Missing the Point on Working While Sick

CNN has a piece “Why you shouldn’t go to work sick” that really doesn’t get the reality of the workplace. While there’s some good advice (notably, try to avoid going to work and making everyone else sick), it misses the key link–employers who don’t care if you’re sick. Some reality (boldface mine):

Here’s one consequence of blocking this effort (boldface mine):

There is a brutal constancy to the workweeks of these two women: 72-hour weeks piled one atop another….

Now and then Ms. Loyola, 35, wears down and the chill of flu runs through her body, and she vomits in the employees’ bathroom. And, she says, her boss shakes his head and warns:

You go home, you’re fired.

But I’m sure that drink will be just fine. Nothing to worry about. Anyway, here’s another heartwarming tale:

As for Ms. Alvarez, 48, some months ago her heart throbbed, her arms and chest heavy with ache. On her single day off she walked into a clinic, and a doctor listened through his stethoscope and told her: Your heart is in bad shape.

He checked her into the hospital. A few days later, she was discharged and walked 15 blocks to beg her employer for her job back. She said he was disgusted: You’re old and you’re sick. With that, she said, he sent her back to chop in a basement filled with two inches of gray water.

She is a proud woman with dark, piercing eyes set in a full face framed by high cheekbones. She said nothing to her boss. “I couldn’t stop thinking: How will I find money for food? For rent?” she says. “So I went to that basement.”

Would you want to eat at a restaurant whose food preparation area has standing water? Yummy (but not like this).

Employers, not workers, are the key issue here.

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1 Response to Missing the Point on Working While Sick

  1. John Danley says:

    Learned helplessness is how we rationalize sadism in the workplace. Everybody row, everybody row…

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