As I'm sure many of you already know, flu season is here. And apparently, it's one of the worst seasons in recent memory. We're talking vaccine shortages and a staggering number of cases being reported.
Lucky for me, I managed to avoid getting the flu. Not so lucky for me, I've got a cold from hell that's left me feeling like I caught the bubonic plague.
As I've spent the last few days trying to keep this beast at bay, I got to thinking. Is there anything worse than being the sick guy at the office? When you're putting in finance hours, you'll eventually play that role, so today's post is about how to cope with spending 14 hour days in your cube hacking away at a model while you've got a hacking cough.
Pulling 80+ hour weeks, week-in and week-out, will do a number of things to your body. Some people gain weight, some people lose weight. Some people simply lose their minds. One thing is for certain, your immune system takes an absolute beating.
Even if you manage to keep a decent diet by avoiding Seamless temptation and hit the gym regularly, you'll likely succumb to something at one point during a stint in finance. It certainly doesn't help that germs get around a cubicle bullpen with such incredible ease.
In my experience, I've seen Analysts and Associates deal with sickness in a variety of ways. Some good, some bad, and some non-sensical. Let's have a look at a few ways that junior finance professionals deal with being the sick guy at the office:
Calling in Sick - Believe it or not, people occasionally call in sick. Let me be clear, you should absolutely not do this unless you seriously cannot get into work. In my three years as an Analyst in investment banking, I called in sick twice. Once because I woke up with the flu and literally could not get out of bed. The other because of food poisoning. I'm not saying this as though it's a badge of honor. It's not. But, I've seen people call in sick when they absolutely could have been in the office and I've seen them do it far too frequently for a banking gig, and it was a black mark on their record. Unless you're a total wreck, I'd avoid calling in sick too often unless you want your fellow Analysts / Associates to resent you and your bonus to potentially take a hit.
Pumping Yourself Full of Vitamins - You ever see those packets of Emercen-c? Or how about Airborne? I used to work with a guy who swore by them and would use them like an absolute addict at the first sign of a cough. I always found it a bit bizarre, especially considering neither product claims to treat, prevent, or cure any sort of sickness. But, I suppose there's something to be said for the placebo effect, right?
Loading up on Hot Tea - This is my go-to technique. When I'm the sick guy in the office, you can guarantee that I'll have a hot cup of tea on me 24/7. Does it work? I like to think so. At the very least, it doesn't hurt.
Absolutely Nothing at All - Some people simply do nothing...no matter what. It's one thing to tough it out when you've got a bad head cold, it's another thing to let serious problems linger. I heard a story through the grape vine of a first year Analyst who, somehow, caught the West Nile Virus and didn't miss a day of work until the symptoms started getting noticeably severe. Don't do this. As much as face time is a part of life in finance, people will understand if you take a day off to deal with your obscure mosquito-transmitted disease.
How do you deal with being the sick guy at the office? Anyone else dealing with a nasty cold or flu this winter? Let me know in the comments.