It was only a headache. Tiredness and a headache sound like they should rank alongside ‘the dog ate my homework’ in the definitive list of poor excuses. But it was a clanging, excruciating headache and eventually I gave in and went to bed.
I used to have a manager who made a point of asking (and actually caring – or at least appearing to) how we all were. If we were obviously ill, or had a family emergency, he’d send us home with instructions not to come back until we were better. He did this with a lovely mix of care for our wellbeing and more mercenary explanations along the lines of ‘if you stay here you’ll infect everyone else’ and ‘I want you fit and well so your work doesn’t suffer’.
I always tried to follow his lead with my own team, but what happens when your team becomes one person – you – and your office is in your home? There’s a real temptation to turn into the boss from hell and stand over yourself cracking a metaphorical whip, when all you want to do (and all your body needs to do) is crawl into bed and recover.
Fourteen hours of sleep later, the mental fog is receding. If I’d tried to work through yesterday I doubt I would have achieved anything more useful that I did by sleeping, however much the boss threatened me, and today would probably have been a washout too.
Being a good boss sometimes means being kind to yourself.
Sometimes – like today – it means making sure that you don’t get too used to the kindness and return to productivity!