Calling in sick is never easy

Calling in sick. Not the easiest thing, is it?

Especially on a Monday. Who's going to believe you're actually sick on a Monday? It's not self-induced, I promise, you feel like saying.

Afterwards, you lie in bed, knowing you need your rest, but you keep worrying that there's something you've forgotten to do. Some major deadline you've forgotten or client you're going to tick off. You fall asleep, only to jolt awake, convinced there's a work email you just have to see to. Maybe it's from your boss. Is she OK with your being gone? Does she even believe you're sick? What about your team? They're snowed under. They're going to hate your guts. Oh look, you have a voicemail. When did that get there? How long were you asleep for? You knew you shouldn't have put your phone on silent. Does someone at work need you? Did you miss an appointment?

This is stressful. Stress makes you ill. Better take another Panadol. How many Panadols are you allowed? Can you mix them with codeine? 'Cause now you have a migraine now, too.

Nope, staying home isn't always fun. So we drag ourselves in, looking like death warmed up, hoping someone will send us home. When they don't, we worry that we always look like death warmed up. But ,seriously: You need to stay home. I know it's hard and you don't want to let your already overworked team down, but they won't thank you when they get sick. Infections happen in small spaces. And air conditioning, which carries airborne bacteria and fungi, does not help.

Offering to do some work from home is better than going in.

Bear in mind that you're entitled to sick leave and check with your doctor how long she wants you to rest for. It's always OK to call in sick when you're contagious, but also when you might be a danger to others (like when you're feeling too dizzy to drive) or when you're so unwell you won't be productive.

And don't forget about the kids. Don't send them to school or kindy when they can infect others. Don't take kids with measles to the food court for a Happy Meal. According to the government, you only need to be in a room for a few minutes to spread the measles virus through breathing. One person with measles can pass it to at least 13 other people who are not immune. It's even suggested you call ahead to the doctor's to make sure your kid with measles does not end up sitting in a waiting room potentially spreading the illness to others.

It's impossible to determine other people's behaviour, though, so try to keep yourself well, especially this time of year, by always getting the flu shot, eating healthily, avoiding close contact with sick people at work and by washing your hands regularly and well.

Good luck with that.

Got a suggestion for the Modern Manners team? Email features editor Deborah Sloan on or write her c/- The Waikato Times, Private Bag 3086, Waikato Mail Centre, Hamilton 3240.

Waikato Times