I have the flu. Despite combing through CDC materials and surfing way too many other sites, I’m still uncertain whether it’s the garden variety seasonal flu or the more “exotic” H1N1/swine strain. No matter. It’s winning and I don’t consider myself an easy target.
You see, I’m a stubborn employee. I’m one of those fools who is under the mistaken belief that my active little cog in the wheel of commerce cannot stop moving. I don’t take sick days. I don’t miss business trips. I push and push and push because “I’m needed”. Employers and clients tend to like people like me because we will get things done come hell or high water. But let’s be honest, we’re sickness morons, and that’s what makes us the most dangerous type of flu carrier.
Given this issue, I’ve prepared seven tips for your most pig-headed (pun intended) employees during this unusual flu season:
Flu Tip #1: Do not pretend to be “ok” and participate in public activities. The flu Gods will laugh at your ignorance.
Feel like a tough guy/gal for working through the pain? Ready to jump on that airplane, rush to a client site or lock yourself in a conference room with your beloved colleagues? Well that’s what someone did to me and I’d love to get their name and address about right now. Stay home big shot.
Flu Tip #2: You’re not that important. Somehow the world will revolve without you, so take a sick day.
I said a sick day. Not a “work from home day”. Not a “I’m just checking a few emails and voicemails” day. I’m talking a regressive return to childhood day where you doze in and out of consciousness. And the rest of the world? As one of my wise Twitter followers said to me yesterday, “When I think I’m too important to take time for myself, I remember that graveyards are filled with irreplaceable people.“
Flu Tip #3: Buy a TiVo. This is the one time you’re allowed to watch TV in a zombie-like state. Take advantage of it.
One of the only benefits of being sick is the ability to watch TV. Wondering what all the fuss is about Mad Men? Watch an entire season in one day. You feel awful so try to be entertained as opposed to wallowing in silence. Your family would rather hear the clink of three martini lunches over your quiet moaning.
Flu Tip #4: Take a shower. You’re sick and you smell like it. And yes, those sweat pants will be burned.
Sick people stink. Clean yourself. It will require some effort but you’ll feel better for at least a few minutes. And remember that you own more than one loose-fitting set of garments so try and work the rotation. Be prepared for your favorite college t-shirt to be incinerated in the interest of public safety.
Flu Tip #5: Don’t apply your limited energy to work and leave nothing for your family.
Your family loves you and has tremendous empathy for your situation. However, if you pretend to be alright for a conference call and then collapse into a whining heap afterwards, this will not go over well. If you have enough energy to put on a happy face, save it for your caregivers or pay the price.
Flu Tip #6: You are not an extra in “Outbreak 2“. Cover your mouth/nose/face (head if necessary) and have some manners.
Somehow you’ve managed to live this long and never understood the basics of how illnesses spread. Be sensitive to the poor saps that come across your diseased path and control your coughing, sneezing and exposure. Wash your hands often. Stop touching stuff that others have to touch. Use your brain and try and stem the growth of this little monster called the flu.
Flu Tip #7: Just when you think you might be better, you’re not, so stop pretending otherwise.
This is one nasty virus. It’s a tease. You’ll be like, “O man my fever seems to be coming down and I’m ready to go back to work”, and the flu will be like, “Really? Have you checked your stomach ’cause I’ve got big plans for later today.” Be prepared to take whatever time is necessary to get this thing out of your system.
I know I’m writing a blog post while I have the flu, but I felt a surge of irony overcome me today. I’m a giver.
What tips would you add to this list? Have you joined the ranks of the infirm? Do you have stubborn coworkers that you wish would go home already? Share your tales in the comments section below and let’s keep the (disease free) conversation going.