Outrageous excuses for missing work

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Outrageous excuses for missing work

Attendance is obviously important at any job, but even the most motivated worker gets sick or has a personal emergency and has to legitimately miss work sometimes.

But our latest CareerBuilder.com survey talked to employers and workers about those not-so-valid absences – and got the real scoop on all the times employees called in sick when they were well!


Calling in sick

Here’s some of the common reasons we called in sick when we weren’t:

  • 30 percent of us just wanted to recharge our batteries.
  • 27 percent of workers went to a doctor’s appointment.
  • 22 percent of employees stayed at home and caught up on their zzzzzz’s.
  • 14 percent took time off to run personal errands.
  • 11 percent of us had some seriously dirty houses, and stayed home to clean.
  • Another 11 percent stayed home to spend time with family and friends.

And 34 percent of us said we simply didn’t want to go to work that day!

Employer attitudes and memorable excuses

In general, we found that the vigilant attitudes employers had about absences has diminished somewhat; many of the employers we surveyed said they didn’t question the reason given for an absence. But 31 percent did follow up and check on an employee’s story. And 18 percent of those companies said they had fired an employee for missing work without a valid excuse.

What are some of the most outrageous excuses (and by excuses, we mean ‘lies’) that an employee has give as a reason for their absence? Here’s the best of the best:

  • Employee didn’t want to lose the parking space in front of his house.
  • Employee hit a turkey while riding a bike.
  • Employee said he had a heart attack early that morning, but that he was “all better now.”
  • Employee donated too much blood.
  • Employee’s dog was stressed out after a family reunion.
  • Employee was kicked by a deer.
  • Employee contracted mono after kissing a mailroom intern at the company holiday party and suggested the company post some sort of notice to warn others who may have kissed him.
  • Employee swallowed too much mouthwash.
  • Employee’s wife burned all his clothes and he had nothing to wear to work.
  • Employee’s toe was injured when a soda can fell out of the refrigerator.
  • Employee was up all night because the police were investigating the death of someone discovered behind her house.
  • Employee’s psychic told her to stay home.

Take a look at the full survey here. It provides additional details as well as suggestions for how employees should handle absences.

And just for laughs, you can check out last year’s most outrageous excuses.

  1. I got tired of feeling guilty when I’d call in and say I was feeling under the weather, started emailing my excuse to the boss. It puts things on a much less personal level and my boss doesn’t mind because now he has a paper trail he can use to throw in my face when he fires me should I abuse the system too much.

  2. I only once in all my working days have I called in sick. If you’re able too some companies give you little perks for not using sick time, but if you would loose it I would use it. I can save my sick days and if I don’t use them they roll over every year, and for an added bonus we get paid for 3 days at the end of the year if we didn’t use any sick time. It gives me a piece of mind that I have those sick days in case something does come up!

  3. Those sick time off excuses were very funny, but I have heard some that were much more creative when I worked for TI in Dallas.

    One fellow, after missing three days work, told his boss he had been kidnapped and just escaped the night before.

    Another employee called his manager and said he was in a coma and not sure when he would come out of it!

  4. I’m with Roger on this. It’s kind of hard to know that many people who actually have jobs don’t appreciate them enough to do their best for their employers.

    I’ve even seen situations where the slackers were rewarded for their “creativity.” I guess being a risk-taker is sometimes viewed by employers as a good thing, even when it becomes detrimental to the livelihood of a business. Each to his own, I guess. A passive attitude toward a slacker, though, will eventually come back to bite everyone involved in the “you-know-what!”

  5. I was sick a lot at my last employment, I had a disabling illness. I also was supported by Family Medical Leave, but they fired me for something else stupid because they didn’t like me missing work. Family Medical Leave can not always protect you. So watch out!

  6. With the economy the way it is and absolutely everyone is replaceable, just get to work and stop the excuses. People like that ruin for honest, hardworking people that have real problems. Single mothers or fathers, etc.
    Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. They give the days — take them. I have called in to interview for a better job and felt no guilt over that. I do resent companies that don’t allow half days for doc appointments, etc so you lose a whole day from your bank when you could clock. All jobs should offer starting three weeks vacaction, 5 sick days and three personal.

  8. If I take a day off to catch up on some zzz’s I have trouble getting to sleep the next day, so that’s not an option. Just “taking care of a personal crisis” does it.

  9. Employee stated that he arrived at the bus stop late and missed the bus, which is why he didn’t show up to work. Another bus came by fifteen minutes later.

  10. The best one I ever heard was…”My wife and I are trying to concieve a child, and it is that time of the month. So I need to be home with her today.” A few months later I met the wife at a company sponsored social event and asked her how the family planning was coming. To her shock she said she had no interest in having another child!!

