From time to time, I run into cultural differences that I just can't seem to grasp. One is the acceptance of calling in sick to work for almost anything. People had told me how you can go to the doctor and get a sick note for anything. They will even lie for you. Doctors don't really seem to care. Well, after 14 months of never once calling into work sick (yet showing up numerous times and spreading my sickness to everyone I work with!), I finally had to do it. Two weeks ago, I woke up so sick and couldn't keep my head out of the toilet. At first, I was hoping to pull it together to get to work, but after realizing I couldn't even stand up, I resigned to the fact that I couldn't work and called in sick. Over here in Scotland, there is a law that you have to be symptom free for 48 hours before you head back to work, so that meant I had to miss the next two days of work as well. On the second day, I went to the doctor. Though I was no longer "with symptom", I was still not eating or feeling well. The doctor did some testing and told me I should take a few more days off work. A few more days?!? What am I supposed to do around the house for a few more days? Needless to say, I told a little lie to my manager (saying I was fine) and was back at work the next day.
Now fast forward two weeks. All week my ear has been bothering me. Ear infections are a common thing for me, but I can usually ride them out without a visit to the doctor (I really do seem to have an aversion to doctors). But, on Wednesday night, the pain was unbearable and kept me up most of the night. Finally, I crawled out of bed at 4:15am to go to work...not feeling my best. On the way out the door, I woke Ian up and asked him to make a doctor's appointment for me for that afternoon after I got off work. When I went to the doctor, she confirmed what I suspected, I had a bad ear infection. After writing me a prescription, she told me I should probably take the next few days off work to recover. A few days off work?!? It's an ear infection! You have got to be kidding me. Needless to say, despite the doctor's orders, I am still going to work, ear infection and all.
When you are from a country that prides itself on work ethic, that provides its employees with 2 weeks vacation a year, and a sick week, it is a hard transition to move to a country that requires employers to give at least 5 weeks vacation a year, plus 2 weeks sick time (at my work, you get an additional week for every year you work, maxing out at 6 weeks sick time). People call in sick to work all the time and don't really care. If we ask for a sick note, they are easily attainable. It is obvious that there are flaws in both ways of thinking (too much work, and then not really caring), but there has to be a middle ground somewhere. Now, it is just finding that middle ground!
Seeing My Body With Fresh Eyes
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