Q: You are sick. Should you be a trouper and go to work or stay home to avoid spreading germs?
Going to work when you're sick is a great way to stay on top of projects and completely undo all the relational equity you've built up over the years.
Next to "the guy who heats up leftover fish in the break-room microwave," a sick employee is the most disliked person at every office. People don't see you as a hard worker in that moment; they see you as selfish. They don't think you came in because you didn't want to fall behind; they think you came in so you didn't burn a vacation day.
Come in if all you have is a cold.
Don't shake hands, take an over-the-counter medicine and be a trouper.
If you have anything more than that, though, consider the risk of coming in the office under the weather.
The good news is that working from home is easier than it's ever been. When co-workers hear you stayed home instead of infecting the office, they'll breathe a sigh of relief.
— Jon Acuff, career expert and author of "Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck"
Using medications to suppress your symptoms of illness and going into work despite being sick may not seem like such a big deal. You can try not to sneeze or cough near your co-worker and hope that hidden germs and viruses don't spread too far. You might think your presence in the workplace is absolutely vital.
But what if staying home were a better choice for your co-workers and you?
Battling an infection and regaining strength and stamina you need to do your job most effectively will be easier if you stay home and rest.
You can make the most of the time by doing some work at home, but also by stopping to contemplate any big-picture challenges that everyday distractions have caused you to ignore.
Your immune system and your co-workers will surely be happier if you make that choice.
— Dr. Carl Greer, clinical psychologist, Jungian analyst and shamanic practitioner.
Social Graces is a series asking two experts for advice on awkward situations. Responses are edited.
Andreea Ciulac is a freelancer.