Do You Work When You’re Sick?


June 21, 2010

Well, it’s Monday morning and I’m sick.  It’s nothing contagious or too bad, just a sinus infection, but I’m dragging compared to my normal, chipper morning self.  To add to the happiness, I am leading orientation for our new hires so I need to be on my “A” game all day.  Now, if you’ve got something contagious or a fever, the right answer is to stay home and keep all your germs to yourself.  I’m not in that boat.

I’ve taken my Day-Quil and packed my Kleenex.  I’ll make sure to drink plenty of water.

So, do you ever go to work when you’re sick?  What tips and tricks do you have to make yourself feel better when you have a situation where you really need to be somewhere when you’re under the weather? Share them with me in the comments so I can get from the B-game feeling I have back to my A-game.


  • I am sick right now, having a virus that has been hanging around for two weeks…lots of coughing and sneezing. However, since I am teaching a 3 week course, I can’t simply skip a day or two (as each day would represent a week during the regular semester). So, Dayquil and Ricola have been my friends.

  • Always…which is a sickness of mine. I have quite a few drugs here at work, dayquil, cough drops, tylenol sinus, flu, alergy, nausea tablets and plenty of kleenex – oh yea, and plenty of diet coke which fixes everything.

    Sorry you are under the weather, hope you feel better.

  • Sorry to hear you are sick today! I am a big fan of throwing back some sudafed and hugging a kleenex box while focusing on the next task at hand. If I focus on the end of the day I have found that my attitude takes a turn for the worst! Get well soon.

  • I probably go to work sick more often than I should. I am in a damning position; being a hair dresser means ZERO sick days. Add to that clients wanting and needing your services, then me being off results in unhappy clients. I need everyone happy; everybody I service makes my lavish lifestyle a possibility.

    I just boost up on the meds and fight through. A couple of 19 ounce Red Bulls (sugar free) do wonders to help boost the effectiveness of the medication.

    I put on my A-game trying to work through illness and/or injury. here is a recent example: What did I do after a runaway Dremel (with diamond cutting wheel) dug into my hand about eight weeks ago? After stopping the profuse bleeding, I super glued my hand, put on some Surgilast over the gauze, and went to work. Taking time away for something stupid I did on my offtime is just out of the question. The A-game trying to get through adversity may result in a B-game overall, but clients appreciate the effort.

    I know there is one burning question: what do I do when a client figures out I am sick? I just make the following statement: “Just like pro hockey players who have made it a tradition and badge of honour to play sick and injured, I have carried this tradition forward into being a hair dresser. Besides, you don’t want to wait for your hair, do you?”.

    Leaving your job for someone else to do whilst ill can be worse than just going to work ill. I have found that rarely anyone is happy with me if I have someone else do my job while I’m away, which is another reason why I just battle through illness or injury.

    I am so envious of people who can take a sick day without consequence!!!

    Hope you feel better soon.

  • My trick to making sure I go to work is thanks to my stay-at-home-mom wife, who gives me dirty looks all day if I phone in sick. I quickly realized that any misery I feel physically at work while sick is minimal compared to THAT.

    • @Doogie- Yep, sounds like staying home might be the worst choice in that situation. Thanks for commenting.

      @Doug- Wow, I have a whole new appreciation for you. 🙂 Just make sure you don’t sneeze on me while you’re attempting to make me gorgeous. lol Seriously, I can imagine it’s hard to take a day off when you’re working in a salon. Your lavish lifestyle, as you put it, certainly depends on you being at work. Makes me appreciate all the people who work in the service industries that much more!

      @Ben- Thanks for the well-wishes my friend!

      @Garrick- The focus part was good advice. I made it through the orientation with only a few coughing attacks. Had very little voice left at the end of the day but I sure put in my best to pull it off and make all our new hires feel truly welcomed. Thanks for your advice.

      @Chris- I’m like you, I keep a virtual medicine cabinet in my desk drawer. Not the diet coke like you though. Maybe I should try that tomorrow….

      @Matt- I can see how teaching would be another job it is hard to miss. Sorry you’ve been feeling bad. I’ve never tried Ricola so I’ll grab some of that in the morning and see how it helps. THanks for the comment and the tip! Feel better.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.




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