I bet you wish you’d known this earlier today; before you dragged yourself out of that warm haven of a bed and into the depressing abyss that is your 9 to 5. But hey, at least you’ll know for next week. Every cloud, right?
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Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have developed a theory, and – like most good scientific theories – it has its roots in the animal kingdom. Let’s face it, your office is probably more like a jungle than a respectable work place anyway.
The theory explains that animals experience similar symptoms to those of the common cold (a runny nose, fatigue and headaches) and that, more often than not, these symptoms are the body’s way of saying it’s time to take a break.
In nature, this makes a lot of sense. Firstly, it has the obvious benefit of keeping a weakened animal out of the jaws of a predator. If one animal in the pack is noticeably slower and more exhausted than the rest it’s more susceptible to getting taken the fuck out. Similarly, if you’re feeling shitty in the office it’s probably more likely that you’re going to screw something up, effectively serving yourself up on a platter for that asshole of a boss.
Secondly, the researchers argue that failing to isolates oneself when ill leads to spread of illness throughout the pack. No-one will be thanking you when you turn up to work coughing and spluttering, before finally sneezing on Karen’s birthday cake in the coffee room and trying to cover it up by smearing the icing around with your snot-covered hands. Before you know it, everyone in the office is sick, and they’re all blaming you. Don’t be a hero, stay at home and finish Making a Murderer.
The researchers wrote:
[Sickness behavior] affects species spanning from arthropods to vertebrates, is triggered nonspecifically by viruses, bacteria, and parasites, and is orchestrated by a complex network of cytokines and neuroendocrine pathways; clearly, it has been naturally selected.
Which sounds pretty science-y to me, so it must be true. Meanwhile, Professor Guy Shakhar, another of the researchers involved in getting us out of work, said in a press release:
Isolation is the most efficient way to prevent transmitting disease and to take a pill to reduce fever symptoms in order to go to work goes against natural instincts.
So really the take home message is – phone in sick and if your boss gives you a hard time just cite this research paper. He can’t possibly argue with a professor. Besides, even if he does, it’ll be a lot less embarrassing than what happened to this guy who kept going to work when he was clearly not fit for it.