  11. Do we know these excuses were all lies? If not, I don’t think that calling in because someone “was up all night because the police were investigating the death of someone discovered behind her house,” is an outrageous excuse. If you have ever had a police investigation on or next to your property–especially a dead body–you would not be able to sleep. There are lights, noise, police knocking on you and your neighbors doors, etc. etc.

    If this was true, I would not be upset with one of my employees calling out for this.

  12. Just look at the top list of reasons people called in sick — these are what we used to do in our personal time back before everyone was under so much pressure to work well-beyond the traditional 40-hour week, to take work home, go in on the weekend, and expected to be on their CrackBerry even when they are on vacation. Is it any wonder people just hit their “brick wall” and have to call in sick sometimes just to catch a breath? That’s what we get for our 24/7 economy and our “always on” lifestyle. Big surprise.

  13. All good, however, as an employer my favorite:
    Employee called in and said, “I’m having eye trouble, I can’t see coming in”

  14. I have only called in sick (retro-actively, really, I was just 2 1/2 hours late.) I had come in the night before on a delayed flight, and didn’t get to bed until after midnight, but had to be at work at 4:30 am. Anyway, here’s what I wrote on my “request for leave.”

    I had placed myself into a “medically necessary” state of unconsciousness (medically necessary because “sleep depravation” is a medical condition I was trying to avoid.) I was unresponsive to the artificial electronic stimulation equipment that was prescribed to revive me. I was ultimately revived through adequate exposure to sustained natural light therapy.

  15. I once had an employee tell me that she couldn’t come in to work because her boyfriends
    mom came into her room while she was asleep and took all of her clothes (to wash them) and she didn’t have anything to wear to work.

  16. I called in once because I couldn’t drive, I was too freaked out after finding a mountain lion in my house. No one believed me until it was on the news that day.

  17. I don’t think some of the excuses are lies, maybe a little bizzare but most likely true. Have you ever dropped any kind of full can on your foot. You could really break a few bones. I also don’t think I could work if the police kept me up all night when they found a dead body in my back yard!

  18. Had an employee tell me her cat plays behind her fridge and unplugged the refridgerator. Hence causing her milk to spoil which is why she has food poisening… causing her to miss work.

  19. I started off calling in sick, but when I found out you get a week for death in the family, then I went to killing off my grandparentd, then my parents, then my husband grandparents, and his parents,then my uncles, and aunts, and some cousins, then I called in stated that my husband die but he really left me, after two years of that my boss call me in the office and fired me due to the fact I had no family left, and he was afraid for my life, I think I went to far, you think.

  20. I called in….my excuse was that my friend
    (i made up a name ) was in intensive care, and that she was calling for me on her death bed, so i had to go see her, and couldnt make it in to work.

  21. Don’t call out sick … Call out slick. This is when uv partied too hard the night b4 n uv just forgotten what shift u work that day.

  22. Sorry, but I’ve NEVER called in sick for any reason other than being physically ill to the point that I was a hazard to others or being to ill to accomplish anything. I’ve gone to work with pneumonia, after a day of antibiotics. In fact, since I rarely get sick, I often go years without using a sick day. I do not understand telling any kind of lie for not going to work. You accept the pay, so you are morally and ethically responsible to those who are paying you.

  23. I sent my partner a text once to tell my boss that I was too sick to come in and to let him know. The text about knocked him out of his chair. My partner took his phone to show the boss and said, “I guess this is the new way to call in sick.”

    The Boss thought is was pretty funny too and called me to make sure I was feeling OK and told me to get some rest.

  24. I am very sorry to right that i always joined my office in every condition of my health because when i become sick or wana relaxation i just take one hour to get back on my working position.

  25. People would be less likely to call out on short notice when US employers would embrace flex time and give more than just measly three weeks of vacation (or even less).

    Other countries have twice the amount of paid vacation and 16 paid holidays plus flex time and recognized overtime for salaried employees and still have higher productivity overall than US businesses.

    Under these circumstances businesses should be happy that people even call at all.

  26. Just plain funny excuses, and certainly there is an attempt at originality in these jokesters. Unfortunately, slackers cause a disrupted, nonproductive workforce to be even more troubled. Picking up after a slacker causes fellow workers to stress and be less able in their own desks.

    The better way to go is to do your job, and if you really dislike the job, keep doing it while you search for another more to your liking. Now get up and go to work, slacker.

  27. I worked for a non-profit for over 5 years, accumulated almost 200 hrs of unused sick time. When I left for another job I lost all that time w/o even a thanks or a ‘little something’ ($) for any of those days.
    Use it or loose it unless you know you’ll get $.

  28. I have called in sick but my husband owns his own business and when the weather is bad he is really busy… so I would stay home and help him… but I have to say when I took the job they were well aware that our business was more important than my job!!

