From country to country, different cultural norms set the pace for much of the way people live. These norms can influence the types of leisure activities those people enjoy, the kind of television shows they find most entertaining, influence small mannerisms and even affect their work ethic. The United States prides itself in being the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” but that is not the only thing its people take pride in.
Instead, American citizens also tend to suffer from a misplaced pride in their own abilities and unwillingness to take a breather when they need it. Specifically, you see this in athletes who play injured and end up ruining their careers because of an unwillingness to take the time for proper healing. Of course, you can also see this in everyday people when they refuse to stay home despite an illness.
In a survey sponsored by GOJO Industries and conducted by Wakefield Research, research unveiled some pretty poor findings in the American workplace when it comes to health. Most notably, 69 percent of those surveyed will not take sick days, even when they are sick. Why won’t they? Because they feel they need to be at work to cover their own pride. Of course, 7 percent of those apparently never get sick, as a slightly lower 62 percent of all those surveyed claimed they have actually gone to work sick.
When they do arrive at work sick, apparently a good amount of them also don’t know how to properly keep their germs to themselves as 60 percent of those surveyed talked about how they saw co-workers sneeze without using a tissue. Naturally, this doesn’t just stop at the workplace either. In fact, three in four (75 percent) of parents report they have sent their children to school while sick, inevitably building up future generations to make the same mistake.
The unfortunate reality is that this type of behavior is more the result of misplaced pride than it is anything else. People are unwilling to stay home if they are sick because they do not want to show a lack of commitment, initiative or otherwise miss out on something important. For their children, they often believe missing school will lead to the child falling behind, which is totally unacceptable in this competitive environment.
Instead, people need to start taking personal responsibility for the spread of illness and realize how important it is to keep themselves isolated when they are ill. The CDC actually estimates 80 percent of illnesses are spread by touch, which means taking a day or two off could actually help ensure that your coworkers (or other children) do not get sick as well. It’s time people start realizing that everyone gets sick at one time or another and your refusal to stay home actually puts more people into your same position. Put more simply, you are being a jerk.
Of course, even if you stop going into work sick, the unfortunate reality is that not everyone will. So, it is important that you do your best to stay safe from illnesses. If you think you are around someone who might be sick, don’t be afraid to keep that hand sanitizer at the ready. Wash your hands whenever you touch anything that a sick person might have handled and don’t touch your face if your hands might be unclean.