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The Danger Of Congratulating Employees That Are Never Off Sick

The Danger Of Congratulating Employees That Are Never Off Sick

“I’ve never had a day off sick.”

How many times have you heard this comment used as a marker for how committed someone is to their job or employer, how good an employee they are, or how much of a hard worker they are?

I mean, congratulations on your great health and immune system and all, but not all of us are as lucky (such as those with longterm health conditions) – and that doesn’t make someone whose immune system or body is weaker and therefore more likely to come down with illness, a ‘worse’ employee. As someone with autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism to boot, I’ve felt this guilt in the past.

Many people with chronic health conditions are just as committed to their work but aren’t blessed with such good health. Is that their fault? Of course not!

I’m sure most would choose to live without dodgy health if they had the chance to!

Also, if you’re someone who does still go in to work when ill – you may be patting yourself on the back for your commitment to work, but you’re really just putting many other people (including those with a not-so-great immune system) at risk of getting your illness too.

And then, you guessed it, they have to take time off work and whilst you look more committed because you soldiered on in, the person who gets knocked for six because of their weaker immune system looks less bothered about their job while they feel ill at home, through no choice or their own.

Awarding people for ‘never being off work sick’ isn’t useful.

Have you ever felt judged about needing to take time off when your body doesn’t cope with illness as well? Or have you felt frustrated when a colleague came in sick and gave you their illness? Let me know in the comments below.

See also:

Thyroid Patients Explain How Their Thyroid Condition Has Affected Their Work Life

Are Thyroid Patients More Prone to Getting Sick?

What You Don’t Realise When I’m at Home with a Thyroid Flare Up

About Author

Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts and at events about the many aspects thyroid disease affects and how to overcome these. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her bestselling books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".


  • Caz / InvisiblyMe
    November 22, 2019 at 11:11 am

    I’d agree with this. I think it plays into the work culture that seems to be prevalent. Maybe it’s just some of the places I’ve worked, but there was one in particular that was absolutely awful and anyone that dared to take a 5 minute break was frowned upon. Actually being sick? Forget it! It’s like a very unhealthy competition and you’re only a winner if you forgo breaks, if you work through lunch, if you forge on when you’re sick. xx

  • Erin Wilmot
    November 19, 2019 at 7:12 am

    I’ve been let go from a job before for being sick. I took pto time and I had drs notes. When you have a weak immune system you can’t help how bad or how often you get sick.


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