02 July 2008

Maybe They'll Get The Message If I Put on a Mask?*

There must be something in the employee handbook that says "If the employee feels s/he is getting sick, s/he must report immediately to lacochran's office."

Monday, a relatively new co-worker drops by. We'll call him Millard.**

Me: Hi, Millard! How ya' doin'?***

Millard, so germ infested he appears hazy: Not so good. Really, *Mill pauses here for dramatic effect* I feel lousy.

Me: You should go home and get some rest.

The Millster: No, I'll stay.

Me: ...

The Millinator: God, I feel like crap.

Me, wishing I had a can of Lysol to spray at and around him: If you feel so bad, why are you staying?

Millerino: I don't want to take leave. I'll be okay.

You?! What about me, Germy McGermster?? I don't mean to be unsympathetic but GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!

I'm not the kind to walk around with hand sanitizer or anything. I just don't want people wheezing death on me. Is that too much to ask?

Millard came back into my office later in the day just to give me an update!

MillMania,catchit!: Is it getting warmer? I feel warmer. I may be getting a fever.

Me: You probably don't want to kid around with something like that. Knock off early. The boss will understand.

MilliVanilli, our own viral Johnny Appleseed: Nah, but I do feel kinda lightheaded. Well, have a good day!

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your no doubt highly infectious disease with me.

Amazingly, Millard's behavior is not unusual. My office seems to emit a high pitched frequency that can only be heard by sick people (and whiners). It draws them in every time. It was only a few months back that I had another coworker, let's call her Zelda, stop by and the following conversation ensued:

Zelda, teeters and crumples against my door frame.

Me: Zelda! Are you okay?

Zelda: Yeah. Doctor says I have some sort of flu... and now I've got pink eye, too.

Zelda proceeds to come into my office and sag into a chair, plopping her belongings onto my table.

Me: Maybe you should be home resting.

Zelda: Too much w--*Zelda ducks* Man, did you see that?! What was that?!

Me: What was what?

Zelda: What?

Me: You just...

Zelda: ...

Me: Look, you're obviously very ill. Go home. Get some rest.

Zelda, now taking my stapler in her germy hands and snorting the snot up into her head between every few words: Too much work to do. I'm gonna borrow your stapler to put these presentations together, okay?

Me: Didn't you just say you have pink eye?

Zelda: Yeah.

Me: Isn't that highly contagious?

Zelda: Yeah.

Me: Then why are you in my office holding my stapler?!

Zelda: Oh...

Me: Take the stapler. Keep it. Go back to your office. Better yet, go home!

Zelda: You're so sweet to worry about me.


People, sick leave isn't about you. It's about protecting me from the disgusting diseases you manage to embrace. No one is going to heap praise upon you because you worked when you should have been home in bed ridding yourself of the Beelzebub that has inhabited you. You are not going to get a gold star. No one's life depends on you getting your stupid little Powerpoint presentation together or whatever it is you think the organization desperately needs you to do. So stop being a martyr and stop spreading your nastiness and go home!

* Speaking of masks, my neighbor wears a pollen mask and huge, 1970- style noise cancellation earphones when he mows his grass. He looks ridiculous!

** How come nobody is named Millard anymore? It's a pretty sexy name. I'll bet Millards get all the chicks they want.

I'm always upbeat with new employees. They're always enthusiastic about their fresh new ideas that everyone who has ever worked for the organization has had in their first weeks and now knows won't fly. It's entertaining. ****

**** Okay, okay. Enough with the footnotes.


D.C. Confidential said...

Ugh. People who come into work sick and don't go home drive me absolutely crazy! I've always made it a personal policy to go home and stay home until I'm past the fever stage before returning to work. I always figured it was better to miss work for a few days than to drag myself into work and be sick for a few weeks. Sharing, as a virtue, is all well and good, but some things just aren't meant to be shared.

rs27 said...

Millard Fillmore got all the babes.

True Story.

Bilbo said...

Millards don't get chicks. Mallards get chicks. And having just gotten over the Summer Creeping Crud From Hell, all I can say is thank God for sick leave. But in the future, if I've ever got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, I'll be sure to avoid your office, knowing now what a fountain of sympathy you would be.

Narm said...

I seem to get the people coming into my office to complain about how busy they are - which of course means I can't get anything done until the Sad Sack gets out of my office.

I hate offices.

Gilahi said...

I was recently diagnosed with something that I didn't even know I had. No symptoms, no indications at all. Fortunately, with reasonable precautions, the doctor tells me that my chances of spreading it are nil. So you should be happy to know that not only are the obviously-sick people who come into your office a threat, but people who seem to be the picture of health could be carrying stuff around without even knowing it. Have a good day.

GreenCanary said...

The last time I was sick I needed to go into the office to finish a project whose deadline was that day. (I don't normally go to work sick. I am of the same mindset as you. Sick? Stay home.) I planned on staying just long enough to do it and leave. Having my own office, I slipped in and shut the door to contain my germs inside with me. I'll be darned, but half the world came a-knockin' on my door that day. It was weird... It was like the closed door lured them in.

