Opinion: 6 thoughts we have before we call in sick to work
This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.
We all hesitate before we call in sick. I may hesitate more than most because the call has to be made at 2:30 in the morning! No one wants to make that call because no one wants to get that call.
After having this experience yesterday, I realized… we all go through the same thought process before we pull the trigger.
1. How sick am I? Really?
Okay. I feel the tickle in my throat; the cough is getting more frequent; I’ve been eating DayQuil or Mucinex like candy, but how sick am I really? Is this just an irritation and I’ll feel fine by this time tomorrow? Am I being a baby? (I can be a baby. Heaven knows.)
2. It’s all in my head.
For crying out loud, I can shake this off. Shake it off, Amanda! You’ve worked sick, exhausted, depressed, scared, angry, happy, and even pregnant. If you can go on the air with morning sickness, you can do it now! Get your butt in the shower. You’ll feel fine once you have your coffee.
3. If I go to work, will I get people sick?
This is a concern in a way it never was before COVID. Managers would tell you to stay home if you were sick before COVID, but we workers never really believed they meant it. Right? But since Covid? I am afraid to sneeze, cough or even blow my nose in the vicinity of anyone else. I am genuinely concerned that I may pass my germs along. So, if I have the slightest tickle, and I think I could spread whatever I have — I wear a mask.
4. If I call in sick, will I hurt the team?
I sense this isn’t the primary thought it once was, but I can remember — and still have the thought — if I call in sick, will my coworkers be OK? As half of an on-air team on KSL NewsRadio, I wonder how my partner, Tim Hughes, will be without me. (Fine is the answer to that.) If Tim is out for some reason, I can’t leave the morning team without an anchor! Get your butt up!
5. Will my boss think less of me?
I know, I know. Bosses are supposed to support their employees’ taking care of themselves. But don’t we all worry that, if we do what we need to take care of ourselves, our boss will think we’re a wimp? Not dependable? A problem? Not tough? Not clutch? (I own that this may just be my insecurity and have nothing to do with reality.) Even if they don’t have that conscious thought, won’t it be in the back of their minds? “She has been so sick lately. I need to let go of someone. Why not her?” Aren’t we afraid of that thought pattern in our bosses?
6. Do I have sick leave?
This is the bottom line. If you feel sick and you have paid sick leave, you can stay home and make sure you get better and don’t get anyone else sick. But if you don’t have paid sick leave or you’ve used all of your leave, you go to work. I guess people who don’t live paycheck to paycheck (who are these people?) won’t understand this, but when your family depends on you, you go to work. End of story.
Pass the Robitussin.
Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and A Woman’s View.
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