Thursday, December 07, 2006

Too Sick to Work? Well, Suck it Up, Cupcake!

It's that time of year again, when everyone around me seems to be getting sick. Although there are days where I could certainly use a good sick day and get away from all of the work BS that seems to like popping up every so often, I'm not a huge fan of getting sick. Unfortunately, at my company, it can be very hard to avoid getting sick when there's a bug going around, and you're surrounded by sick people who still insist on coming into the office.

A few weeks ago, a co-worker of mine had a really bad cold. He got sick over the weekend, and took Monday off. After that, he kept coming into work even though he was still pretty sick. As a result, it took him a good 2-3 weeks to get rid of his cold, all the while exposing his fellow co-workers to his contagious germs. So why did he keep coming into work? The answer to that is our good friend, the Sick Day Policy. At my company, as with many others nowadays, employees only get a grand total of 5 sick days. On top of that, if you have 3 sick days or more in a row, you must bring a doctor's note, and if you exceed 5 sick days, it comes off of your vacation. My co-worker you see, had no more sick days left, which is why he kept on coming into work. Does that seem fair? It appears that we can't even get genuinely sick anymore. It's bad enough that we must deal with the usual discomfort and ickiness that comes with illness. Now we must also suffer the wrath of The Corporation.

Yes, Bob has pneumonia and he can barely stand, but he's out of sick days, so he's coming into the office. You see, if Bob doesn't come into the office, he'll end up losing the rest of his vacation, which he was saving for Christmas week with his family. You see, Bob didn't get to spend last Christmas with his family because The Company had him work on this super-important project which of course had a really aggressive schedule, so he's really hoping to make it up to his family this year.

Wow...just mind-blowing. And if only Bob were a fictitious person. Unfortunately, there are many Bobs of the world out there. People who are over-worked and sick, and can't even afford to take some measly time off to recover properly so that they can work more productively. I could say that this is entirely the fault of the Evil Corporations. And yes, it partially is. There aren't many corporations out there that genuinely look out for the well-being of their employees. If you know of one, please tell me! At the same time, ridiculous sick day policies are partially to blame on, abusive employees. You know, those who happen to take sick days on Mondays or Fridays (or both). Too much abuse of a company's good-will can lead to more restrictive policies - duh! The corporate types aren't as dumb as we thought! Though I don't say this often, companies don't exactly exist for the sole purpose of providing us with jobs so that we can pay our bills. They're out there to make money, and employees claiming sick days when they're not sick don't help with that money-making.

So, humans don't seem to be getting any more virtuous - yes, there are still a few virtuous humans out there, but they're more of a rarity than the norm - and corporations are getting increasingly greedy. Is there a solution to this conundrum? Of course! Every problem has its own solution. It may not be the ideal solution, but it's a solution nonetheless.

So without further ado, IndyComp0T1's advice on sick days:

  • If you're too sick to get out of bed, then DON'T. Nobody wants a groggy, contagious person at the office. If you come into the office, you may make someone else sick, and they might pull the same stupid stunt as you and come into the office when they're sick. Vicious cycle. Get it? I can spell it out if needed. Or perhaps draw a picture?

  • If you're too sick to get out of bed but you have no more sick days, stick it to The Man. Your health is more important than your job. What does it matter to have a job if you're dead?

  • If you're too sick to go into the office but you can work and have VPN access, work from home. You benefit by not using up sick days, and your workplace benefits by having you work.

  • If you're too sick to go into the office but you don't have VPN access, then try to make up the lost sick days at a later point in time.

  • PLEASE DON'T ABUSE THE SYSTEM. You're just making it worse for all of us.

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