Sick days, revisited

October 13, 2011 at 4:45 am | Posted in small law, the book biz, the firm | 2 Comments

At my former BigLaw job, staying home when ill would make me feel worse than hauling myself into work sick as a dog. Oh, the anxiety! I would lie in bed feeling resoundingly guilty, my Blackberry burning up in my hand. I felt the need to reply to every email, every voicemail instantaneously. Mentioning that I was home sick was a sign of weakness, and anyway I was afraid no one would believe me. (What? Why did I think this? I have no idea.)

Yesterday, I emailed my colleagues around 7 a.m. to let them know I’d likely be in late morning — I had been up all night with some sort of stomach bug.

“Please don’t come in and get us all sick,” one pleaded. But I had a few emails that needed to be sent. “I’ll do it for you,” offered another colleague. Granted, this particular piece of business was agency-related, not billable legal work, but to offer to do it for me so I could stay home? Relief.

Later that morning, an email popped in my inbox from a legal client. Could we have a phone call at 11:30 a.m.? I emailed around to let everyone know that I’d call in. Immediately, another email from a colleague: “We don’t need you for this call! Back to bed!”

Is it my BigLaw work ethic or BigLaw fear that makes a legitimate sick day somehow worse than going into the office sick? I think it more likely that it is the latter!

Anyway, it’s fun working with non-lawyers, and even more fun working with lawyers who actually prefer me to stay home when sick.


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  1. I totally know what you mean! At biglaw there really aren’t any real sick days. Instead, they are work from home days where you are still “on” all day long.

    I don’t miss those days from biglaw. Now, I’m a stay at home mom, and I suppose I don’t really get any sick days either. But my new “bosses” are more understanding than my old ones. 🙂

    Love the blog, btw – I just came across it a few days ago. We have a lot in common!

  2. Oh, Big Firm lawyers want you to stay home when you get sick – but be as productive as if you were in the office. You have been so great about blogging. I’m going to work on one too!

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