Do Entrepreneurs Get Sick Days?

Well, the entire RB40 household has succumbed to the influenza epidemic. As usual, the little guy got sick first. He must have contracted the flu virus from preschool or the gym’s childcare early last week. RB40 Jr. was down most of the day on Thursday, but he bounced back just in time for the weekend. That’s when both of the adults were hit with the worse of the flu symptoms.

We can hardly keep up with the little energizer bunny when we’re healthy so it was a tough weekend for us. I relented and gave him unlimited TV and Angry Birds Star War privileges. We just don’t have the energy to entertain him this weekend. I dozed off during various shows, but didn’t really get much rest. On Sunday, Mrs. RB40 felt even worse and holed up in her room all day.

Luckily, we just stocked up on Progresso chicken noodle soup so at least we had something to eat. I made a couple of batches of rice porridge too. Anyway, I think the worse of the symptoms are over for me so I should be more functional tomorrow.

So this is a short one today. If I was still working for a corporation, I’d definitely call in sick the next few days. I hate it when people go to work sick. You’re just getting spreading the germ. Working for myself is a bit different, though. I feel like I need to at least get something out even if it’s short. My parents owned a small Thai restaurant when we were growing up and I don’t recall them ever taken any sick days. I think they close a bit early if anyone was sick, but they never shut it down completely.

Do you get sick days if you’re self employed? What do you eat when you have the flu?

PS. Yes, we all had our flu shot this season. I guess we caught the unprotected strain. 🙁

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

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23 thoughts on “Do Entrepreneurs Get Sick Days?”

  1. I worked over 15 years as a IT consultant without a sick day, and now I’m working for FT salary with full benefits. What a difference it is for situation like this. It’s fine to focus on making money when you are young, but it’s nice to have full benefits when you are over 40.

  2. not to do too much “sharp-shooting”, Joe, but I really “like” the idea of ‘ wanton ‘ soup…makes me think of something TOTALLY different than won-ton soup

    ! Arlen

  3. Sick days are a social construct where you still get paid even though you do not work. When you are self employed you get paid by the nature of producing work. Therefore you don’t get paid if you don’t produce (by being sick). So the answer is anyone that is self employed does not get paid more (or new) revenue by being sick. The key is to provide passive revenue streams and be financially sound as to not allow a day off to kill you financially.

  4. “Do entrepreneurs get sick days”? Hmmm. Why would anyone want to unless missing a day or two would be absolutely disastrous for the business? Assuming, it’s non life threatening, it would obviously depend on how ill one is. I doubt anyone who comes down with a severe case of food poisoning or stomach flu can be productive during the worst days of their symptoms. With a regular flu, they can probably still work though and be mildly productive.

  5. Man, it is suck to be down with the flu. I was “down” too for my wire vacation, I think I got the cold (I know it was viral), as the flu shot this year didn’t work per CDC. They guessed wrong, and the strain going around has mutated. I didn’t get a flu shot, knowing when the strain they came out in September didn’t work (cdc didn’t release the info until December). My work started to force people to get a flu shot. They are aiming 100% , I think due to grants money. A lot of institutions are doing it. What’s a bummer to work for somebody, I’d rather take good hygiene, take good care of myself if I do get a flu, then take up a shot knowing that it doesn’t work from the beginning. I do get vaccinated on the year it’d actually work. Consider yourself lucky to be self-employed.

  6. Joe,

    Timely post. I’m definitely not 100% today. But the good news is that we’re able to scale back when we need to. It’s not like we have a boss we have to call up to come in late or not come in at all. We’re lucky. 🙂

    Glad that you’re feeling a little better already. It’s that time of year, right?

    Best regards!

  7. If I were self-employed, I would take most of the day off. Even when you are sick, there is always a part of the day when you feel good enough to read/write for a short time. I would use that to address the most pressing e-mails/messages/etc. Once you get better, you can always work a little extra to catch up.

    As for food – Lipton powdered chicken noodle soup or tea and toast with extra creamy butter.

