Present and Accounted For

Ceramic neti pot; neti pots can also be made f...
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I’m a small business owner with three employees — me, myself, and I.  You could stretch that to two more, if you count my cats, who serve as office staff, reception, and coat check.  Absenteeism is not much of a problem.  If someone is absent, it’s me, and it means I am on vacation, or sick.

As I sit here at my computer, having slipped into pajamas shortly after arriving home from work at 7:30 p.m. I am congested and sniffly.  I have considered an almost-sore throat for the last three mornings upon arising, but it always gets better after I have drunk my first glass of water for the day. Allergies, Houston temperature changes (60 one day, 40 the next), or the beginnings of a cold that won’t make a commitment?  Who is to say?  The fact is, if this is the worst that it gets, I will probably just drink more fluids, breathe stem,  hit the neti pot, and get more rest until I feel decent again.

I insist that I’m not contagious, because I’m not running a fever, and I’m not sneezing or coughing — I just have really annoying congestion and drainage. But today, one of my clients came in — a five-year-old germ factory.  She exhibited full-blown cold symptoms, all except for the fever — but she was cranky enough that it might be on the way.  Suddenly, I feel the need to take better care of myself.

Our Puritan work ethic has made this country great — and our unwillingness to stand down, even with a legitimate illness, costs US businesses about $150 billion a year.  This phenomenon has been called “presenteeism,” rather than “absenteeism,” and I think it is also a contributing factor in our overall state of wellness, or lack thereof.  People have valid reasons for not wanting to miss work.  However, think of this:  if you take a day or two off to really get well, aren’t you coming out ahead, as opposed to never quite getting over whatever it is you have, and limping along, sub-par, for weeks?

I think I’ll pop a couple of vitamin C and turn in for the evening — it is almost 9:30 p.m.  A lighter schedule the rest of the week will help.  Sometimes, stopping is the best way to get a fresh start.

Read here for when to call in sick, and when it’s OK to go to work.

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