Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When to make the call

In fast-paced, "feed the beast" profession like radio news, it's hard to know when it's reasonable to call in sick. If I worked at a ho-hum office job, I probably would have taken Monday, Tuesday and today off. It's not like I'm horribly sick or anything, I just don't feel 100 percent. I've been sneezing, my eyes gushing buckets, and very tired, but I'm not achy or seriously stuffed up. If I worked in a profession where I didn't think my contribution was vital, I would take days off without thinking twice.

But working in news radio is a another ball game. I know what it's like when the station is down one reporter. The editor scrambles, the product going over the air suffers (or so I'd like to think). For me, I have to feel really bad for it to make sense for me to call in sick, which usually happens once per year. I did in December, which is why I hesitated to call in this week. In December I felt miserable, and compared to that, I feel pretty good right now. Even though I wish I could snuggle in my bed, and sleep for hours.

I know other members of my radio station feel this self-induced "guilt trip" as well. People will drag themselves in feeling horrid, and the boss literally has to tell them to go home. I don't hesitate to tell one of my coworkers to stay home, rest, get well. But I have a hard time applying that logic to myself. Why is this? I think because as journalists, we really care about the quality of our radio station. It's ownership - that's my station, and I want it to do well. I want to report the news, I want people to be informed.

This is an endless cycle. Sick people come to work, and get others sick, and soon the newsroom is one gigantic raging germ. Sometimes I wish we just wouldn't care so much, but then again, that's the whole point in being in a profession we love.


Travis said...

As the reporter who did call in sick this week, I can relate. However, I also learned long ago...our job really isnt different from others...if we are sick, we need to stay home. We'll get better sooner if we do and we aren't saving lives by producing radio once or two days without us...the show will continue to go on.

Kristin stop feeling the guilt and call in sick when you need to.

Paula said...

Gosh, sounds suspiciously like being a business owner! I CAN'T get sick! That said, I agree with Travis; they would get by. It is one of those jobs where you know you are needed and important, and are just being a loyal team player, looking out for your co-workers, which is a good intention. Like Erick, who won't cancel a racquetball doubles match even when coming down with the flu because he doesn't want to let his partner down. tip is.....if you at all can....the instant you feel a bug coming on, get extra, extra, extra rest! Hot bath! Vitamin C!

dog grrrrl said...

Okay this comment is NOT directed at you but...

I hate it when people go to work sick. Not so much in your business but the other day I was at the grocery store and the checker and bagger were sick and both sneezed on my groceries!

If you have trouble doing it for yourself do it for your co-workers:)

Colleen said...

I feel the same way. The morning show could go on without me, but I'm the only person who knows how to edit the website until Rob gets in at 10:30 a.m. The ONLY person. That has put a lot of pressure on me to not call in sick because, as you pointed out, we care about the product on our station/website. It's a sick, sick, sickness.