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How much does credibility count?

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in Workplace Communication

Dear Personal Report:

The article “Credibility counts? You’d better believe it”  portrays negatively a professional who stays home with a sick child. Under the second bullet, the author suggests that the “you” in the article has less character than her colleague because the colleague chooses to not stay home with her sick child.

This is a very offensive and degrading comment to parents who either choose to or must stay home with a sick child. Does the author suggest that the “you” in the article either lie about staying home or not stay home with their sick child?

Our entire department agrees that the parent who chooses to come to work and leaves a sick child at home is the one with less character and should be judged negatively.


Dear Anonymous,

We used the example of someone who stays home versus someone who comes to the office to illustrate how people assess each other’s character, based on whether or not they behave in the same way.

We never meant to imply that one person’s behavior is right, while the other’s is not. Maybe a different example would have been better: say, two people who have the same job, but one works through lunch regularly. Each may make judgments about the other, though neither would necessarily be “right.”

To your point about a professional staying home to be with a sick child: The truth is that we — especially women — have to make decisions all the time about how to balance work and family, or whether to work outside the home at all. Other people may deem our decisions wrong or right, and they may judge our character accordingly. (But personally, I’d never let that — the judgments of others — stop me from staying home on a day when my daughter is sick!)

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