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How sick is sick enough to stay home?


138 replies to this topic

#21 S John

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:13 AM

I admit that I'm a big wimp about being sick. I hate it so much. Even just a cold, any type of congestion makes me miserable. I would rather be punched in the face than get a cold. My last job had a pretty relaxed schedule. If I didn't come in one day I could make it up later by using extra hours if I didn't want to use sick days. So I was pretty liberal about staying at home if I was feeling questionable.

It really is the considerate thing to do too. I hate it when I'm in class or at work sitting next to someone that is obviously sick. Get away from me, man.

#22 Guest_Raidne_*

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:21 AM

As a totally objective matter, "presenteeism" is serious problem in the workplace and you should not go into work as long as you are contagious. You will likely infect other people, and so the loss of productivity multiplies to other employees and the employer is not even getting your best work in exchange for the loss. Although, if you are a critical part of a meeting with a contract at stake, or something like that, than you could certainly make a case for medicating yourself to the point where you appear asymptomatic for the duration of the meeting even if other people will catch what you have because the loss to the company otherwise would justify it.

Naturally, if you can telework while you are out sick, then the warning against coming in to the office is doubly true since you avoid infecting other people with minimal loss for your employer.

As a subjective matter, it depends on the culture of the workplace. In my office, even when you are past any possibility of being contagious, it's best to avoid people as much as possible because other employees will really, really be pissed off at you for the slightest possibility of infection. In other offices, anyone who stays out sick is viewed as a slacker despite all reason and logic and evidence showing the negative impact of presenteeism, so you'd have to weigh how much you care about the impression you are making on your supervisor against what actually makes sense.

Every time we have a pet peeve thread, presenteeism is on my list. Particularly the "look at me, I am so dedicated that I come to work unless I'm near-death (but fuck you and your productivity, coworker!)" people. I mean, get over yourself, special snowflake. On the other hand, if I have a deadline and there will be serious fall out if it's not met, I'm coming in. I will minimize contact with all shared surfaces, wash and disinfect hands frequently, and hole up in my office, but I have no choice but to come in. Otherwise, I'll try to avoid putting anyone else in that situation.

ETA: It is worth considering that your boss may be very frustrated with you over this issue if you have actually been "sent home" before. This happened to my mother, as she used to go in as a point of dedication, etc., until her boss finally sat her down and explicitly asked her to stop putting him in a position where he had to send her home (losing her productivity for the day) after she'd already come in and exposed half the office (risking their loss of productivity), rendering it a total lose-lose situation. But only worth considering, as many other bosses absolutely admire that.

Edited by Raidne, 12 December 2012 - 08:26 AM.


#23 Fragile Bird

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:44 AM

I have stayed at home a few times over my working life when I probably could have gone in, but I was miserable so I didn't. A really miserable co-worker is almost as bad as a sneezing co-worker. But one time years ago a very nasty form of flu was going around and I caught it from someone at work. She had told me when she came back that she had been off for two weeks and came in when not completely well, but well enough to work, and the flu came raging back and she was sick for two weeks again.

I was very mindful of what she said, but after 2 weeks I thought to myself, even if I feel a bit weak I must be over this, and went in. Just like her, by the end of the week I was sick again and spent the next two weeks home in bed, miserable and bored. If you're sick and miserable, stay at home.

#24 BigFatCoward

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:53 AM

I have stayed at home a few times over my working life when I probably could have gone in, but I was miserable so I didn't. A really miserable co-worker is almost as bad as a sneezing co-worker. But one time years ago a very nasty form of flu was going around and I caught it from someone at work. She had told me when she came back that she had been off for two weeks and came in when not completely well, but well enough to work, and the flu came raging back and she was sick for two weeks again.

I was very mindful of what she said, but after 2 weeks I thought to myself, even if I feel a bit weak I must be over this, and went in. Just like her, by the end of the week I was sick again and spent the next two weeks home in bed, miserable and bored. If you're sick and miserable, stay at home.


their is nothing more annoying than relapsing. i remember when i went back to work after having malaria, it knocked me funny for another 3 weeks. i could barely walk up 2 flights of stairs.

edit, apparently being sick also enables you to get on todays top 20 posters. don't think i've ever been on there before. my normal avg is about 3 a day. i'm already up to 30. i need to get better quickly.

Edited by BigWeirdB'stard, 12 December 2012 - 09:21 AM.


#25 Noroldis

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:38 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with practically everything that's been posted so far. If you're sick and risk infecting others, please stay home and focus fully on getting better. If you go at work sick, your productivity will likely be substantially diminished, and you risk infecting your co-workers and then diminishing their productivity. Also, if you're coughing frequently, please don't go to the theater in an effort to positively distract yourself. You'll only be negatively distracting everyone else.

#26 mashiara

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:00 AM

I've lost count of how many times I've gone to work feeling miserable with a bad cold or with my voice almost gone. It's the nature of the job, the kids come to school even when they are sick, pass their germs around, the teacher gets sick. Repeat as many times as necessary. If I stayed home every time I've had a cold I'd be missing a lot of days and there is no substitute teacher to take over. /dunno.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunno:' />

It's not that I enjoy going to work sick, or that I expect a prize for it. It's just the way it is.

