Friday, 29 January 2016

First Day Back At Work After A Year Off Sick

Having been off work sick for nearly a year I had been rather anxious about returning. What would my colleagues say? What would they think of me having time off whist they worked? Would I suffer from missing out on recent work? Would I be demoted?

The ultimate question I was worried about was: Would my desk be in urinal number 3, the one that everyone avoids for unspeakable reasons?

It came to that time when I found myself waiting at the elevator to take me up to the office. I was about to step into the unknown.

A large open plan office stretching out for a long way
Walk of Shame

Wondering into an open plan office where you have no desk, no meeting location and no knowledge of where anyone sits is always going to be a little bit awkward. There wasn't a receptionist to greet me. I just had to slowly meander pretending I had somewhere to go. I was very conscious that I was neither new nor old, just totally clueless. Fortunately for me, everyone in the office was extremely busy, which allowed me an uneventful entrance. No staring. No sudden silence. No heads turning in surprise. I just walked slowly but purposely until I saw a familiar face.

A woman working in an office
Back to Work

Awkward? Yes, However, after 15 minutes I was chatting to old friends as if I had only seen them yesterday. It turns out people are much too busy to waste time thinking about my time off. Some colleagues were so busy they weren't even sure if I had been away! They suspected something was different, but they weren't too sure. "Oh you've had sick leave, are you feeling better now? Splendid".

There is currently a costly government advert (below) on television showing an injured tradesman returning to work after a period of absence. We see his work mates patting him on the back and welcoming him with smiles form ear to ear. It is major cringe material and I can't imagine for one second it will motivate a single sick person to return a day earlier. However, I have to admit my back to work day was similar in concept (minus big cheesy smiles)

For the record I was given a desk a good distance from the latrines