Akilah Hughes
November 09, 2013 9:00 am

You’d think we’d all be on the same team about valuing our health over our money, time, and work. You’d think that in the event that someone gets a cold, or flu, or even just a position with paid sick-leave they’d be encouraged to stay home and rest. I am in disbelief about the severe unpopularity of this opinion.

This fall I have been sick a whopping 7 times. SEVEN…and at first I blamed NYC entire.  “The subway is gross, just wash your hands more,” I said. “Take vitamin C, echinacea, zinc, a multi-vitamin, anything at ALL!” I declared. “Sleep 8-10-12 hours if you need to!” I demanded. After cold number 3, it came into focus: there was still a lot of coughing and sneezing in my office. No amount of grime avoidance was going to help me build up the probiotics to fight off the nasties these people were spewing at me 8+ hours a day.

What’s worse, a woman who CLEARLY had the flu stood near my desk as she smugly boasted about how she “had to come in” today because there was “so much work to do” and that she would “be in tomorrow” as well.

STOP IT. CUT IT OUT.

You’re not impressing anyone, and you’re irrational to waste those paid sick days when you’re actually ill and can benefit. You cause so many problems when you forego those days off, and with some new dads recently returning to work in my office, you are putting their newborn children in danger. You wouldn’t want someone working in a restaurant to come in sick, yet you sneeze all over everything we touch. Stop being so selfish!

Corporate culture encourages employees to come in regardless of their health status to prove their dedication to their work–even to the detriment to those of us with weaker immune systems who could care less about proving our dedication to anything. The truth is, especially in this economy, coughing all over everyone will not guarantee a promotion. I asked around, and the consensus is that your boss will not remember that time you came in with the flu as some divine sacrifice. Truthfully they are more busy with their own crap to notice or care about your productivity while being sick and infecting the people around you. If your ability to come into work while dying from the plague is your biggest skill set, you probably aren’t competitive enough to get the promotion anyway.

Let your good work, your over-delivery on promises, and your charisma be your bargaining chip when it comes time for raises and promotions. Pride is a fool’s fortress, and admitting you need to rest in order to get better (and stay well in the future) is the first step.

Image courtesy of NewYorkNatives.com

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