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Sick? Stay home!

Yesterday I did something I wouldn't have thought of doing a year ago: I stayed home. When I woke up, my sinuses were pressing down so hard that it hurt to move my head. Sometimes, a nice hot shower will help open things up and I'll be fine. Combine that with some over-the-counter medicine and I'm good to go. After that shower and medicine, I still felt no better. So I made the conscious decision to stay home.What spurred me to stay home? Only several articles I've come across in the last year which have really pointed out sick workers may be doing more harm than good for their organizations. For instance:

I know when my sinuses get like they were yesterday, if I don't slow down the problem persists. So while I may be at work, I'm not very effective. Also, I tend to be more prone to migraines, which, when extremely powerful, render me totally ineffective. It's something I've known for a while, but I never thought about the cost of that feeling bad lingering from day to day versus resting for a day and then going back to work refreshed and better. And as I looked at the situation, I realized that I was better off and more productive if I just chalked up the initial day as a sick day and came back in better health the next. I didn't used to be this way.

Last year this time I would have come to work and slogged on through it. The idea that missing a day in an unplanned manner was bad for business was the only thing I considered. I didn't consider decreased productivity while I was sick or the fact that the condition lingered causing a prolonged episode of decreased productivity along with a greater chance of another illness later on. I only looked at the immediate. Or I would have logged on from remote and spent the whole day staring at the computer screen attempting to work from remote when I needed to be resting and recovering. I know better now.

Take yesterday, for instance. Only one pressing thing came through and that was first thing in the morning. I was able to take care of it as I was setting up my out of office status and reporting that I was taking a sick day to my team. After that, I signed off and went to bed. Today I'm refreshed and rearing to go, ready to make progress on a few tasks I have before me. I can't really see myself doing a good job on them yesterday even though I would have given my best. And if I hadn't taken the time off, I would figure myself to be in about the same shape today. So naturally, I know I made the right decision.


K. Brian Kelley - Databases, Infrastructure, and Security

IT Security, MySQL, Perl, SQL Server, and Windows technologies.


Posted by Steve Jones on 19 May 2009

Good for you, Brian. I think this is a sign of maturity. Learning where your limits are, making an investment in healing so you're back to work the next day, and not exposing anyone else. Even at home, there are times I'll shut down the laptop and sleep if I'm ill.

We also get an email once a month or so from Red Gate to all employees reminding them to stay home if they're sick and not expose everyone else to illness.

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