Shari Jacobson to her colleagues, October 11, 2004

I want to cough on each and every one of you so you can stay home sick.

Hi Everyone,

Thank you all for bearing with me as I struggle through the third week of this head cold or whatever it is. I know some of you, especially Jim and Karen who sit closest to my desk, have had to endure a certain amount of sniffling, coughing, hacking up of phlegm and heavy sighing upon re-swallowing of said phlegm. I appreciate that everyone who uses the fifth floor women’s bathroom has had the unpleasant experience of seeing me spit out yellowish-green wads into the sink or trash can. I’m aware that the sight of my balled up tissues covering every surface of my desk and lap has been unpleasant for anyone who walks by my desk on a daily basis, which is pretty much everyone who works at the firm.

Maybe it’s just the head cold or whatever this is talking, but I really appreciate your patience and consideration. Almost nobody has commented on how disgusting I sound, except for Janet and I know she meant it in a nice way. I haven’t had anyone reject a handshake or high five or refuse to open the office refrigerator if I had just touched it. There haven’t been any exasperated offers of tissues or suggestions that I just stay home until I get better (no can do–I’m all out of sick days). You guys have been really, really wonderful. If there was any fluid left in my head, I’m sure it would come out in tears of gratitude.

Seriously, you are the most amazing coworkers a woman could have. Mark, you are so handsome. And Kathleen, I really admire how you always want to recycle. And Philip, you’re just so handsome.

I love you.

Love,

Shari

Analysis:

The question of employee sick days has long consumed the Human Resources Directors of America, America’s foremost fraternal organization of HR directors. You can’t give employees too many sick days, because otherwise they would use them for days when they weren’t really sick, or were only sort of sick, or just felt a malaise, or were maybe just a little hungover from the night before. Or worst of all, those bastards would use one of them to make a three day weekend to visit their parents or their children or something ghastly like that. Yet if you give them too few sick days, situations like Ms. Jacobson’s develop, where employees come in despite being sick and end up infecting everyone else.

Shari Jacobson did not realize it yet, but she was the first known American carrier of HN12-2, more commonly known as Wildebeest Flu. She had contracted it unknowingly while watching her son play on some dirty swings, and had been in mild t0 somewhat less mild discomfort for the better part of a month. Since she had used her last sick day to watch a very important episode of “All My Children,” she had to go into the office. Within weeks, 94% of her coworkers were infected. The resulting loss of productivity crippled the company for months, a blow from which they are still trying to recover. The company was thrown into disarray and profits tumbled as tissue and throat lozenge costs skyrocketed.

To this day, Blockbuster Video has not updated their sick policy.

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