Oh! That Was A Mistake!

Oh! That Was A Mistake!

You open your eyes and instantly you know today is not going to be as you planned. There is a chainsaw in your head, and as you swallow you feel like your throat is lined with broken glass. It is your day, and you are sick, what do you do?

Don’t Panic!

Here is a strange but true fact, we all get sick, we all have days in bed wishing we were someone else (I have days in the office wishing I was in bed, but that is a different story). If you are ill, be ill, do not worry about the group.

Sometimes members are tempted to drag their sick body to the meeting thinking they are heroic by turning up in the face of adversity. They think that they will be well thought of by going to a meeting filled with 30 or so of their closest contacts, and happily spreading germs around their fellow members.

The most heroic thing you can do when you are ill is to stay away, especially if you went to bed feeling fine and woke up feeling ill. The chances are you are only going to get worse during the meeting.

Over my years in the group, I have seen sick people come to meetings, and on several occasions, it didn’t exactly end well, or elegantly. I will not get too graphic, but I am sure you can fill in the blanks. Needless to say becoming the focus of attention because you cannot hold your food down is not the way I wish to have people think of me.

Your organisation knows that people get sick, or worse, loved ones and family members get ill, normally overnight and mostly without prior warning.

You or a family member is sick, so how do you handle it?

1. Look after them or you first.

2. At the earliest opportunity contact the membership organiser of the group and let them know (this doesn’t need to be at 5 am). A simple ‘can not come today - ill - Johnny’ as a message on an answering machine, a text message or an email is all you need to do. You do not have to make excuses; you are an adult, just the fact you are not coming due to an illness is all it takes.

3. Continue to look after yourself.

There are some cases when you are lucky, and start feeling ill in time to arrange a substitute. In all cases, you should have no guilt or worry about absence for medical reasons.

If you or a family member has a long-term illness that is likely to cause you to be away for several weeks, then it is best to contact the group and explain the situation. Again, your group is not a faceless machine; it knows people get sick for more than one day, and there are various ways of arranging a leave of absence.

This means the group knows your priorities are elsewhere for a while, and it is okay. If you can arrange a substitute for this extended period it would be good, but a leave of absence is just that, time off to ensure you or your family member gets better, without worrying about the group or your place at the table.

One of the other grey areas is the death of a family member or a close friend. Again, don’t worry about the group, if you need to be away as part of the grieving process, then be away. Your group will understand you have bigger problems to deal with and they will support you in ways you never expected. Adversity tends to bring out the best in networking groups. I have seen so many expressions of help, love and support that go beyond what anyone ever expected in times of loss and sorrow.

Being ill, or having a family member ill is no joke. The last thing you need is more stress by worried about your membership being at risk. All you need to do is let people know, and you will be amazed how the group will look after its own. The whole concept of networking is mutual support, and this is never truer than when one of your Chapter members needs that little extra support.