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Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty When You Need to Take a Sick Day

I recently took my first sick day of the year; let me actually rephrase that, it was a half day.  I came into the office weary if I would make it the whole day and—I didn’t.  And let me say that although I reserve sick days in my paid time off (PTO) days, I still feel guilty every time I need to use time for being sick.  I guess it’s because it’s unplanned, while vacation time I anticipate and can plan accordingly.

While I was told by several coworkers to go home, Ferris Buellers Day OffI hated the idea of having to use my PTO time for being sick instead of tooling around in my best friend’s dad’s Ferrari 250, taking in a game at Wrigley Field, or posing as the Sausage King of Chicago to snag a table at Chez Quiz.  But it came to a point where I physically couldn’t sit at my desk and be productive anymore, so I decided to succumb and use the time I reserved.  But that didn’t make that guilty feeling go away.

And I don’t know if there is a way to fight it—the guilt, but I’ve put together my top reasons to at least make it easier.

  • Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  If a co-worker came to work sick, you’d tell them to go home because you wouldn’t want to get sick, right?  So don’t feel guilty when you need to stay home, think about it like you’re doing your colleagues a favor. 
  • Be more productive. Employees are more productive when they take a sick day to recover from an illness rather than powering through and dragging themselves for three days at half speed.
  • Don’t worry, that’s what they’re there for.  Sick days are given to employees to use in case they get sick and everyone does—it’s unavoidable and understandable if you need to use them.

I’m sure there are many more reasons to use a sick day and not feel guilty when you are actually sick, but these three should make it easy to pick up the phone and tell your manager that you’re not going to make it into work today.

If you have any other logical reasons you’d like to share…let us know!