Is it normal to feel guilty about taking a sick day?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by vilk, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Last night I went out and saw a friend do a comedy show, and I got too drunk and this morning I was/am hungover. I guess I physically could have/ still can go to work and do my job, but I'm like... you know, not feeling so hot.

    Am I a bad employee? I feel like one. But like, they do give us an allotted number of sick days. Are those strictly for if you have explosive diarrhea or a flesh eating contagion?

    I mean I feel bad, "sick" if you will. But my conscience is killing me more than my liver. Even though the silver lining of being sick is knowing you're getting PTO and kicking back, I have just been 110% grumpy and obsessing about it and now I've vented so thanks for reading. I'll leave us with some talking points:

    Are sick days only for grave illness?
    What about just hangovers? Have you ever missed work for being hungover?
    Is it weird to feel this sort of guilt towards your employer? What about if you don't even have that important of a job? (I'm just one of a four person customer service team, and I'm only paid [very] marginally better than entry level.)
    Are any of you bosses? I'd love a boss's insight.
     
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Honestly, I'd feel bad about abusing that system, but if you don't abuse it, I wouldn't feel bad about an extremely rare not-quite-necessary sick day. If you're the kind of person who never uses sick days anyway (which it sounds like), then I wouldn't sweat it. It's one day. People get hangovers. Enjoy the free time.

    I'm not a boss though. I've interviewed some people, but never was literally the boss. If I was a boss, I'd look at it this way: If you came in- would it have been productive? Would the work you have done, in the state you're in, been less than valuable work? Would coming in have put you in a poor mood all week? It's a trade off, I guess.
     
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  3. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    Normal? Tough to say.
    Am I the same exact way? You're god damn right I am.

    I do my best to never take a sick day, to the point where I've come in more ill than I should have, but I still showed up. Even with vacations I feel guilty cause I know I'm on an under-staffed team, and the work doesn't stop, so I'm literally taking 1/3 of our manpower out of the equation.
     
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  4. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Something I forgot to mention: I don't abuse the sick day system, at least as compared with the my coworkers, but I have missed like four days this year on account of car trouble; my transmission broke down while I was at an out of town wedding and stranded me. And then the other day someone busted out my window and I spent the day dealing with that. But I mean, those weren't really sick days... I'm not really sure what kind of PTO that uses; we have sick days, vacation days, and also "personal" days. Either way the car stuff was beyond my control. But writing this now makes me realize that's probably why I feel so guilty about missing work. But I mean, if I have the PTO it's mine to use, or is that a bad mentality?
     
  5. Rosal76

    Rosal76 SS.org Regular

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    Would you be Ok if you made the day up? Tell your boss you would go in on a day your were originally scheduled off to make up for the day you called in sick?
     
  6. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Personally I have no problem taking my vacation days regardless of manpower or a sick day if I'm sick. I'm entitled to these and since I won't get paid extra for them if I don't take them then they'll just be lost. We do try as a team to take our vacations so there'll be people to do the work, but work never ends but my patience and mental well being is above work .

    To the OP's comment, if you don't usually take sick days and weren't going to be productive then you did the right thing.

    MFB if you're sick and contagious you're doing a disservice to your job. The company I work for is big with lots employees with children. I've got a few gastro viruses due to people coming to work sick which meant I missed work afterwards. Gastro viruses are not fun at all.
     
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  7. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    I've never seen anyone get sick after I've come in, but I also used to be in a smaller department with only 2 other people, so it wasn't a huge risk. In retail, it was a little more of a worry since you're directly interacting with people, but when you're part time and miss a day? Oof, they never let you live it down. I've also never had anything that bad, the worst has been pneumonia, which I worked with then went home and blacked out off and on for 3 days, and then nothing more than the flu.
     
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  8. High Plains Drifter

    High Plains Drifter SS.org Regular

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    I feel bad if I have to call in but it's not due to feeling bad for the company itself. It's how conscious people feel when they have to throw in the towel. You probably feel as if you're a valuable and dependable employee, and you honestly shouldn't feel wrought with guilt or self-loathing due to taking a day for yourself. We deserve it. That's why we have a cushion of PTO or whatever means are in place to protect us from termination due to personal illness, injury, etc. Do I feel bad if I'm forced to call in? Always... but it's because I know that my fellow employees may have to work harder to fill the void and because I was raised to be responsible and conscious of good work ethics... sounds the same in the OP's case. You're never going find yourself at a point in your life where you wish that you had "just worked that one additional day"... never. Responsible employees prioritize almost every day... putting work first. Sometimes the priority has to be on you instead... Nothing wrong with that as long as it's not abused. You shouldn't feel bad but I do relate to the fact that you seemingly do.
     
