Calling in sick

First, I offer you this to make this post less of a downer: “Callin’ in Sick Today”

When you are a ‘lancer, can you really call in sick? Depends how bad it is. If you are so sick and weak you lack the mental acuity to do your work in respectable form, well, you have no choice. I was in that state Monday, with a fever probably about 104º F. For you of metric countries, much above that and you have to be hospitalized. There was no way I could work. Sitting up was hard enough.

I could postpone stuff like this, for example. While I’m heartened that people read the blog, I don’t think anyone’s going to unsubscribe if there aren’t any posts for a week. I would have to postpone or cancel on-site stuff, such as a meeting or teleconference. But some of what you have to do, if you can do–even if you have to proofread for an hour, rest for an hour, proof for another hour, etc.–you must do. And for Tuesday and Wednesday, that was what I did. Could barely even eat, nothing sounded good. Lived on mixed OJ and club soda, and cleaned out all the popsicles Deb didn’t eat.

But it got done. And that’s the big deal. If you have a long rapport with a client, proven track record, maybe it doesn’t harm you to have a crisis that delays the result. But when the project is a biography of a nonagenarian who is understandably eager to see the final product, for a first time client, well, the amount of delay one might accept is very limited.

And since you’re a ‘lancer, you do it until it’s done. Your career depends on that approach. When work is there, do the work. You can play Candy Crush or nap some other time.


6 thoughts on “Calling in sick”

  1. 104 is a *very* high fever for an adult! That is very concerning. How are you now?

    Not to steal your thunder, but I am recovering well from my 2nd surgery in less than 3 weeks. You and my dear Sister-Wife will be undoubtedly pleased to learn that the large black-&-blue “3rd boob” which developed after surgery #1 was nicely resolved by surgery #2.


    1. I am better now, thank you, OSG. Bear in mind that’s an estimated temp; I didn’t have a thermometer. I went by the sensation of something higher than I’ve ever had in my life, but didn’t kill me. Most delighted to hear that you are back to the correct original design specification on dairy tackle and recovering well. Hope that continues speedily!


  2. Great Bearded One: you are truly a writer’s writer; the John Wayne of the writing, ghostwriting, and editing crowd. Devotion to duty — as you have described it — is an essential part of a professional writer’s toolkit. The work is hard, the hours are long, the pressure to perform is heavy… and sometimes, it’s not even much fun. But a writer’s reputation depends on two things: the quality of the finished work and producing on schedule, with no excuses. You, amigo, have THE RIGHT STUFF! With warmest wishes for a quick and total recovery from your mal-de-whatever — Dick Côté, Editor-in-Chief, Corinthian Books (


    1. Much obliged, Dick, thank you for the warm words and wishes. When I look back at my biggest successes in the literary world, one factor is in common: in all those, in some way, I showed that I could do something most people could not. Doing such things strengthens our confidence along with our reputations. You know the drill well yourself, from far longer experience than I!


  3. I’m glad you’re feeling better, honey. Next time, don’t dick around with high fevers. You’re work ethic is beyond reproach, but even the devil needs to rest.


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