b Self-Helpless: True Tales of a Working Girl: How To: Call In Sick



How To: Call In Sick

The excuses are virtually limitless:

- I won't be in to work today because I've been tripping on Peyote for the last few days, and I can't seem to find my legs.

- The dog ate my car keys. We're going to hitchhike to the vet.

- My mother-in-law has come back as one of the Undead and we must track her to her coffin to drive a stake through her heart and give her eternal peace. One day should do it.

Per Careerbuilder.com’s absenteeism survey late last year, 43% of the workers said they called out sick in the last year when they weren’t really sick. This number was up from 35% the year before. The most popular day of the week to call in? Wednesday. 63% of the hiring managers stated that they were more suspicious of people calling in sick on Mondays or Fridays. (I’m guessing people know this if they’re calling out on Wednesdays).

The results from Career Builder also said that 38% of the people surveyed felt that sick days are equivalent to vacation days. Hmmm.

The most common reason for calling out sick when not sick was to relax or catch up on things at home. The others included going to a doctor’s appointment, running errands or they just plain old didn’t feel like going in.

Making the Call:

There’s a right way and a wrong way to call in sick. For starters, you need to remember to call!

When you make the call remember to keep things as simple as possible. If you can, call early and leave voicemails. Avoiding a conversation minimizes the possibility of slipping up. Know what you’re going to say before you pick up the phone.

The reason can be brief: “I don’t feel well, so I’m not going to come in.” It’s simple and to the point. Don’t elaborate too much on a reason. You have a bug, a headache, whatever. It doesn’t need to be more detailed than that.

When you leave the message, be sure that the tv or radio aren't blasting in the background. If there’s noise in the background, this can reduce the efficacy of your excuse. If you’re really sick, you’re going to be in bed… play it up. Speak quietly or raspy or however you can to convey the image that you are unwell.

Be smart: don’t come back to work the next day with a suntan if you’ve been at the beach. Nothing will cut your credibility faster than being caught like this! Let's see you weasel your way out of that one.

Also, try not to take off more than one day at a time if possible. Some employers want a doctor’s note for 2 or more days missed. Know what your company’s policies are ahead of time if you can.

So let me know when you call out so we can play hookey together!

© Copyright 2006 Pied Piper Consulting

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