Hypocrisy of Sick Days

“If you’re sick, stay home and rest.”

A simple statement, and one that makes an immense amount of sense. Fact of life: anyone can get sick. Some people invariably tend to get sick more then others; this can be the result of genes, lifestyle, diet, and likely other reasons I’m not thinking of at the moment.

Alice stayed home sick yesterday; she was throwing up, had a fever, and quite a nasty cough. She ended up staying home to rest today as well, as she’s not feeling much better and wasn’t even sure she’d be able to make the transit trip without throwing up on the skyrail, let alone last through the day.

And she’s feeling horrible guilty about it.

Wait, what? Something isn’t right here; she’s obviously sick, and it is logical that she stay home to rest, isn’t it?

Officially, people will tell you yes. But have you ever felt that hegemony that you’re never really sick enough to warrant missing work? That only weak, undedicated people miss work due to illness? That if you’re sick, you should stay home, but that now really isn’t a good time to be sick, as there is so much work to be done?

I have. It exists at all levels of jobs, but I’ve found it to the worst in minimum wage jobs – the jobs where, although you technically can call in sick, the managers are always very unhappy when you do (or maybe I just had a bad manager – I recognize my own experiences might not be universal).

Please don’t misunderstand me; her company, this time, has been exemplary in that she hasn’t previously felt that pressure; they honestly seem to care about the health and well-being of their employees. But she has before, while working for other companies. And today, even if her company seems to recognize the  logic of staying home to rest when she is sick, she still has that sense of guilt at missing work.

Work can generally wait, people. Very rarely is it actually a matter of life or death.

Gaaah, I do so find it frustrating!


Posted on November 2, 2011, in Rant and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I completely agree with you. I have had experience of this myself when my manager had a right huff at me because I called in sick. These people need to realise that we are not simply little cogs that turn endlessly for them, only to be thrown away and replaced when we get too rusty. I completely understand your frustration at their lack of empathy.

  2. I have only worked minimum wage jobs and if I call in sick half the time they tell me I have to come in or I need a doctor note. Some employers are just mean and don’t care about their workers.

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