Heating on. Heating off. Reaching for your winter coat one minute and digging out your summer frocks the next. Whilst it’s been great to enjoy some freakish October temperatures, unfortunately it seems such extreme conditions are the perfect breeding ground for the evil that is the COLD!
Every year without fail I am attacked by a bout of sniffing and sneezing so wretched that I would gladly consider a head transplant. For three to four days I am rendered part-deaf and unable to taste food. Add to this lifeless eyes, grey skin and a red, flaking nose and you have an attractive vision of someone who is clearly not in the peak of health. So why do I feel guilty when taking time off sick with a cold?
The dilemma is that whilst I’m not ill enough to be bedridden, I’m struggling with the most basic of office chores and therefore not doing my job to the best of my ability. I’m also battling terrible guilt at the thought of passing nasty germs to my colleagues. I need some time off.
Just to be clear, I’m not advocating sickness absence and of course appreciate the damaging cost to the employer, but I do believe time to rest and recuperate is important. In order to make us all feel better, here is my guide to help you deal with making that ‘I’m not coming in today’ call and getting back to glowing health:
Step 1. Lay groundwork for impending absence by covering desk with lemon-based hot drinks/menthol lozenges/entire supermarket fruit aisle ‘because you feel like you’re coming down with something’. Coughing/sneezing/pastiness of face should escalate throughout the day further adding to colleague sympathy. Leave work slightly earlier to go home and rest.
Step 2. Make the early morning call to report your absence. Of course you will already have croaking voice and streaming nose but the more coughing, snorting and sounding like a horror film creature down the phone you can do, the better.
Once day off has been established you are free to look and feel as hideous as you like. Here are some suggestions for day-off activities:
1) Throw on your mangiest dressing gown and enjoy a rare opportunity for some daytime TV. You could play guess the soundtrack to some plastering on Homes Under The Hammer or see how much officemishaplawyers.4u.com could earn you should you be unfortunate enough to be flattened by a filing cabinet or similar.
2) Go out and get some fresh air. You are not in hiding, you are ill and you may go to the shop for more tissues and paracetamols. Should you bump into anyone from work there is no need to act shifty and pretend you were on your way to the doctors. It may be a good idea to tone down your makeup, although dressing gown (see above) should not be worn outdoors.
3) See if you can look pathetic enough to persuade your significant other/Mum/Dad/flatmate/friend to bring in a ‘get well kit’ of your favourite magazine, wine and slab of chocolate. If they could also find the time to pick up that dress/those shoes you’ve been eyeing for some time, that would really set you on the road to recovery.
After a couple of days at home you should be fully aware of the entire daytime television programming schedule and ready to return to the office. This is where guilt can strike again and you may feel the need to justify your absence. Overcome this by playing up the remnants of your cough and sniffles and dousing yourself in Olbas Oil to leave a trail of menthol fragrance as you walk through the corridors. Within a few days you’ll be back on your usual sparkling form and relaxed in the knowledge that you did the right thing by staying away with your germs, and have actually indirectly increased business productivity by not starting an office cold epidemic.