WORKPLACE / JAN. 30, 2014
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Why Sick Days are Almost Always a Bad Idea

Just two hours ago I called in sick to work. Now I find myself sat in my pajamas, with a headache, feeling sorry for myself, ardently writing a blog. What would I be doing if I was at work today? Writing a blog.

Ok, so I wouldn’t be in my pajamas, and I would have had to battle through hurricane gale force winds and pouring rain to get there, so I’d probably be wet and sniffly, and I would have to speak to people and be nice. But it probably wouldn’t have killed me.

When you wake up feeling flushed, headachey and maybe a little queasy after a bad night’s sleep, it’s easy to dramatically declare you’re sick and convince yourself you ‘need a day to recover’. Particularly if it’s the middle of winter, freezing cold and you can hear the rain lashing down outside.

But are you REALLY going to appreciate this sick day? It may seem like the right thing to do at the time, but think about last time you took a sick day… was it really worth it? Next time you consider calling in to work sick, just think about these five points and you might just suddenly feel a little better.

Throwing away money

If your company coughs up sick pay, then this may not be such an issue. But if like me, and many others, your place of work punishes sickness by refusing to pay you for sitting at home watching daytime TV then you may want to think again. Is a day in front of breakfast TV and chat shows really worth all that money?

Phoning in sick

You decide you’re not going to go to work, but you’re dreading calling in sick. Plagued by dread at the thought of making the call you set an alarm to call your boss at 8.30am and then lay back down to go back to sleep. Sleep never comes. You lie there for 2 and a half hours, maybe you switch on the TV, but you’re not enjoying any of it, you’re too busy rehearsing what you’re going to say.

Finally, it’s time to call in, you genuinely feel sick but everything you say comes out sounding lame and unconvincing. Your boss ok with it, tells you that you sound sick and that he/she hopes you feel better soon. But you still spend the next hour analyzing the conversation and worrying whether your ‘sick voice’ sounded fake and whether everyone at work thinks you’re skiving.

You will almost always feel better once the sun comes up

When your alarm goes off at 6.30am you may well find yourself feeling like you’re on the brink of death. But it’s almost guaranteed that once the sun comes up you’ll find that you’ve made a miraculous recovery. It’s always worth dragging your corpse to the shower and seeing how you feel once you’re up and dressed – chances are you’ll be disappointed to find you’re not as ill as you thought you were.

The crippling feelings of guilt

At 6am your life was flashing before your eyes, now at 9am you’re feeling refreshed, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Ok, so maybe you’re not feeling that great, but you’ve already watched 2 and a half hours of breakfast TV… and you’re bored. Your mind starts to wander to everyone else in your office struggling to do your workload as well as their own, the guilt starts to creep in and you just know it’s going to get progressively worse throughout the day.

The next day at work

You’ve had a boring day at home feeling consumed by guilt and now you’ve started worrying about going back to work tomorrow. The guilt has probably driven you to work from home, or do the household chores and you’re cursing the fact that you’ve lost out on all that money, you don’t feel relaxed and refreshed at all but you know that you’re definitely going back to work tomorrow.

You wake up the next day feeling fully refreshed but slope into work dragging your heels. You use your ‘sick voice’ from yesterday morning’s phone call when you greet your colleagues. After all, you don’t want anyone to suspect you were anything other than close to death yesterday. Every time you start to smile and laugh you feel guilty and chasten yourself in your mind. You’ve also got a ton of emails to get through, you spend the entire day cursing yourself for yesterday’s day of leisure and swear to yourself

…you’re never taking another day off sick!

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