Chronicles of trading in Corporate America for a waitress's apron during my very own quarter-life crisis.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Employees with colds: Cubicle vs. Kitchen

As I age (gracefully, shut up), I've learned that I may be prone to some seasonal allergies.  Not all seasonal allergies, as I'm still in my 20s and damned if I get all of old age in one go, but some sniffles.  It seems that this "allergy" hooplah presents itself as a cold that doesn't go away.

(Thank you, "cold," for being a constant companion.)

However, this tends to be a problem at work.  I'm lethargic at times now, my eyes are blurry, and my near constant "<wheeze, hack>... so the prime rib comes with two sides... excuse me<cough>" in front of customers isn't exactly appetizing.

Managers in most chain restaurants, such as mine -- which, for the purposes of this blog, I will refer to as TGI O'Chilibees -- will require a doctor's note for when you miss work due to illness, upon which I call immediate bullshit, because:

(1)  We can't afford to see a doctor.  Any doctor.  We can barely afford to see Doctor Krieger on Netflix.  (Uh, that's an Archer reference.  Prepare for those.)

(2)  The one time in my many years of food service that I called out sick and was required to bring in a doctor's note, the manager didn't even look at it.  She just said, "Oh.  Yeah, just hold onto that."

(3)  Some servers don't even show up to work, come back with nothing to justify it, and then they have a go at bartending for a few hours and make $200.  The rest of us that don't get away with that kind of lazy assholishness have to not only miss out on shift money but also pony up $50 to get a doctor to say, "Yeah, you're kinda sick.  Here's a note."

(4)  I used to call out of work two or three times a week at my office job, at my worst.  No one even noticed I was gone.

So for #4 there, if I did show up to work with a cold, I'd just blow my nose discreetly in my cubicle, no questions asked.  If my boss noticed that I was substantially under the weather and contagious, he would suggest that I'd go home.  But I'd stick it out.  Be A Team Player.  Go The Distance.  Deliver Inspiration.  ... with conjunctivitis.  Because, the thing is, if you're sick and alone in your cubicle, and you stay in your cubicle, you're a hero.  "Gosh, look at that trooper,"  "She sure is committed," etc.  If you're sick but don't stay in your cubicle, I've learned that people will go to your boss and say, "Are you an idiot?  Send her home; she's going to get us sick."

At a restaurant, it's never suggested that you go home.  You're stuck.  You can't afford a sick day.  You try to hide your runny nose while you're taking a customer's salmon order; the carefully applied makeup on your face is ruined from rubbing your eyes; you stifle coughs as you roll silverware; your hands are cracked from washing your hands after every wheezing fit in the kitchen.

I would say that it beats looking at a computer screen all day when you're sick, but in my case, I'm looking at hungry customers.  Hungry customers that don't want to catch a cold from TGI O'Chilibees.


  1. Well, you just need to be a writer, and that's that. And how does this thing know to call me "KK"?

    1. Maybe because it recognizes your gmail address? Not sure.