{ 84 comments… read them below }

  1. Jennifer*

    To answer the flu shot question – a flu shot, unfortunately, can give you the flu. Flu shots, like other vaccines, are weakened strains of a virus. They’re meant to be easy for your immune system to take care of, thus making it easier for your body to fight off the real thing, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work that way.

    1. danr*

      A flu shot *can’t* give you the flu. From the CDC: “The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus)… ” If you have the ‘flu’, it either started before you got the shot, you have a very bad cold, you have a bacterial upper respiratory illness, or a sinus infection, but not the flu.

      Hope you feel better soon.

    2. Chaucer*

      Yeah, it’s a misconception.

      Also, keep in mind that it takes a good couple of weeks for your antibodies to adapt to the flu shot, so during that time it is possible to contract the virus.

    3. Zee*

      The flu shot is a dead virus. The nasal spray flu vaccine is the live virus.

      The only thing I ever get is a sore arm because I hate shots. My arm tenses when it is administered. The nurse this year told me that since I tense up, it takes longer for the vaccine to travel through my body, and therefore, I have a sore arm for about 2-3 days.

      Ugh, that just made me nauseous. I hate shots.

      1. ChristineH*

        That happened to me at my last flu shot. My arm was sore for several days, and even for a few days after that, it would feel like I’m being pinched in certain positions.

    4. Xay*

      Also, the flu shot does not protect against every single strain of the flu virus that is circulating. Because there are so many strains of the flu circulating worldwide at any point in time, they have to predict which strains will be most common during that year’s flu season so that enough vaccine can be produced. Hence, a few years ago when there was a bad flu season – it wasn’t because the vaccine didn’t work or because the vaccine gave people the flu. It was because the strain of flu virus that was most common that season was not included in that year’s vaccine.

    5. Anonymous*

      You CAN have an immune reaction to the flu shot that makes it feel like you are sick. All it means is the flu shot is working correctly in activiating your immune system. Raising the body temp is something your body does to help fight off an infection. So having a fever isn’t a result of getting infected; it’s a result of your own immune system fighting it.

    6. LMW*

      Even if the flu shot can’t give you the flu, it’s possible to have a bad reaction to it and feel terrible. My last flu shot was in 2003–I got so sick I missed a week of work and had to get IV fluids. But that’s a 1 in tens of thousands reactions (lucky me)! Most people who react poorly just feel a little achy or ill the next day or so, but don’t have full-blown flu systems.

    7. HDL*

      Nope, the flu shot can’t give you the flu but it does activate your immune system which can cause similar (but milder) symptoms. I got my flu shot last week and did spike a fever and feel pretty crappy the morning after. It cleared up in just a few hours, unlike an active flu virus infection. Hope you feel better soon!

  2. Sarah G*

    Flu shots have always given me the equivalent of a very low-grade cold/flu for at least several days — just a bit achy and low energy, with a scratchy throat. It’s not awful but it’s unpleasant and I no longer bother with the shot. I haven’t gotten the flu (or hardly ever even sick) since I’ve started taking a supplement called Juice Plus.

    1. Sarah G*

      Now I’m reading other people’s comments, but the CDC article does say,”… rare symptoms include fever, muscle pain, and feelings of discomfort or weakness.” I guess that’s me. But it happened several years in a row, so I gave up the shot.

      1. JT*

        It’s happened with me. Probably not every year, but a few times, and I tend to remember those times.

        I’m getting the shot next week – well worth it.

    2. Xay*

      I dread getting the flu shot because I always get some of the side effects. But a few years ago, everyone in my home had the flu and it was awful. I’d rather put up with the discomfort than go through that again.

  3. Bridgette*

    Not the shot, but all the germs from the other grubby people that were in there getting their flu shots. Doesn’t that just make you feel great? (All joking aside, I do hope you get to feeling better soon.)

    Also, I feel like this is the second article from them we’ve seen recently where this phrase was used: If your supervisor’s managerial style mirrors that of Miranda Priestly’s from The Devil Wear Prada. Maybe they could mix it up? Compare it to Tiger Oil?

