My boss is sick. I am ill.

I came in this morning barely able to speak. I’m not exaggerating. My voice, when I can squeeze it out, is a raspy, barely intelligible squeal. When I try to say something, it sounds like a fax machine connecting. I have a very sore throat that burns with pain if I don’t sip water every five minutes or so. When my boss heard me speak, he asked what was wrong, and I tried my best to describe it to him. Though he looked and sounded fine, he said he wasn’t feeling so great either, and he probably had the same thing.

About two minutes later, I heard him on the phone, telling someone he was coming down with something that’s “been going around the office”. This was at about 9:15 a.m., just after he came in to work, and the most amazing part is he hadn’t been in the office for FIVE DAYS. That’s right, he’s been out since last Wednesday, but he’s blaming his “illness” on me.

A few hours later, he left for a meeting. He called me from his car early in the afternoon. He wanted to know what time I take my lunch. I said I go at 1:30 every day, just as I have since I started working here over a year ago. (I like taking a late lunch because when I get back, there’s less time left in the day; plus, I’m not really hungry until then.) He told me I needed to go earlier, to sync my lunch with his (he usually goes at noon).

There was little I could say to him. As frustrating as it was, it was actually a reasonable request, I guess. As much as I wanted to protest and hang on to what little authority I have left over how I plan my time, there was little I could argue about. And up against a guy like him, I knew I’d never win. Besides, it hurts to talk.

I am ill. My boss is sick.

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