  8. You take sick days, but they’re unpaid so you need to make sure that you charge a little more to off-set it. The same with vacation time, any time you take off is completely yours off and it is unpaid. Plan accordingly.

    My latest thing that I’ve been doing that has worked well for me is copious amounts of oranges/mandarins paired with Chinese herbs. I would caution though that certain herbs are an acquired taste and can be off-putting if you have not tried them in the past. Also, I have a friend who went to a Korean acupuncturist/herbalist and was quote $500 for 2 weeks, that’s simply crazy. Yes, you want to take care of your body, but it shouldn’t have to cost so much.


  9. Geting sick from your kid is no fun, I just recently caught a cold from Baby T a few weeks ago. Definitely get as much rest as you can. Drinking hot water combined with freshly squeezed lemon, ginger, honey, and rosemary helps too.

  10. All I know is that being sick in early retirement is still way better than being sick while working in spite of not getting paid for it. While working I hated to take sick days because it inevitably jumbled up my schedule. Upon returning (often still recovering from illness), I had to reschedule meetings, notify people that their deliverables would be late, etc. What a pain.

    Now I can lay in bed and sleep till noon if that’s what it takes to feel better (well, once the kids are sorted out).

    Chicken noodle soup is a good go-to for us. And Mrs RoG’s mom makes “rice soup” which is chicken soup broth with some mild veggies served over rice. Basically Thai chicken rice soup. 🙂 My MIL insists we come over to get the rice soup if any of our kids are sick.

  11. Agreed. Sick parents are the worst. You lay on the couch so sick, and say to your kid(s), Honey, see that loaf of bread on the counter? Help yourself.
    I’m convinced they bring the germs home from school. Rule #1, wash those hands when they come home. Change school clothes too. Big handmade sign on our door from outside-Wash hands. Germs! Sounds obsessive, but works for us.
    Doctor once said-rest is best. Get into bed, don’t get out, only to visit the bathroom. She was serious. Lots of fluids too. Hot soup, hopefully homemade (firm noodles!!), and tea. Baby yourself for once. The kids will survive. : )

  12. By not being around people that much, I don’t get sick often. When my 2 youngest daughters were first going to school and my wife was working as a nurse, they were always dragging home germs. I was sick most of the time. Many employers get very nasty when you attempt to call in sick. How many of you have heard the response, “Well, I’m sick too and I came to work!” Of course they are insinuating that you are somehow not a dedicated employee because you are sick. Sheesh!!

  13. Ugh, hope you guys feel better soon. My spouse and I both had the flu last year, and it was miserable. There was nobody to take care of us, and we barely drove ourselves to the doctor. This year, we’ve been fine. So far. My go to when sick is definitely chicken noodle soup and tea. Lots of it. My job does not offer paid sick leave (what? who doesn’t anymore ?), so unfortunately, I try to still go to work if I’m sick, but well enough to perform.

  14. Sick kiddos is no fun. But sick parents is so much worse!! I say this as I lay in bed with a fever trying to get some rest. Hopefully this way, I’ll have the energy to keep up with both of my minis after day care today. Bring on the OJ!!

    • Actually, I think sick kiddos are much worse. You can’t do much for them because they’re too young to take medicine. At least the adults can take some medicine if they really need it. OJ is a good idea. It’s just bad luck that we’re both sick at the same time. Usually one of us is well enough to take care of the family.

  15. I got hit with a terrible stomach bug the day before my book launch last month, it was so rough. I forced myself to rest up as much as possible and pushed the rest of my preparation to the next day- it all wound up working out just fine in the end and I was glad I took the time to stay in bed.

  16. Ginger ale with the bubbles stirred out and soda crackers is the go to food around here for sickies. I would have to be pretty sick to resort to eating a canned soup. I am a soup snob and can’t stand mushy canned noodles.

    • The mushy canned noodles hit the spot when you’re down with the flu. Nobody wants to cook in that condition. At least I’m starting to get better now.

  17. Yes, if I am sick I take a day! Luckily, I seldom do get sick. Working out hard helps your immune system. My favorite food when sick is Won Ton Soup with crispy noodles and Gatorade to hydrate. M


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