#27 deedles

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:03 AM

Given Im currently off due to a headache Im ambiguous. There is no way i could go in yesterday. Photophobic and avoiding noise. Today I was merely tired and generally miserable in the morning. I stayed home. Given this was my second sickleave this year, I don't feel guilty. However had i been off more earlier in the year I probably would have gone in today

#28 Mya Stone

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:14 AM

When I was working full time, I always had really shit bosses who would be incredibly mad and put out that I called in - whether it was me who was sick, or Mav. They made me feel awful that I was calling in and putting an extra work load on my coworkers. We worked in confined spaces, so I was most likely spreading the wealth around.

My favorite was when I was so sick I could barely stand, running a fever, and my boss told me to just wear two hospital masks instead of one as I was mixing people's IVs, and sit in the stool in the IV room - which is SUPPOSED to be a sterile environment. Fucking dick.


The only time I wasn't given a hard time was when I worked in an elementary school while I was pregnant with Bran. My classroom teacher knew I was a high risk pregnancy and didn't want me pushing myself too hard, but I was so conditioned from shit bosses that I still would make the effort and go in. She would send me home immediately if I didn't look like my chipper self, no questions asked.

#29 Fez

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:15 AM

If I'm sick, I stay home. Of course its easier for me since I'm one of those people that doesn't get sick too often, but when I do, I get really, really sick. Which means that when it happens I have the days available and I'm in no condition to work anyway.

The bigger issue was when I was still in school. I had plenty of professors that did not offer makeup dates for exams just for being sick unless you were literally in a hospital at the time. Few things are more miserable than testing while sick.

#30 Lord Mord

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:15 AM

I work on the phone all the time, and have a history of being super-prone to bronchial shit where my lungs and throat go sideways, so the first sign of anything more than post-nasal drip on a kick (really dry throat, sputum, lethargy, persistent runny nose all at once), I'll take at least one day, do nothing but sleep.

After one day, as long as I'm not measurably worse, I'm probably coming back in.

Gives me a chance to evaluate if it's actually a thing, or just a little rundown and need a recharge.

#31 Atreides

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:27 AM

I've probably stayed home a couple days that I could've gone into work, because if I'm unsure whether or not I can make it to work, I assume that going to work instead of staying home and resting is unlikely to improve things, and will probably worsen the illness. I would rather miss a day of work than soldier on in and then have to miss multiple days afterword.

#32 Nichole

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

I agree with everyone that says that if you are sick, you should stay home.

But:

If you are gonna infect anyone else, stay the fuck home.

Work ethic == Typhoid Mary


In general, if you are feeling bad, why the hell would you go to work? You have sick days for a reason.


I need to point out that not everyone gets sick days. If they call in sick they don't get paid. Like Mya, I've worked for people who feel there is never a reason to call in sick. I've been threatened with being fired when I tried to call in sick. I was not faking either, I was really sick. Some employers are douches and when you have experienced this attitude you can have a hard time calling in even when you have moved on to a more reasonable employer. My company understands that if I call in sick, I must be sick. Even so I have agonized over whether or not I'm sick enough to call in. I've worked some days that I look back on and wonder what the hell I was thinking.

#33 Shryke

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:26 PM

As a totally objective matter, "presenteeism" is serious problem in the workplace and you should not go into work as long as you are contagious. You will likely infect other people, and so the loss of productivity multiplies to other employees and the employer is not even getting your best work in exchange for the loss. Although, if you are a critical part of a meeting with a contract at stake, or something like that, than you could certainly make a case for medicating yourself to the point where you appear asymptomatic for the duration of the meeting even if other people will catch what you have because the loss to the company otherwise would justify it.

Naturally, if you can telework while you are out sick, then the warning against coming in to the office is doubly true since you avoid infecting other people with minimal loss for your employer.

As a subjective matter, it depends on the culture of the workplace. In my office, even when you are past any possibility of being contagious, it's best to avoid people as much as possible because other employees will really, really be pissed off at you for the slightest possibility of infection. In other offices, anyone who stays out sick is viewed as a slacker despite all reason and logic and evidence showing the negative impact of presenteeism, so you'd have to weigh how much you care about the impression you are making on your supervisor against what actually makes sense.

Every time we have a pet peeve thread, presenteeism is on my list. Particularly the "look at me, I am so dedicated that I come to work unless I'm near-death (but fuck you and your productivity, coworker!)" people. I mean, get over yourself, special snowflake. On the other hand, if I have a deadline and there will be serious fall out if it's not met, I'm coming in. I will minimize contact with all shared surfaces, wash and disinfect hands frequently, and hole up in my office, but I have no choice but to come in. Otherwise, I'll try to avoid putting anyone else in that situation.