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  9. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    If it's not contagious, I always come into work. I don't think you are bending any morals, so to speak, though, if you take a sick day for feeling sick, even if it's the aftermath of a night of debauchery.

    So, yeah, I would feel guilty, but I don't think you should feel bad for calling in sick if you feel too sick to do the best job you can do for your employer. I just wouldn't recommend doing what you did often enough for it to be considered a "habit."

    Let me relate a story or two. I had a coworker ages ago who called in sick all of the time when he was hung over. Everybody knew why. No one cared, though, because he was one of the best workers we had when he was running on all eight cylinders. The bosses knew he had a serious drinking problem, but wouldn't dare discipline him, because he provided them with services no one else could provide at the same level of skill. Much more recently, I had another coworker who didn't ever really do anything at work. He would come into work hungover all of the time, sometimes still drunk from the night before. He'd stumble through the door 90 minutes late, wearing the same clothes as the day before, smelling like a liquor cabinet, eyes bloodshot as hell, then he'd fall asleep on the job and cause general disdain amongst his coworkers and bosses. That guy got fired after about a year. Nobody else in that department had ever been fired outright before, AFAIK. Don't be like employee #2.
     
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  10. Humbuck

    Humbuck SS.org Regular

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    You're being too hard on yourself. Enjoy the day and relax. Ain't nobody lying on their deathbed watching their life flash before their eyes and thinking, "I only wish I worked a little more."
     
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  11. Science_Penguin

    Science_Penguin SS.org Regular

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    There are several reasons I've never felt guilty about calling in sick:

    1. It's a warehouse, it's hot, it's a labor position, and I'm gonna be useless if I come in feeling like shit. It's better to call in sick ahead of time so they can get someone healthy to fill in for me, rather than walk in acting like nothing's wrong and screw up productivity.
    2. I wound up giving myself a severe fever once working in that environment with what I thought was just a cold. I am not making that mistake again.
    3. My bosses are pretty understanding about the above points, so they've never given me any shit for it. Or at least, they never threatened to fire me for it like the last warehouse I worked at.
    4. My job kinda sucks, I'm not gonna beat myself up over taking it easy every once in a while, ESPECIALLY if I need it.
    5. The less of a certain dickhead co-worker I have to see, the less likely I am to be fired for punching him in the teeth. I just gotta hold out a few more weeks until I find another job... Fingers crossed...
     
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  12. mongey

    mongey SS.org Regular

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    no . its not normal . just kidding ,kinda.

    allot of it depends on the job.,these days I only take a couple a year when I really need it. if I'm sick or my daughter is too sick for child care and my wife needs ot be at the office . but I have had other jobs where I used to take em and go skating , but they were crap jobs and the supervisors were dicks . so I didn't care

    you feel sick. is it self inflicted? yeah but guessing if you could go back in time you maybe cut a few drinks out . now if you did it on the regular, then yeah it can be a shitty thing to do. but as as one off I say don't sweat it man
     
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  13. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Hangovers are a very special case, since they're more or less self-induced. I tend to try to muscle through them if at all possible. I'm trying to think of a day when I took time off because I was hung over, and I can only think of two occasions, one which happened to be the day before the 2008 elections and I was actually up and about in time to make it into work, but I'd planned on voting before work and the lines were nuts that year, so it quickly became apparent I wasn't going to be in the office much before lunch anyway, so I just emailed my boss and told him the situation and that I was going to be taking a half day, and the second, well, there was a girl involved, we got next to no sleep that night, I was hung over as shit anyway, and she didn't have to be anywhere until noon and made a VERY compelling argument as to why I didn't REALLY need to go into the office... and I got an earful for taking an unplanned personal (not sick) day the next day. Ironically my boss was much more ok with it once I explained why I wasn't there. :lol:

    Sick days, though, no, I wouldn't. Hangover "sick" days, as long as it's extremely rare, I wouldn't lose sleep over it, but if it ever started to become a habit I'd be more worried about the drinking than I would be about the use of sick time.
     
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  14. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Hey man I hope I didn't sound like an ass with my comment towards you. It wasn't my intention. I don't take sick days myself if it's just the sniffles or I have headache or something like that. I usually do when I feel rathet unwell and since I rarely get hangover running after two young children, I haven't taken a sick day due to that lately.

    When I'm sick but can go to work I try to avoid being too close to people as a lot of them have families and will pass on the germs to them, which would mean even more days of for them if they have to pull kids of school or daycare if there aren't other family members to look after them.

