Take A Sick Day? Hmm….


I’m seriously thinking today is the kind of day I might be tempted to make the call. The call to the boss that signals I’m not coming into work today. I’m not even sick though which makes taking a sick day seem wrong. Now if I was ill, I’d have no hesitation at all; I’d call in and give myself the best chance at being healthy tomorrow and at the same time keep anyone around me safe from whatever I might pass on to those around me. But I’m not…

What keeps you away from work? Other than illness what other reasons would or do you feel justify calling in to let the boss know you’ll be away?

Somehow between last Friday and today, I’ve done something; or a series of somethings that has taken me from a robust and healthy 56 year old to feeling like a hobbled 90 year old. Like Marty McFly, I’ve got to get back to my future and quick. Somehow, I’ve suffered some kind of a left lower back injury. The thing is I can’t recall any one thing that I did that caused me to feel immediate pain so I can’t pinpoint the source of the problem.

I’ve been thinking back to Friday and moving forward with the things that I’ve done differently. Friday certainly was different as I donned an Easter Bunny costume at work in the afternoon and was the guest of honour at a children’s party for some of the children of our young social assistance clients. Sure I had 15 or so kids on my lap but none of them weighed much. Was it the twisting and lifting?

When I left work Friday afternoon, I then volunteered 4 hours of my time to help out a good friend of mine running his booth at his very first local Home Show. I don’t know if it was standing all that time on a concrete floor or not; or again some twisting and lifting of items at the close of the evening as he moved to a better local for Saturday. Then again on Saturday I was out at the Toronto Home and Canada Blooms Shows and was walking around for many hours on a concrete floor. Maybe it was the 20 minutes in the amazing massage chair at the show?

Whatever it was, Sunday morning I could barely move. Just getting out of bed was pitiful, and I lost an amazingly sunny day I could have spent better doing well, pretty much anything. That brings me up to today. At about 12:30a.m., I woke up pain-free – until I moved slightly. I’ve been awake ever since and eventually at 3:00 a.m., I decided enough was enough and up I got. I’m wide awake and capable of working quite effectively once seated in a comfortable position.

So all I have to do is wait until about 6:00 a.m. and then take a hot shower to hopefully relax some muscles, then get dressed, sit all the way to work with the heated seats on for part of the journey and then I’m at work. Today I deliver a workshop I think for the morning. Can I pull off a 2 ½ presentation? Or should I call in, take a day to try and recover and let the team figure out the coverage for me?

I suppose my problem is with the term, “Sick Day”. I’m not really sick in the sense I think of the word. I’m far from functioning normally however. What would you do?

If I’m honest, I know of some people in my circle of friends and acquaintances who wouldn’t hesitate to call in and take a day off. I don’t have a history of missing time either; I think I’ve got an attendance award for the last 6 or 7 years running in fact. No danger of having a bad reputation on that front.

That good reputation for dependability and reliability means a lot to me, and I hope it means a lot to both my Supervisor and my teammates. Have you yourself got a good reputation for being at work day in and day out? If you’ve got someone in your immediate proximity that has an attendance problem, than you know the impact that person can have on those around them.

Being the kind of person with an excellent attendance record can certainly help those around you, but ironically it doesn’t seem to come up much until the day after you’ve been off a day. That’s when someone points out that you are so reliable. Contrast this with the person who is off seemingly every time it rains hard or is too chilly. I’ve worked in places where staff look at each other and mutter, “I bet so-and-so will call in ill tomorrow”. That’s not a reputation I want and I hope you don’t either.

Maybe you don’t get attendance awards at your work, but I know I value colleagues that are highly dependable on a regular basis. Hey if you’re truly ill stay home and recover because you could infect the rest of us. Sick days are after all, there for people to use when they’re sick. They aren’t for maxing out as a benefit though when you’re not. Well It’s going to be one long day; I’m going in and hope things get better!

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One thought on “Take A Sick Day? Hmm….

  1. Sick days weren’t an issue where I worked because we only had one paid sick day every four months. With the wages were were making, nobody could afford to be off sick. This resulted in people coming to work with all kinds of flu bugs and other nasty things that got spread around. Unfortunately, there was nothing to be done about it. You can’t tell people who have to feed their kids and pay bills to stay home with no pay. Besides, the company preferred to have employees come in sick rather than stay home, as we were always short of agents because of the revolving door. It was not a good situation. Somehow, I was very lucky and didn’t get sick too often and when I did, I was able to recoup on my days off.

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