May 19, 2011

Guilty as charged

I woke up this morning feeling awful. In my tiny apartment, the bathroom is about 10 feet from my bed… and yet just lurching into there was exhausting. I wasn’t sick to my stomach or throwing up, but I was more stuffed up than ever, my throat was so hoarse that I could barely croak out a sentence, and I was dizzy as all get out. I couldn’t even imagine looking at my laptop, let alone spend all day working away on it. So I called my boss and told him I was taking a sick day. All sounds pretty straightforward (albeit sucky) so far, no?

Except it wasn’t. Before I called in, I sat around for 30 minutes debating whether to take a sick day, and how I should tell my boss. I felt horribly guilty about abandoning my work, particularly with so much work to be done. To make things worse, my new company has an “unlimited sick days” policy. Instead of PTO days counting for both your vacation and your sick days, you have your vacation days and then you have an unlimited amount of sick days to be used at your own discretion. But what was my own discretion? If I could have just taken a vacation day, I would have done it gladly, but the idea of being able to take a day off and not have there be any consequences (i.e., no depletion of my free days) was really scary to me. Does that make me a workaholic?

Consulting can be a really tough industry in that it’s really isolating. You look around and you see everyone else working hard, and it makes you feel like if you’re not working just as hard (or harder), you’re a total failure. It’s full of Type A personalities and perfectionists (and I freely admit to being both of those things), and so everything just kind of spirals – the more someone else works, the more you work, and it goes back and forth until things are crazy. I don’t think anyone would ever say anything out loud about taking a sick day, and yet I never see anyone do it and I feel like there’s an associate. I can’t remember the last time I took a sick day – the closest people usually come is deciding to work from home so as not to get everyone else sick. And maybe this is me reading way too much into things, but my boss seemed a little miffed when I called him and told him I was taking the day off (though he did say several times that he hoped I was feeling better soon). Sometimes I wish I had a more straightforward job, without all the unspoken rules about what is and isn’t culturally acceptable. I’m sure it’s not a huge deal that I took a sick day, yet the competitive side of me just keeps thinking that I made a huge mistake by calling in sick. I feel like a wimp who couldn’t pull herself together, man up, and just get her work done. I feel like everyone else would have done that; was I just lazy and weak?

On the workout front, I skipped my Insanity workout yesterday (even though it’s “recovery” week and we’re doing these really light workouts). As a result, I spent the whole day today being antsy and even contemplating a workout… until I would get up and walk the 30 feet to my kitchen for tea, and discover that that short distance wore me out. It just so happened that one of my Twitter friends today posted about time off from working out, and that made me feel a tiny bit better. I know that rest days are key to allowing the muscles to rebuild stronger than before, but I’ve always preferred to just work opposing muscle groups instead of taking a full day off… which is why taking yesterday and today off for this flu is killing me. But all I can really do is hope that my body recovers soon, and I can get back to being the Energizer Bunny I usually am.

How do you feel about rest days/sick days? Do you enjoy the break, or are you totally guilt-ridden like me?

(This post brought to you by total honesty, and the fact that I’m not nearly as inspiring and perfect as people sometimes tell me I am. I have my failures too!)


7 thoughts on “Guilty as charged”

  1. don’t be too hard on yourself girl. Take those days you need to stay healthy. Even type A personalities need a day or your body will shut down on you and say “enough is enough”. As I posted in my blog recently, rest is just as important as anything to your workouts. Don’t sweat missing Insanity. It will be there when you are back to it. You are a very motivated and accountable person. I have never met you, but I don’t see you taking days off or workouts off at a whim.
    Get well soon girl! πŸ™‚

  2. I used to feel bad about taking sick days, especially when there’s a lot of work to be done, but not anymore. Health takes precedence, everything else can wait. Besides this is your body’s cry for some downtime. Rest up and feel better:)

  3. Sick days are there for a reason. If you want to be able to do your job well sometimes you need a recovery day. I used tone all worried about using sick days but now I use them pretty regularly even if it’s just a mental health day.

  4. Hope you feel better soon. I understand the purpose of rest days. now if my my can convence my body I would be in a better place πŸ™‚

  5. You are totally the same as me. I always think people are judging me on my sick days. AND especially when they’re on Mondays and are not hungover related (not that mine ever are) but I feel like that’s what people assume! I am crazy too but sick days- esp when you’re feeling not great are necessary AND you dont want to get others sick either!

    enjoy your day!! I am due for a mental health day soon πŸ˜‰

  6. Ahh, I’m you with on the sick days. I always feel like I need to overshare (details about stomach virus, headache, etc) to convince my boss that I’m not faking being sick. I always feel so guilty, when really I should be focused on getting better!

    Type A personalities, le sigh.

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