With all of the hype surrounding this flu season, it seems timely to chat about what it takes to mentally to stay ahead of the chills. Because there are no thrills here folks, I can promise you. Two immediate questions come to mind when faced with an illness: “Who will pick up my slack if I don’t push through and work sick?” and “How do I financially cope?” These are both very real challenges. And since most of us work among a group of people — none of which wants to catch your crud — we are left with a real dilemma often times leading to guilt. Whats worse, society rewards working when the sledding gets tough in spite of the derailment sharing our germs can cause. Add passive-aggressive management on the subject of sick time and whamo! We have created an atmosphere of work come heck or high water (or mountain of snotty tissues) in spite of the documented long-term decrease in productivity having an illness sweep through an office or classroom can cause. Because yes, this goes for kids at school as well.
But the sobering truth, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is that more than 40 million people do not have access to paid sick leave and are left making the decision to go to work sick. “Good luck, Paul. Hope you don’t get what I have… it’s awful.” Sound familiar? This is a huge issue and one that will keep people from staying home; effectively adding to losses at every level. And the reality is that we all get sick from time to time — paid sick leave in the bank or not. The prescription to this headache is to prepare ourselves. Keep a few vacation days tucked away, put a few dollars back in savings or team up with like-minded people who can offer a tag-team situation to cover for you while you re-cover. The hardship will still remain, but the situation will seem much more manageable if you have a plan. And this is especially important when the care of kids, animals or even elderly parents is involved. Have a plan. And forgive yourself.