An Open Letter To Those Who Refuse To Call Out Sick


If you’re not feeling well, for the sake of your health and everyone else’s, just call in sick. | Source: ShutterStock

Hi Sick Folk,

I could have been at work in the office today, writing jokes and making bank. Instead, I’m spending my day blowing my nose and hacking more than Carlos Mencia on an HBO special. (Incidentally, Mr. Mencia knows all about making bank, but nothing about writing jokes.) In any case: Why?

Because you refused to call out sick. Instead, you came into work blowing your nose and hacking more than Carlos Mencia on an HBO special.

Guys, when you come to work sick, not only are you in poor morale, but you also made the rest of us vulnerable to your pathogens. We’re constantly trapped in a room of cold, dry air. We’re in close quarters. And you are contagious.

You look and act miserable, and your work suffers. Everything you do has to be redone, making us pretty much lose a day’s worth of effort despite being in the office. On top of everything else, you may give us attitude in front of our boss–bad move, sickos.

Next time you’re sick, please just stay home. You may think you’re being a martyr by coming to work when you don’t feel well, but really, you’re just Patrick from The Walking Dead, and you’re infecting everyone else. You’re not doing anyone any favors. You’re just making all of us mad and sick.

I’m not a nice person, so chances are I already didn’t like you much even when you’re in perfect physical health. But now, holy Hell, do I hate you now. While I appreciate that I won’t have to wear pants today, I’m still pissed that it’s not on my own terms.

Jess Sager

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    • Evil Stepmom

      Question – what if your workplace doesn’t offer personal leave for sick days? My old workplace did not offer that and even if you took the day off unpaid, you were likely to get in trouble for it with the corporate office. Sometimes taking a sick day just isn’t an option.

      • Tana Siemaszko

        Exactly. A huge amount of companies do this. Heck I read other bloggish sites and keep seeing things from people in foodservice where it’s the LAW that they do not come into work if they’re contagious. They’re all blogs about how the bosses tried to force them to stay/come in/get their OWN shifts covered, etc. And had to be beaten down with “the local health code,” and then retaliated against the workers who didn’t have sick time anyway but were trying to do the “Right Thing.”

    • Tana Siemaszko

      Hi Jess Sager,

      I will be glad to stop coming in sick when the company I work for and my direct boss do not make my life utterly miserable, mess up my performance evaluations, avoid me for promotions and otherwise are completely nasty snarks to me.

      I will be glad to call in sick if I don’t have to go through hoops that include spending money I do not have on a doctor’s visit that cannot do a thing for me because I know I have something viral, just to get a note for my boss so I don’t get fired/do get paid sick time etc. (If I have sick time in the first place.) If I don’t I’d be glad to call in if I was given sick time, see, I cannot afford to lose a full day’s pay.

      Employees who work for most of the current employers out there.

      • JLH1986

        I would guess that if she is writing this, that she does not work at such a place, as if she did she would know exactly why said employee came to work sick.

    • Lu

      I’m a preschool teacher and I feel this so hard. There are about 10 employees at my preschool and when one of them comes in sick I am instantly annoyed. Our sick days are unpaid and I understand how much a days pay (which is $40-$50) can mean. But when a teacher is contagious it’s almost certainly going to spread to at least one student in their room and pretty soon I’m cleaning the puke of 4 different children out of the circle time rug. Praying that I don’t get sick.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      You clearly come from the kind of job where you CAN call in sick. Not the case for me, or many, many others.

    • aut0pil0t

      Dear Jess,

      I’d be really glad to stay home to avoid infecting the fellow coworkers when I’m sick but the problem is that the management does not see or understand it that way. I hardly think any of us want to be a “martyr” by coming to work when we are sick (well there might be a few who wants to be a martyr). Most of us report to work during sickness due to lack of an alternative option. I personally think the management should be more open minded in these situations than squeezing a few man hours from a “Patrick”!