According to feedback from companies advertising work experience through us, a lot of people they bring in are taking sick days. During two week placements. Here’s our guide to avoiding the temptation. Even if you have a cold. (SPOILER: when interning, DO NOT TAKE ONE FFS)
Yes hangovers are the worst, but the guilt will get you if you stay at home. Oh it’ll get you. Unless you’ve woken up down a manhole dressed as a windmill, drink loads of water, grab a can of ginger beer to combat nausea (and provide a much needed sugar kick) and struggle through because once 5.30 hits you’ll feel like a champ. It happens to all of us and it’ll probably happen again, so if you don’t learn to suck it up now you never will.
No you don’t. There’s not, like, an acceptable quota and, if you’ve completed a month-long internship without pulling a sickie, that’s nothing to be proud of (unless both your arms fell off. In which case, you should have sought medical help immediately). It’s life.
However, in the world of interning and work experience, NOT pulling a sickie is fairly admirable considering the amount of people who do. Your employers are likely to notice it. You’ll be the intern who actually came in an interned, as opposed to being off and messing them around. Laurence Mozafari, acting digital editor of Heat says: “If you don’t come in, that causes hassle for the company. They’re unlikely to find someone else to cover you at short notice and, if anyone does come in, they’ll definitely outshine you for being so bloody helpful.”
A runny nose, cough and general malaise (Google it) will make you feel terrible but unless you’ve got a fever and are aching all over… go into work. No, not just a bit achey. We’re talking shooting pains and the inability to lie down because it hurts so much. If you can get up and walk around then you can sit at a desk swaddled in a cosy cardigan and type some things. If you’re a mechanic, professional bungee jumper, heart surgeon, professional jockey etc then probably stay off work.
Why should you go in? Because it’s a small world and these are your two weeks/four weeks/whatever length of time to prove to your employer that you’re a hard worker. Calling in sick during those two weeks is one of the worst things you can do because the last intern did the same. And the one before that. Be the one who comes in with a runny nose, and you’ll be rewarded in brownie points.
If you feel like crap, lounging around all day isn’t going to perk you up. In fact, it’ll make you more tired - after a sleepless night, your (exhilaratingly fancy jargon alert) circadian rhythms (thanks) will be disturbed and lying about/napping is just going to make things worse. Dr Michael J Breus, known as The Sleep Doctor and regular contributor to The Huffington Post, advises getting out in the morning sunlight for 10-15 minutes and doing some form of physical activity, like walking to a bus. And getting on a bus. And going to work. “The key is your wake up time,” says Michael, “Just because you stay up an extra two hours does not mean you should sleep in an extra two hours; your internal clock cannot shift that quickly.” Science.
This is one of life’s great tests and we know the feeling (I once worked in a call centre and kept crying at people I was trying to sell environmentally friendly detachable shower heads to) but think of your options. You can either sit in an office taking your mind off things with menial tasks and maybe getting a bit of sympathy from your colleagues or sit in the house alone, surrounded by broken memories and feeling your heart exploding through your ribcage while reading Thought Catalog articles with titles like 8 Reasons He Wasn’t Right For You.
Waking up feeling sad happens to all of us, and you just have to push through it. Especially if you’re on work experience because, hey, you’re boosting your CV! Not going in is going to make you feel a LOT worse. Mainly because, by about 11am the feeling will probably have lifted and you’ll be left feeling incredibly bored/sheepish.
If it’s a constant issue and you’re finding it difficult getting out of bed most mornings then it may be something a bit more serious. Check out our piece on depression to find out how to tell if you’re depressed, and for some helpful ways to start feeling better. Staying at home under the covers might seem like a solution… but trust us, it isn’t.
Alright, your arm has fallen off. Don’t do what I did and, because you’re terrified everyone will think you’re faking it, cough loads while actually describing a stomach bug. I did have a stomach bug, but everyone thought I was faking it, which meant I spent the whole day wracked with guilt on top of having to deal with some gastronomical situations that can only be described as “eye opening”. Check out Scott’s excellent blog on how to go about phoning in sick when you’re worried about getting rumbled even though you actually are sick.
Why not apply for some of these excellent opportunities and attend all the assigned days to get the most out of the experience? Score! Yeahh! Etc!