I was dining with a colleague, and, after the woman next to us discovered we were teachers, she informed us of the ills of collective bargaining (Teachers in my district make more than I do!) and the audacity of the Assistant Principal in her district to have been out sick the past week. I will spare the details of the conversation that followed, but let it be known that I did not once raise my voice, use any expletives, or resort to name calling. Pat me on the back next time you see me:)
However, as I sit here with my sick little boy - missing my third day of school in a week and a half for this reason - I'm thinking back on the conversation and the assumptions of the woman. A piece of her support for her opinion was that there was no way she could miss that much work, implying that if she did, she'd be out of a job. I have no way of knowing if this is her perception, or her reality, but either way, it's a sad statement as to the value of the American workforce and the American family.
I love my job - I really do. And I need my job; without it, our lifestyles would take a serious nosedive. So my job is important - to me, to my family, to society - but not as important as my family. Any professional commitment I make is weighed and decided by it's impact to my career, but first by it's impact to my family. And if my family needs me at home, I will be at home.
Life, including career and family, is a series of choices. We always have a choice, and each of those choices have consequences. I want to always make choices that reflect my core values. Finding the balance is what's hard, and the perception that a person's livelihood will be destroyed by taking care of his or her family is devastating to that balance. Why has it become acceptable to the public that work should come first? This is exactly why we need that much vilified collective bargaining.