Alright, so you want to get out of work for the day. You’re not actually sick, you don’t have any specific reason you need the day off to request it, or maybe you’ve run out of holidays and personal days or don’t want to use another one up… What’s the plan?
Step 1 – Pick your day
Now there’s a good chance that you’re doing this spontaneously, which is absolutely fair enough, but just take a second to consider what day it is. Have you already been sick recently? Do you have other days off coming up soon? Getting sick too often, or maybe trying to extend a break that’s already been planned… that might look suspicious! Obviously, illness can strike out of nowhere, of course. Just remember, it’s probably more believable to take a couple of days off at once to ‘recover’ than to get sick for a single day at a time every few weeks.
Step 2 – Check your contract
Do you get personal days that are separate to sick days? How many sick days do you get? What is defined as ‘sick’ – does mental health factor in? Do you need to get proof, such as a doctor’s note (normally this is only required for longer absences)? Can you claim you have an appointment, or does that still count as a sick/personal day? How many days have you used up already? It might be that you can skip work pretty easily, but you won’t get paid for that day, it just depends on the terms of your contract! Chances are you’re going to skip a day no matter what, but it’s worth knowing what that means in terms of your pay and such.
Step 3 – Choose your cover story
This is the most important step of all! Pleading sick is the simplest, most common option. If possible, fake some mild symptoms the day before – coughing, sniffing, headache, whatever – so it doesn’t come wildly out of the blue. You could also use cold/flu symptoms to sneak two or three days off for recovery time! Illness can develop overnight though, and something like food poisoning, a stomach bug, or a migraine are potential options that usually require only a 24 hour recovery period. Just be aware, you can only use these a couple of times before it starts to look suspicious!
That’s not the only option though, you could also fake an emergency. For example, if you have kids, one of them getting sick or injured could require you to stay home to take care of them, or leave work early if their school has ‘called’ you. Though again, check your contract to see what the terms are for such circumstances. Whatever you choose though, don’t make it too elaborate. The more complicated the lie, the more likely you’ll be caught out! Keep it simple, and make sure there will be no long lasting follow up, or extra questions. It’ll be very awkward if you claim your kid broke his leg, and two weeks later, your boss happens to see him running around without a cast…
Step 4 – The call
This is probably the most nerve-racking part, actually calling to tell your boss you can’t come in! Try to keep the call as short as possible – again, this is why simple excuses are better, so they won’t ask too many questions or get suspicious. If you’re lucky, you might work somewhere where you can email, text, or otherwise send a message instead – I used to work in a place where it was acceptable to Whatsapp! This makes it even easier, so nothing in your voice will give you away!
Step 5 – Follow up
Now, just because you’ve successfully got the day off, doesn’t mean you’re home free. Avoid going to any locations that day where you might run into someone from work. And don’t post anything on social media that gives away what you were actually doing! If you did do something exciting that you would normally want to post about, just wait until the weekend to pretend you were doing it then. Even if you don’t have any colleagues on social media, it’s better to play it safe! And when you return to work, be alert if anyone asks you questions – a casual slip of the tongue, and all your efforts could be for naught!
Step 6 – Relax!
Whatever happens, don’t stress about it. Play it cool, and you’re less likely to be tripped up by your own nerves. In most cases, skipping work for a day is no big deal. Unless you work somewhere highly strenuous and uptight, most employers will be understanding if you get sick once in a while. But elaborate lies, or doing this every few weeks, will look bad. Just keep it simple, don’t do it too often… and enjoy your free day!
NB: Please remember, this is a creative writing exercise based off of a prompt, this advice isn’t meant to be taken too seriously! Of course, I have done this myself before, more than once, but never too frequently, and I’m not actually suggesting you do this!