I have an extraordinary sickness absence record. In the 15 years that I have been a member of the workforce I can count on one finger the number of days I have had off sick.
Sure I get the odd cough and cold, but never anything nasty enough to warrant staying at home and spending the day in bed.
People tell me: “You’re never ill – you’re ever so lucky!”
And they’re right. I shouldn’t complain, I have my health. In the workplace, at least.
But my body plays a nasty little trick on me. Every time I go on holiday, my immune system also decides to take a break. It’s as if my antibodies say: “Well, we’ve got you through the tricky year-end period and kept you healthy for that big, important project. Now we’re taking a well-earned rest. Good luck!”
Typically on day one of my holiday – in the airport, on the ferry or at the motorway service station – I get the first inkling of a problem. A sore throat or an earache. And by day three – on the beach, by the pool or firing up the barbecue – I develop the full-blown fever. The next week is then spent in great discomfort on a courseof strong antibiotics administered by thelocal quack.
At this point I want to regress to my childhood, stamp my feet and shout: “It’s not fair!” But myown kids would onlyrespond with: “Life’s notfair, Daddy!” I’ve said it to them enough times.
And there’s light at the end of the tunnel. As the holiday draws to a conclusion, the illness subsides, and I’m right as rain for my first day back to work.
“You look great!” say my colleagues.