When I’m “sick”

July 11, 2008

When you take a “sick” day from work, it can be for a number of reasons. Maybe you have a cold, flu, or the Ebola virus. Or maybe you had a migraine, or were sitting home popping Pepto-Bismol due to nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, or diarrhea. Sometimes you take a “sick” day simply because you desperately need a mental break from your office/job. Either way, if your company affords you sick days, use them.

The only thing I hate is when you take a sick day and then spend the entire next day at work answering questions about your 24-48 hour “sickness.” Managers, co-workers, and sometimes even the building custodians ask – Feeling better today, What was wrong with you, or my favorite Were you really feeling sick or just sick of us? As funny as that question may sound in your manager or co-worker’s head, it’s NEVER that funny to you. All it insinuates is…I don’t really believe you were sick.

And in every office, there’s those one or two of those people in your office who have to know EVERYTHING that’s going on with EVERYONE at all times. They’re the ones who when they catch you eating lunch at your desk ALWAYS ask – What’s for lunch and then peer over your shoulder and practically inhale your food. Or they are the same ones who notice when you’re late or leave early and make comments like – I see you got out of here early last Friday or Don’t worry I don’t think anyone else noticed you were running late this morning and then smile.  It must give them some sort of purpose to be in everyone’s business. They were most likely those kids in school who would remind the teacher that he or she forgot to assign homework or kept us in class after the bell with one more “important” question that just couldn’t wait.  I’ve never understood this nosey co-workers and nor do I want to. However, I do want to ask – WHAT DOES IT MATTER??

Once a manager even called me while I was at home sick and asked – Weren’t you just sick a couple of months ago?  To which my response was yes, and I’m sick again. In fact I had been sick two months prior to that with bronchitis and guess what, it came back. Sometimes that happens. I even had doctor’s notes for my absence and was on antibiotics. I also found it strange that my boss would even ask a question like that since I provided doctor’s notes each time I was out of the office for more than 1 day, which was rare, but that year I had the misfortune of contracting bronchitis twice.

The company affords me so many sick days and I’d be a fool not to use them. Maybe as a kid we were rewarded for perfect attendance at school, but in the workforce you’re awarded nothing for perfect attendance. If anything, you are taken advantage of and over utilized if you are in attendance each and every day. That is why YES, I take sick days. And NO, I don’t appreciate people commenting on them. Save your compassionate inquiries regarding my well-being because obviously I’m better if I’m back at work today…right? Save the how are you feeling questions for sometime when I’m out of the office for a substantial amount of time. Like if I were to be bitten by a rattlesnake or hospitalized for salmonella.

Sometimes I wonder why some companies even offer sick time if they are just going to treat you like a felon each time you take a sick day or two. Whether I’m sick, tired, hung over, or de-toxing, it’s NONE of anyone’s business because I am only taking time that is rightfully mine.  So please quit asking me if I was really sick or if I’m feeling better today or I’ll call in sick permanently.

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