Stop Telling Yourself These Lies When You are Sick

Nancy Anderson
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Taking a sick day is not always easy. Nearly everyone knows the indecisive feeling of waking up a little under the weather and not being sure of the right course of action. Should you pull yourself together and head to the office, or should you call in sick and spend the day in bed? Before you decide that working when sick is the best option, consider these lies that you are likely telling yourself.

Working While Sick Won't Hurt Anyone

This is probably the biggest lie people tell themselves when they head to work sick. Working while sick usually leads to getting other employees and possibly even clients or customers sick. If you have symptoms of a cold, you are likely contagious, and the same is true for most other illnesses. You might try to wash your hands often, cover your mouth when you cough or sanitize the things you touch, but no matter what precautions you take, there is still the possibility of spreading your illness to others. Your coworkers will not be happy if they succumb to an illness you introduce, and the whole company's productivity suffers when more workers find themselves sick. It is much better to take a sick day and stay home to prevent spreading your illness.

Taking a Sick Day Shows Weakness

Your company offers sick days for a reason. There is nothing wrong with using one when you are actually sick. You might think missing a day or two of work shows a sign of weakness, but remember that you're not going to be able to perform at your best when feeling under the weather, so your plan to show how strong you are might backfire with your boss and coworkers. Interrupting a meeting with a coughing fit does not make a good impression. Also, other workers lose productivity if they are worrying about the state of your health or spending time encouraging you to go home.

Your Presence at Work Is Crucial

All employees like to think that their work is essential, but the truth is that your workplace can survive without your presence for a day or two. Work life goes on when you take vacation time, and it does the same when you take a sick day. If you go to work sick, you are not going to look your best or do your best work. An obviously sick employee lacks professionalism, which is another reason why it's a good idea to avoid working when sick.

Going to work sick isn't good for your productivity or the health of your coworkers. Therefore, if you are sick, take a sick day and spend your time resting. Staying away from the office keeps you from spreading your illness to colleagues and helps you get better faster.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Anita Mago thanks for your honest comment. So sad that you would be treated in such a manner. If you had come in, with the illness, everyone would tell you to stay away from them and to go home! So it's almost like a no-win situation. But, if I was contagious, I wouldn't go into the office no matter what kind of looks I might get when I return. It takes longer to recover when you don't give your body that day or so of rest. What happens when your supervisor is sick?

  • Anita Mago
    Anita Mago

    All of the above is correct philosophy however, there are employers/supervisors who don't believe in this and see this as your unwillingness to work, not meeting the deadline of the project was due that day and give you not pleasant look the next day. This is the reason that Americans don't always take their vacation days forget about sick day.

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