With the stress and chaos of the holidays behind me I’m now feeling the after-effects with a runny nose, sore throat and cough. Which prompts the question; do you go in to work or stay home? Do you cancel and try to reschedule that interview or tough it out and hope for the best?

First and foremost, do what you can to get healthy fast. That means drink lots of fluids, get as much rest as you can, practice good hygiene (cover your mouth when coughing and wash hands frequently) and use over-the-counter medicines to relieve some of the discomfort if desired. But then the question still remains, should you go to that interview or check in to work?

The answer depends on an honest self-evaluation. Things to consider:

1)      How logical and articulate are you? If you don’t feel like you can formulate a reasonable response to interview questions or be at your best, it is wise to cancel and stay home. Be responsible about cancelling and explain your condition and concern about spreading your germs. It will demonstrate your ability to be responsible, make good decisions, and manage unexpected issues.

2)      How do you look and sound? If your appearance screams illness and you clearly have visible signs of a cold, it’s a good idea to stay home.

3)      Tolerance and exposure? How many people will you be exposing your illness to? What is the acceptable level of tolerance in that work culture? For example, if you work in a hospital, then definitely stay home as the risk of exposing your germs is high and having a cold is less tolerated. In contrast, an industrial distribution center may have a higher level of tolerance for exposure to colds.

In the end you have to be the judge of what is right for you. It’s always best to make every effort to follow-through on commitments but when the January cold rears its ugly head don’t feel defeated.  Make the decision that is right for you and in the end you might even learn a little bit more about the company you are working for or considering for employment.

The next time you catch a cold, what will you do?

Jill Kempka

About Jill Kempka


Jill loves to share information about ways to keep up with the changing world of work. She focuses on quick tips, facts and helpful lists to give job seekers tactics and advice they can immediately use.