  29. wow Sheila. Wish I worked where you did. I work from home now, but when I worked out of the home sick day policy was use it or lose it. Im sure you can imagine just how many people started calling in sick and taking off between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  30. Funny excuses! My company has the policy of use it or loose it but everyone figured that one out. Then they added incentive of an award at the end of the year and a negative review for using up all of the use it or loose it time. That resulted in sick people would still come in and spread it to everyone so sick time increased on the whole. I’ve proposed banking it so people can use it when they are sick without effecting their review. I’ve explained that use it or lose it promotes abuse and sticking it to people at their review promotes them to come in and pass it on to everyone plus no one works well when they are sick. Management does not agree so far.

  31. I had a boss that called in sick because his shower did not work….maybe that’s a good thing he did not show up. A friend told me that he knew a person who called in because he put lotion on his hands and right after he rubbed his eye which made his eye burn. He couldn’t go into work either.

  32. Do companies who provide cell phones for their territory sales people have the right to place a GPS system on the where-abouts of their sales people?

    Are GPS systems able to place their systems on DELL lap tops as well?

  33. AS a night instructor in a vocational college, the chances of having a full class is just about nil. The excuses about why people keep skipping class are unreal. How individuals show up for class and their performance attitude are highly reflective to how they will show up in the real world. While “life happens” some students have missed 48% of a 725 hour class.

    If I was “paying” them for attending would this make a difference? Many ARE being paid by having “free” government grants for school. The least they can do is to show up for class if they are serious about changing the quality of their life and career. It’s about taking on responsibility for creating the life one really desires.

  34. I agree Pam, I had that happen to me. I was out sick due to emergency testing that could have meant life or death. I scheduled my absence ahead of time. The company changed management and decided that regardless of prior approval and doctors excuse and release that my absence was unacceptable.

    So instead of firing me on the spot which oops would have been illegal, they refused to schedule me for 3 weeks saying I still had a job and then fired me for not showing up on a single day they scheduled me without letting me know I was scheduled. Even being a no show, every employee was allowed 3. Bottom line if they want to get rid of you they will. Not to mention being fairly abusive to the employee.

  35. the way i see it, i worked at a bank for a while, never did i miss one day… even feeling sick with the flu, i stayed and worked until i closing… i did the best i could at everything, i even got 2 awards for catching frauds and doing an “outstanding job”, and when i asked for a raised they fired me..no reason what so ever ( i swear it was over night)… and now that i think about it i shouldve been like the rest of my co-workers and called in from a long night out or partying or just because i wanted to… most employers these days dont care about their employee’s, even if they are in the Forbes top 100′s companies to work for…they dont care, they just want to see the money you make for them..

  36. You know it! Big Brother is here. GPS can be on company provided phones and your employer to track you during work hours. If your doing your job – this shouldn’t concern you.

  37. Leslie, I know how you feel. I had a similar situation happen to me. I worked for this company for 5 years and was making good money. I was on a traveling team but decided to go back local. I never called in sick and I was always voluteering to work more hours. I even put in hours that I didn’t get paid for. Well when I went local the district management changed and the person who got promoted didn’t like me and well basically scheduled me for hours she knew I couldn’t work and said that I quit instead of got fired. I couldn’t even get unemployment because of that. What got me is that the people who consitently called in sick got better hours and got promotions while I got screwed. Now I am still unemployed and I never called in sick unless I couldn’t move at all.

  38. At my previous employer, we received 5 days of leave with no accumulation. Three years ago, both of my parents passed away one summer. So, you really do not know what can happen. It is better if you are selective about about the days you take off, because you may really NEED them.

  39. The last time by boss flipped out on me, this is how I answered his apology email:

    I can’t come in today. I’m so deeply disturbed and hurt by your anger and irrational behavior yesterday that it’s imperative for me to distance myself and take a day to soul search.

    I will be in tomorrow.

    It was very effective!!!

  40. I actually dropped a lid from a tin can on the floor once, managed to step on the edge while it was bouncing, and had to get to stitches in the bottom of one of my toes. My manager said she had to believe me, because it was too much to make up. I didn’t miss any work, but I had to convince her it hurt to wear normal shoes for a few days.

  41. One of my professors told me… sick days are wasted when your sick. Everyone needs a mental health day once in awhile, so I think people need to get over it! Its not that I don’t appreciate my job.. or understand my “moral responsibility” haha… its just that EVERYONE needs a day where they can stay home… especially when they are healthy enough to enjoy it.

  42. I worked in one place that they paid you for up to 6 days at the end of the year if you did not use up some or all of your sick time. They also encouraged you to work on your day off to make up the sick day if you could so you would not lose sick time. It was nice to get up to another weeks’ pay at the end of the year. It helped pay for Christmas bills.

    I was there 16 years and think I took advantage of the program for 14 of those years. The other two years I think they paid me for 4 days which was still good. Most other employees took advantage of this incentive aswell.

