Sick from work

by Listener Archive / 23 November, 2011
How do you convince the boss you’re sick without lying?

Ministry of Health Pamphlet 2914:
Go Home Stay Home!
When you get sick, the most important thing is to work out whether you are sick enough. Sometimes this is hard to figure out. This pamphlet is a step-by-step guide to help you.

Sick or Just Lazy?
It would be nice to stay in bed, wouldn’t it? But not if you aren’t sick enough, because you’ll feel guilty. Maybe you should go to work. But what if you are actually quite sick? It isn’t easy, is it? Remember, you are very lazy and will take any chance to get out of working. If you stay home without really being sick, you are really only lying to yourself – and that’s what really hurts. (Note: if something really hurts, you should stay home.)
Look inside yourself. What do you see there? Could it be some sort of cancer?

Death is a no-brainer. If you are dead, you can certainly relax, stay in bed and take the day off. Two days even.
Are your arms both there? Is your torso intact? Can you hear, see and smell? Are you free of major bleeding? If you answered no to any of the above, it’s also okay to stay home. You really don’t need to debate with yourself too long if your tibia is visible.

What Will You Tell Them Tomorrow?
Rehearse the conversations you’ll have tomorrow with people at work. It isn’t staying home today that’s the problem – it’s tomorrow when you’ll sink or swim. Will you be able to convince them you were really sick without lying? What would you think about you if you told you about how sick you were? If you’d use words like “brave” and “dangerously close to death” about yourself, then stay home. Otherwise, harden up.

Show Me the Money
Have you got anything to show for your illness? Is anything coming out of you? Has anything fallen off you? Have you or will you be shaved anywhere by the surgeon? Perhaps your skin has changed colour in places? Are you pallid? (If you’re usually pallid, this doesn’t count.) Got an eye missing?
Look in the mirror. Do you look like shit? If so, well done. As long as you still look like that tomorrow, you are home and hosed.
The best form of physical evidence (and there’s no way to be delicate about this) is actual sick-up. If you can honestly say you sicked up, nobody can doubt your true sickness, and you will be pitied, not judged.

Go to the Doctor
If you go to the doctor, you will be able to hold up your head as being genuinely sick. However, you can’t go to the doctor unless you are genuinely sick. This is called a catch-22, because if you go to the doctor, you’ll catch 22 diseases from the disgusting sick people in the waiting room.

The Phone Call
Don’t sound too sick on the phone – really sick people don’t sound that sick until their last days. Try to sound chipper, but in a way that your boss will know you are trying to sound chipper despite a perilous medical situation. Crack a joke to play things down, then when you laugh, end up coughing, but not too much. If while talking on the phone you find yourself thinking mostly about whether you sound sick or not, hang up and go to work.

Some Simple Mnemonics
If mucus floweth from your head, you may simply stay in bed.
Weeping ears? Peeling feets? Lie yourself between the sheets.
If you’re infectious, don’t go to lectures.
If you’re contagious, stay home for ages.
If it’s communicable, good luck finding a rhyme for it.
Go to bed and don’t come back if you ooze at both ends like a brandy snap.

If In Doubt …
Are you sure now whether you are sick enough? Well, a final simple rule is: if in doubt, stay home. The only trick is figuring out if you are really in doubt or not. (See Min. Health pamphlet 1464 “Are You Really in Doubt or Not?”)
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