While getting sick is a total drag, sometimes, when you wake up with a 102-degree fever on a rainy Monday, being sick really doesn’t seem all that terrible. A raging fever or a case of the flu means that instead of going to work, you get to stay home in your sweatpants and watch Christmas movies and “The View” all day while eating chicken soup and drinking ginger ale (or whatever makes you feel better).
Unfortunately, though, we can’t control our immune systems (Baseball game = feeling good; Another 10-hour workday = bring on the Streptococcus), so most of us are stuck with taking our sick days as they come.
Yet some workers are not content to just sit around and wait for the next time they’re feeling under the weather to take a sick day. According to CareerBuilder’s annual survey on workplace attendance, 29 percent of workers said they’d called in sick when they were well at least once during the past year.
While the most common reason for calling out was simply because employees “just didn’t feel like going to work,” some employers reported hearing some pretty fanciful excuses for taking a sick day.
- Employee said a chicken attacked his mom.
- Employee’s finger was stuck in a bowling ball.
- Employee had a hair transplant gone bad.
- Employee fell asleep as his desk while working and hit his head, causing a neck injury.
- Employee said a cow broke into her house and she had to wait for the insurance man.
- Employee’s girlfriend threw a Sit n Spin through his living room window.
- Employee’s foot was caught in the garbage disposal.
- Employee called in sick from a bar at 5:00 p.m. the night before.
- Employee said he wasn’t feeling too clever that day.
- Employee had to mow the lawn to avoid a lawsuit from the home owner’s association
- Employee called in the day after Thanksgiving because she burned her mouth on a pumpkin pie.
- Employee was in a boat on Lake Erie and ran out of gas and the coast guard towed him to the Canadian side.
Although these excuses certainly win points for originality, if you find yourself in need of a day off, a simple “I’m not feeling well,” is probably a better bet than coming up with a ridiculous story. The majority of employers reported that they believe their workers when they say they’re feeling under the weather.
However, if you have a hunch your boss will check up on you by making you bring in a doctor’s note, calling you at home, etc., which 29 percent of employers reported they have done, try telling the truth — that you just need a day off. You might be surprised by how understanding your boss is.
“Six-in-ten employers we surveyed said they let their team members use sick days for mental health days,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “If you need to take some time away from the office, the best way not to cause yourself more stress is to be open and honest with your manager.”
What do you think about bogus sick days? Have you played hooky in the past year? Have you had to call out sick because something bizarre actually did happen to you? Tell us your sick-day stories in the comments section.