  43. I called in sick the night before, i had plans to getawayfor the weekend, so i did got the doc to write me a sick leave for 3 days. I sent it in, but on my way to the airport i had a car crash and they all heard what happened.

    I was so embarassed, i think that scar is still on my forehead. Everytime my boss sees me, it shows!!!!

  44. Too bad i work from home… i can’t ever really call in… some of the excuses would be awesome to use for a ‘hung over’ day! :)

  45. Those reasons for calling in sick sound pretty plausible to me if one examines how serious some of those so called stupid reasons can be–so suck it up employers!!!

  46. What I found out during my 42 years as an office employee, is that your boss never believes that you are sick no matter what your excuse is.

    I remember one employee, Annette, who went home sick, no one believed her and many negative comments were made. The next day her family called to say that she had died of leukemia.

  47. I rarely took time off, accumlated 53 sick days, and lost them all when I changed jobs after 15 years.

    I think that workers in the United States need time off. If an employee is too cheap to provide sufficient time off then they are not worth working for. No job is more important than family needs or health.

    Working a salaried position in the United States is like signing away your soul. You are accountable for every minute of your life. You have to explain away Doctors Appointments and miss your children’s special one time events (man or woman). A mandatory benefit should be PTO Paid Time Off with no excuse needed, just a simple request. In this country some employers treat their employees like children in school rather than adults.

    Of course you have to be an adult to understand how to treat people as an adult. The amount of time should be sufficient and be included in the benefit package and companies should encourage their employees to use the time off. Loyalty is a two way street, both parties have to give the employer as well as the employee — what job is more important than life itself. Again — it depends on if one has a life to begin with.

    If using PTO isn’t treated as such a big deal no one would abuse it.

  48. If you are really sick, please do not come to work and spread your germs around the office. And if you are NOT sick, don’t kill off too many of your relatives. If you have just two grandmothers, don’t call in for bereavement over a third.

  49. I can find myself believing these excuses… It can happen. I once was on my way to work, but running late. I had called my boss to give him the heads up. Unfortunately, I ended up with a flat tire on the turnpike. Soon after, where I was stopped, a brushfire began right by me.

    The turnpike was cleared all around my car, making it almost impossible for the tow truck to make it to me. When I called my boss to let him know that I might not be able to make it in, he yelled and hung up on me, not believing me. I had to have my boyfriend, also an employee there, tell him to check the news.

  50. When I was 15 yrs. old on my first job at a cafeteria. I wanted to go to a youth group activity at a church (no less). So I went outside, found an ant, made friends with the ant, then stepped on it. I then called my boss and said that my aunt died and I couldn’t come to work. It’s a good thing I stayed with the youth group. Over time I learned about entegrity.

  51. I have been with my company for 20 years I have 180 hours and I would like to use some of this sick time without getting fired. My company gives us nothing if we not not use the sick time. Any suggestions. Thanks!

  52. It’s been about 20 years since I called in, but I truly believe that the more time off people are given the more they will take.The work ethic in this country is giving other countries the opportunity to steal our jobs. It’s hard to blame politicians or those in charge when unions price our labor out of reach for companies to make any money. It’s a shame.

  53. I actually fractured myfoot, it was extremely blue & swollen initially & I haven’t missed one day of work, I have actually worked 9-10 hour days and that’s going up and down stairs when needed. I do not call out unless I have an ailment, which prevents me from being 100% productive. I believe certain excuses are legit depending on the industry, i.e. a chef cannot cook if he’s broken his predominant hand and a nurse cannot come to work if she has the flu. Just my thoughts :)

  54. I’ve actually come pretty close to hitting a turkey, and even closer to hitting a deer when riding my bike. I guess if I actually do hit one of those and have to miss work, I’ll now have to make up a more “believable” excuse!

  55. I agree whole heartedly with Stephanie and Jane . I am a salaried systems engineer, with a very high stress senior position. I work for a very agressive company, where you either “sink or swim” . My job requires oncall support 24/7, I am oncall 50% of the time, but still I am the backup the other 50% . We receive 4 weeks of PTO, we either use it all or lose it (except in our CA datacenter, they get to carry over 600 hours per year–go figure) We don’t really have to have an excuse , if we say we are sick, we just make up an excuse , and it’s not questioned really much, as long it doesn’t interfere with the work schedule. If we take vacation, we give about 1 month’s notice, and that is that .

    I always take all of my PTO time, and use it for myself, and my family mostly. I don’t feel a single iota “guilty for this”, though I understand about people, who “never miss a day of work in years”, but the reason I don’t feel guilty, is because the oncall work, will drive you nuts, so you have to have some time off .

