There was a public holiday here yesterday. It was, of all things, for a horse race.
I have no idea what happened at the races. It didn't make the front page and I don't look at the sports section of the paper.
The front page was taken up with a concert. People had been talking about the concert for days. I think at least some of the tickets were about $250 each. They sold thousands of tickets and filled the oval. I don't know what the main attraction got paid but I suspect it was rather a lot of money.
Of course it was a normal working day in the rest of the country so I had some emails and a phone call. The emails were from people who probably were not aware that it was a holiday here. They expected me to be at my desk with my paws on the keyboard. I responded because their requests were fairly easily dealt with and I was too busy snuffling and sneezing to want to be doing much - although I did go and get dirty in the garden later.
But the phone call was from someone who was well aware that it was a public holiday here and who thought that I "wouldn't mind" because after all I am "not interested in horse races". He was "in the office catching up on some paper work".
Fine. He gets paid. He gets paid rather a lot.
I felt like saying "I do mind" but something made me say, "I'm not being paid for this you know."
There was silence at the other end.
I don't know whether it simply hadn't occurred to him or whether he thought I was being paid or whether he thought I shouldn't expect to be paid or something else entirely. When his secretary phoned me some days ago it had merely been to check on a piece of information. That was fine. It's the sort of thing any sensible person might do. Going any further than that though was something I was not prepared to do.
I don't agree with the policy they are trying to put in place and, even if I did, why should I be expected to provide my professional expertise for nothing?
Into the silence I went on, "You know I don't agree with what you are trying to do. It's about saving money, not about assisting the clients to help themselves. I know funds have been cut and that you have to find savings somewhere but that doesn't mean you can just pick up the phone and ask me to do the work your staff are being paid to do."
I could almost hear his frustration at the other end but then there was a large sigh,
"Sorry Cat. I'll see if I can get hold of..... It was just easier to ask you."
I half expected him to call me back because the other person he mentioned had the good sense to be out for the day and told me she was "accidentally" leaving her phone at home. She does get paid but she is only supposed to work three days a week and she has been doing five.
It made me wonder just how many people are doing unpaid work.