Sick Days

Came home after a long day at work. Fell asleep on the couch pretty much straight away, feeling like crap. Woke up really properly sick now. Cold sweats. Shaking. Dizzy. Throat feels like a chainsaw.

Yay for viruses.

If this writing project was my job, this is about the point where I’d be debating about taking a sick day. Except now I’m treating this like a major event. I’ll turn up to work on important events even if my limbs are falling off – and that’s got nothing to do with being a big, stupid martyr. Let me explain.

I’ve stayed at work through the whole run of Mononucleosis. I’ve stayed at work (and climbing ladders for hours) with a foot broken in two places. I’ve stayed at work with a torn muscle in my back, making my shoulder swell up so bad that I couldn’t move my head and my left arm went numb and blue. I’ve also stayed home with a bit of a sniffle, but only when there weren’t big events to do.

The only time I’ve ever had illness keep me away from a major event was one time when I was in the Emergency Room with the Noro Virus exploding from both ends of my body and holding me in the grip of crippling, mind-bending pain. I was put on a drip for fluid loss and pain relief (since no pill was going to stay in me for more than 20 secs). I genuinely felt like I was going to die – and it would have been a relief because the virus was that painful. I’d been at work for a big event the day before (which probably wasn’t okay, since I’d been vomiting most of the day and night), and I still got a guilt trip from my boss about missing the one day I did, because there was a colleague who spilled hot wax down her arm and had to go to ER the night before with third-degree burns yet still turned up to work at that event with her arm all bandaged up…

Six months later (and after three years of hard slog for them), my lack of presence at that event was one of the reasons given for why I was not suitable for a job with their company. It took me two years to find another job. So there are good reasons why I tend to drag myself to work no matter what. I have bills to pay and I need a job. Life is unfair.

And no, I don’t think that’s an okay way to be. I don’t think that’s a good way to run a company. I don’t run my own team that way. But the event industry is vicious and massively inhumane, and I’m scared of unemployment.

The fact that many companies are run that way is a huge part of the reason why Event Management jobs are like meat grinders, with thousands of starry eyed new girls (and I’m being sexist here, but by far most Event Managers are women) starting every year, full of excitement and ideas about how fun and glamourous their life will be… and then giving up exhausted after 18 months to go be a PA or some other career where you’re allowed to be sick and have a lunch break and go to the toilet before your kidneys explode. This isn’t a job like other jobs.

But I’m just grumpy now because I feel sick and want to feel better. Must be time for drugs and bed… while I still can.




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