Self-Care: Pages of a Career Journal

It is common in my organization for people to disclose their illness when calling in sick. I don’t mind doing this when it’s something mundane, like a cold. But sometimes one has personal issues that you don’t feel like telling your boss about. I’m talking about something that means one or two days out of the office — not a week or more, when I feel some sort of disclosure is probably appropriate. My concern is that I look as if I’m dodging work by not divulging the reason for a particular health-related absence. – NYT

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The headline “How specific do I need to be when calling in sick?” transported me back to graduate school. I was working at my advanced practicum at a homeless youth clinic. I had created and fought for that position and was told in no uncertain terms “Don’t let me down!” To my ears that equated to “Don’t you dare let these young adults down. They have had enough failure and people not showing up for them.” Well, I got sick that’s what freaking happens when you’re a graduate student working full time, going to school full time, and working a practicum part time. That’s 21 of your 24 hours. Something had to give, and for me it was sleep. I hit a wall of exhaustion, I mean one day I couldn’t get out of bed, my body wasn’t having it. I, however, couldn’t call my practicum and say “I am suffering from exhaustion and I won’t be in the clinic this week.” I am unsure what I said, but as I have students parading through my offices to discuss spring and summer internships and am fielding personal calls from nieces and nephews who are looking to obtain free housing, it must have sufficed.

I will share this article with them as it is important to know your limits, have self-care, and have good accountability. I agree with _. If you’re not comfortable revealing the cause, just focus on one symptom; if you don’t want to get into the symptoms, just name the cause. I did find my old journal entry and it read “Today, I woke up feeling like shit. I mean I can’t move I feel like I am paralyzed (God please don’t let that be the case), my eyes are burning, and I feel like someone’s holding me down and preventing me from achieving my dreams”. I had to call _ to tell her I wouldn’t be in tonight. My heart quickened when she answered. I simply told her I wasn’t feeling well and would be out. She shocked me by laughing and then told me okay, as she never had a student with a perfect record but that I was close. She told me to get some rest. Did she know I had exhaustion? Did it show in my work? I pray not” The entry made me smile and reflected the super worrier I used to be. What do you say when you call in sick?

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7 Responses to Self-Care: Pages of a Career Journal

  1. Funny yet factual accounting of what we believe all mature through. As time progressed I would call and say “I wont be in today, thank you”.

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  2. msw blog says:

    I know right 😊. I also agree a short concise answer is best .

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  3. I’ve worked with my same people so long we all know each other’s business so hard for me to think much about whatever as they know I’m just going to answer truthfully (although I know that much honestly can get you in trouble but I am lucky they know me too well at work that I’m gonna make up my work fast as I can and will stay late too. Has to be a give and take to me but I know I am one of the lucky ones,

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  4. msw blog says:

    You are in a blessed situation and I agree balance is key ;). You and your readers may enjoy this post “Life’s Appointment”
    https://reallifeofanmsw.com/2016/12/20/lifes-appointment/

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  5. Miriam says:

    What a great post I think we can all relate to. For me in a new job right now it would be hard if I fell sick and my boss is anything but patient and tolerant but I would manage somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

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