I’m sick. Lots of people I know are sick.  How about you?  Are you sick already, have been sick this month, or dodging germs?  Because I have a hunch that there are a lot of sick folks in the US right now, and in Washington state in particular. 

So.  What do you do when you’re sick?  Take a pill and go on, mingling with the public?  Or stay home and watch TV? 

Or get on your computer and make posts when you’re not even sure you make sense?  🙂

There was a time, when I was a kid, if you were sick you stayed home from school.  Even if you were a kid.  People got sick and stayed home.  Now if you miss school or work, it’s treated as a bigger tragedy than if you infected 50 people that day.

Isn’t that crazy?

Restaurants can be very bad about this.  Don’t read any more of this if you are easily grossed out.

No, Really.

Still here? Okay.  Lots of restaurants will threaten to fire you if you call in sick.  My brother works at a place right now where if he calls in sick, they may actually suspend him for three days. So if he’s sick, he has to still drag in and work and spread it around.  Because he has kids to feed.

My friend Mary Ann (just so you know this isn’t an ‘I heard about this from a friend of a friend) worked at a Tacoma restaurant where you had to come to work, no matter how sick.  She recalled one night when a girl had a bucket in the corner of the kitchen to vomit in, and a bottle of Scope to rinse her mouth so she could go back out and wait tables.  

Right now, one of our big casinos has a policy that people are not allowed to be sick on the weekends.  There was a newspaper story about it in the Tacoma News Tribune.  It deals with the Emerald Queen Casino.  People are thinking only of the dealers here, but I’m sure the kitchen staff and cleaning staff and all the rest have a similar time of it.  I don’t know how policies like this can be legal.  We put people in jail for driving while drunk because they are endangering the public. But we allow businesses to create contamination stations that will definitely spread illness.  Not to mention the individual human misery it creates. 

How can we be so cruel to people?

I know how fortunate I am.  I work for myself.  When I feel like this, I can sit at my desk with a hot drink and a blanket wrapped around my shoudlers.  I can even look at my assistant, as I did last week and say, ‘Your job for the day is to go upstairs and sleep until you feel better.’  And she did, and I’m sure that is why she got better faster.

I don’t know if we are going to reach a stage this flu season where schools and theaters and even shops are closed.  I hope not.  But I also wish we had some labor laws right now that prevented companies from having and enforcing these insane sick rules.

Okay.  Time to go be horizontal for a while. 

Wash your hands, everyone.


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  • nerwende says:

    So I’m not in the US but I’ve definitely been sick for over a week now (today’s the first clearly better day) and I’m NEVER sick for longer than three days. And everyone else really seems to have it too.

    The usual “sickness rule” in Finland is that if you don’t have a fever it’s really difficult to get a sick leave, no matter what else you might have. Or “pain is no reason not to work” as one doctor said to me when I dislocated my knee really badly (that was later fixed with surgery with a few months for recovery…) – I had tried to explain why I wouldn’t be able to do stable work for awhile. (I did get a short leave after explaining for 20 minutes in detail what tasks were part of my work and why they would be impossible to do with the swollen, wobbly knee.) So… we live by the thermometer here. It doesn’t prevent spreading the disease, but it does protect the sick ones somewhat, because you can actually do harm to your body if you have a high fever and your work is physical.

    (We also apparently have really special animals in this country, because they supposedly never get sick during weekends or outside office hours. Except for the metropolitan area, there’s no quickly available 24/7 service for them. But that’s another rant.)

  • redstorm says:

    It’s just the way of things nowadays, a very uncaring attitude. I don’t think anything will change until they get slapped with a huge epidemic which has people falling in droves, and only then will laws come into play to prevent it.

    ….. up until the time they forget again and exploit people once more. America is really bad for not giving workers much holiday either. In the UK you start at two weeks with a new job, ad go up from there.

    I’ve been working for myself full time for five years and my new designer job is only three days a week, two of them from home. They are all really nice at the company. So I’ve been very lucky too recently. Although when I was a kid paying my way through college in the UK working Burger King they had a bucket with my name on it as well once when I was ill, rather than send me home.

