What do you do when you are sick?

6 minutes


There are a lot of differences for employed and self-employed professionals and one of those is sick days. Companies provide sick leave for employees, but there’s none for self-employed individuals -- which is why you need to have one for yourself. Self-employed people tend to abuse the fact that they can work from home by working in their beds even if they are sick. But think about it -- can you still be productive at home knowing you’re not in your 100%?



Hello and welcome to the Traveling Introvert. Today I want to talk about sick days. What do you do if you are not employed and you have a sick day? And the reason why I say you're not employed is because some people who are employed, do get sick days as part of their compensation package, and there's just a different protocol involved with being sick when you are an employee compared to being a freelancer and/or working for yourself.

And so I want to talk about it because it brings up a lot of different things. So when I am sick unexpectedly, the first thing I do is send out an email to my team, letting them know that I am sick. I don't say what I'm sick with necessarily, but a due date of when I should be back at work and what the expectations are. As in I will clear my mailbox or I will just attend the call, whatever it is that I'm supposed to do that day, let them know that I will or I won't or minimize it and when to expect me back.

The next thing I do is stick an out of office and I just say I'm unavailable. I don't necessarily say I'm sick. Though, these days I've taken to being very forthright about it and being very much about, "Hi, I'm currently taking care of myself because I believe that work-life balance is important. Due to this I will not get back to you until ..." You know "... this day." Or "I will get back to you in the next ..." 72 hours, 42 hours, whatever that might be. Because if you don't put an out of office message and you get ... You know you fall asleep because you've got a fever or whatever and you get bombarded with messages, people don't know what's going on and people tend to want a semi-immediate response. So I definitely go ahead and put an out of office.

For social media, I don't worry about it mainly because a lot of my posts are already pre-scheduled or if I haven't gotten anything scheduled for today, I'll go ahead and quickly schedule it or just not schedule it at all. There's definitely days where I'm not on Twitter or I'm not on Facebook. Mainly because it's a time suck and it's not my favorite place to be. And also if I get a feel I don't have anything to say, then I won't say it. So social media will go down the wayside.

Now if I'm sick and I can feel it coming on, because sometimes you know that you might be sick or you're getting a cold. Your nose gets a little runny or whatever. Then I will try to do my best to mitigate it by, as soon as I feel that I'm getting sick, I'll go ahead and have tea or whatever it is that I do to make myself feel better. I will clear out my day or my afternoon before to and get more rest or more sleep. I'll also try and schedule or reschedule things in advance for the rest of the week in case I do come down sick. Therefore I have less pressure and less things to move around and just lower my workload schedule in general to give myself some breathing room and some time to be sick.

It's okay to be sick. I think we get lost a lot of the time thinking that, "Oh my God, I have a cold. I can only be sick for one day." Colds actually last three days. That's sort of a proven fact. And if you have a fever, then it's worse. So it's okay to be sick. We're not made to go through life without ever being sick. Be sick, but pay attention to it. Rest instead of working. Maybe you could have listened to a podcast because it's more passive or you could color or watch TV or YouTube or whatever it is you might do. You can always take in information in some different way or just sleep it out.

That's totally fine. Being sick is okay, but learn from it. Learn what makes you feel better quicker. Learn what you have to do. Read your body and do that. Do what your body is asking for and then when you come back, don't come back to everything at once because that's just depressing and might put you back to being sick again because you've over done it. Come back gradually, just like you should do after a vacation. Don't come back one day and be like, "Oh, I've got 300 emails. I have to clear them all." Don't do that. Come back gradually as a half day or do a couple hours work. Take a break for an hour, then come back and do a couple hours work.

It's all about taking care of you and not being afraid to tell people, "Hey, I'm sick. This is what's going on. I'll get back to you in 48 hours." If your clients can't understand about you being sick and as long as you have some measures in place with maybe someone else can watch your mailbox or someone else can do something. If it's behalf of a client, then those clients are not worth having. You are a human being and people need to realize that.

Thank you for listening. This is Janice from the Career Introvert, helping introverts amplify their voices through podcasting, publishing, and public speaking. If you have any questions, please email me at janice@thecareerintrovert.com.

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