Monday, May 7, 2007


I am sick today, I have a over a months worth of sick leave accumulated. Yet here I am at work. I want to go home, yet I will not. Guilt over using sick hours when I am actually sick keeps me shackled to my desk.

It is not is if I am a workaholic that has a hard time taking time off. I make good use of my vacation time and any comp that I accumulated. But for some reason admitting that I am physically too sick work is nearly impossible. It feels like a terrible admission of weakness, I know it is irrational, but I can not escape from it. If can mange to sit upright in a desk chair, I feel obligated to go to work.

I am sure that part of this insane attitude was passed down to me from my parents. I am descended from farmers and shop keepers in rural Iowa and Minnesota, not exactly the kind of culture that looks kindly on the sick day. My parents did not forbid my brother and I from taking sick days, if we were sick and asked they always let us take the day off. Rather I think I am prisoner of the example they set, I can not remember them taking a sick day other than the times when they were too sick to actually get out of bed. It is not as if they were workaholics either, my dad towards the end of his career stoped going to work on Fridays because he didn't feel like it, and he hundreds of hours of vaction time.

Likely I bigger part of my reluctance to take sick time when I feel sick is a strange outgrowth of my marathon running hobby. After ten marathons I have come to believe that success in running a marathon can boiled down to one simple thing, taking the next step, when taking the next step seems like the hardest most painful thing to do in the world. While this is a great attitude for running a marathon, it is not always so wonderful when it spills over into other parts of my life. It seems to have combined with my inherited antipathy of taking sick days to form some sort of weird mutant hybrid attiude that keeps from taking sick time.

On the plus side at least when it comes time for me to take paternity leave in the next couple of years I will have a metric butt load of sick time to draw from. I will feel no guilt for using sick time for that purpose.

1 comment:

gaelstat said...

I love the term "metric butt load". Having grown up in a household with a mother who was a doctor (and a sister who eventually became one), I can empathize about the not willing to admit you are sick part. To get any attention, or genuine sympathy, in our house growing up, you had to be half-dead, so one learned to shrug off anything short of a near-death experience as just something you put up with.