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The How-To Lounge: Calling in Sick, When You're Not

The How-To Lounge: Calling in Sick, When You're Not

We’re all human, which means there are mornings when we wake up wanting to skirt our responsibilities for the day. I don’t recommend playing hooky on a weekly or even monthly basis, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a mental health day now and then. There are responsible ways to get out of work for 24 hours and then there are completely silly ones. See my tips for the former when you


  • As I said before, skipping out on work should be the exception not the rule, so make it count! Pick a day that you can actually enjoy off. The day before a huge project is due probably wouldn’t be the best choice.
  • Before you make the call, come up with your excuse. Keep in mind that faking a terrible cold isn’t going to work when you come into work the next day looking perfectly fine. The same goes for injured limbs! For more reasonable excuses, consider minor things like dental work.
  • When you finally make the call, avoid over-doing it with excuses or antics, like sniffling, fake coughing, etc.
  • Keep your explanation simple; don’t be afraid to just say you’re not feeling well and leave it at that.
  • Don’t post pictures of yourself out partying on the Internet. Some employers actually do check up on that. On the same note, don’t come into the office the next day sporting a new tan or acting like you just had the day off.

Understandably, many people feel guilty calling in sick when they’re not, but if you need a day off, you need a day off. Just make sure you don’t put your job at risk!


Join The Conversation
alexask alexask 8 years
haha i love that last tip
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
I always try and work in the words "cramps," "vomit," or "snot." My boss never asked questions after hearing one of those! I haven't done it with my new job, but if I have to I'll probably say I have an infected cut or something, working in hospitality requires ultimate hygiene.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
I should calrify: we don't get sick leave, we get a pool of personal time to use as we wish, and the company stresses that it is nobody's business why we need it. Maybe that's why I don't feel guilty? I have only ever done it really once...I convinced myself i was sick that morning, but when i woke up...i was fine! ;)
bluesteyes bluesteyes 8 years
I also know anyway and usually that person doesn't last in the company. The truth comes out one way or another every time.
bluesteyes bluesteyes 8 years
Well oh my comment since I have never done it because i wanted a pleasurable day, i did it once because i was really upset about something and i couldn't bare it. I also know it doesn't matter what excuse you give, they know and they will keep an eye on you. You might not know this but your boss and your coworkers do know that you're lying.
Advah Advah 8 years
I can't do that, it's too much stress. If I start taking days off when I'm not sick, then I'd just want to take more days off. Plus when I get really sick I have to stay in bed for a good 4-5 days so I'd rather save my sick days for that kind of flu!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
I've never taken a "personal" day.
baybelle baybelle 8 years
I work with my family business so when I need time out for medical stuff, no problem, but an unplanned day off is no fun because I always need to be available on my cell phone. I also feel horribly guilty - and then bored!! (I live on stress - I need help... I also need a vacation)
serenavallentine serenavallentine 8 years
i feel guilty calling in sick even when i am sick! i am always dreading calling in and feel like they won't believe me. even when i go home sick from work i feel guilty. i would LOVE to call in sick when i'm not but i just feel so bad....
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
This isn't a big deal. My job they don't need a reason really. If you can't come in, you can't come in. no need for excuses. as long as you aren't missing a deadline and have personal days, it's cake! I don't even have to ask permission for my vacation. I just have to send a meeting maker witht he day i am taking! it's marv!
ksindustryexec ksindustryexec 8 years
aha, yeah good pointers...i think iv taken a personal day once in my life.. butttt the WORST is .. because so many people do call in sick carelessly, when you actually are sick and call in, your employers are so rude.. and you always feel guilty, hate that. ooh well.
lauraxtc lauraxtc 8 years
Good Tips!!!
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
Yeah, I call in sometimes, but I always go with simple "I'm not feeling well" excuse, they usually believe that more than something elaborate. Oh wow, karlotta, that had to be horrible! 8-0 :( aimeeb, I just have to say I love your pic, lol lol, cute! :)
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I need a day off. :(
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
When I read these I realize how lucky I am....if I need a day off, I just say so, and make sure that I take it at a time that is not going to negatively impact my workflow or that of my coworkers. If I "have" to take one off, I just state why. But I also am always up to volunteer on evenings or weekends when I need to be here, so I think it evens out nicely.
geebers geebers 8 years
Oh wow I pretty much never use my sick days because I rarely am sick enough to call out. I just use my vacation and personal days when I need a day off. We get personal days and emergency personal days (for when say- your house floods and you cant come into work haha).
thelorax thelorax 8 years
Definitely best to keep it simple and just say you're not feeling well and are staying home so you'll be 100% healthy when you come in the next day and won't get everyone sick. Really, they're not going to interrogate you if you don't make this a habit - no one wants your germs!
gemsera gemsera 8 years
I just take a work from home day... say my car broke down or the similar. I live AGES from work and theres no public transport. I very very rarely do it, in fact I cant remember the last time I did (maybe when i was 18/19 or so)...
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
So what... they claim they can't afford to give you a raise when you deserve it. Tell 'em your suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome after cashing your check.
karlotta karlotta 8 years
*** 104 temperature. I measure in Celsius, didn't convert correctly!
karlotta karlotta 8 years
A few years back, I got hired to do a shoot in Florida over christmas break, and I asked the office manager at my day job if she would let me go on vacation a day early - but she said no! Which meant I had to turn down the whole entire film job, and that was just out of the question! So the day before christmas, I took my plane to Palm Beach anyway, really early in the morning, and called in the office after I landed (at like 10:30AM!!) and pretended I was in the hospital with bad burns on my legs from waxing with overheated wax (LOL). I was in the airport parking lot and there were planes taking off and landing everywhere around me, making a ton of noise! She told me she was very disappointed but hoped I'd feel feel better soon. But karma's a bitch; I woke up the next day with the flu, and I mean, THE REALLY BAD FLU OF MY LIFE. I flew back to NY on Christmas morning, with 100 temperature, and got back home in time for the phone call from the office manager: sorry to cancel your vacation, but we just landed a huge client and we need you in right now. Of course, when I pleaded that I had the flu, she wouldn't believe me (please, you got burned yesterday, AND NOW YOU'VE GOT THE FLU?) So I had to go in - first had to wrap my leg with bandages to fake the burns from the previous day, then had to work for a whole entire week with a fever, horrible muscle aches, and VERTIGO. I could not walk or stand up straight for the life of me. I had to crawl on the office floors and would regularly pass out, but everybody thought I was putting on a show. The office manager thought I was faking it too, and wouldn't take any doctor's note. She made me come in every day, and said I'd be fired if I didn't. Looking back, I should have stood up to her, but I needed that job bad and felt so guilty about lying on christmas eve that I figured I was just paying the price. I think that's exactly what she was doing too - it was obvious I was very sick, but she was getting revenge for christmas eve. Now I work for myself, and I take days off whenever I feel like it. Screw corporate jobs!
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
I just send an email to my bosses. They can either get over it or fire me. Whatevs! :P
runningesq runningesq 8 years
I just take a personal day -- no reasons, no excuses. All my leave is pre approved by my boss! :)
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
the last time i called in "sick" all i said was "I am going to be out to day, I am not feeling well please let everyone know thank you" and that is that. No sniffling, coughing, sounding close to death, or making up a ridiculous excuse.
DarlingDA DarlingDA 8 years
Ugh, we had a dumb coworker who called in deathly ill on a Friday, but one of our other coworkers just happen to mention that she and the "sick" girl were going out that night to get wasted, and did anyone else want to come? Not very smart...
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