  4. Andie*

    I hate calling in sick when I am not sick because everyone asks how you are feeling and what was wrong. I don’t like lying and if I am going to lie then I need a better reason than needing a day off. If I need a mental health day I just tell people I am taking the day off.

    What I hate is people that come to work sick when they really are sick. That is what sick days are for. When I am sick I use my sick days so I can get rest and get better.

    1. Natalie*

      I have occasionally taken the mental health day and if people ask “what’s wrong” I say something like “I’m not sure, I just wasn’t feeling well.” It’s the truth, it’s vague, and the details aren’t any of your co-workers’ business anyway.

      1. Anon*

        That’s pretty much what I do…I usually say something like, “I think I just needed rest; I feel much better today.”

        Most people seem to understand, and I’ve never had a boss complain.

      2. Long Time Admin*

        I remember when we used to just murmur “female problems” and people would leave us alone. Back then, all our bosses were men, and they did not want to know any more than that.

        1. nocomment*

          Back then all your boss (who were men) didn’t want to know anymore? No, that was not true. They all desperately want to know ALL of the exact details with your “female problems”! They just didn’t screw up their courage enough to ask you:-)

  5. jesicka309*

    I hate calling in sick even if I feel like death. I have to get up at 6.30 am to get to work by 8.30, and can’t feasibly ring in anytime before 8. So quite often I drag myself into work feeling rubbish, under the misguided hope that I will feel better once I’ve had a shower/fresh air/food/coffee. It never works, and once I’m at work I regret it terribly. But there’s a part of me that knows I can’t just roll over and go back to sleep, it feels like I’m faking it if I go back to sleep and wake up later to ring in sick. I’m already awake, so I’m not dead! Therefore I can drag my sorry ass to work and see how I go, hoping that someone will send me home/it will be quiet enough for me to quietly ask to go home.
    Damn my overactive conscience.

    1. Blinx*

      That’s what I love about voicemail — I can leave a message at 6 in the morning (and copy however many people who need to know). Obligation fulfilled, but no probing questions! Roll over and go back to sleep.

    2. A Bug!*

      You needn’t feel guilty about calling in sick (unless it’s like, every other week, then you should maybe see a doctor about it). It may help you to frame the issue a bit differently. Rather than framing it in terms of your dedication to the work, frame it in terms of your dedication to offering your employer the most effective employees possible.

      Staying home when you are sick allows you to recover faster. It gets you back to 100% more quickly so that you’re not spending a week at 60% while you battle with your illness. It also exposes your coworkers to less distraction (having a visibly ill coworker is distracting).

      If you are going into work hoping to get sent home because of how sick you are, save your employer the trouble of sending you back and just reset your alarm for 8:00 so you can wake up and call in. You have the permission of a Random Internet Stranger to call in. I’ll write your employer a letter just to make it official, if you want.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      So why not call in at 8 am when the office opens? If you’re sick, you’re sick. I don’t think your boss is going to say, “You’re not sick. Get your ass here by 8:30.” Or, just email your boss. Then you don’t have to worry about calling in at 8 am. That’s what I do. It’s commonly accepted here, although it might be different where you work.

    4. Dani*

      I hate calling in sick as well. I start my shift at 7:00 am and when I go in I am relieving someone, so I HATE having to call in. The worst part is calling my boss to let her know, because I wake up at 4:45 and if I don’t feel well by 5:00, I’m waking my boss up at that ungodly hour.

      My commute is an hour, so I think “oh, I’ll be okay by the time I get there”. Never happens, and I spend the whole day miserable.

  6. Elizabeth*

    I’m a teacher… calling in sick is enough of a pain that I never do it if I think I can get through the day. The last time I took a sick day I woke up feeling like death on a stick, called my principal, and sat down on the sofa to write sub plans post-haste. It was over two hours before I was done and could crawl back into bed.

    1. Chinook*

      That is the only thing about teaching I don’t miss. I still revel in the ability to call in sick by just making one phone call and then going back to bed. As a teacher, the only thing that would keep me home was laryngitis (cuz it is REALLY hard to wrangle junior students with a croak!)

