I hear in the news that there is a flu epidemic going on. It hasn’t affected me, maybe because I had a flu shot. But the news people say that may not work for all strains of flu. One cause they cite is the spreading of the flu bug in the work place. Seems many people come to work sick because they have run out of sick days or personal days as some companies call them now. So they go to work to avoid pay losses.
I spent 20 years in corporations and “back in the day” we had a certain number of vacation days and a number of sick days too. Silly me, I always assumed that if I wasn’t sick that I should not call in sick just to get a day off. I don’t recall ever doing that. But many did as I became aware of over time. Some called these days “mental health” days meaning they just didn’t want to go to work that day. Others didn’t even bother to justify it; they just called in sick and used it as another day off.
Businesses knew this was going on so many changed their policies to set a certain number of “personal days” that could be used for either days off or sick days at their discretion. Folks naturally began assuming they had, say, 25 days off each year and used them at will. By the end of the year many had used them up; hence had to go to work sick!
I think this is just one more issue of personal responsibility that is lacking in our culture. Also an example of self-centered thinking, using our personal days for ourselves but not considering what we do if we get sick and can’t afford to stay home or don’t want to jeopardize our jobs. Then the people who work beside us pay the price by catching our bugs because we are at work instead of home.
I don’t go to work any more so this doesn’t affect me. Other than increasing my chance to get the flu from folks who get it from others in the workplace.
I’ve been in management and am not sure how businesses can fix this problem. But I do believe that one fix for this is for people to take responsibility for their time off and consider their coworkers who they may ultimately be infecting. Is that asking too much?