    I have been “paged out” often late at night, 3AM only to work about 27 hours straight for emergency situations. Paged on my vacation. paged on my sick days, paged when I am “not the oncall primary” , and paged on holidays(have laptop–will travel), in the doctor’s office, and at just about every conceivable inconvient time you can think of. But I don’t mind, because that is the trade off, I like helping out, and sometimes if I have a few long days, I will ask if I can just take off the next day early to spend some time with the wife and kids. I’ll put in 3-4 hours some nights, after my kids go to bed at 9PM. My employer allows me to work from home, I can do that, and take care of my kids when they are sick, and they still don’t lose a day of productivity. It’s a double edged sword, they are very demanding, but fortunately for me, very flexible as well, as long as I am getting all of my work done in a timely and professional manner .

    I work somewhere between 40-50 hours per week, during the week, 9-5, but also I do the heavy maintenance on the weekends, nightshift, which I can do from home , from mid-night to 5AM . Even though I’ve called in “sick” occasionally, I have never ever once failed to complete a maintenance window in 3 years, and I’ve actually done the maintenance window 3 times when other co-workers were out sick that day/night . But on Mondays, when I’ve worked the maintenance window, I get the whole day off. Life is too short, not to take some time off, if an employer is that demanding , they HAVE to be somewhat flexible .

    I also agree that the United States employers on the average give way too little vacation/sick/pto time off.

  56. I wish I had sick time at my job. I work for a company who doesn’t pay us when we call in sick. We actually get punished by giving us points that accumulate and can add up to fire us. We don’t even get excused with a simple doctors note. Fmla is the only way we don’t get in trouble. So I dodntknow sick days actually even existed anymore. Haha

  57. I wish sick people would stay at home. Why come on to work and infect the rest of the office with whatever cold, flu, stomach virus, etc you have. That is so inconsiderate of your coworkers. I don’t want what you have and nor do I want to take it home to my kids. So, do us all a favor and keep your sick self home.

  58. I once worked with a person who was ex-military, and she bragged because she never took a sick day. The only problem was, she DID get sick– she just came to work and gave it to everyone else. As a supervisor, I am more likely to tell someone to go home or stay home than I am to tell him or her to come in.

    Why? Because I don’t want to spend another six months with bronchitis, because I caught the flu from some selfish butt and it turned to bronchitis!!!! I think that if a person comes to work when he or she is sick, and other people get sick from him or her, that the person making everyone sick should have to do the work of the other people that he or she made sick!

  59. Rafael:
    They can enable the GPS device as long as they have provided documents that you have signed off on or it is in the company policy stipulating that they use “electronics monitoring devices” and yes you can put a GPS tracking device in a laptop, or car, clothes, anything.
    I worked for Time Warner cable and our vans had GPS in them so dispatch knew where we were to respond to a trouble call or give an ETA. They then wanted to put cameras in our vans but that didnt fly due to us being able to take home the vans it would be considered an invasion of privacy. Same thing with the GPS, but once you turn off the cell phone the GPS turns off

  60. Um….I have no quams about calling in sick. My boss is a bitch and some days…I just dont want to see her face….I dont do it frequently…just when needed… I stay home and Help my mom with whatever she needs, checking out other job positions…housework…nothing! every other month or so…Advice…Plan around a co-workers sick day out….say, 4-5 days after. Keeps the focus off you… Works for me!

    As for my excuses…Dentist, migraine problems(you gotta set this one up though from the beginning!), bad cramps, any female issues…A female boss will empathize and a male one doent want details…! Just stay home and get well… Not to say I dont like my career, just that we all need an unscheduled break everynow and then.

  61. Rafael
    Sorry to say it but yes they d have the right.It is writen in the fine print on the job requirments.Sadly they are also allowed to have cameras everywhere in the building accept the stalls in the restroom.It is outragous all the rights that employers are allowed these days.

  62. As a warehouse manager I’ve heard more than my share of reasons for calling out. Each empoyee has 6 sick day per year starting in January, the company will buy back any unused sick time at the end of the year. I have 40+ empoyees that work with me and by April 80% are out of sick time for the year, 20% have used gone beyond and have received warnings. Then they won’t call out until the next year, it’s a cycle some people can’t seem to break. If they have sick time they feel the need to use it. When they are really sick they drag themselves in just so they don’t get fired.

    When you call out you put more pressure on your co-workers to pick up your slack and it creates tention bewteen the slackers and the honest people who are responsible.

  63. My dad accepts calls at a call center from employees mostly to call off in the morning, these are nothing, one employee called in 4 days in arrow saying that he was in State College (2.5 hours away) had car trouble and won’t be in today, but also didn’t come back in for the next 3 days either under the same reason.

    Others include I don’t feel like coming in, well duh! ! !

    And the ever so popular my house has been quarentined and I won’t be in till at least next week. (It happened 3 times in 2 months, and the employee was sighted out in the community.)

