WWS – Working While Sick

Being sick, it happens to all of us. But in todays society do we take care of ourselves the way we should? Do we take our sick days, and truly rest so that our bodies can heal?

I know that myself the answer is usually not. I know that when I don’t have to be in front of a customer I tend to work when I’m sick. Even this last week when I had the flu I worked for three days before I went to the doctor. So let me go over this:

Sunday afternoon my youngest called me and wanted to come home from her moms, so I went and picked her up. She wasn’t feeling good and wanted to be home with me. Monday was Martin Luther King Day and she didn’t have school, what she did have that morning was 103 degree fever… and an appointment with the doctor. Yup, she has the flu!! I had made her get a flu shot as usual, the flu shot this year was not effective. So one pharmacy visit later she’s posted up on the couch with her medication, orange juice, bear, fuzzy blanket and NetFlix. While I continued to work, feeling steadily worse each day. Come Wednesday, I woke up feeling like a hammered bag of nastiness.

I finally took my girlfriends advice and made myself a doctors appointment, and continued to work until it was time to leave. 3pm hits and apparently I’d been working with a fever, it was 102 when I saw the doctor (explains why I’d been freezing for two days I guess). So there I am with my prescriptions, and my doctor telling me to not work (WHAT? Don’t work, surely you must be joking). So what the hell am I supposed to do? I had no customer visits, but I had work that needed to be done.


I’m not kidding this is actually what I was thinking…I don’t have time to be sick, I have RFPs to respond to, BoMs to be built, SoW’s to write. And don’t lie, you know you think the same way.


In todays culture of ubiquitous connectivity “WFX” (working from anywhere) is possible, and do I love being able to work from everywhere! But what is this doing to us physically?

Just because we can work from home, does that mean we shouldn’t take the time if we are sick? Just because we aren’t in the office, and can’t get anyone else sick should we still work? Should we continue to push ourselves to get our tasks completed, even though we are having trouble concentrating and staying on task?

I felt horrible on Wednesday and Thursday, come Friday I couldn’t even talk and it still hurts to do so today. I took the sick days, but did I really? I was still responding to emails and text messages.

Are we too connected (perish the thought!) today? What ever happened to being sick and resting? I told my daughter to sit on the couch and relax, but did I take my own advice?

“Ugh. Somebody told me the other day to take it easy or I’d relapse. I should have listened. So tired of being sick and always have too much to do so slowing down isn’t an option”

Where does this feeling, that we need to always be working, come from? I know my boss would rather have me take the time and get better so that I’m thinking clearly and can be really effective.


Should we be onsite at a customers working because “no one on the team would step up and relieve us”?


Should we even be questioning the need to rest and take the time to heal? Should we wonder “How is this going to effect the project/timeline/company?” Maybe, but remember to flip that around as well. “How is this going to affect me?”


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