Get off your arse and get back to work – you’re not really ill

North West-based SEO consultant Mark Preston, founder of Mark Preston SEO, writes a provocative piece in which he says too many people who pull ‘sickies’ are just lacking a decent work ethic. Is he right?

Are you really ill - or are you just a skiver, asks Mark Preston
Are you really ill – or are you just a skiver, asks Mark Preston?

Last week I was rushed into hospital on Tuesday and was told that I either had bowel cancer or my appendix needed to be removed.

On the Wednesday at around 5:15 pm I was wheeled down to the operating theatre not knowing what the surgeons would be removing.

After returning to the hospital ward, feeling very sick, I was told that my appendix was removed but as the surgeons needed a good look around, they have left me with a 10 inch scar.

Thursday morning finally arrived after being so sick during the night. The doctor visited me to go through everything and gave me the all clear on the cancer front which was such a relief. I thanked him and away he went.

That same day at around 2pm, I was informed that I was fit enough to go home and I got dressed and away home I went. I can’t blame the NHS for kicking me out less than 24 hours after the operation. They did a fantastic job and they are so stretched.

Straight back to work

With being a freelance SEO consultant, if I don’t work then I don’t get paid and my kids go hungry. It is that simple. No cushy number for me.

SEO consultant, Mark Preston
SEO consultant, Mark Preston

Friday morning came and it took all my strength to get out of bed because of the pain but after a shower, brew and breakfast, I was straight on my PC going through my emails and messages.

Before I knew it, I was straight back into the thick of things. Discussing marketing strategies and analysing sites.

I will admit that it was a rough day last Friday but I have this saying – “unless I’m dead – I am fit enough to work”. This saying has provided me with a very strong work ethic over the years, or maybe I’m just old fashioned.

Back to when I was a director

What’s the point in all this you may ask? Well, I have only been freelance for the past six weeks or so and before then I spent more than 10 years working at director level within digital and marketing agencies.

Even as a director, I would always be the first one into the office each day and the last one to leave because that is who I am.

Unfortunately, in those 10 years at the top I have yet to meet a member of staff that has my same devoted work ethic. I would usually get a texts with messages such as:

  • “Hi Mark, Sorry I can’t come in today. I don’t feel well.”
  • “Morning Mark. I haven’t slept very well last night so I’m too tired to come in.”
  • “Mark, I’ve been throwing up all night so won’t be in today.”

So what? I am feeling sick. I am feeling ill and I am in pain but I’m the one who is back to work a little after 24 hours of being on the operating table.

Some people are well enough to work even when they say they are not, says Mark Preston
Some people are well enough to work even when they say they are not, says Mark Preston

It winds me up as these staff members do not realise what the top bosses go through to keep them in good jobs.

Don’t get me wrong. There are genuine cases where people are really ill where they feel like they are dying. This is not what I’m taking about.

Let’s turn back the clock

The next time you think about pulling a sickie because you don’t feel that good, just think about this post and you will soon see that you are not too ill really to go to work.

You just can’t be bothered as you don’t have a strong enough work ethic.

Got any thoughts?

Do you have an opinion on this subject? Maybe you are a business owner or director who deals with this same thing all the time. If so, how do you deal with it?

Remember, to have great work ethics. You need to think – “Unless you are dead – You are fit enough to work”.

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