DEAR HARRIETTE: All of a sudden, I got really sick. I woke up one day and felt like garbage. I had so much work to do that I went to work anyway, but then I realized that I needed to take time off to get better. I don’t ever take time off, so my boss was shocked when I said I had to go.
He let me leave, but he constantly called me for information, files or paperwork -- anything he might need. It was hard for me to fulfill his requests because I had a fever and was sick. Finally, I told him I had to turn off the phone for a while so I could take a nap. He got mad at me. Because he was so upset, I came back to work the next day. But now I’m mad. I know I deserve to take time off when I’m sick. How can I get my boss to understand this? -- Boundaries
DEAR BOUNDARIES: Start by taking a look at your company handbook regarding sick days. Hopefully, there is a policy in place. If so, you can refer to it when you speak to your boss. If there is not -- which happens sometimes in small companies -- you need to be ready to request time off for yourself, even if it is not prescribed in a formal document.
Speak to your boss. Remind him of how loyal you have been over all of the time that you have worked for the company. Tell him that you did not appreciate, however, that he was reluctant to give you time to heal when you were sick. You jeopardized the staff by going into the office sick, and you compromised your healing by not taking time off. Next time, stay home when you are ill, and turn your phone off after calling in.