Lessons From An Old Dog

I have a friend who recently underwent his annual review at work. He was shocked (insulted and hurt) to find out he received low marks when it comes to “respect from other teammates.” Turns out they think he takes too many sick days, but his manager checked with HR and my friend’s absences are well within the allotted range. So why would his team say he has excessive absences?

My friend resolved that it’s because he just doesn’t fit in – he’s not one of the “cool kids.” Granted, he’s a Gen Xer while the rest belong to Gen Y so there’s definitely a generational gap (and a lack of cool factor). They all get along well and work just as hard for the same amount of hours, but unlike many of his younger counterparts, my friend actually makes the most of his vacation time and when he’s sick, he stays home. I don’t know that Gen Y does that. Twentysomethings are so focused on success at a young age that they have to be near the point of hospitalization to stay home sick. (I had the nerve to show up at work after being food poisoned the night before – it wasn’t pretty). And they take three or four day weekends instead of weeklong vacations. A two-week vacation? Unheard of!

Gen Xers already know what it’s like to be sick for a month (or longer) because they didn’t take care of themselves when they initially caught a cold. Or they’ve experienced being bedridden after a stubborn coworker showed up with the flu. They know that five days in Hawaii isn’t long enough to rest, relax and recharge. And most of all, after working nonstop since college, their bodies are gettin’ tired so they have learned to truly value and appreciate vacation time and sick days. (Oh, and Gen X has also already realized that sick days don’t carry over to the next year, so yeah, you best believe they’re gonna call in sick!)

I guess my point is that there are definitely some new tricks we can all learn from old dogs. So, by all means, listen to your body when it tells you to slow down and take advantage of each and every day off you’re allowed – there’s a reason you have them!