I'm a little and rather because one of my coworkers elected to come to work today with a raging uncontrollable phlegmy cough. Which would have been relatively okay if it was just a simple cold, but she thinks she got the illness from one of the other grad students was diagnosed with FULL-BLOWN PNEUMONIA two weeks ago and still came to work until she physically was not able to. (We work on the campus of a cancer hospital, and one of the gardeners thought she was one of the patients, she looked THAT ill.)
I only dodged the bullet from the first grad student because my sleep schedule was a$$-backwards and I was coming into work late at night when nobody else was around. Today we had a lab meeting where all of us would be together in a single room and I had to literally beg my coworker not to come to that. She sent an email to our boss and he flat out told her not to come.
Luckily we have a boss who's understanding of this - if you're sick, he doesn't want you in because not only might you infect other people, you might infect the cells we work with. He also believes that if you're not mentally 100%, your work will be poorer and you'll only have to waste more time, energy, and resources doing it again. I think it's the right way to think about it, but it also makes my coworkers' choice to come to work even more befuddling.
I know that she's desperate to finish her thesis, but the rest of us have projects we can't afford to lose time on either! Not to mention spreading a nasty respiratory infection just is not cool even if you're just around strangers.
I just don't get it, especially because both coworkers are kind, generous, delightful people to be around, but their attitude of thinking they aren't going to get other people sick is just bewildering. Luckily I talked some sense into the first student, and she got to see her naivete for herself when she got many people around her sick, including a relative who came to visit.
Is it just the American workworkwork mentality that does this or is this pervasive around the world? I know that pushing through illness (or general disability) is admired in our society, but being sick to the point of misery is IMO not admirable. Especially if what you have is a contagious respiratory bug!