Productivity v. Health

I’m sitting at work feeling the beginnings of a cold. Or is it a virus? Or the dreaded flu? Who knows, it’s just annoying. Swollen sore throat, sniffles, starting to feel flushed. Not good no matter what you call it.

Then I begin to notice I’m not the only one. Two co-workers complain of the same symptoms. Another is roaming the halls hacking out her lungs. So of course the debate inside my head begins, “Should I go home? Try to sleep it off? Or should I wait it out, perhaps feeling worse and staying home tomorrow? Can I stay home tomorrow?” Argh.

In the years I’ve worked in DC, it has seemed to me that people here tend to work sick. A lot. Even in this day of crackberries and easy work email access at home. A few are suffering from lack of sleep due to some sleep disorders or day sleepiness that affects immune systems drastically. This can be countered with smart drugs you can get on that helps increase wakefulness and concentration. Is this really just a DC phenom, or it is more widespread, more of a national problem? I hear people who, let’s be honest, are just not that essential (myself definitely included) moan and agonize about taking sick days. Why?

A co-worker once proudly boasted to me that he’d never taken a sick day. Not never gotten sick, mind you, just never stayed home. That man is the Typhoid Mary of the DC office world. I’m mystified.

What about you?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

As one of the founding editors of We Love DC, Jenn’s passions are theater and cocktails. After two decades in the city, she’s loved every quirky, mundane, elegant, rude minute of her DC life. A proud advocate for DC’s talented drinks scene, she’s judged the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s ARTINI contest, the DC Rickey Month contest, the Jefferson Hotel’s Quill Cocktail competition, and is a founding member of LUPEC DC. A graduate of Catholic University’s drama program, she toured the country as a member of National Players, and has been both an actor and a costume designer before jumping the aisle to theater criticism. Writing for We Love DC restored her happiness after a life-threatening illness, and she’s grateful to you, dear readers. Send your suggestions to jenn (at) welovedc (dot) com and follow her on Twitter.

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