Anonymous said...

Yuck - I sympathize! Our IT girl came by to do something with my PC and sat there and sniffed and coughed the entire time. When she left, I clorox-wiped every surface in my whole cubicle, and the next time I opened a trouble ticket, I told IT to send anyone but her!
In the age of laptops and high speed internet at home, your sick coworkers should be working from the couch on days like this.

lacochran said...

D.C. Con: THAT'S what they should put in the employee handbook!

rs27: See?? Sexy!

Bilbo: That's me--a warm, cuddly puppygram of snarky criticism. Or sympathy. Either way.

Narm: YES! Why do people think I'll have sympathy for them when they spend an hour whinging about how they never have any time?!

Gilahi: Luvly.

Green: They just HAD to know what was going on in there! You tease!

Charlotte: I agree! The only thing worse is watching someone prepare food for you when they're sick. Ugh. That's appetizing! Could you cough a little harder? I don't think you got the *whole* sandwich last time.

Dixie said...

In offices, the mindset seems to be to not want to spread the disease. (At least when it comes to smart people like yourself.) However, I've spent a while now working in restaurants and retail stores, and you would not believe how many bosses insist you drag yourself in to work and stay no matter how sick you are.
These are jobs where you handle food! Jobs where you talk to customers pretty closely! It's really rather ridiculous. I've been told that I absolutely had to come in to work when I had the flu. Do you want a waitress with the flu? I thought not.

Sorry for the rant, every time I hear about sick people at work I think about all the times I had to hide some sort of illness from the families I was waiting on. It irks me.

Sean said...

Great post, and I like all of the footnotes.

By the way, can you take a look at my eye? (I'm kidding.)

Mike said...

I know a guy that comes in when he's sick just to prove that he is sick. Then he gets told to go home.

Bethany said...

HA! So it's not just my officemates that do this.

When I was pregnant, a coworker came in to work after visiting THE EMERGENCY ROOM. Diagnosis: severe strepp throat. I stayed as far away as I could. If he would have gotten me sick, I would have been sooooo mad.....

B and T Crowd said...

I'm saddened to hear I'm not alone in having sick co-workers gravitate to my cube.

Reya Mellicker said...

It's the weirdest kind of macho - or denial - that makes people come to work when they're sick. Maybe in the past their moms made them go to school sick, who knows?

It's SO STUPID! And we wonder why so many people have immune system disorders. I mean really - if you don't rest, drink liquids and watch stupid TV (or read magazines), then what's your immune system to do except eventually give up??

lacochran's evil twin said...

Dixie: Ick. Now I can think about that when I go to a restaurant.

Sean: Thanks. :) Glad your eye is doing better.

Mike: Yeah, I've suspected that's part of the game for some of these folks. Crazy, right?

Bethany: Indeed! Misery certainly loves company. In illness and in blogging. :)

B&T: You, too? Sighhhhh.

Reya: You're right. It's like some twisted pride. Crazy.

Shannon said...

Oh, wow, I hate this, too! I've worked in offices where the boss expects you to "play hurt" as he put it, and come in no matter what. So you'd go in, get nothing done, and slather germs on every colleague. It was horrible.

If I'm sick, I stay home. I watch movies, I rest, and I go back the next day feeling better. Since I'm the admin, I have people coming around my workspace all day - if I came in sick, every single person would get sick.

I think one thing that really messes offices up is when sick and vacation leave gets lumped into the same pot - people don't want to use their days off for being sick, they'd rather have the extra day at the beach. So they come in and get other people sick.

lacochran's evil twin said...

Shannon: It's true--it's not like you're going to be productive in that state.

Miss Scarlet said...

People get sick too often...it's ridiculous. And then they come to work and are martyr babies about it. Either suck it up or stay home. It's easy!

lacochran said...

Miss scarlett: Thanks for weighing in.

Judith HeartSong said...

oh yes... the germy ones.

I always feel myself recoiling and thinking "Nooooooo! I cannot get sick right now." I am no germ-phobe.... I raised two kids and have a pretty sturdy constitution... but sick, heavy-breathing people are to be avoided.

Stick a big old can of lysol prominently on your desk and point it at them with your finger on the trigger if they cross your threshhold.

And pink-eye... on your stapler.... great.


lacochran's evil twin said...

Judith: Right?! Totally with ya.

tadcranky said...

I'm lucky that I'm rarely sick, and I've had my job a long time, so I have tons of saved sick leave. So every once in a while, I'll call in sick when I'm fine. I firmly believe that if you're fake sick, you may as well do it for two days. So every couple of years I'll call in sick for two days. I'll come back to the office, everyone will ask me how I'm doing. I'll tell them that I feel much better, thanks. Then the office slackers will be out for a week, and say that they must have gotten infected with whatever I had. Happens every time.

lacochran's evil twin said...

tad: Classic!