It’s that time of year again: everyone I know is sick, myself included. Working in the courthouse is almost like working in a school — it feels like every pen, door handle and elevator button is covered in germs and, at the rate I use it, I am seriously considering buying stock in a hand sanitizer company.
With the close quarters in chambers, it seems like everyone has been ill in the last month. But all of us still show up to work. Why?
I don’t use my sick days because I have a well-developed guilt complex and loathe the idea of someone else having to pick up my slack (though apparently 29 percent of workers don’t feel the same way). Oftentimes your schedule is out of your hands — court dates are rarely rescheduled because of the common cold.
But this begs the question: are you really being a help to your co-workers by showing up to work sick? There’s no doubt that your productivity is less than 100 percent when you’re feeling crummy, and the more harmful effect of “presenteeism” is getting your co-workers sick, too.
Even knowing all of this, I still showed up to work under the weather last week, and I’d venture to say, most other young lawyers would too. Do yourself (and your work mates) a favor and take some preventative measures, like getting a flu shot and washing your hands.
If you end up getting sick and you don’t have time to make a regular doctor’s appointment, head to the nearest Patient First or health clinic. I went on Sunday and was in and out, with a filled prescription, in 30 minutes. They’re open 365 days a year with evening hours — perfect for young lawyers with documents to review and hours to bill.