Last week I took one day off in order to teach a class, but the class was canceled due to weather. Fine, I could use the time off. I still had a few items to finish up before a planning review on Monday, but I had plenty of time to get it done. As I was about to head downstairs to finish up that project on Sunday night, I get a text from a friend/supervisor that simply read, "Is there any way you could take me to the hospital?" Of course the answer is yes, so I head over to pick him up. I don't know if his wife is out of town, I don't know what the situation is that requires a trip to the ER, I don't know what the child care situation is like (they have an 11 month old child) - all I know is that when someone sends a message like that you don't ask a lot of questions and you go help - end of discussion.
Wife was home - same ailment, but not requiring a hospital visit. Friends are over to look after the kid. We get to the hospital around 6:30 and get help in the ER, but it is still undetermined if he is going to be admitted or treated and released. I stick around until the doctor decides to release him, and by this time it's after 3:00 on an icy midwestern morning. I get home a while later, completely exhausted and suffering from a massive, pounding headache. Underdressed in the snow, haven't eaten in 18 hours - I don't know what caused it, but I do know that there is no point going into the office in this condition, so I call and leave a voicemail at the main desk, a message that doesn't get forwarded to my vice president or anyone that will be in the meeting.
For the last few days it's been nothing but grumbling that things didn't get done in time for the meeting, disappointment in my choices, and that this is a slip backwards, something that I can ill afford with a performance evaluation coming up soon. WTF people? It's not like I intentionally blew off the deadlines because I didn't feel like working - I WAS TAKING A FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE TO THE FRICKING EMERGENCY ROOM! What was I supposed to do - tell him to take a bus or taxi? Drop him off so that I could get back to my spreadsheets? Take my computer to the ER and work on them there? I thought I was doing the right thing by helping out in a time of crisis, and thought that perhaps because of this I could get a pass and perhaps a 24 hour extension.
I was already a tad jaded, but I am getting so sick of the corporate world and their self-imposed deadlines. I haven't had a vacation in years, work on average 60 hrs/week (including nights and weekends), have next to no social life (for the first time in ages I might possibly have girlfriend but no time to figure out if that is actually the case), take miniscule lunch breaks, and for what? The pay is nothing to get excited about, the benefits are lackluster at best and the work/life balance is definitely skewed the wrong way. I'd look for another job but by the time I get home in the evening I'm too exhausted and frustrated to do much of anything but make a snack and vegetate in front of the tube for an hour or two before falling asleep. I'd like to take a week off just to search, but the deadlines never seem to allow for this. My married coworkers don't appear to have problems getting time away, but I guess because I'm single the prevailing attitude is that I don't need to go anywhere or do anything but work, work, work. Enough already. Enough.