4/23/14

I Have The Flu, And I Blame Corporate America For It. Also, Day Care Should Have A Sick Room.

As I lay here in bed, trying to summon the Grim Reaper to come put me out of my misery, my anger for America's socially accepted views towards illness in the workplace is mounting. I have the flu, and so does one of my best friends--in another state-- and according to the nurse I just talked to, so do an alarming number of people. That's right folks, if you haven't heard it already, the flu is going around big time! And due to the insane work ethic that has been pounded into the minds of Americans, I expect it is only going to get worse, before WE ALL get better!

That's Me.
It has always bothered me that, as Americans, we are taught that unless we are truly dying, we are to report to work. Some, including myself, have the mentality that the sicker you are at work, the more 'dedicated' of an employee you are. Employers even commend you for going up sick. And it's a widely accepted rule of thumb that the more you are willing to sacrifice your life, happiness and even free time, the more valuable you are as an employee. Sadly, we all know this is so wrong, yet a fair number of us pride ourselves on our work ethic and drive to meet and exceed those expectations for sacrifice.

I have no doubt the spread of the flu I am battling right now is due to someone going to work and spreading their germs far and wide. Recently, I went into a gas station, to find a clerk that looked like death. She was telling her coworker that she had the flu and felt terrible, but could not afford to miss a day of work. As mad as I wanted to be at her for spreading her nasty germs all over money and into the hands of the hundreds of people she would encounter on her shift, I understood.  I would have done the same if it meant the difference between feeding my child or not.

Since becoming a work-from-home mom, I have on many occasions been thankful that I am my own boss. Today is one of those days. As I lay here with a fever, barely any voice and aching all over, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, if I was still working for corporate America, I would be at work today. I would spend the day trying to avoid personal contact, while getting as much work done as possible, and somehow underneath all of the pain and illness, feel some sick gratification for dragging my sick sorry ass out of bed.

SO. Not. Right.

This same 'die at your desk' mentality, is also a huge part of why I held my son out of daycare for the first two years of his life; I was afraid of all of the illnesses I heard would come with daycare, thanks to parents dropping off sick kids. It's amazing to me that the rule of thumb with day cares is that, your  kid is welcome as long as they don't have a fever. Meaning, fever-free super sick snotty germ domes are welcome. HELLLOOOO. Again I say, SO. Not. Right.

Day cares are big fat petri dishes that keep the common cold and stomach flus in circulation all winter long.

This is not really a stab at day cares. I have no doubt day care employees could scrub every surface and child multiple times a day, and still not win the battle.  Parents could do the same at home, and still not win the germ battle either. The only thing that will ever help, is doing your part to stop the spread of sick germs. If you or our child are ill, limit your personal contact with others until you are better.

Simple. If your kid is sick, keep them home. If you are sick, stay home.

Don't worry, I know that is asking for the impossible. 


We are Americans, staying home due to illness is almost like asking Congress to get along. I say almost, because every once in a while we do stay home for illness...

I know that I am the majority in thinking this, 'die at your desk,' mentality is wrong. But, this mentality is also why America is referred to as a Super Power. Still, it's undoubtedly wrong that even though you are sick, your boss is still demanding that you have to work. It's beyond wrong that if you call into work because your kid is sick, you get docked pay and are looked down on. So what do you do, you drag your ill child to day care to keep the food on the table. It's wrong, wrong, wrong, all wrong!

So what's the answer? Clearly, more guidelines around illness in the work place. I also think that day cares should have 'sick rooms' for ill kids. The room could be kept extra clean with toys that can be easily cleaned.  I also think most ill kids want to take it easy.  Maybe the rooms also have a more relaxed structure, with movies and quiet play.  Lumping sick kids with healthy kids=One rotten apple spoils the bunch. One sick kid can take out 20 healthy ones.

Who knows, maybe if the sick kid rooms were in place, I may not have the flu today. Maybe if illness guidelines were in place at the workplace, the flu would not be spreading... What do you think?  Has this flu made me lose my mind? Or is it time for workplace guidelines and day care sick rooms?


April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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