worst happy new year ever
December 31, 2021 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Supposed to start new job on Monday. COVID ruined everything.

Stepdaughter's boyfriend tested positive for COVID 12/23. Stepdaughter tested positive for COVID Xmas Eve. Boyfriend tested positive for COVID 12/27. I tested positive for COVID last night. (All home tests.) My positive test came back literally three hours after I confirmed with HR what time to come in on Monday.

I need to tell them I have COVID but today is a holiday and then there's a weekend. I would assume that the head of HR has work email on her phone but I am not 100% sure. I'm imagining what a horrible first impression Monday would be if they get to work, check their email, and see I can't come in.

That said, there has been surge of new COVID infections where we live, at the moment I know of five other people in our immediate orbit who have it, and we are ALL vaxxed (in two cases boostered too) so I can't imagine the new job would be, like, mad at me about this.

But the timing just fucking blows. Do I email now and follow up with a phone call Monday? I don't even know what the new office's COVID policy is, they were gonna go over that with me on Monday during orientation.

Fuck COVID, man.
posted by nayantara to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A place that would be "angry" at you for not coming in with COVID is not a place you want to work. I don't want to be flippant; I don't know your work circumstances, and obviously the situation is different for someone with a precarious economic situation starting a job at McD's than a professional. But assuming the latter, they will just have to deal. You may not start with any sick time. If so, I would suggest proposing that you postpone your start date to the next Monday.
posted by praemunire at 8:54 AM on December 31, 2021 [33 favorites]

I'm imagining what a horrible first impression Monday would be if they get to work, check their email, and see I can't come in.

I'll be more blunt than praemunire. Any professional job (suggested by "desk monkey" occupation) that doesn't respond to your email with some variant of "okay, please come in when you're better / past any relevant quarantine period" should cause you to immediately starting a new job search.
posted by saeculorum at 8:57 AM on December 31, 2021 [17 favorites]

Best answer: I agree with the above posters. Send that e-mail to the head of HR right now, and if you don't get an answer, call first thing on Monday and talk to someone. If they don't understand the importance of this, you might have dodged a bullet.

Suggesting a start date of a week or so later is a good idea, since in addition to not requiring them to deal with advancing sick leave credits, it will take the pressure off anybody having to do any kind of welcome or orientation with you for the rest of the week. In your shoes I'd say something along the lines of "I expect to be in the clear on X date, but I will check in with you on Y date to confirm."

Please don't let this get you down. Testing positive for Covid is outside your control, and by letting them know what's up as soon as you can, you are doing everything anyone could expect.
posted by rpfields at 9:03 AM on December 31, 2021 [26 favorites]

Best answer: You know what sucks more? “Here’s our new employee and they just got everyone else sick.” E-mail and phone follow up on Monday. It’s very very understandable situation. They may just move your start date back a week. That would suck for lost pay, but it won’t cause any bad impressions.
posted by raccoon409 at 9:04 AM on December 31, 2021 [18 favorites]

Best answer: No no, you’re catastrophizing! I’m so sorry this happened but I believe it will work out. I mean, you’re getting your Covid out of the way rather than work a few days AND THEN be sick, that’s probably better. Really, it does suck and I’m sorry about that but I definitely think you’re over-worrying. (I would probably do the same. It’s good you posted to get more opinions.)

Yes email and in the email let them know you will also call Monday morning.
posted by Glinn at 9:04 AM on December 31, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Their COVID policy shouldn't be all that different from any infectious virus policy. The concept of forcing employees to go to work sick with anything they can pass on to other people shouldn't be acceptable even before we get to the whole "novel virus" thing.

Definitely email them and, if you can, resist the urge to apologise. It's absolutely not your fault that you got hit with an incredibly infectious virus in the middle of a worldwide pandemic of said virus. You've done everything right in getting vaccinated and being careful, we're just in a really tough time right now. Rest up as much as you can and concentrate on taking care of yourself and your family. Jobs will come and go, your health is important.
posted by fight or flight at 9:05 AM on December 31, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yes Email now, call Monday morning.

Get better soon!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:13 AM on December 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

Email today, call Monday morning. Not a disaster at all.
posted by emd3737 at 9:13 AM on December 31, 2021 [2 favorites]

This is totally fine - it’s not ideal for anyone, but you should not lose a single moment’s sleep about it. Send the email, call Monday if you don’t get an emailed response sooner letting you know about next steps, and go rest and take care of yourself.
posted by Stacey at 9:54 AM on December 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

ONLY if you feel well: ask if there’s a remote option for any part of orientation. This will signal strongly you’re not ghosting. That would be my only concern as a manager.
posted by kapers at 11:06 AM on December 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

Hi I've got a new employee starting Tuesday and she called me to check if we were going to go back to at home. I told her not yet but that if she tested positive OR felt ill, not to come in and we would get her laptop to her to work remotely.

I had a previous employee start when we had the shutdown, and I didn't see her in person for 10 months. She did fine, she's a great hire. Training remotely was a pain but it is doable.

Hopefully your new employer feels the same but definitely call and leave a message.
posted by emjaybee at 11:25 AM on December 31, 2021 [2 favorites]

I just want to let you know I've hired people who have gotten sick for their first day, or had a family member die, or even have unexpected childcare trouble. I know it feels huge but honestly - never caused us to skip a beat and some of those people have been my best staff. I think there is good advice above - do your best to communicate, and ask if there's anything you can do remotely or any phone calls you can take, IF you feel well enough.

Hang in there!
posted by warriorqueen at 11:45 AM on December 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

Email HR _and_ the person you will report to if possible, then follow up with a phone call. I would call today - perhaps they are working, but if not you can leave voice mail - _and_ follow up with a call on Monday.

Also - do another test, it's not impossible to get false positives as I understand it
posted by TimHare at 12:43 PM on December 31, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks all, I emailed to let them know and they replied right away saying they will postpone my start date to the following Monday.

I am definitely showing symptoms, as is my boyfriend, so we highly doubt that this is a false positive for either of us. I've got a pretty high fever at the moment and he's coughing up a storm.

But it looks like it's going to be ok. Thanks again to you all for your advice.

Man this sucks. Going to to crawl back into bed now.
posted by nayantara at 1:49 PM on December 31, 2021 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Nayantara, just wanted to say (since you have an answer now) that you're right, this sucks, and I really wish you both a speedy healing and a good start at your new job when it happens.
posted by MollyRealized at 2:41 PM on December 31, 2021 [11 favorites]

I once called a job on my first day and told them that my doctor ordered me on bedrest for a complicated pregnancy. I was out for 3 months. Turned out to be a great job.
posted by CathyG at 10:43 PM on December 31, 2021

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