6 Things to Have on Hand When You’re Sick at Work

6 Things to Have on Hand When You're Sick at WorkWe all know we shouldn’t go to work when we’re sick. But whether you’re a presidential candidate or have a more typical career, most of us do it anyway. (Note: Here I’m referring to the average Corporette reader with full-time benefits; the millions of Americans without paid sick leave don’t have much choice about whether to stay home and rest.) Maybe you have a conference or special event to attend, a big scheduled presentation to give, or a meeting to lead, and you just can’t avoid being sick at work. We haven’t talked about tips for going to work while ill in quite a while, so we thought it was time to revisit. (Disclaimer: Of course, please don’t take this post as medical advice.)

In the past we’ve also talked about shaking hands when you’re sick, what to do when you think you’re coming down with a cold and ways to get over a coldhow to deal with many medical appointments, and how to explain an embarrassing illness.

First of all, here’s some information from an actual doctor on determining whether you’re too sick for the office. But if you need to go in no matter what, here are six things that can help you handle being sick at work (besides the age-old advice our mothers have given us since we were kids):

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Making Time for Therapy

Reader C has a great question about work/life balance — and keeping a standing therapy appointment without being perceived as lazy.  I can’t wait to hear the readers’ tips!  Here’s her question:

Hi! I’m a newer BigLaw associate. The stress of the job has caused my mental health to take a hit and so, I’ve started seeing a therapist with whom I have weekly evening (8 PM) appointments. In most other professions, asking to see a therapist “after hours” would easily be okay, but given the “constant availability” expectations of my firm, I think this may be difficult. Is there a way to firmly, but respectfully carve this hour out for myself once a week without being perceived as lazy?

Great question — I think this is a pretty common thing BigLaw associates go through, and kudos to you for taking care of your mental health. We’ve talked about taking time for frequent doctors’ appointments before, but I don’t think we’ve talked explicitly about making time for therapy and other standing appointments.  Here are some tips:

  • I really believe that most employers really do want you to have a work/life balance — but also to get stuff done. I’d be shocked if people give you too much push back on having the appointment. If and when it comes up with your supervisors, I  don’t even think you need to get into too many details here — just have an apologetic note in your voice when you say, “I have a standing appointment tonight at 8:00, but…”
  • Make yourself available after the appointment as needed, and let people know that.  “I’ll be back in the office at 9:30,” or “I’ll be back on email at 9:30.” Then, do it.  I know therapy sessions can sometimes be emotional, but whatever you say you’re going to do, make sure you do it.  (You may want to check out our discussion a few weeks ago about answering work email at home.)
  • Know your colleagues. If there’s one of your superiors who only starts work at 6PM, you may have to handle him or her in a different way, and be more direct, but also more persistent by reminding them regularly that you’ll be out of pocket, checking in with them as soon as you’re you’re out of the appointment, and possibly even setting up a backup (paralegal? secretary?) who can definitely be available for the whopping 90 minutes you need to yourself.
  • Finally, know the peculiarities of your work schedule. If your work requires you to frequently have a late-night deadline (i.e., if your company has a regular pouch going from NYC to DC on a nightly basis), or if you work with colleagues or clients in a different time zone who are still in full work mode when you’re leaving at 8 PM — then I would strongly consider shifting your therapy appointment to another time, like first thing in the morning. Another option that I know some readers have mentioned is having a therapist who they only see via Facetime/Skype/or on the phone — if you find such a therapist, he or she may offer even later/earlier appointments than 8 PM (or be in a different time zone entirely so the hours are later/earlier than a local therapist could offer.)

Ladies, for those of you who go to therapy or other standing appointments, how do you make time for the appointment and let your colleagues know? What kind of pushback have you come up against, and how have you dealt with it? 