  64. if you went to work when you had pneumonia, I think you may need to talk to someone about potentially being a work-aholic.

    Employers provide you with sick time so that you may use them when you are not feeling well, this can include days where you feel you are under mental duress or where you would be inefficient at work due to personal reasons, as long as you do not abuse the system people – there is nothing wrong with catching up on sleep or taking a mental health day once in a while. By the way stress can and is considered a physical/psychological condition.

  65. Where I work, I’ve been there only a year. I called off once because I had a killer migraine, but recently I did take a couple vacation days just to be home with my family and relax. But I made sure the time was approved and my time was covered at work.

  66. We live in a high turn over world now. Employers know that there’s always someone waiting in line to replace anyone on their staff. Keeping that in mind, they push their employee’s to burn out stage and beyond.

    If you’re offered payed time off, it’s use it or lose it in many cases, so use it, and it’s never a good time by the bosses watch to schedule a vacation, so that leaves one option….call in. No job, no amount of money is worth sacrificing your sanity and principles over!

  67. Wow, reading this just shows that you’ve got all types out there. Good and bad employees, good and bad employers. And you have all possible combinations of employers and employees.

    I was raised with my parent’s work ethic; To work 40 hours a week, work when you are at work (don’t spend you day at the water cooler), put in overtime if necessary, be on time, and don’t take sick days unless you are sick. And if you don’t like a job, go find another one.

    I guess the big question for employees is going to be “Does the employer deserve my work ethic?”

  68. Mam – I really don’t think 75% are calling in because of hangovers. There is a real problem of over-stressed people just needing to jump off the rollercoaster to catch up on … “fill in the blank”…or just life.

    With the majority of the work force multitasking and forced to be so much to so many people. Calling in sick is a mild symptom of a much larger increasing issue….stress-burnout in this generation.

  69. Wow, I’m so shocked by all of the people who have never used sick days. My personal opinion is that if you get days off- vacation/personal/sick USE THEM. If you heart your job just that much that you never want to miss a day- congrats! I think most people will say that they don’t feel that way.

    As for moral/ethical obligations to your employer- get real!!! Have you seen the state of the economy and the amount of lay-offs??? All of us are hanging on by a thread and you with your precious unused sick days can be the first one let go like everyone else.

    I do NOT feel any ethical obligation to my employer and I ABSOLUTELY USE all of my time in the calendar year- since we don’t get to keep it.

  70. I wish I knew who some of these more horrific employers were, so I could avoid these businesses. The older I get, the less I can stand businesses treating people like dirt.

  71. Very interesting read. I have to comment on the guy who went to work with pneumonia. Please stay home! I realize that is not a communicable disease, but I’ve worked alongside people who are too ill to do their job. Even if you think you are able, believe me, your co-workers have a different opinion. Nothing irritates me more than having a sick person come in to work just so s/he can say, ‘I’ve never used a sick day.’ Do us all a favor if you are sick, stay home. Don’t spread those germs to the rest of us.

  72. The best excuse to use when calling in sick is that you are taking a “mental health day”. Yes it’s vague, but it kind of sounds like your sick too…and since it pertains to your overall mental ‘stability’…your boss can’t deny you the right to stay home.

  73. I guess I’m really lucky. I work from home (most of the time) and the work is fairly laid back so I usually don’t get stressed to the point of faking sick. However, ocassionally my boss will send me messages telling me to take personal days. He tells me I need to use every single possible day off that is avaiable every year, so that I don’t stress out on him.

    That and even though I’ve used most of my days off for the year, he told me to take the whole week of thanksgiving and christmas and new years off. His reason were that he didn’t want to work those weeks and so he doesn’t want me to either so that he has no billing to deal with from those weeks. Ahhh…the joys of being an IT consulant with a way cool boss!!

  74. …Employee said he had a heart attack early that morning, but that he was “all better now.”

    I have to take exception to this one: I checked into an emergency room 1 night (late) thinking it was a heart attack, the diagnosis was atrial fibrillation. I felt fine the next day and was ready to leave… no such luck; 4 days later I was sent home.

    The funny part is that on the very 1st morning I called my boss and told him I had been hopitalized… his response was ‘ok, sure take a couple of days off’…. I don’t think he took me seriously.

  75. I think Mark is 100% correct. Is my boss worth my good work ethic? HELL NO!!!! NOT MY BOSS!!!! Take as much time off as you can if you hate your job. Work it baby!!!

  76. I agree! If your company has “paid time off” where all days — vacation, sick time, etc. — are lumped together AND you’ll be cashed out for whatever unused time you have when you move on, then it makes sense to bank them. Otherwise, “it’s not a benefit if you don’t use it.”

