Sick Enough to Go Into Work – Huh?


Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.

Les Brown



Jared, a client of mine, missed his last four sessions because he had walking pneumonia.  What started out as a cold developed into bronchitis and then turned into pneumonia.


When we met yesterday he told me that he’d had a rough go of it, though he said he missed only one day of work. He sounded oddly proud about not taking care of his health.


When I expressed my confusion, he looked equally puzzled, “Why wouldn’t I be proud?  I didn’t let this thing beat me down.”


I couldn’t resist and so I asked, “If you were able to go to work, why weren’t you able to keep your sessions with me?” “Oh, I was just too sick.” “But, you went to work?” “I had to; I had no choice.”


Jared works for a financial firm that is toxic. His co-workers are back-stabbing and I suspect his boss is pathological. It was this crippling dysfunctionality that led him to seek out my help.


So here’s the old-fashioned weirdness of it all. . .


Most likely, stress from work weakened his immune system and contributed to a bad cold devolving into pneumonia.


He went into work because he believed that if he took any time off, it would put him in jeopardy, although if he died from pneumonia then he’d not be able to work!


Yet, he didn’t have the strength to come to our sessions in which I could have offered him support and clarity.


Am I simplifying things?  I don’t think so.


The mind is a wonderful thing as we all engage in various forms of mental gymnastics.


Jared first came to me seeking my help in learning how to both protect and assert himself.


Virtually every aspect of his job had beaten him down and shredded his self-respect.


Yet, here he is taking pride in not letting pneumonia keep him from going to his toxic job, even though doing so jeopardized his health. This is crazy thinking!


Jared hates his job, but he needs his job – such are the times we live in.

He was afraid that if he took time off, he’d be laid off.

And, yes, this is a possibility given the nature of his boss.


BUT, nothing good can come from a place of fear.


We explored why he felt proud that he had the stamina to punish his body and will.


His response, “If I stayed home, they think I was weak and I didn’t want them to see me weak.”  So, he went to work in a sick, weakened physical state.  Huh?


The most dangerous thing in all of this is that he surrendered his power to the fear-mongers.


Therefore, the bottom-line question for Jared and for each of us is:

If you don’t protect yourself, who will?


Jared could have chosen to stay home for more than a day. He had that right.


I’m convinced his toxic boss delighted in seeing him suffer and in making a fool out of himself. Ultimately his boss won – again.


Recognizing that you’re ill, doing what’s necessary to mend quickly, that is a real form of assertiveness.


Pneumonia is not what’s attacking Jared’s self-respect.  His toxic boss is attacking that self-respect. And Jared continues to give him permission.


Self-help and business guru Tim Ferriss maintains that –

People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty


What about YOU?

What are YOU choosing?



Want help learning how to confront the toxic people in your life?

Have you been thinking about Communication-Skills Coaching?

Let’s explore how I can help you gain massive traction on your goals!


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