Sick notes

I’ve been sick since Monday, so I’ve not been at work yet this week.  I’m on the mend, so I’ll be in tomorrow; however, today, my office demanded a doctor’s note for the time I’ve been off.

I did go to the doctor, who confirmed what DW and I already knew:  that I have a viral infection and need to rest and let my body fight it.  I now have a note that lets me to stay home* until Friday; however, it’s pretty clear that work has been more worried about me being signed in than me getting healthy again.  It’s important to rest and let your body mend itself when you’re sick; you should be able to tell when it’s using your energy for fighting the infection, since you’ll have less energy for your usual activities.

I feel pretty strongly that getting doctors’ notes for short absences like this is ridiculous:**

  1. From the doctor’s perspective, now they need to waste time seeing people who don’t need to be seen, just to send a note to employers that employees need time to heal when they are sick.  This time could be much better spent seeing patients that actually need their services rather than just adding additional busywork burden on our medical system.
  2. Now the sick individual needs to get out of bed, become presentable, and travel, all of which take energy and prolong the healing process.
  3. This shows a level of distrust from the employer of the employee, which typically won’t make the employee like their place of work any more.
  4. There’s also a financial aspect to all of this:  since walking would have taken significantly more energy and time, I spent $25 to cab to and from the doctor.  I also spent $30 out of pocket and an additional $178 of insurance money on this pointless trip.

You already know how I feel about this whole sick-note, must-be-at-work-as-much-as-possible, better-work-at-least-40-hours-per-week culture, but it just keeps getting reinforced as time goes on.


* Figuratively speaking, of course:  I work from home.

** Especially since my company gives 40 days a year of sick leave, so – theoretically – the message is to take care of ourselves.


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