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“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.
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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, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.