Yesterday, I didn’t go to work because I was too sick to go to work. When I say too sick to go to work, I really mean dribbling from the nose and mouth, coughing and wheezing, fevers so high I’m hallucinating too sick to go to work.
“Why did you let your sickness get so bad?!”, I hear your doctor-self cry.
Well, like many other University graduates my age, I’m a contractor. Instead of being employed directly by the company I work for, I’m technically working for an employment agency. This means that I don’t have a direct contract with the company I’m working with and am as expendable, if not more expendable than your average red shirt.
Working for an employment agency does have its perks. The hours are more flexible because most agencies that handle accountants and personal assistants also specialise in hiring temps, meaning more part-time jobs than you can shake a stick at. Plus, a lot of entry level jobs in Australia go straight to agencies and unions rather than to the papers or the online job searches.
That being said, there are downsides to working for an employment agency. Most employment agencies skim off the top of the hourly rate of my pay, which means that my paycheque is a lot lower than it should be. Also, I don’t get annual or sick leave; or any overtime pay. So, if I don’t work, I don’t get to eat. Plus, I’m required to provide a medical certificate for every time I’m actually sick in order to keep my job.Keeping my job is, incidentally, is both the carrot AND the stick where it comes to my work. A permanent part-time or full-time position is often the carrot dangled in front of me to keep working. However, a lot of the companies that I’ve worked for also emphasize the fact that they’re more than willing to cut me loose if I don’t pull my weight. So, there’s a lot of pressure for me to work longer hours, take shorter lunch breaks and generally not take sick leave if I can help it. Going to the doctor costs money, which I don’t have in a lot of abundance.
So, anyway, there you have it, the reason why I’m in bed today, instead of at work.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m gonna go take these two panadol and go sleep.