Do you often work through illness?

(9 Posts)
dodi1978 Tue 11-Dec-18 15:50:20

I've got a stinking winter cold currently (started last Thursday evening with a temperature - didn't actually measure it but my husband said you could have fried an egg on my forehead). Friday was worst - splitting headache, tired like hell, everything ached, blocked nose, sore throat, the works!
But I still dragged myself into work both Friday and Monday (not much recovery over the weekend as two small kids to look after and husband also not feeling well). The background is that I co-hosted my first ever symposium on campus on Monday (80 participants). For this, we obviously had some last minute prep work on Friday. Plus two attendees flew in from Canada and wanted to meet me before the symposium to make their time worth while.
In other words - I couldn't really take time off even though I should have. And of course yesterday, I had to host my own symposium. I managed to drag myself through with a grin and bear attitude....
This is not the first time this happened - I have often dragged myself into work knowing that a class would just be a nightmare to reschedule, and just simply knowing that nobody will pick up my work for me whilst I am away, given that it is so 'personalised' to myself. We are a small department with very specific staff expertise in narrow fields, so it would be very tricky for someone else to cover my classes.
Luckily, I had nothing important on today and was finally able to give in to my cold (and some extra sleep) - whilst looking after the toddler who has also caught it... think Peppa Pig on endless cue.
Make me feel better... I am sure I am not the only one who is doing this! In academia, our work is just so personal to us and any taking time off will just lead to it piling up for when we return. Anyone else?

OP’s posts: |
damekindness Tue 11-Dec-18 23:45:40

Same here ... went into work Monday still feeling nauseous after the norovirus fairy visited the house. Was chairing a meeting with loads of externals as well as dept staff that would have been a nightmare to cancel and potentially lost the university some money...no one else available as everyone is overwhelmed with workloads

sushisuperstar Wed 12-Dec-18 00:55:05

Yes discord would ensue if the students were denied service due to a staff member taking ill at short notice...

dodi1978 Wed 12-Dec-18 11:39:59

Glad I am not the only one! I already dread semester 2 when I've got teaching 4 days / 5 for five weeks - no scope at all for anything to go wrong.

It's not only students though - I am running multiple projects which I am solely responsible for, often with external stakeholders. Again, cancelling a meeting there might mean these people might stop engaging (at worst), or not be able to reschedule in time. Hence, I go to work. Sigh!

OP’s posts: |
impostersyndrome Thu 13-Dec-18 15:39:10

First of all sympathies. I'm sure your illness is not helped by the long hours we all put in.

And yes, I do this too, though where I am we're slowly building in processes, such as having a deputy for each and every committee, so that at least some things can be covered (e.g. Exam Boards) that in the past would have been a disaster. I do think sometimes we have to recognise that we're not irreplaceable. It took major illness a couple of years ago to confirm this.

Personally, I'd do everything in my power to not come into work with something contagious, if only out of concern for my immunity depressed colleague who shares an office with me.

Orchiddingme Thu 13-Dec-18 18:32:31

I would and do cancel lectures if I'm really ill, then either reschedule them or, once, I recorded the lecture and posted it online. Once every now and again I think this is absolutely fine. I always tell the truth as well and say why I'm off (in rough terms). Why pretend or suffer? If you are running a symposium and people came specially for it, I'd try to go to that, but if you couldn't you couldn't. No-one is indispensable, we have a couple of staff off unexpectedly sick this year for more than one session- what can they do?

I think most people would try their best to attend if they were able to walk/talk, but if you really can't without crying or feeling dizzy or being sick, then of course you can't go in.

Orchiddingme Thu 13-Dec-18 18:33:49

We do have lecture capture and recordings though from previous years, so the absolutely worst that can happen is the students have to watch a recorded lecture. Hardly the end of the world given attendance at this time of year is very poor anyway!

Ivegotnothing Thu 13-Dec-18 19:33:29

Totally different area of work, but yes. I haven't had a day of sick for a good 20 years (the last time was when my back went and I couldn't move, then hobbled in a few days later). They say sick doesn't go against you, but it really does. If I feel so dreadful I can't stand it, I book a days leave...

BlaaBlaaBlaa Thu 13-Dec-18 19:47:30

Yes. I'm literally the only person my university who teaches my subject so I feel the pressure to go in regardless- although I have a very understanding line manager so the pressure is mainly self inflicted.
I'm hoping to get more staff in the new year as this is not sustainable. My school manager really worries about what we'd do if I went off ill.

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