Does Every Developer Deserve a Mental Health Day?: Page 2

Posted October 18, 2010

Eric Spiegel

Eric Spiegel

(Page 2 of 2)

Our manager Jim leaned into my cube and asked, “Any idea where Doug is?”

I replied “Nope. I noticed Joni wasn’t in either.”

Jim replied, “Yeah, I don’t know where either one is today.” He walked into his adjacent office and his phone rang.

I quickly determined it was Joni. The conversation on Jim’s end went something like this:

“Oh, you aren’t feeling well? Your code is ready for Monday right? Oh good. Well rest up and enjoy your weekend.” He couldn’t have sounded more cheery and empathetic.

Then his phone rang again. The tone in Jim’s voice took a decided turn for the worse. It was clear Doug was calling in sick. Jim was giving him the third degree with questions like - “How sick are you? Do you have a fever? Are you going to the doctor?”

I heard Jim tell Doug that if he knows what is best, he better get his “rear” in the office and complete his assignment.

As soon as he hung up, I called Doug.

“Dude, are you really sick?” I asked.

He responded, “Of course not. I am taking my mental health day, just like Joni. Why should I be working my butt off while she’s out shopping?!”

I could certainly empathize. But the fact was that Joni’s assignment was done based on our manager’s expectations, even if it ended up not working once integrated. And it was also a fact that Doug hadn’t made it that far with his code.

“Doug, if you don’t come in, I think Jim is going to be ticked. You don’t want to get fired, do you?”

After a brief pause, he said, “It’s not fair. I mean it will take us twice as long without her in the office and the deliverable will be late anyway, so what is another day?”

“I hear you man. But what will that accomplish except making you look bad and ticking off the rest of the team? You may feel good for one day, but I bet you’ll not enjoy your day off because you have a conscience and you care about the success of the team -- unlike Joni.”

I could hear his resigned sigh through the phone. And sure enough he came in later that morning.

We all worked through the weekend and figured things out together, even without Miss “know-it-all.” And the integration testing went just fine.

Doug asked me, “Does it make me a bad person that I was secretly hoping for Joni’s code to cause a problem?”

I laughed. “Then we can be bad people together,” I said. “Maybe we’d feel better after a mental health day!”

ALSO SEE: Are these Developer and IT Salaries Believable?

AND: Do Developers Need to Brown-Nose To Advance Career?

AND: Why Developers Get Fired

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Tags: developer, programmers, developers, IT Jobs/Salary, developer salary

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