I’ll never forget the day my daughter was born. My wife woke me up at 3AM and said we needed to go to the hospital right away. She was 9 months pregnant and the time had finally come. My daughter was on her way into this world.
We got to the hospital around 3:30AM. Shortly after arriving, I remembered that I was scheduled to be at work for my security guard job at 7AM. A job that paid me by the hour and had no benefits.
I sent an email to my boss explaining that I was at the hospital with my wife and that she was in labor. That I would need to take tomorrow off. One day, that’s all I needed. I asked my boss if he could find someone from the on-call pool to cover for me and fill my shift. (the on-call pool was made up of other security guards who regularly picked up other people’s shifts, to earn extra money.)
About an hour later, I got a nasty reply from my boss that said it was unacceptable for me to take the day off and I couldn’t have any time off without giving 2 weeks advance notice. My boss went on to tell me that he would not ask to see if anyone wanted to take my shift and If I didn’t show up to my shift at 7AM, they would stop scheduling me hours to work. Essentially, if I didn’t show up to work at 7AM, I would be out of a job. Jobs like these pay you by the hour, so if you don’t have hours to work, then you don’t get paid.
So what did I do? Well, I had a wife and 2 kids to support. So I showed up to work at 7AM, just a few hours after my daughter had been born. Paternity leave? Paid time off? These were luxuries and privileges that people like me simply didn’t have. At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to at least be able to spend one day with my newborn daughter, unpaid bills didn’t care about my feelings.
Even though it might seem like a small sacrifice at the time, it’s not until you look back in hindsight, that you’re able to see some of those sacrifices were more significant than others. I will never get that day back. I will never have that moment or the chance to be with my daughter on her 1st day in this world, again.
Sacrifices are essential to growth and success but looking back now after 10 years, I am able to see more clearly which of those sacrifices actually turned out to be the most significant ones.