Perfect Attendance?

16 Feb

The only time I’ve ever performed and therefore received perfect attendance was in 6th grade. Yep. It was one of those exhilerating times in my life where school was fun and interesting every day and I couldn’t wait to get there in my Jordache Sears jeans and slick Nike sneakers complete with flipped hair that wasn’t really a Farrah Fawcett flip per se but a homemade, tug-of-war flip that I insisted was a flip nonetheless. Even when the rain had made the flip flop.

Oh, there were cute boys to eyeball daily and I even tried out to be a cheerleader complete with the ole scuffed up Catholic school shoes I found under my bed. (I didn’t make the trials; a jump & split gone hideously wrong that involved pom-poms flying out of my hands.)

That was the only time in life I’ve given any long term perfect attendance. At a job? Can’t imagine. I mean, what’s sick leave, paid time off and vacation for but to use it?

I thought of that 6th grade perfect attendance certificate (that I still have) today as I read this article. Some highlights:

When Antonio de Sousa’s car broke down on the way to work, calling a tow truck didn’t enter his mind. Instead, he left the car beside the highway and ran five miles through downtown Tampa, Fla., to get to his job as a doorman at the Hyatt Regency hotel. “I was all sweaty, but I made it on time, at exactly 3 o’clock,” he says. That sprint years ago kept him on track toward his current record: 26 years of perfect attendance.

Employees at Merle Norman Cosmetics can get a diamond ring or washer and dryer for nine years’ perfect attendance. After 25 years of perfect attendance, Ed Batka, 59, a compounding specialist at the company’s Los Angeles facility, says “I get razzed once in a while. People say, ‘Why don’t you take a day off? Is there something wrong with you?'” His answer: “You won’t be laughing when I’m up there at the attendance awards, getting my gift”—which last year was a free trip to Hawaii, where he and his wife renewed their marriage vows.

Eighty-five-year-old Elena Griffing hasn’t taken a sick day on her job at an Oakland, Calif., hospital since 1948, when she was out with a cold for one day. She started in 1946 as a receptionist in the lab, where she helped out by catheterizing male frogs to get the urine specimens used in pregnancy tests at the time. She has worked various jobs in endocrinology, public relations and the burn unit at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., campuses.

Rhea Holt, 72, hasn’t missed a day on his job as a service technician for Autow NationaLease Truck Rental, a Nashville, Tenn., truck-leasing company, since eight months before his current boss was born in 1966. “He is 100% dependable,” says Lee Harlan, president of the third-generation family business. Mr. Holt, whose first job was picking cotton at age 8, says he enjoys his work. “I don’t like staying home. My wife has too many ‘honey-dos,’ ” lists of repairs, painting and other chores she wants him to do.

While I commend workers like this, I’ve just never been one to be so…so dedicated to a job.

In the meantime I guess I’m just a semi-slacker.

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