Beauty Wednesday: Serums, Sunscreen, and Retinoids

aging skincare tips serums sunscreens retinoidsLadies, what is your skin routine? At what age did you get serious about skincare? What are your favorite products, both over-the-counter and prescription, whether for anti-aging, anti-wrinkles, exfoliating, or something else? I’ve seen a lot of readers talking recently about serums, sunscreens, retinoids and more, so let’s discuss. I’m curious to hear what everyone else is doing, what products you like, and if you have any tips/tricks for applying — but here’s my own story:

After years of using only organic options while pregnant/nursing (based on something my first OB/GYN said to me), I was eager to get “the good stuff” when I finally had my body back to myself. As I often do, I turned to the commenting threads for advice and found an older thread where a reader had said that for a woman in her 30s, the main things you need are Vitamin C, sunscreen, and a retinoid. I liked the simplicity of this statement, as well as the chorus of agreement from other readers. I already had an organic, nursing-approved Vitamin C serum and have been using sunscreen daily since my teenage lifeguard years, so I thought, OK, to the dermatologist I go for a retinoid. (Just a quick science/vocab lesson, at least as I understand things: Retinol and retinoids are both Vitamin A. Retinols are available in over the counter (OTC) products; retinoids are available in prescriptions only. Retin-A is the brand name for one of the retinoids you can get.)

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7 Tips to Help You Hire a Personal Trainer

hire a personal trainerHave you ever tried to hire a personal trainer? Did you find it was a good experience, a mediocre one, or a bad one? Do you have any tips for others on how to hire a personal trainer and get the best experience possible? It’s been quite a while since we talked about finding a personal trainer, so let’s discuss it today. (We’ve also talked about lunch workouts and lifting weights, and fitting exercise into a busy day.)

You have a few options if you want to hire a personal trainer: join a gym and pick one of its staff trainers, find a trainer who works out of his or her own private space, or choose someone who’ll come to your home to work with you. But how do you find the right professional?

Finding my personal trainer (whom I’ve worked with on and off as my budget permits) was pretty easy for me — I found her through an online search and have been happy with her services — but the advice we’ll share below, which includes tips from Corporette readers, goes beyond Google:

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Women, Drinking, and Overachieving

women-drinking Ladies: how do you feel about drinking? Do you think overachieving women tend to drink more? We haven’t talked about this for a while, but it’s been on my mind with various news articles I’ve seen, and with the holidays coming up I thought we’d discuss. (I don’t want to totally rehash my thoughts from our 2010 discussion on this, but I still agree with all of them…)

First, the articles and propositions I’ve been thinking about:

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Sniff Sniff: How to Prevent Stinky Shoes

How to Prevent Stinky Shoes | CorporetteWhat are the best practices to avoiding stinky shoes?  How do you destink your shoes once they’re already funky?  Reader K has a delicate question regarding smelly shoes:

I need advice on how to keep my shoes from developing a bad odor. I wear hose 90% of the time with my dress work shoes, and they develop a foul odor within just a few weeks of wear. I have tried odor eaters without success, old pantyhose filled with baking soda, rotating my shoes to never wear them two days in a row – nothing works. I haven’t normally had smelly shoes or feet, but now that I am in a professional environment and wear dress shoes instead of socks/sneakers, I can’t get a handle on this. I don’t notice the smell when my shoes are on, but when I take them off at home, look out. I am afraid that it will keep getting worse and my feet will smell all the time!

Interesting.  We’ve talked about delicate issues such as body odor, sweaty feet in pumps, what to do when drycleaning doesn’t remove smells, and general shoe care for women, but I don’t believe we’ve talked about stinky shoes. Reader K herself mentioned some of the other oft-cited advice, but I might stress a few things:

  • Give your shoes at least a day off — it lets the leather dry out.
  • Products like Silver Linings have insoles “infused with antimicrobial silver ions for women who wear shoes without socks.”  (They’re available at Amazon, but here’s the product page for more behind the technology.) Readers have also previously recommended Summer Soles, for open-toed shoes.
  • Look into ventilated shoes, like Geox — they’re designed to let air circulate better.  They’re sold at the usual spots (Zappos, 6pm, Amazon, Nordstrom), but here’s a link to their product page about the technology behind the shoes.
  • Avoid plastic shoes that don’t breathe at all.
  • Try the freezer — put your shoes in a ziplock bag, then stick them in the freezer for 24-48 hours.  (This is also supposedly a great way to defunk your expensive denim.)
  • Wear socks.  Trouser socks, knee-high pantyhose, even shoe liners all exist for exactly this purpose.  I tend to prefer toe liners when they don’t interrupt the line of the shoe. Here’s a link to our older discussion on what hose to wear with pumps (if any).

Here’s an extensive thread on Reddit with more tips for battling smelly feet; Mashable also has some advice.

Ladies, have you had to deal with stinky shoes?  What are your best practices for avoiding funk, and then your best suggestions for destinking your shoes?  



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