      1. Elizabeth*

        I’ve actually come in with almost no voice if I otherwise felt fine. I stay home if I have a fever or stomach issues, though. (The worst was leaving the class camping trip halfway through because I had strep… strep which was not improved by reading aloud to second graders for about an hour, then sleeping under the stars!)

  7. kimberly*

    As others above have written, NO, the flu shot cannot give you the flu. However, the flu shot works by stimulating your immune system. It tricks your body into thinking a flu virus is trying to infect you, and it reacts appropriately. Many flu symptoms are caused by the body’s reaction to the virus, rather than the virus itself (fever, body aches).

    The good news? You aren’t infectious and the symptoms won’t last long.

    1. Elizabeth*

      And, if you take a couple Tylenol or ibuprofen prior to taking the shot, you can skip the flu-like symptoms in most cases!

  8. JT*

    Just read the article AAM wrote. Interesting.

    I have decent (for the US) vacation time at my job, and most of all my organization let’s us take off half days and full days at short notice as long as it’s OK with our manager. My manager is great about that, so I often use vacation time when I’m not quite sick but feeling a little under-the-weather to sleep in late, head home early, take the whole day resting. I don’t feel comfortable saying I’m sick if I’m not sure, or it hasn’t quite happened yet. And as a result, I think I pre-empt real illness in some cases, which is good for both me and my organization.

    I think the flexibility my boss gives is a big help for us.

  9. Tiff*

    Hope you feel better. Not sure where you’re located but we call this “sick weather” around my way. Fluids, vitamin C, chicken soup, quilt. I subscribe to the classic mom remedies and they haven’t failed me yet.

    Everyone in my division has at some point or another just called in “sick of this @#$@”. We have leave and we’re grown-ups, no need to perform. My previous job was horrible and yes, you had to pull out the “sick voice”.

    On a side note: Am I the only one who saw the typo in one of the section heads? Don’t put on an “oscar-wining” performance? Word nerd moments bring me joy.

  10. Meg*

    I had the flu twice. Once in February 2008, then again that October. But that was it. No flu shot for me (allergic to eggs [or rather, a protein eggs that the virus bonds to]).

  11. LK*

    The call-outs in my department go to me, and it’s amazing the level of detail some people give (including frequency and type of bathroom visits). If you’re leaving me a 5 min. long voicemail about how sick you are, you probably aren’t that sick. We also have one guy who tries to give an at-death’s-door performance every time he calls out, but he ends up sounding more like Brando in The Godfather.

  12. SCW*

    My least favorite is the indecisive call in sick folks. They call and tell me all their symptoms and then say “I don’t know if I should come in, am I too sick?” To which I feel like saying “how the @#$! should I know, I’m a librarian not a doctor!” But actually usually say “if you feel too sick to work and have the sick leave you just need to let us know you are calling in sick.” Honestly, I’ve never told someone they couldn’t stay home sick, though I have had to talk to multiple staff members over my supervisory career about abuse of sick leave (folks who use it to extend vacations after being turned down for certain days–they were told no to that long of vacation so they call in “sick”. Or folks who use all their sick leave for afternoons where they don’t want to work and then call in sick and expect it to magically continue) I think they ask “am I sick enough” sometimes so they don’t have to make a decision and then don’t feel bad if they know they are leaving us really short staffed. Though to be honest I’d rather people call in “sick” then call in “I’ve got better things to do,” lie to me rather than insult me, particularly if you know you are calling in at a really bad time.

    1. Patti*

      Ugh… hate this. I had an employee once who was very often “ill”. It got to the point where she would ask me if she could/should leave, if she was feeling under the weather for whatever reason. I believe she thought that if I told her to leave, there would be no consequences for the attendance problems, because she was “offering” to stay. Wrong.

  13. Mike*

    I actually never call in sick. Instead I email my boss and HR with something like “Not feeling well and won’t be in today.” or “I’m taking a PN day today.”. What they need to know is that I won’t be in not the cause. Now we do have a policy that if you take X amount of sick days in a row you need a doc’s note but I’ve only ever taken one or two days off in a row.

