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Calling in Sick for Work

By Jennifer Pollock

To call in sick or not to call in sick? There are times when this is somewhat of a moral quandary, and there are times when it is not. When you are legitimately ill, contagious, or have just broken one of your appendages, the choice is clear. By legitimately ill, I mean that you are unable to get out of bed, are throwing up, or can’t look at a computer screen without wanting to die. And by contagious, I mean that you are a germ factory. No one at work wants to be around someone who can infect them. If any of these apply, make the call to your boss. Take care of yourself, watch all three seasons of Arrested Development, and get some rest.

Then there is the grey area. You know what I’m talking about—the “I’m kinda not feeling so hot, but could probably go to work if I wanted to” area. If you truly feel like you wouldn’t be very productive if you came in, or would make yourself sicker (e.g there’s a blizzard outside), it might be best to work from home. But try to steer clear of becoming the person who is constantly calling in sick (also, try to avoid making a habit of doing this on Mondays or Fridays—a classic red flag of suspect practices). Remember, your colleagues are the ones who are going to have to pick up your work, so exercise good judgment. And if you’re in your first few months at your company, it’s probably best to just pop a DayQuil, down an Emergen-C, and come in. You don’t want the anyone second-guessing your commitment right off the bat.

Finally, there is the “I’m really not sick but just don’t feel like going to work at all” area. I should say this is bad, but we all know that maybe once or twice a year, it’s completely necessary for your sanity. That’s why “personal” days were invented—if you really need a mental health break, take one. It’s usually a “responsible” idea to use these days for things like moving, catching up on your bill-paying, errands, or doctor’s appointments. But sometimes, you just need some vegetative therapy. No shame in that. Just don’t abuse the privilege.

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