Ask Jack: Calling in Sick, Nasty Coworkers, and Job of the Week

Unwell male office worker suffering from a contagious virus, covering face with tissue during cold and flu season

AOL Jobs reader Kate in England asks...

If my general practitioner told me I am "full of snot," should I go to work? I have nothing infectious but I sound infectious (rasping voice coming from a fiery throat made raw with the hacking cough reminiscent of a TB hospital c. 1875). What are my options?

First of all, welcome -- I'm glad to see they finally have the Internet over there in the UK. As to your question: If this was #throwbackthursday, I would say, "Go on, get to work! People will use any excuse to stay home." But times have really changed. (And I'm glad it's not #tbt because this wide collar and these mutton-chop sideburns make me look ridiculous.) This has been the era of SARS, bird flu, etc. etc.; people are hyper-aware of the "disease of the week," perhaps more now than at any time since, well... the Black Death. So even when not infectious, do your coworkers and fellow commuters a favor and stay home for a day or two. (If feasible, work at home.) You'll give everyone the peace of mind that they're not being exposed to the latest freakish ailment, and you will be a better rested, better employee when you do return.

Another reader wonders...

I recently went back to retail, as a merchandiser, after getting a degree in fashion marketing. I work with horrible people! They are very chatty, vulgar, and they form cliques. I like my job because I work with clothes and it's something I want to move up in. But how do I stay at a job where people will back-stab me? Should I stay for experience or run?

Well, let me ask you a question: Is there any chance this wide collar will come back into style? Okay, okay, just figured I'd ask.

Work can really be a lot like high school, can't it? We're the same idiots we always were; we just got older. But I would strongly encourage you to stick it out -- for at least six months if you can (for the sake of your résumé). Yes, the professional experience you'll gain is important, but even more crucial is the experience of dealing with different sorts of people. For the rest of your life, you'll encounter personality types that clash with yours. They may never become your friends, but you still need to figure out how to interact in order to accomplish your separate and shared goals. (Hint: You can't go too wrong by treating everyone with respect.) Besides, at that retail job, you probably get a sweet employee discount, am I right?

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Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

If our question-asker wants to move to Sherman Oaks, California, I found a listing on AOL Jobs for a visual merchandiser opening at Macy's. California, mannequins, and a staple gun? That sounds awesome!!! The truth is, there are cool jobs across the country in your chosen field, waiting for you to apply. Do a search now on AOL Jobs!