My husband has been sick for about three days now, and as happens with most of us, he’s sick enough to feel pretty miserable, but not sick enough to go to the doctor. He knows it’s just a really nasty bug that will run its course. All he needs to do is drink more fluids, get some extra sleep and a lot more rest.
But he’s not. Like most of us, he keeps going to work anyway.
He barely makes it through the day, and he’s getting worse: whatever bug he has is winning the battle. When he gets home he takes a shower, then passes out until he has to go back to work. My son and I have barely talked to him or even realized he’s home these past three days.
I keep asking him to stay home from work, and I give him the good old guilt trip about getting everyone else there sick, but he has the same arguments I’ve heard from him before, and we have the same conversation.
“I won’t get paid unless I’m out for two days or more and come back with a doctor’s note: and I’m not going to the doctor for the flu.”
“Well one day’s pay, or a couple day’s pay won’t put us in the poor house: just give it up and stay home until you get better.”
“I can’t do that either. If I stay out and don’t come back with a doctor’s note I’ll get written up.”
“Well, you might as well call in and go to the doctor then, because at this rate you will be sick enough to see him.”
“Nah, I can do this. Don’t worry about it. It’s my job, and my responsibility to get it done.”
Well, he can’t. The over-the-counter stuff he was taking stopped helping, so he took too much today, got too dizzy to drive home and called me to come get him.
One of the other guys that works for him finally felt so sorry for him that he volunteered to work his shift tomorrow so he could take the day off. They both signed some paperwork; my husband signed something to verify he gave up his shift voluntarily, and his co-worker signed something else waiving his rights to overtime.
This scenario plays out all over Hawaii. The system is broken, and we have lost all remnants of common sense.
If Malama is missing with something as simple as sick leave, you’ve got to wonder where else it’s missing.
To Malama, is to take care of.
A manager is a steward of assets and a caretaker of people.
Malama calls upon us to serve, to honor, and to protect.
Acts of caring drive us to high performance levels in our work with others. We give and become unselfish. We accept responsibility unconditionally.
Malama is warm, and Malama is personal. It comes from heart, and it comes from soul.
When we Malama, we are better.
—The introduction to chapter 15 of Managing with Aloha
on the Hawaiian value of Malama.