Three Reasons Why You Work When You're Sick

3 years ago

Flu season has been bad this year.

So bad, in fact, that it kept me out of the office for three days. At first I felt guilty for missing work, but by the end of my time off I realized that I shouldn’t feel bad for taking a few days to take care of myself. By allowing yourself the time you need to get healthy, you’re more likely heal faster and be more productive sooner.


Credit Image: Evil Erin on Flickr

However, I still see a lot of pros pushing themselves despite their fragile state, compromising their health even more, as well as the health of those around them.

Why do we do this, knowing it could take us even longer to get better and work at our full capacity?

I think there are three main reasons.

  1. You don’t want to seem weak. Everyone wants to look strong and capable of doing their work no matter the circumstances. The first day I was sick, I went to work and suffered through a whole day because I didn’t want to seem weak.
  2. You don’t want to slack. No one wants others to think they are not working hard enough. If you’re sick during a week when you have a lot of work or you’re on deadline, it can be hard to pass off assignments or work from home because you’re afraid others may think you’re slacking.
  3. You don’t want to miss out. When you’re out of the office, you tend to get out of the loop. Missing key news, conversations or opportunities when you're out sick can be enough to make you want to suck it up instead of sleeping it off.

These three reasons were why I felt really guilty taking time off from work at first. However, after giving myself the rest I desperately needed and not subjecting myself to unnecessary stress, I felt myself getting better faster and not caring as much about the things above.

When it comes to our personal health and well being, we all need to stop caring about what other’s might think and start making decisions based on what’s best for us. As long as you keep your colleagues up-to-date on your progress, hand off time-sensitive assignments and offer help in an emergency, then no one will question your work ethic or dependability.

Have faith in the work that you do every day and don’t let a sick day or two make you question what you’re capable of. If you acknowledge this, I promise you won’t feel like you have to be at work when your sick and will give yourself the time you need to get better.

Why do you go to work when you’re sick?

This post was originally written for RisingPro.com

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