a nice day!”
At first I was pissed. Really pissed, in fact. But, eventually, I said “fuck it” and decided to use my PTO and enjoy a few extra days off. It’s not as if I was saving up for some amazing vacation, anyhow. I then started to hear murmurs of other companies encouraging employees to take some time off. Gap, Inc., for example, asked their employees to take a three-day vacation during a slow week during Q4.
This month, I have to take two days off. A Monday and a Friday, I believe. I don’t need to, nor do I want to. But, you know what? It’s better than the alternative.
So, dearest state workers……please shut up and enjoy the fact that you are not one of the thousands of newly unemployed.