Employers share the worst sick day excuses they'd ever heard
So, the flu is wreaking havoc in the USA and has apparently reached epidemic proportions. Scary. It's not quite so bad here in Canada yet, but a lot of people are still getting sick.
This means a lot of folks are off work. It also means an opportunity for people who aren't sick to take advantage and cash in a sick day. Well, I never! Who would do that, right?
Apparently a whopping 36 percent of you. Yep. Our new poll shows that's the number of Workopolis users who have faked it in cases where you "just needed a break." Thirteen percent have done so for appointments that can't be moved. This means 50 percent of you have never faked a sick day.
I'd say those faker numbers are pretty high.
Personally, I'd never call in a fake sick day. This is because I learned many years ago, from experience, that the much-touted laws of action and reaction are indeed true, for me anyway. If I call in sick and I'm not really sick - in order to spend the day at a film festival, for example - I will immediately catch some ridiculously terrible flu and be in bed for two full weeks, after which, when I attempt to return to work, I'll get fired because they knew I was faking sick in the first place. Why tempt fate?
But I guess not everyone's life works in this instant karma (just add bad decisions!) sort of way.
I asked around to employers and got some examples of the "worst sick day" excuse they'd ever heard. These are:
"She 'had too much sex' the previous night and was 'too worn out' and 'physically dilapidated (her words) to come to work. Absolutely ridiculous, and hilarious." - Josh
"I cannot make my shift today as I am ovulating and need to get pregnant." - George
"My dog needs to be potty trained." - Deborah Sweeney, CEO, My Corporation.com
"My clothes don't fit, I have nothing to wear." - Kathi Elster, co-author "Working for You Isn't Working for Me"
"I locked myself inside my house and I can't get out." - Kathi Elster
"My neighbor is in the hospital so I have to stay home to watch their house." - Kathi Elster
"I can't find my car, it's missing." - Kathi Elster
"I'm still drunk from last night." - Lisa
"I'm stressed out and if I come in I'm likely to punch someone." - Justin
We got more excuses from a recent study by Harris Interactive.
Among some of the stranger excuses employers listed for that study were:
- Employee’s sobriety tool wouldn't allow the car to start
- Employee forgot he had been hired for the job
- Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown
- Employee’s dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation
- Employee’s toe was stuck in a faucet
- Employee said a bird bit her
- Employee was upset after watching “The Hunger Games”
- Employee got sick from reading too much
- Employee was suffering from a broken heart
- Employee’s hair turned orange from dying her hair at home
To be fair, I think "My grandmother is being exhumed for a police investigation" sounds fairly reasonable. Maybe? No? Maybe the person had to be on hand for paperwork or maybe the experience was just traumatic. The same might go for a broken heart. I think if my husband left me, I might need a day off. Is that so odd? Also, I'd skip work if my dog was having a nervous breakdown. Employers who think these are bad reasons seem more clueless than discerning.
Still, you probably should not fake sick days. Lying is never a good idea, not only because it can get you fired (that same study also found that 29 percent of employers had checked up on an employee's sick claim, and 17 percent had fired people for false claims) but because being a liar can affect everything you do and lying is not one of the habits of highly successful people.
Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, tells me,
"Trust is incredibly important in the workplace - managers who are trusted are vastly more effective, and employees who are trusted are given more autonomy, which makes the work you do more enjoyable and motivating. Being dishonest makes you more likely to be seen as untrustworthy."
Think your boss can't tell? You'd be surprised, says Halvorson. "People are better at telling when you are lying that you think they are. Successful people are seen as trustworthy, and you really don't want to do anything that undermines that."
See? Don't do it!
Have you ever told or heard a whopper of a sick day excuse? Share it with us. We promise not to rat you out. The weight on your conscience should be punishment enough.
Category: Life @ work