“Achoo,” I’m staying home

I’ve known many young, working women over the years who stayed home when they got the sniffles, a scratchy throat or a twinge in the tummy. Then there’s Gabby Giffords, the Arizona Congresswoman who was shot, comatose, braved months of grueling physical therapy and  returned to work because she wanted to cast an important vote on the budget.

Just what is it that separates the women from the girls? Why do some of us baby ourselves, while others are stalwart, even if we’re feeling dreadful? Is it because our mothers didn’t comfort us when we needed it most? Or maybe it’s because they did fawn over us whenever we felt under the weather.

I once left on a business trip to Dallas feeling awful; achy, feverish and weak. When I arrived, I could barely stand, no less walk the trade show I was supposed to cover. I went to the hotel to sleep, and by the next morning, I felt worse. I managed to get myself into a cab and to the hospital ER. They suspected what was wrong and took a chest x-ray. I had pneumonia. The doc gave me antibiotics and advised me to get to bed. I asked if I could fly home and he reluctantly agreed.

The idea of missing school or work always scared me. That’s the kind of nut I was. When I became a boss in my twenties, I resented anyone who gave into their physical discomforts. Therapy helped me empathize with those who don’t feel well enough to work. Except, of course, if they’re bellyaching all the time.



0 Responses to ““Achoo,” I’m staying home”

  1. Taylor says:

    Showing up at work sick isn’t admirable, “stalwart” behaviour – people can DIE because of that attitude. I work in an environment where there are many homeless people; plenty of them have poor health already. They don’t need me self-righteously dragging my germs into work. They have enough to contend with already.

    • Geri says:

      Hi Taylor, I totally agree that no one should come to work who is contagious.

  2. sharon says:

    I work in a highly technical, number crunching field and discovered unless I want to redo everything I worked on when I was sick, just stay home until I’m at least at 85 to 90% of my normal self.

  3. Susan says:

    Please stay home. Criminy, people like this have made me so mad. I’ve had pneumonia twice because of this nonsense. I’m so mad I won’t even go into it – I see others have addressed it. Yikes.

    (And yes, I was a stoic too…until I got so damn sick that I am still on disability. There’s no prize, people, for martyrdom)

  4. Vera J says:

    I was also one of those bosses that was irritated when an employee would stay home because “they didn’t feel well.” And I also generously rewarded my employees.

    Now however, having a compromised immune system, I tend to get whatever bug is going around. I can’t/won’t be around anyone who may possibly be contagious. So, when my now one employee is feeling bad she knows to stay home.

  5. Toby Wollin says:

    My lesson: When I was pregnant with my last child, I was also scheduled to do a trade show. The day before we had to leave, I ended up calling up my doctor to perform emergency hemorrhoid surgery — something was sitting down before I did and I did not look forward to the many hours in the plane with that. So, he did his thing, told me to get some antibiotic ointment to dose the area with, and referred me to a local sporting goods store for chemical ice packs, which I happily sat on for the entire trip out. I did my shifts in the booth, swollen ankles and all and thought I was a big hero. Six months after my son was born, I was let go – didn’t sacrifice enough, I guess.

  6. Cecile says:

    Hello, everyone!

    I used to be one of the Stoics! I went to school with a fever and took tests! -Which later had to be retaken, because I was delirious while taking them, and my teachers knew, but I was taken to school anyway.- So…. later on I found out nobody thought of me as stoic, but “contagious.” In Gifford’s case she is proving and advocating self reliance, instead of self pity, and she is really a Stoic for willing herself to live. Willingness plays a big part in recovery. I have nothing but admiration towards the woman. Doctors are monitoring her, and she is not contagious. so her efforts deserve an A+ and she has my standing ovetion!!!


  7. Huh? says:

    Not everyone stays home when they feel sick because they’re lazy or a slacker. I always have the day off or at least work from home if I come down with a cold for the simple reason that if one person comes to work with a cold or a contagious illness, they give it to their coworkers and pretty soon everyone is sick.

    If you resent people who stay home because they’re sick you must’ve been a pretty terrible boss. I’m glad I don’t work for you.

    • Geri says:

      Hi Huh?

      I WAS a pretty yicky boss in my younger years, although
      I will say that many former employees learned
      alot from me because I have always been passionate and a hard worker. I also have always rewarded good employees handsomely. I remain close friends with a number of them as well.

      BTW, I have not been that way in years, and I believe my employees would attest to that.

      Best, Geri


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