Office InboxWhat happens when you get sick and you have to miss a day or two of work?  Does your boss delegate the work to co-workers?  Does it sit in your inbox until you get back?  Does it get skipped over and never completed?  Is someone else hired for those days to cover?  I suppose it depends (ah, my favorite word again) on what type job you have, your boss, co-workers, and what task is getting skipped.  What if it’s only YOU and there is no one else to do the work?

The same questions can be brought up for single parents.  What if you have no spouse or partner to fall back on when the kids are sick?  (Or you are killer sick and can’t function in the family.)  Your kids aren’t going to sit around for two days waiting to eat while you lay sick on the couch.  While right now I’m not exactly thinking of parenting, when you’re sick, you’re sick – both family and work suffer.

Owning a company of my own, I have really no one else to rely on but me.  Yes, I have other people that I work with, but my projects and responsibilities are my own.  There is no path for delegation, no extra room in the budget to pay staff to cover me.  Besides, by the time I bring someone else up to speed on my workload, I might as well finish it myself.

When people think about going into business for themselves, the battle cry is “no more bosses!” but in reality having clients is much harder and more demanding.  Clients are not bosses.  Think about that for a minute.  Bosses (or hopefully management in general) have a vested interest in your career path.  Clients don’t care, they have their own goals.  It’s not a bad thing, this is the way it’s supposed to be.  I actually prefer it that way.  In my opinion there is nothing worse that a corporate middle-man manager trying to mold and tweak your skills to fit the needs of The Company, complete with mind-numbing performance reviews and time-suck town hall meetings.  Clients I can relate to, as I often am on that side of the table.  Deliverables.  Deadlines.  Results.  That’s what is expected of you with clients.

My dilemma today is that I’m a party of *one* with no less than six separate client deadlines, and a swollen and painful face.  I’m working from home today after a root canal this morning that didn’t exactly go as planned.  The procedure itself went just fine – for a root canal.  Without getting into specifics, the entire left side of my face is swelling up and I was told to expect it to start turning black and blue in a few days.  (No, that’s not a normal outcome, I had extra special issues.)  In general I feel like garbage.  I’m sure I look much worse.  Under employee standards I could call out tonight and tomorrow, take a few painkillers, veg on the couch, and go back to work on Monday with a black and blue face.  As a business owner, I have to forgo the painkillers and work through the night and weekend to finish my projects.  (It doesn’t help that earlier this week my team brainstormed *the most incredible idea EVER* for a client & now I feel compelled to work it into the strategy at the 11th hour.)  Not to mention other team member projects that need my $0.02.  If you’re wondering why I’m typing this instead of tending to work issues – I needed a break and my cheek is so swollen it’s closing up my eye a bit.  Concentrating on work-stuff right now would not be wise.

On top of all this, eating anything crunchier than pudding is forbidden until I can get a temporary crown in 3 weeks (I *SO* better be a size 6 when this is over.)  Maybe my dentist wasn’t specific enough when she said I had to stick to a near-liquid diet.  I interpreted that as wine and chocolate fondue…