ETA: It is worth considering that your boss may be very frustrated with you over this issue if you have actually been "sent home" before. This happened to my mother, as she used to go in as a point of dedication, etc., until her boss finally sat her down and explicitly asked her to stop putting him in a position where he had to send her home (losing her productivity for the day) after she'd already come in and exposed half the office (risking their loss of productivity), rendering it a total lose-lose situation. But only worth considering, as many other bosses absolutely admire that.


I'm with you on everything here. But angrier and with more "shit-fuckers" thrown in. I despite presenteeism and it's role as the patron saint of epidemics.

#34 Shryke

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:27 PM

I agree with everyone that says that if you are sick, you should stay home.

But:
I need to point out that not everyone gets sick days. If they call in sick they don't get paid. Like Mya, I've worked for people who feel there is never a reason to call in sick. I've been threatened with being fired when I tried to call in sick. I was not faking either, I was really sick. Some employers are douches and when you have experienced this attitude you can have a hard time calling in even when you have moved on to a more reasonable employer. My company understands that if I call in sick, I must be sick. Even so I have agonized over whether or not I'm sick enough to call in. I've worked some days that I look back on and wonder what the hell I was thinking.


/hug

I know. My hate is reserved for the people who come in when they don't have to and the people who make those that don't want to come in, come in.

Also, no sick days is a goddamn travesty.

#35 Minaku

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:45 PM

I'm one of those "no sick days" people, but I take off work when I'm very ill. When I have something mild I'm always washing my hands and practicing good hygiene and sanitation. I'd appreciate if the students felt the same way. I had a student last week call out because he had a fever, and then an hour later call and say no no, let's have lesson because the fever broke. NO. STAY HOME.

Edit: I also want to mention the work ethic of, in my experience, Asians - east Asians, particularly. When I was a kid, the only way for me to skip school was if I had a fever or if I was dying. I had the flu once, was feverish and had the chills, and my mom made me go to school anyway. This is common among first generation Asians, when the parents think that nothing is more important than education, even health. I recall throwing up my breakfast one morning before elementary school and because I didn't throw up immediately within the next 10 minutes, I got sent to school anyway. These aren't cases of presentee-ism. It's just insanity.

This carries through the rest of your life as well. It's a miracle that I have learned to treat myself better and put the health of myself and my students first.

Edited by Minaku, 12 December 2012 - 05:48 PM.


#36 Brady

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

If you're getting bored at home, how many times have you jacked off? Just go and jack off again. You are a man, BFC. You were provided with equipment that ensures you should never be bored.

#37 Arborson Goldrix

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:14 PM

I had the flu once, was feverish and had the chills, and my mom made me go to school anyway. This is common among first generation Asians, when the parents think that nothing is more important than education, even health.

I still like to guilt my mom about the time she sent me to school with mono. /lol.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' /> It's even more frustrating because, prior to giving it up to spend more time with her kids, she was a nurse.

Now that I'm a grownup I stay home at the slightest hint of discomfort or distress. Since I primarily work from home, this works out well for me. If I'm home. If I'm travelling, i'm the asshole coughing and sneezing and being miserable next to you on the crowded airplane for four or six or 13 hours. I'm also going to show up to the lecture hall or conference room and share my germs with everyone who attends my seminar and the demo or training session. Sorry folks. I don't like it more than anyone else does, but otoh it is kind of fun to do some public speaking all doped up on cold meds.

#38 Sci-2

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:26 PM

When you can pass on what you have to the others you work with, then you are too sick. What each person can deal with will differ but if you are contagious I don't care if it is a once every 3 hours cough, stay the hell home so everyone else doesn't get sick.

Oh, and if you are coughing or sneezing every 30 seconds, stay home as well just because it's annoying to hear.


I always hate any coworker who comes in coughing and sneezing, obviously sick out of their fucking gourd and infecting the rest of us.

#39 TerrorPrime

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:38 PM

Some jobs are easier to take sick time off than others, for sure. I don't feel that I can take sick times as easily even when I feel that I should, simply because having another professor step in to teach your class requires a lot of extra effort. In classes that are very fluid and experiment-based, it's even harder. That means that half the time I would have to cancel class completely, and that means pushing back the syllabus, etc.

So yeah, there were times when I *knew* I should just stay home, but I came to work anyway. I do use a lot of hand sanitizers and I don't get close to students. I also chain, gag, and whip the inner epidemiologist into silence during those days.

That said, I've been made sick by students plenty of times. Anyone from pink eye to flu to strep throat. So I don't feel too guilty of evening out the balance sheet. /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />

Edited by TerraPrime, 12 December 2012 - 06:39 PM.


#40 The Great Unwashed

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:55 PM

I'm in one of those in-between situations. Technically, we're supposed to call in if we're sick and we get sick days. In reality, we get put on a huge guilt trip if we try to call in sick, especially if it's more than one day, and ends up with people bitching about having to pick up the slack while we're gone.

And we're not allowed to work from home, even though we can do 100% of the work from home, since all of our work is online and over the phone. Our company heads are still stuck in the stone age.



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