I was sick today, and stayed home from work. Food poisoning was the likely culprit. Every time I have been sick or out of work unexpectedly, I always follow the same early morning ritual. I check my work e-mail from home, see what I would have had to prepare for or what I will face the next day, then place a call into my boss to let her know I will be out and the best way to contact me, if they need anything. I have always done this, but I don’t really understand why. I have already decided that conditions are best if I do not go into work. I have already decided that I cannot go. There is nothing that I could possibly hear that could pull me away from my sick bed and head into work – after all, if I could do that, then I may as well go into work and save my sick day for another time. I think it is a continuation of carrying on the perception of the responsible employee. It seem to be the attempt to show that, even though I am not actively taking part in my work duties and obligations for the day, I will continue to be a dependable, dedicated employee. Other than the occasional call from another co-worker or two, checking to see if I am okay, there is never an urgent call to duty that comes through. We aren’t saving lives with our careers; it’s just artwork. When someone else is out sick and I need information from them, I will wait for their return, even if they have given out their own compliance toward being contacted in the event of an emergency. What really constituted a work emergency, anyway? It is odd that we add this ritual to our sick days, but it seems like it is practically expected. Most of us, at my work place at least, have ground-breaking jobs that nobody else knows how to do. In my office, actually, each of us have written out a step-by-step procedure book, as it is a small office, for the very reason of allowing others to pick up where we leave off if there is some kind of emergency. I guess it is just a step that allows me to exercise a certain sense of control, during my weaker times when I find it impossible to control other aspect of my life – like an unexpected illness. Perhaps it is the need to continue the daily routine that I’ve built, even though I am forced out of that routine for a day. After all, we all have our comfort zones.
October 29, 2007