  77. And you know what??? I’ve worked almost my whole life… In Europe they give the proper amount of time off, we are over worked in this country… I say.. life is too short to be busting your ass at work all the day every single day…. Anytime, I’ve given my everything to a job… put in years,,, even given up on family vacation… jobs are not loyal… as soon as they have to make cut backs… who’s the first to go? The one that’s been there the longest.. making the most money.. in this case me…

    So, I say.. live it up.. make up excuses… take long vacations with your family… I didn’t go to that family vacation and my aunt died shortly there after….. I missed out due to a job… PEOPLE, LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW. DON’T LISTEN TO ALL OF THESE UPTIGHT FREAKS…. Jobs come and go… family needs you NOW.


  78. Definitely an interesting read. Yea for the people who dont miss work and go in on their death bed! more power to you NOT!! I find that absolutely ridiculous and must agree with those that believe that living life and being there for family, health and taking whatever personal time you need. What really sucks is that those people really didnt sound like they were rewarded for doing what you would think is commendable, but lost out more than those that actually used and abused the time off.

    Yea all of this is crazy and it definitely is a fact that our country is over-worked and stressed to the max!! I agree, jobs come and go but considering where the economy is you have to kind of suck it up on those jobs that you hate and stick it out because jobs are going more than they’re coming….

  79. My company allows 4 hours PTO accumulated every month that the employee is present more than 15 days. I am not a doctor so when an employee calls in sick I assume he’s sick. People who abuse the system will continue to abuse it and will wind up being terminated when they actually do have a good excuse eventually. Slackers weed themselves out more often than not.

  80. Some of these excuses aren’t so far-fetched. I actually do know someone who missed work because he found a body in the woods the night before and was being interrogated by the police into the wee hours of the morning.

    I like how one person commented “If you don’t like your job go out and find another one”. Apparently the economy tanking has had no effect on you…congratulations. For the rest of us finding a “new job” really hasn’t been that easy. NO ONE IS HIRING!!!! I put my resume out there and don’t get a response back. I call to follow up and there’s been an unexpected “hiring freeze”. I graduated from college with a 3.6 GPA, I have over 2 years experience in my field, and I have excellent references, so it’s not for lack of being qualified. I’ve been stuck temping and I hate it, but what am I supposed to do?

  81. Richard said: Sorry, but I’ve NEVER called in sick for any reason other than being physically ill to the point that I was a hazard to others or being to ill to accomplish anything. I’ve gone to work with pneumonia, after a day of antibiotics.

    I too don’t see any reason to lie to skip work and I understand the responsibility to your employer. It is irresponsible to go to work with pneumonia, even after a day of antibiotics. If you are coughing at all, or have a fever, or sneezing, you are still contagious. Depending on the disease and your immune system, you may be contagious even without those things. DON’T GO TO WORK!

    Even if you have a strong immune system and rarely get sick, everyone else around you may not. Who knows who at your workplace may be immuno-compromised! Or who may have an infant or elderly person at home to take care of! Even if a coworker doesn’t get horribly ill, they may be able to pass on the virus or bacteria. I’m immuno-compromised and had to miss a month (an entire MONTH) of work, because one of my coworkers thought it would be a bright idea to come in with influenza, because they “were on medication and didn’t feel too bad.” I could tell they were sick and thus avoided contact, but I still caught it.

    You may think that you’re helping your company by showing up. But you calling in for a few days is better than someone else having to call in for a month or more! Someone else’s absence might affect your employer MUCH more than yours. Be responsible and don’t spread dangerous diseases just because of your pride.

  82. I worked at one office where I was there for over 3 years and never took a sick day. I was going to school pt at night to get my degree and had midterms coming up and really needed to pre for them so I decided to call out sick. No one answered, so I left a message in the managers box and called back later in the morning to make sure they received it. She received it alright. Along with a message from the owner to CAN ME!?! So much for being allowed 3 sick days a year.

  83. As for my response, layoffs are on the increase in this neck of the woods,flooding the labor market. Anyone messing with the employer’s attendance policy could quickly be replaces with someone just a little “hungrier” than themselves.

  84. Some of these comments are hilarious!!! I was fed up with the whole work situation in the USA- especially with management not appreciating me or my skills. I decided to move overseas where I get 30 days vacation, paid holidays, sick days and other perks. Too bad the taxes are higher, but after 6 months probation, a company here is REQUIRED to have a valid reason to fire you- not often imaginary excuses used in the States…

  85. The problem is many people calling in have jobs not careers! At a job you watch the clock all day and will say anything not to go if you can afford it that pay period. When you have a career, (which I do) you look forward to getting up and you don’t have to lie when you don’t want to go in, because your usually there.

    Lee Lee :-)

  86. I was a teacher for 18 tears. My 1st ISD told us to take a day off if we were “having a bad day” so as not to take it out on the kids. The last one told us not to take a day off unless we were in the hospital or extremely contagious, & made us take free flu shots. Working 70 hours a week is always hard, so I agree with the first one.

