It’s no secret now: Hillary Clinton was sick with pneumonia, worked a bit anyway, and is now back on the campaign trail after taking 3 days off to recover. Some have criticized her decision to ‘power through’ and silently suffer. Some say it was actually her body double at that 9/11 Memorial event. However you feel about this, our data prove that her decision is not the exception in the U.S. It’s the norm. We found out by asking this question (to U.S. Census figures):


A staggering 64% of  the 1,816 respondents polled say they power through. They are more likely to be parents and grandparents. No surprise there.

What’s funny is the numbers are split 50/50 for gender among those who answered that they power through.  The way I look at it? Maybe women feel they have to live up to men’s standards in the workplace. If a man is working while sick, a woman may want to avoid appearing weak and feel the need to match her male colleagues’ effort when she feels under the weather.

What does this do for workplace happiness? It doesn’t look good.

We found that those who power through a sickness are 3x more likely to answer that they are unhappy at their current place of work. Working through sickness leads to burnout and possibly, unhappiness. If only all places of work offered paid sick leave and made employee well-being a priority, then maybe we would see different results.

We’ve all probably been there, right? Sick but have a fast-approaching deadline, sick but have kids to care for, sick but have a big life event we don’t want to miss. I’m not saying what seems to be a cultural norm in America is OK, though. It’s simply something we’ve become accustomed to.