There’s a story in the New York Times this week by a doctor who regularly sees patients go into work with 100-plus degree fevers. She confesses to doing the same. Her (not very convincing) moral: Stay home! Especially in the midst of Swine Flu time. But a lot of people don’t have that option or don’t feel they do. Over at Tara Parker Pope‘s blog, Well, she asks readers whether they take sick days. Many say they don’t. A sampling of comments:

“What’s a sick day? I don’t have anyone available to do my work if I’m out. I could be barfing up a lung and still be asked to do emergency things from my computer at home. I keep hearing people telling me that if I’m not careful, I’ll wind up in the hospital with a heart attack. I’m like, ‘Promise?'”


From an ambulance worker: “I woke up vomiting one day and found this out the hard way when I called in 2 hours before my shift and got suspended – if I’d done it one more time in the next 6 months, I would have been fired.”


“My boyfriend, a fine dining waiter, was once told he needed a doctor’s excuse to call in sick. Since he has no medical insurance, that meant he would have had to pay $150 – $200 for a doctor’s visit so he could call in sick… on top of losing money for missing work. Fortunately, when he showed up for work feverish and clearly ill, a more sane manager sent him home”

And on, and on.

Many also comment on the fact that many companies are lumping in sick days with vacation days as “paid time off.” So people come in sick so they still have vacation time, making everyone else sick in the process.

It’s some sad stuff. We get sick partly because we’re stressed from work, and then many workplaces don’t allow you to actually be sick, thus not taking responsibility for the problems they help create. And can we keep ourselves well–exercise, eat right, sleep enough, when many jobs essentially demand that we do none of those things? Our messy humanness is in the way of “progress” and profit. The message: Be a better cog, please. And without those “cells” or “immune systems” or “bodily functions,” if you would. 

I often wonder what our economy would look like if we all got enough sleep, had time to prepare fresh, whole food, work out, snuggle, laugh, play. Maybe it would thrive. And maybe it really wouldn’t matter so much at all. 

Can you relate? Do you take sick days? 


More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

This is the post in which we say goodbye.  We’re both leaving our respective jobs at Beliefnet, and so it’s time to step away from the blog. So, this is the post in which we say goodbye…by saying thank you.  Thank you to you, the readers, for clicking and visiting and sharing the myriad ways […]

Are you a frustrated dreamer? I know I am. I often wake up with fragments of scenes echoing in my mind that seem really meaningful–but then I leap out of bed, start my morning routine, and in seconds they’re gone. I want to linger in that realm and tap into the guidance and insight rising […]

Because I lack an engineering degree and don’t understand why we can’t just stop this thing NOW with a 10-ton wad of gum or giant boulder or massive Q-tip, I’ll share more spiritual wisdom from elders. This is from the beautiful, amazing International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers–they each represent a continent and a native […]

“Worry is a prayer for something you don’t want.” – Sharon Gannon I love that. The other day someone expressed concern about my excessive worrying habit, and I’ve been contemplating on it ever since. Doing my best to actually contemplate, rather than worry. I’ve been on a renewed Gilmore Girls binge lately and last night as Lorelai, […]

Close Ad