EDSA was flooded and traffic was at a standstill. Resigned to more hours of waiting inside a public bus, I decided to be grateful instead of complain as my fellow commuters were doing. At least I had a seat, and a window one at that. The air conditioner was still working, although I was worried about viral infection as the air was becoming stale. I had just eaten before I got on the bus so I was not hungry, and I had light snacks inside my bag. Plus I had a book I can read if I choose to pass the time more leisurely.
So I decided to watch the wet scenery as it unfolded in the streets from my front row seat. Traffic enforcers were trying to do what they can covered in rain gear from head to toe. Street vendors were salvaging what they could of their poorly constructed stalls so they can sell their wares for another day. There were people of all ages along the highway hoping to catch a ride. Some were better attired for the weather, but others just looked drenched and chilled.
Then something interesting caught my eye. I saw commuters on a makeshift floater made of thick white Styrofoam. It’s the kind you find inside a box of a big appliance, to cushion the merchandise against breakage. I looked closely and realized the Styrofoam was being steered by shirtless men to cross the flooded bridge ahead. I remember considering getting off the bus and taking a chance on the Styrofoam to get home sooner. But my mother’s voice was in my head warning me of all manners of water-borne diseases from floodwaters so I stayed put in that bus and wasted away another 4 hours of my life.
This incident was several years ago, but it always comes back to me when the rains are pouring, with every student hoping for classes to be suspended, and every worker praying for kindness from employers to be sent home early and be spared from being stranded.
While I value exceptional work ethic, I have learned to put a value on myself more. I no longer blindly step out of my home during terrible weather just so I do not miss one day of school or work. And instead of thinking I am giving up something, I look at it as taking advantage of what nature has kindly arranged. So the next time the weather forecasts report rain and more rain, consider these before you head out.
#1 Are you putting your health at risk?
Young or old alike, it’s never good to fall ill. Remember the commercial that said: “Bawal magkasakit?” I always thought they should have phrased it “Mahal magkasakit.” But since it was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, I guess they did not want to draw attention to the high cost of medicines these days.
Consider the risks of going out when the weather is terrible and then falling ill and missing work for days or a week even. But if you choose to stay home for one bad weather day, it could mean being able to work without fail for the rest of the week or month.
#2 Will work stop without you?
Admittedly, there are some jobs that require people to show up. If you work in retail, stores will not open themselves and they need cashiers and sales people. If you do security work, missing a day may mean letting your team and employer down.
But even in these scenarios, maybe there are others that can step up for you because they live nearer the office, or they were already in the office when the weather worsened. Check with your employer too if they have measures in place to help. Some understand that employees will have a hard time getting to and from work so they arrange for transportation and also emergency accommodations.
#3 Offer to stay online even off site.
In this wired age, you can hook up anywhere and work. Offer to stay at home and do your work off site. This way, you do not add to the traffic congestion, and will likely be able to work more hours from home than if you were driving through flooded streets or trying to catch a train or bus ride.
Many employers these days now allow four-day workweeks or offer work-from-home arrangements. Sign up for these as they come in handy in our country where it rains eight to ten months every year.
#4 Save your money by staying in.
Time is gold, so all that time you will be wasting in traffic is worth something Then there’s the real cost you have to pay if you decide to go to work anyway. Expect a Grab ride to cost at least twice more. Taxis will haggle with you to pay a premium on top of meter price. Your clothes and shoes may get ruined. You could lose an umbrella. Your car could stall thanks to floodwaters everywhere. This list could go on and on.
#5 Or just take the day off – the world won’t end.
Even Presidents take a day off so you can too. No one is too important they cannot miss one day of work. Unless there is an emergency, and I define that as life and death situations, not just when your boss is whining, you can sign off for a day. Spend it with your family or your bed.
Ten years ago, I was handed a Blackberry by my former employer and was told the device should stay on at all times. When I turned it off two years ago, the silence was welcome and I found life does go on, and if you are kind to yourself, it can be a great life.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.