Article by Wendy McCance
Each year after the children start back to school, the weather gets cooler and flu season begins. As I sit in my office, I am surrounded by people sneezing, blowing their nose and coughing. Yep, nothing like sitting in an office full of germs to really get you going.
The question invariably comes up regarding if people should be allowed to come into work or should they stay home. Losing pay aside for taking a day off, why do people show their face at the office if they are obviously ill?
It seems that some people are absolute workaholics who won’t stay away from the office no matter how ill they get. Beyond that, I really believe it comes down to fear. People want to seem like they are a team player. What a better way to show your enthusiasm for your job than to come in when you are at your worst. Jobs are difficult to come by these days and no matter how ill you really are, there always seems to be a backlash if you take time off to recuperate.
My husband has been at a new job that he absolutely loves for less than ninety days. He had the misfortune of getting sick days before he was scheduled to leave for a weekend trip through his company. When the day arrived for him to go, he went.
This poor guy took a plane with a horrible head cold and symptoms much like a severe case of strep throat. Travel time was about eight hours and particularly painful because of the cabin pressure. There were other employees going who were more capable of getting the job done than my husband. Even so, he felt determined to not let the team down.
The whole time he was out of town, he was getting pats on the back for meeting with some corporate bigwigs while sick as a dog. There was never any question of what he was expected to do. He knew what was expected and never gave it a second thought. Crazy as it may seem, these corporate types prefer to be in the presence of massive germs than to be down a guy (even though in this situation, he was really not needed).
It’s a strange society we live in. Instead of taking care of ourselves when we become rundown, it is more preferable to be out in the public infecting everyone in your path. You become a hero when you ignore being sick and continue working. When the overworking brings down your immune system some more, dragging out an illness much longer than it would have been, it’s just part of the deal.
This brings up another point. I have a low immune system. I don’t like to be around a sick person and try to avoid it at all costs. It’s just too often that I will catch whatever someone had if I’m in their presence.
I was working at an office where you were expected to be at the office daily, even if you were on your deathbed. The philosophy was that the work was much too important and took precedence over any personal situation.
This office decided to offer free flu vaccines to its employees. I had never gotten a flu shot, but figured I should so that I wouldn’t have to worry about time off. I got the shot. It was the first and last time I will ever do that. I was extremely sick for three weeks. I had never been that sick with the flu my whole life. It was an awful experience.
At the office, people are once again getting sick and employees are thinking about getting the flu shot. I for one will be passing on the vaccine. The whole subject makes me curious though. How do you feel about people coming into the office sick? What about the flu shot? Will you be getting the vaccine this year?
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