Five Things Friday: Back to Work!

Five Things Friday is a post where I share five things that either made my week, what I am thinking about, or would like to share with all of you!

Returning to work

My husband thought his company did not get President’s Day off. When he arrived to work, no one was at the parking lot. It must have been a nice surprise for him.

Jet lagged

Saturday we were okay when we arrived home. But the following day, we were very tired. I am glad I don’t work on Mondays. I am sure my husband was happy he got that Monday off too with being President’s Day and all.

I think I found a new song about my pomeranian.

Do Americans hate taking time off?

When we travel abroad, the locals tell us they are surprised Americans get vacations. They are right. In the U.S., employers are not required to offer paid time off (PTO) or vacation. Out of my four full-time jobs, three of them offered PTO. The one full-time job that did not offer any time off was a contract job. If I had to take off early or had to call in sick, I would not get paid hours or days I was absent.

In the two out of the three jobs that offered paid time off, deciding when to take it was tough. I experienced some sort of vacation shame. It was like I had to muster the courage to request for time off. I had so much time off in my last job, I was forced to take it otherwise I would stop earning time off. Thankfully my PTO bank never reached at that point because I might well be working for free. Conservatively, I took one day off per month but some people were under the impression I was “always on vacation” which was so far from the truth. I worked long hours in my last job. Was I not allowed to decide to take a mental health break on a Wednesday?

Missing my odd couple

I missed my dogs throughout my trip.

They are sure an odd couple. Usually people tend to have at least two of the same breed. We were planning on adopting another miniature Schnauzer for Teddy, but a friend reached out that he could not take care of his dog anymore. That was how we got the Pomeranian, Koda. They have different personalities. Teddy is more active and instigates all the playing. While Koda is a little shy and aloof around other dogs and people. They do, however, enjoy each other’s company. When I dropped off my dogs at my friend’s house, I would have thought Teddy would play with the other dogs living in the house. But no, my friend sent photos of Teddy and Koda looking like they were always together.

6 thoughts on “Five Things Friday: Back to Work!”

  1. You have a Schnauzer!! Fantastic. Me too. A beautiful odd couple.
    Thanks for joining on Friendly Friday.
    I can’t get my head around the fact that Americans do not get paid vacations! That is crazy!! I guess the Unions fought for all these privileges in Australia, that we take for granted everyone has, but it not so. Unfortunately many young people do not get paid holidays in Australia now, as they are classed as casual workers. However the pay rate for casuals is a bit higher to compensate for the lack of holiday and sick pay.

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    1. Is a casual worker a contract worker or a someone who gets paid by the day (per diem)? When I was a contract worker who had absolutely no benefits, I did not have to pay for holiday, sick, nor health healthcare. It appeared my take home pay was higher compared to those who were employees of that company paid at the same hourly rate.

      I know some people love being a contract worker. I have a friend who has been a contract worker for a big company for at least four years. What he likes about it is are the long (unpaid, of course) breaks when his contract ends to when his new contract starts. He does save a lot of money since his work is remote not requiring him to drive to work. I think he is the lucky few.

      WordPress has a global reach. I am sure many people are shocked why how little Americans get. At this point, I am even convinced that crippling student loan debt is an exclusive American problem. Anyways, I am always happy to share about American culture even though I may not represent “typical” American views. Surprisingly there are many people who oppose paid vacations, universal childcare, universal healthcare, etc.

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      1. I think a contract worker sounds a little similar to a casual. A Casual worker has no set shifts, it can vary in hours/days/times from week to week. Sometimes you might not get any work for a month or so. There is no sick pay, no holiday pay but the hourly rate is higher to compensate for this. In more recent years, the unions won the right for casuals, that had been employed for over 8 – 10 years, to receive a payout or time for long service leave (normally 3 months), which is available to all workers. Contract workers are employed here for a set time and then the contract ends. There are no continuing benefits and you can’t accrue time to long service leave. Many teachers are on contracts now so that the schools or government does not have pay them over the long summer break apart from any holiday pay they have accumulated during their contract time. Industrial relations are complicated and vary in each country – but I see that there seems to be many workers who don’t have the equivalent benefits we have. Italy has more benefits for workers (longer leave on full pay) than Australia. But I am a little surprised the vanguard of capitalism and freedom that America is often espoused as, has not taken care of its workers. Perhaps this is a bit of a hangover from the colonial or slave days, or perhaps that is too much of a simplistic generalisation. I do agree I am shocked at the rates of pay in America and the total lack of health care. We don’t pay or receive health care through an employer, as the Government provides free hospital and health care for all citizens, much like the Scandinavian model. I really am not sure why folks are scared of that/oppose that. They see their taxes being spent on that – but do they worry so much about taxes being spent on developing weapons. I know where I would rather have my tax dollar go to. It comforts me that I pay tax that might be utilized for the benefit of the whole country, inclusive of all citizens. To your point on universities, I would mention that up til 1990, University education was totally free, but student loans crept into the system. I don’t think it has reached anywhere near crippling here, as it is similar to an interest free loan that you only need to pay back when your income reaches a threshold level equivalent to a lower full time work pay. Those on very low incomes never have to pay it back. Has student debt always been this way in the US?
        It is always interesting to have a comparative discussion such as this, Julie.
        How old is your Schnauzer? Miniature, standard or Giant variety?

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      2. I had a coworker who went to public state university in the 1960s. He got both his bachelor’s and master’s degree at no cost.

        Teddy is a miniature Schnauzer. He is 4 going on 5 years old in May.

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