  87. I had a similar situation to Pam, and I always made sure my employer received my doctor excuses and they had the nerve to tell me that I wasn’t dependable enough. I thought that as long as it was a valid reason and you had the proof to back it up they wouldn’t be allowed to fire you but now here I am… very jobless…

  88. Interesting stuff! Where I work, we have an excellent crew, no one takes advantage of the laid back atmosphere because everyone knows we could lose it in a heartbeat. We work 4 10s giving me a 3-day vacation every week.

    I am rarely ever sick, and although a lot of it may be genetics I think some of it has do with attitude toward your job – as well as co-workers attitudes. If you don’t like what you do it’s easy to “get sick” of your job.

    I’m fortunate where I’m at that we are given plenty of roll over PTO when compared to previous jobs.

    If you’re “sick” of your job, try finding another. Seeing what else is out there – or lack – might help you appreciate what you’ve got more.

  89. Many interesting comments and ideas about work here. It all depends on the individual and the situation. I personally put work at about 4-5th on my list of things that are important to me. Family, Friends, Myself then maybe my job? Work should not control your life unless you want it to and in that case it probably wouldn’t seem like work then.

  90. I think Sylvia’s reply was superb! As a HR prof, I knew of someone very like her. I think people should be as honest as they can be for their reasons for needing time off. Employers can be mean spirited, though. So, if you can work your company’s system, do so. Everyone needs a day away from it all, especially if your company runs like high school socio-politically (am I being too mean-spirited?)

  91. Ahhh… so true to the one’s who have said that we are overworked. My experience is that, yes.. we do not have many good companies in this country that appreciate employee’s. It’s a give and take like anything in life. If you take , take, take, all the time, people get sick of feeling and being used. And as soon as something goes bad with the company, you are the first to go (again goes back to respect and appreciation.) Other countries manage to still run a company, make a profit and keep the employee’s happy. So what’s wrong with this picture here in the United States?? I’ll tell ya…PURE GREED!!!

  92. One sure way you know you’re working way too much overtime is when your doctor tells you you have to have surgery and you’re gonna be laid up for two weeks after that and you’re excited because you’re looking forward to the time off. This actually happened to me on one occasion once upon a time.

  93. i work for family freinds. a husband and wife run business. i have requested time off 3 months ahead and was denied. then i planned a vacation on days we are not scheduled and they decided that week that we were to work those days. i of course told them my vaca plans and he still wanted me to cancel but i refused. then they told me i have to let them know if i plan on vacationing on my days off just incase they need to be open more.now to not even bother i just call in sick. when there are no rewards for doing things the right way we must result to being ‘sick’. i am going to vegas this week and calling in with the flu.

  94. i work for family freinds. a husband and wife run business. i have requested time off 3 months ahead and was denied. then i planned a vacation on days we are not scheduled and they decided that week that we were to work those days. i of course told them my vaca plans and he still wanted me to cancel but i refused. then they told me i have to let them know if i plan on vacationing on my days off just incase they need to be open more.now to not even bother i just call in sick. when there are no rewards for doing things the right way we must result to being ’sick’. i am going to vegas this week and calling in with the flu.

  95. feminine problems dont work because last time i had cramps and went to the doctor they wanted an update and asked if i had ovarian scists! none of their business but they think it is

  96. For the people answering the question with “tell the truth”. Why don’t you go to the Jesus loves me chat room, or stick to actually answering the questions, instead of proposing something new all together.

  97. thats like going on website thats asking about gas mileage on a corvette, and then posting to them that they need to get a bike. Stick to the questions.

  98. i only call in sick when i am in the hospital, on narcotics (because i have to administer medications) or if i am highly contagious because of the field i work in. i am the supervisor of a group home for mentally challenged adults, and even then, sometimes if i am feeling up to it, i just wear one of the silly looking masks they make you wear in the ER or doctors office when you have the cough or flu-like symptoms so i don’t spread my germs.

    in the field i am in, it is difficult to find someone to cover your shift if anyone is to call out because we are always short staffed, and working short staffed affects the consumers. if i worked in an office and didn’t do direct care work, you can bet that i wouldn’t give a shit about whether i felt fine or not, i wouldn’t go to work looking like a fool wearing a mask. but because it is the quality of life of my consumers at stake, i suck it up even if i am feeling like complete crap and make sure they are taken care of before myself because that’s what i have always been taught to do from a young age, always put others before myself.

    well, and the fact that i don’t get paid sick time and they are paying for my master’s degree helps a lot as well.

  99. oh and also, try being salaried and not eligible for overtime, but being short staffed but ending up working between 50 and 80 hours a month unpaid. it’s fucking FANTASTIC to say the least!!

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