    I just get a bit frustrated when I see people going the other way and never missing a day of work or even take vacation days and feeling proud about it. Why? It's not you bussiness, the bosses/owners/stock holders just capitalize on our hyper productivity with minimal payoff from their side and at some point they give us a pat on the back for a "job well done". Of course we have to the job to the best of our abilities and depending on the demand put a bit of extra effort but if the employees are overworked constantly and don't take breaks then at some point they wear out. Plus it means that the company should hire more people and not stretch their employees thin to save a few thousand dollars, especially if their profits are in the hundreds and million of dollars. That's chump change to them and the productivity would be a lot higher.
     
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  15. Kaura

    Kaura SS.org Regular

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    I'm not proud of myself, but I have probably been hangover during 95% of my shifts since I started last September and never skipped a day because of it. Except last winter I called my supervisor a couple of times and asked if I could take a day off, but only because I knew there was so little to do that I wasn't needed.

    Hangovers aside, I used to think that a little flu won't hurt me when I'm at work but after I caught pneumonia I have been very cautious not to push myself too hard. And generally it's better to stay at home as soon as you start feeling sick because you just end up infecting other people.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  16. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    I feel like it does seem to be normal, but it shouldn't be. Being unwell happens. The cause of it shouldn't really matter. Drinking, sick, mental health, just feeling like you need a damn day off. I feel brutally guilty when I take a sick day and it happens so rarely that supervisors never ask me for Doctor's note and often will come and check that I'm actually okay when I come back to work.

    I'm certainly not a boss, but I can offer some insight there as my father managed to earn his way up to a management position at Ontario Hydro. The upper ups, ie the people who don't actually work or have any contact with anyone who does work, hate sick days. They hate them. They loathe the concept of a worker getting paid while not at work and assume that everyone is just faking it and a lazy prick. They have fucking courses on how to create an environment that discourages employees from taking sick days and gets co-workers to judge those that do take them.

    My Dad, having worked his way up from apprenticeship to journeyman to foreman (he never bothered getting certified as a "master") to management had a different view. He was also the union rep at one point.

    These people were working in the switch yards and on the lines of a nuclear power plant. People *die* every year on this job. He wanted his people to take their fucking sick days. Not only because of the added risk but if they got other people sick productivity could, and would, fucking sink. Being anti-sick day is actually counter-initiative to the goals of upper management but they can't see the forest for the trees. Even something as minor as a cold can have devastating effects on productivity numbers if it spreads through an entire workforce.


    Unrelated side note:
    Anyone remember that big Power Outage in Ontario and parts of the US (I wanna say New York and Buffalo) in the early 2000? My Dad is the guy who flipped the switch that turned the power back on.
     
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  17. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    Every year, my company sends all of their employees a packet that shows a breakdown of the value of the offered benefits plus the value of paid time off plus the amount of one's salary to show to express, "See- you're technically paid more than you think!"

    Looking at it that way, that paid time off is just another form of compensation, then that lends to the perspective that just as the way we shouldn't feel bad about spending our salary or seeing a doctor, we shouldn't feel bad about using time off. Certainly, a company should have some leeway with regard to regulating "unexcused absences", but just as they should be able to afford to pay their employees their salaries they should be able 'afford' to have an employee be absent. It's still amazing how even Fortune 100 companies expect people to make sacrifices to make up for their poor planning, like we're taking an extra shift at Granpappy's feed store while he's in the hospital.

    I prefer to save my time for actual vacation, so I do try to tough-out being sick, but that's ultimately for my own benefit. With my job, my desk is not covered in my absence and the work simply accumulates so working two days sick is better than being off one day and then doing two days of work feeling only marginally better.
     
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  18. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    No worries man, I was just adding some context since I realized after re-reading it could also sound like I go in to work as an infectious monster and just say "THIS IS EVERYONE ELSE'S PROBLEM NOW!" :lol:

    In a great case of coincidence, I had to take a day off today as I got in a multiple car accident on my way to work, so I wanted to open the claim and try to get it inspected today and set myself up with a rental so I don't do more damage. I'm not fond of it, but when you get into something like that an hour into your day, you just kind of feel like going back to bed and starting over.
     
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  19. Xaios

    Xaios Foolish Mortal Contributor

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    I used to feel bad about talking sick days, as well as taking vacation when the company I used to work for was understaffed (which it pretty much always was). In hindsight, doing so caused me chronic stress, had extremely adverse effects on my health, and nearly killed me (and that's no exaggeration, I spent a solid month in the hospital and required major vascular surgery). So no, I don't feel guilty about taking sick days, because I know the alternative is much, much worse.

    (Admittedly, I can't really relate to the hangover angle because I don't really drink, so YMMV.)
     
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  20. MikeH

    MikeH Bring the gain

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    Fuck the man. Take a day off.
     
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