This is a message I wrote to my teammates at work about staying home when you’re sick. Some wanted to share it with friends, so here it is, posted on a medium made for sharing.
Over the weekend I was meant to be going to surprise my nephew to see him off for his first prom, catching up with friends, and generally being a functional human. Instead I was at home, in bed, surrounded by tissues, chugging Pedialyte, and eating cold medicine every 4–6 hours. During this time of misery, I took to the internet to implore people to stay at home if they have the privilege of paid sick leave (https://twitter.com/EricaJoy/status/990634188146556929), and now I am repeating that plea here: PLEASE stay at home if you are sick.
We are in very privileged positions here at Patreon, in that we can stay home if we’re sick, and generally the wheels won’t fall off the bus. And we get paid for it! We can even do the vast majority of our jobs from home (modulo some cases) if we are so very dedicated to working through the sick. We have the technology! What we don’t have, though, are super human immune systems, capable of fighting off every virus that walks through the door of Patreon. Many cold and flu viruses don’t cause us to present symptoms until ~2 days after we’re contagious, but when we do see symptoms and we know we’re contagious? This is when we should stay home.
I am at home today because I am still a walking snot bomb and I don’t want to get my teammates sick. I could be at work today. Modern medicine has created good drugs that can make the symptoms of my sickness recede for a few hours at a time and I can be a fully functional, walking, talking, disease vector. However, I know that some of you have interviews to conduct this week, and others of you have big plans for the weekend, and others just don’t like your nose to run like a faucet, and so I am keeping my communicable disease at home, not only because I respect my teammates time and health, but because it’s ok and encouraged to do so here.
This is long and I know people like clear requests (never “asks”) so here is my clear request: When you know you are sick and feel compelled to come in to work, ask yourself these questions:
•Will Patreon stop functioning if I am out of the office for 1–3 days? No? Stay home.
• Do I feel like I need to come in because it would look bad or I would get into trouble if I didn’t? If the answer to this is yes, please talk to your manager about this in your next 1:1.
• Is my coming into work worth getting 5 of my teammates sick? No? Stay home. Yes? Chat with your manager about this, there might be some misalignment.
• Can I accomplish my work from home? Yes? Stay home.
• Is my desire to be in the office directly related to my ego and sense of self worth and value? Yes? Talk to your therapist about this.
In summary, there is almost no reason for most of us to come in sick and if/when we do, we get our other coworkers sick, which isn’t fair to them. So please don’t. Stay home, take advantage of the privilege you have, rest up, and get better.
The Mucus Monster formerly known as Erica