Having an office cold

In which I’m being poisoned by the air con.

Tidy Desk at work

A tube of Pringles, turning back time, a couple of loaves and fish. There are things that are meant to be shared, not among these are viruses and bacterial infections.

When the end comes for humanity it will not be through war or the murderous tendencies of Beliebers but via sickness. Contrary to what the movies tell you it will not be because of mass international transit or zombies, the reason we will all get Gnu Flu is because of modern offices and the sickness absence policy of big business. We are all going to perish at the hands of HR.

Along with the D-Day landings, Erin Brokovic or Bilbo the greatest act of bravery the ordinary person can demonstrate is going into the office with a cold. Despite having a highly infectious illness in such a compact environment that encourages the transmission of the flu bug the worker will struggle in to show the kind of commitment that is demanded by the modern work culture.

The bravery extends past the realisation that a day spent at home recuperating would clear it quickly as opposed to the coughing and spluttering lasting all week, but what is a day lost compared to a week of unproductive work? Plus how can you show what a dedicated little bee you are if you are wrapped up on the sofa and not exposing the healthy to your runny nose?

Thankfully modern buildings have a way to help those who aren’t feeling that well get empathy from their colleagues. It is called, somewhat ironically, air conditioning. Helping to create either a warm environment for the cold germs to thrive or being to cold to allow the infected to recover, a modern office is like a Petri dish with a water dispenser. If someone with a sore throat walks in the lobby at 9am then by lunch there will be full blown SARS on the top floor.

The blank look on the big business employee isn’t because of the monotony of working for a faceless corporation but the body conserving energy from the constant biological attack it faces.

The way that HR departments fight back is as effective as an UN resolution. To begin with they offer the advice to stay at home if you are ill to prevent it affecting more of the workplace. This is good logic as having one person off is much better than the whole work force bed ridden.

Then logic fails.

If you are ill and decide to protect the company’s valuable human resources from disease then you need to ring a number an hour before you start work. Then get interrogated as to why you are ill. Then made to feel guilty as to why you aren’t coming in. Go see a doctor for a note saying up have a sniffle. Get questioned again when you return. Be warned about being ill too much and threatened with potential disciplinary action. In some countries lose some days of holiday.

Is it any wonder that diseased husks of humanity plague the streets and desks of our cities?

Author: geekergosum

Ah, so you worked out the riddle. You just needed to use dwarfish and the doors to Geek Ergo Sum opened. Or perhaps you just used Google. Either way you are here, on my little corner of the Internet.

4 thoughts on “Having an office cold”

  1. A co-worker was recently presented with a lovely some-damned-thing for TEN YEARS without a sick day. Seriously? Umm..that bitch was PLENTY sick last December – I remember VERY well her slogging around sneezing on everyone and coughing into all the conference rooms! But let’s reward her for that, shall we?


    1. I used to work for one compnay where if you didn’t have any sick days then you would get a bonus at the end of the year (like they do at school sometimes for no days off). I am lucky that I can work from home if a little ill, but it annoys me when a colleague gives me a cold that I then give to the rest of my family. I’m not really into sharing.


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