9/30/2019
Long service leave

Zan Rowe is on long service leave.

Okay, let me explain a couple of things.

Long service leave is an Australian thing. Think of it as vacation leave, but on top of your vacation leave, and one you can only get when you've worked for a particular company for a certain period of time. Usually, this means three months off, paid in full, on top of your other leaves, if you've been with the same company for ten years. It's something no other country seems to have - but then again, Australia was a British colony, and the Brits who worked there wanted to go back home, too.

Zan is a broadcaster. Over ten years on Triple J, until moving to older sister slash younger sibling Double J last year. I listen to that radio station a lot, so much so that her show - seven in the morning our time - has become my de facto breakfast show, playing whenever I'm, say, driving to work at an ungodly time in the morning (because, you know, Manila traffic) or when I'm driving Shalla to her work.

I also listen to her podcast, or at least one of them, the one that's a podcast alone. You might have seen me tweet about Bang On, her weekly thing with fellow broadcaster (and the person she's replaced, sort of, twice, on the radio) Myf Warhurst. It was in an episode of that podcast when I heard that Zan was going on long service leave, when I remembered the whole idea of long service leave. I was walking back to the flat from an impromptu meeting with a hotel; it was less than two weeks before the most stressful event on my calendar. When I return home, there's more work for me to do. Seems to be the best time to wish to just be able to take a break.

But then, it's an Australian vagary. Nowhere else, it seems, is long service leave a thing. Here, you have to make do with the number of days allotted to you; perhaps you get a little more if you've been there long enough, or if you're the boss, in which case, you get all the days off you think you deserve, although you'll likely get phone calls while lounging on the beach. But then, I shouldn't complain, because my work now means I get to take days off when I want to - which means I don't get to take them at all. You don't rest. When you think it's all over, you have to do something else.

Yes, I sound like a petulant kid. Be grateful you have work, you will say. Not everybody gets to earn money. But then, it's been four weeks since that podcast, two weeks since that event, and yes, I know work doesn't just stop, but I don't think I've ever been this drained my entire life. Well, maybe there was that time when... and that other time when... you get the idea. But then, maybe I'm just being sleepy, and yes, when I'm sleepy I tend to have all these unsavory thoughts that I really should sleep off. It's half past seven and I'm sleepy. Am I destined to be stuck making ends meet and not get a nod for it? Am I destined to be paralyzed by this fear of not being able to move on, so much so that I choose to stay? Am I still ever going to make something for myself at this point? Is any of this still worth it?

Maybe I just need a break. If only I could afford it. Until then, I will act like there's this cloud over me, and I will be sleepy, even if Zan is back on the radio, even if I'm driving, even if I have every reason to believe I have done well. I haven't, because I don't trust what I see for myself, because what others say is different from what I know. You will say it's stupid, but I do need validation. Or maybe I don't deserve it, the chance to take a break, the encouragement.

Over the weekend Shalla and I - mostly Shalla, although she'll tell you I chopped - managed to make cream pasta with a rice cooker. That means shopping for bacon, and peas, and a chopping board, and to boot, pillows for the flat, so I don't have to bring all of mine every time I spend a few nights there. It was the most I've accomplished in a while, and for the rest of the day - or perhaps it's the carbohydrates talking - my spirits were lifted. Somewhat. Slightly. Not today.

And your responses...

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