Pulling a sickie

Getting sick was one of my worst fears during my uni days. I didn’t have time for it! I had classes to go to, essays to write, oh, and work to go to. As a casual at one job, I didn’t get paid if I was sick and didn’t go in. At my other, I built up sick leave at a verrrrrrry slow rate – so much so that I ran out of it after a solid bout of flu or two.

Now, I get paid when I’m reduced to spending the day in bed coughing my lungs out and tearing through copious boxes of tissues. But most of all, I think what I really hate is the actual process of calling in sick. I feel guilty. I usually phrase it as a request – “I might take the day off sick, if that’s okay?” – although what kind of demonic boss says no to an ailing staff member?

One time I was so incapacitated that I merely sent a one-word text to my boss. (“Sick.”) I was so weak I almost asked BF to write it for me. The next day I roused myself and picked up the phone. Upon hearing my voice, the boss wished me a speedy recovery and said he’d see me next week. I still don’t know what came over me. It was the height of summer, but it felt like the death flu.

Usually, though, I text or email in to say that I’m poorly and don’t think I’ll be in that day. And when I do return to the office, my sick leave is already entered into the system and approved. If only the entire organisation could be so efficient.

How do you feel about calling in sick? What’s your workplace protocol for doing it?

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8 thoughts on “Pulling a sickie

  • Reply Veronica July 30, 2010 at 18:57

    Well considering we only have 4 people that work at our location, and each person covers a specific shift it’s very difficult to call in sick, especially since not any tech can come over here and work from our other location.

    Rule of thumb is to give at least 4 hours notice, but since I work nights I try to give at least 12 hours. Last Christmas Eve I had a tooth infection that caused my throat to close, and had to go into the emergency room. I still went into work that night.

  • Reply Sense July 30, 2010 at 20:04

    I know we have one, but no one I know has ever entered in sick time. People in my office work in the field or overseas or in another department of the University ALL the time, so the office is usually half-empty, anyway, and no one notices if someone is gone–they just assume that the person is doing important work elsewhere.

    If I have an appointment with one of my bosses and I get sick that day, I’ll email them that I won’t be coming into the office. Otherwise, I don’t have to notify anyone. When I’m sick, I work from home, anyway. Rarely, if ever, am I so incapacitated that I can’t sit up in bed and type–and I bring work home constantly so I always have something to do if I get bored at home. My bosses don’t care, as long as I get the work done. Sometimes I just work from home even if I’m not sick! It’s really nice to be trusted and have the freedom to work from wherever I want, when I want, on my own schedule.

    • Reply eemusings July 31, 2010 at 13:14

      That sounds like bliss. I would absolutely love to work somewhere like that! Our technology isn’t quite up to that level though…they’re working on ways to enable us to work remotely.

  • Reply Carrie July 31, 2010 at 04:47

    i used to feel terribly guilty about taking any days of work for any reason (which i think is very common in america) but after the cancer and my 8 months of disability leave, i’ve come to realize that a) i am my #1 priority b) work can get by just fine without me. that said i can’t wait to get back to work, but i will be much more proactive about using my sick days when i’m sick and my vacation days for vacationing

  • Reply Kara July 31, 2010 at 07:45

    I’ve only called in sick once, and it was more of a personal day off since I was beyond stressed out. It felt a little guilty about it, but I knew I wouldn’t have been able to cope with dealing with people for four hours without having a breakdown.

    I usually go to work and end up being sent home because I’d be barely alive while helping customers. When I did call in that one time, my manager was fine with it and even asked if there was anything he could do to help. Both jobs are pretty laid back with sick call-ins, which is great.

  • Reply B. July 31, 2010 at 14:56

    I loathe being sick with every fiber of my being. It’s even worse when it happens during the work week. When I come down with something awful and literally cannot make it into work, then I do opt for texting. I think texting should be mandatory since the phone calls are a bit weird. Then there’s the question of WHEN you call in/text. When you’re actually supposed to report to work? Way before you leave for work? When you would be considered late for work? When is a proper time? All of these questions make being sick a stressful and inconvenient time in anyone’s life that has a job. Like feeling ill wasn’t bad enough.

    Ugh.

    • Reply eemusings July 31, 2010 at 15:31

      Oh my god, you are so right. Those calls are awkward. I only get up an hour and a half before starting work, so usually would let them know at least an hour before hand. I never thought about doing it much later…

  • Reply littlehousesouthernprairie August 2, 2010 at 13:43

    I don’t get sick days anymore now that I fled office life (to say nothing of being home with a baby fulltime) but I gotta say, calling in sick? ALWAYS worth it.

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