On Calling in Sick

I have an issue with the usual attitude toward calling in sick at work. I think many Americans have this attitude that you should not call in sick to work unless you are barfing up a lung or something. In other words, you should “tough it out” and get into work and support your company or team. This policy, in my view, causes more harm than good.

Let me turn the situation around a bit. Let’s say you have a child in daycare at the age of 18 months. Now let’s say that one of the daycare workers comes up with the flu over the weekend. She’s sick but not so sick that she can’t “tough it out” and come into work. So would you want her coming into work on Monday?!? I doubt it. You wouldn’t want to expose your child to her nasty germs. So the real question is, why do we think differently about coming into work when we get sick???

If you get sick over the weekend, do you think your co-workers really want you to come into work on Monday? Do you think that they consider you so invaluable to the team that they’d prefer to be exposed to your flu or cold than to have you miss a day or two of your critical work tasks? Not likely. Personally, I’d much rather you stay the heck away from me until you get over your cold or flu. I don’t want to get it from you. I don’t even want you in the same local atmosphere as me.

So get over the tough, macho, “gotta get into work - people need me” attitude and stay home where you belong. And get better, because we do need you, but not so much that we want to get sick, too.