  • germsama says:

    I can vouch for this. I work in a restaurant, and am met with pure disbelief any time I’m sick. I can call in, but it’s really not in my best interests. When I do, it’s generally assumed that I’m lying and as punishment they knock me almost completely off the schedule for the next week or two.

    I remember feeling terrible at work one night, but my manager wouldn’t let me leave. Nauseous, dizzy, couldn’t focus, kept dropping things. At one point I was taking an order and had to stop in the middle of it and run for the bathroom to throw up – even then my manager held firm I had to stay for my remaining six hours. It wasn’t until threatening to quit my job that she finally let me go home.

    It’s ridiculous.

  • Well, I’ve always had a lot of respect for folks working in the food industry, but I had no idea it could be that cruel. I went to work at the library sick on Saturday. I had a terribly sore throat and have no voice two days later as a result. I went in because we’ve had a hiring freeze for long time and I know how short staffed we are. The library system is a county organization and they have actually given people the ability to borrow sick leave so that they can stay home this year if they have used up their existing sick leave. They have to make up the balance later on. I’m concerned about the kids that will be coming in to the library sick, because the parental units have to work. If school is closed, it doesn’t keep the kids at home, so I feel a bit exposed on the front lines. It will be an interesting Winter. Wash those hands and cover your cough (but not with your hand.).

  • danniebrown says:

    I guess I’ve always been lucky or perhaps it’s just different in France. I’ve often heard we had one of the best social service in the world, I’ve always doubted it but your stories seems to comfort me in that regard.

    I remember working part time in a fast food restaurant many many years ago, and in spite of having one of the worst directors I ever had, he wouldn’t want us to come working if we were sick and contagious.

    Getting a week or three days or even more time on sick leave is very easy in France, well of course, you still can have a uncompassionate doctor who won’t do it, but most of the time, they’ll give those three days to you even if you’re not sick enough, and sometimes, not sick at all.
    So there are abuses, of course.

    The other day, my friend Fabienne (so you know I’m not making her up) had to go to the doctor to renew her sick leave, but as he was in holidays, she had to go see one she didn’t know. She was treated for depression, long story short, she had serious issues with her boss and lost her mother in between, she also has permanent asthma problems as well and the new doctor gave her what she wanted without even flinching.

    There used to be a time when it wasn’t like that, but apparently there a new politic going on in the French medical world saying that doctors had to try to relieve people the best way they can.

    I very rarely go to the doctor, because I don’t like that and because most of the time, I already know which pills he’s going to give me. So I buy them and wait for the flu to pass. If it’s not and things are going worse, then I go and see him. But I don’t like it. I need to be scared enough to the point I have no other choice than go, I don’t care about suffering, I can cope with pain, not so much with my imagination though.

    At the end of August I fell on one knee pretty hard and god it hurt, really really much. I put ice on it, I put salves on it, bandaged it, and it got better, so I didn’t go to the doctor or the hospital. Unfortunately, when I came back to work, which is kind of physical, it started hurting again, not as much as before, but the pain is still there, I can feel it right now, but I still haven’t gone to the doctor.

    At my current job, the ‘official’ rule is, if you mess up with them, they’ll mess up with you. When I was new, I was sick once, and phoned to say I was going to the doctor. The call wasn’t passed to the boss and it created a whole big mess. I, wasn’t aware of that, and went to the doctor and as I refused the 3 days leave, he didn’t do any sickness certificate. The next day I went to work and hell fell on me. And it got serious enough that I was taken in an office and interrogated like a criminal or a terrorist. They didn’t believe me until I went back to the doctor and asked a certificate for the day I had missed to prove I was really where I said I was.
    Now, things are different, I’m not new anymore and they believe me when I say I’m sick and stay home for the day, and don’t ask for any proof…

    I’ll have a lot to say about germs and contamination and the current phobia people are going through at the moment but I’ll keep it for me for now.

    Hope you’re better by now Megan, take care. *hugs*