If you’re too sick to cycle, you’re too sick to work

28Apr10

We have a perverted work ethic. What may have started as a religious drive to be closer to God or the effort needed to coax blood from the field stones of New England to survive has in the intervening years turned into nothing more complicated than brute-force quantity over all else. Our work days make the Lowell girls look like teenaged slackers. Our vacation time is little and routinely intruded upon. We get and send emails at all hours of the night and on weekends. If no one else is working at 1am, how is what you’re doing any different from writing lines for mouthing off in high school art class?

But arguably the most egregious thing we do—and the one which directly affects those around us—is we come into work when we’re sick. The culture makes us feel bad for taking a day to recover. It’s an atomized guilt pumped into the ventilation system in every American office. We by now have it in our bones. We offer to work from home. Or we slump into the driver’s seat and against our natural instincts, we drive ourselves in, plague-faced.

And if we cycled to work? If we had a physical barrier which would keep us away if we were unable to pedal for twenty minutes? We’d get the rest we needed. We’d keep from infecting our office mates. We’d know when we were fully recovered and we wouldn’t push ourselves directly into the next round of exhaustion.

That’s what I discovered this week. I could arguably have carted myself in yesterday with the car, fading flu in tow, but I couldn’t have ridden. Turns out I would have been miserable—as I got worse in the afternoon before I got better—and I most definitely wouldn’t have kept my sick to myself. So that’s my new metric. If I don’t feel up to riding, I’m not well enough to work.

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One Response to “If you’re too sick to cycle, you’re too sick to work”

  1. 1 Ol

    Great point. Using the bike as a barometer of whether you’re fit for purpose makes sense – If you can’t physically turn a pedal there’s no way you’re going to be productive in the office.

    I’d like to see the metric you use turned on it’s head though. If you don’t feel up to working, you’re not well enough to ride!

    Now. Get back to work!


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