“NO! NOOOOOO! Don’t soldier on! If you’re disease-ridden and sick, stay home and keep your damn germs to yourself!”
That was a facebook status a friend of mine posted recently, and I have to agree. The “Soldier On” tagline is great one, it plays on our insecurities – we don’t want to be whinger, or soft, or even let people at work down, we want to have a stiff upper lip and soldier on when we get sick. But within the last few years I have come to the firm conclusion that soldiering on is a bloody stupid thing to do.
I used to be someone who thought of themselves as dedicated to work. I would go to work with a sore throat, which would then get worse, and during my holidays I would end up taking weeks to recover. It came to a head when after soldiering on I developed pneumonia. This changed my thinking. Nowadays, as soon as I feel anything coming on, I take a sick day. This, as it turns out, is better for me and my employer. People who go to work ill are less productive and end up taking more days off in the long run as what could have been solved with a day of bed rest and a cup of tea becomes a week off with a fever and by then you’ve already spread it.
I started to think about who really benefits from people taking cold and flu meds and going back to work. As far as I can tell, the only ones who benefit are the companies selling them. You feel sick, you take the pills, feel well enough to go to work, but while at work, you make yourself sicker, which means you need to buy more pills; and you then spread the germs to others, who get sick, and then need to buy the pain killers and decongestants for themselves.
This is a brilliant marketing ploy, while making us feel like good people and that they are helping us, they’re actually making us worse and turning us into carriers. While there are catchy jingles on high rotation common sense will lose. What we need is a bunch of sensible grandmothers with chicken soup on the boil singing to us about the benefits of staying in bed and drinking more orange juice. Unfortunately common sense doesn’t have much of a budget.
Until it does, please take advice from doctors or at least think about what you are doing when you are sniffling and wheezing all over the phones and door knobs at work and on public transport. Stay at home, because the last thing I want is a case of the Man Flu, because if the ads are anything to go by, another dose is coming around.
Do you go to work while sick? Do you feel pressured to solider on instead of rest and recoup? Do you have to for financial reasons?
Mazi Gray has written 20 posts.
Freelance writer, Information manager and traveler. I dream of visiting all the countries that people say don’t exist or a left over out posts of a more Empirical past. South Ossetia, Principality of Hutt River, Macao or Saint Pierre and Miquelon. I also work here.