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Was my colleague right to feel left out?

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Question - (10 October 2017) 7 Answers - (Newest, 11 October 2017)
A female Australia age 41-50, anonymous writes:

After opinions here..

A colleague A, has recently been off work sick for 3 1/2 weeks with tthe flu, most of us knew she was off, managers and some of us knew why.

Shes a good worker, like us all! No different.

She returned this week.

As soon as she returned another colleague B was off sick, for 3-4 weeks for planned throat surgery, (she told some of us)

Some people saw B was off sick on roster and talked about sending flowers. “B is off for 3-4weeks, we should send flowers to cheer her up” “poor B, hope she is ok” etc..

one of the managers were involved in the discussion too

At lunch today A heard the flower discussion and looked a little upset.

“I’ll give money for B” then quietly said to me “noone sent me flowers” and looked a little upset then went back to work, I felt sorry for her.

It was a little unfair? Or was it?

Should flowers or card/ candy/chocolate etc be sent to all who are sick? Or just the “favorites” like B?

Was it fair one person was sent flowers and one not?

What should workplaces do?

Others have been sent flowers in the past also..

My workplace has 8 people per shift, 2 shifts, medium sized workplace, maybe total of 50 people, plus cleaners and visting department people.

Am work friends with A, not socially,and did feel sorry for her

What do you think?


View related questions: flowers, money, workplace

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (11 October 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntI get why she probably felt a bit upset, but honestly having the flu and under going surgery is two very different cases. The surgery has been planned and well am sure the people suggesting flowers where not doing it to hurt the woman who had the flu. It is also true that others are closer to some work colleagues than others. Maybe have a word with your friend tell her she was missed but that they are planning flowers for the other women as she is having surgery.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 October 2017):

I had surgery late last year and was off for 3 weeks

Noone from work even messaged me and I get along with 2/3 of colleagues.

Their IS favoritism at work, do not assume that “ all people who have surgery” get flowers or well wishes.

Not all of us do.

Sorry for your friend, maybe buy her a coffee or cupcake to cheer her up?

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (11 October 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntThe same would have happened at my work place. We send flowers if someone has surgery or serious hospital treatment, or if they suffer the loss of someone close. We don't send flowers for people off with flu (unpleasant as that can be).

The problem is that you have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise everyone who is off for a couple of days with a cold will expect flowers. So it's not that colleague B is thought any more of than colleague A, just that their circumstances were different and, if they had been reversed, then colleague A would have been the one who had received flowers.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (11 October 2017):

Honeypie agony auntI agree with Cindy.

The is more the norm that people send flowers to someone who is in the hospital than "just" at home sick. After all... we ALL get sick here and there and there is not REALLY need to send flowers everytime someone has the sniffles.

So was flowers sent in the past to people who were AT HOME sick with the flu, head cold, minor things? OR to people who were in the hospital due to illness?

I don't think it's about favoritism but more of "tradition".

However, you COULd all on your own buy a little plant for A's desk as a welcome back from your time of being sick :)

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A female reader, Ciar Canada + , writes (10 October 2017):

Ciar agony auntI'm with Cindy.

The cold, the flu...chicken pox...generally don't merit flowers. A more serious illness, such as cancer, or surgery, even for something not life threatening often does.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (10 October 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt I guess it depends from what's the social rule / custom /etiquette in your area for this kind of stuff.

For instance, where I live , you only send flowers to those who have been admitted to the hospital / have undergone surgery / both ( the two things tend to coincide ). Nobody would think to send flowers to someone who's " just " home with the flu.

Does it make sense, is it " fair " ? Probably not . There are minor surgeries after which you are like brand new after a couple of days in hospital - while instead one can feel miserable for days and days in a row ,staying at home with a bad case of flu, or a bad cystitis , or a pesky sinusitis. But, these gets no flowers. It's just one of those things. Habits. Traditions. Customs.

Maybe the difference of treatment between A and B is linked to something like that ?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 October 2017):

There is a difference from having the flu .. and actually surgery .. I've had the flu now for 3 weeks and my daughter brought me some leaves and twigs .. which was lovely .. maybe a card would have been nice for A though since she was off sick for so long .

I think you need to say to her; your sorry she was sick but b is having a surgical procedure which is higher risk and in a hospital setting .. everyone gets the flu and though it's been drawn out ( mine too ) it's still the flu .

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