    1. Paralegal*

      Exactly. And this way you know they were informed. We’ve had issues at work where people call the sick line sometimes (which goes to HR), but whoever was covering it forgot to pass on the message, and the bosses get frustrated that it is 3 pm and so-and-so hasn’t shown up.

  14. The IT Manager*

    How coincidental. Yesterday afternoon I commented to a co-worker that a subordinate emailed in sick late in the afternoon when he had at most 2 hours left on his day. (We’re virtual teams and he’s working from home.) This was his third time in a week; the other two were morning emails. She supervised him previously and told me that he does this when he gets overwhelmed and assigned tasks he does not want to do. Next week he’s supposed to do a presentation, and she said based on her past experience she wouldn’t be surprised if he was “sick” that day.

    Annoying. I knew he was high maintenance and works slower than I think he should, but this could be a problem. He doesn’t actually work for me though. My organization has a contract with his company.

    1. The IT Manager*

      “Subordinate” is an inaccurate word here, because he’s employeed by a company that my organization contracted with and I can’t fire him. (Only his company can fire him.)

      We’re not at firing stage yet anyway. Since I’ve managed his area, he’s never take more a one sick day a week until this week. (He’s taken a couple/few per month, but that’s rather common on this team.) And the first I heard of the possibility about him skipping out to avoid unappealing tasks this week, but haven’t seen it myself.

      He’d be getting some more intense mentoring if we was a real subordnate of mine to work on his high maintenance issues (too many “look what I am doing” emails, failure to communicate clearly, a lack of confidence requiring other people to make a decision for him or take a position). I did communicate some of the issues to his company and they passed it onto him, but it not my job to tell him how to do his job.

      I’m aware it might seem crazy to you if you’ve never worked this way before, but this is a problem often encountered when contractings out duties. It’s supposed to be cheaper and brings in skills your organization doesn’t have, but your organization loses control.

  15. Lisa*

    To Andie @ 12:26a – I know what you mean. Two weeks ago one of my coworkers came in sick because he “hates to take off” (even though that’s what sick leave was created for…). Two days later I was sick. Needless to say I was not happy.

    To Mike @ 8:41a – One time I tried to call out of work by texting (ironically I had the flu). My boss promptly replied that a text is not calling in. So I called him and spent the first 20 seconds coughing in his ear (which is why I texted in the first place). He told me stay home and take some Delsym.

    This article made me giggle because I just watched The Devil Wears Prada last night before bed…

  16. some1*

    The last part of the article cannot be stressed enough. If you are are calling in all the time, and you have the type of job where other people have to do your work when you’re out, it will get to the point where you can get hit by a Mack truck and your co-workers are so fed up that they don’t care if you have a legitimate reason or not.

  17. Elizabeth*

    The other stressful thing to me is coworkers who *don’t* call in sick when they really should. I worked for a year as an assistant teacher to a teacher who was often sick but in huge denial about it every time. She would call me at 8 and say things like, “I’m almost to school but I’m running late… I woke up with a fever of 102 but I’ll be there in a few minutes.” Then I would have to talk her into turning around and driving home, because you don’t work with kids while you have a fever of 102!. This would happen multiple days in a row. Of course, by the time she called, it was too late to get a sub for her for the day – and she hadn’t left any lesson plans because she didn’t think she’d be sick.

    1. Anon*

      That’s obviously way over the top; I do think there’s an interesting discussion to be had about when you should call in. Clearly, people are not going to be okay with you calling in sick for a week with a minor head cold, but where’s the line? When are you sick enough that you should stay out so as not to infect people vs. coming in so they’re not stuck covering your work? (I’m assuming jobs where you can’t entirely telecommute and your co-workers will be stuck covering for some or all of your job.)

      1. Elizabeth*

        Sort of, but not as firmly as (I see in retrospect) I could have. I was pretty much brand-new to the working world and this woman was my supervisor, so I didn’t feel very empowered to advocate for myself much. I did explain the impact to her, and even had a conversation with both her and the person who managed the assistant teacher program as kind of a mediation. I don’t think my lead teacher ever really recognized it as an ongoing problem, though – each time it happened she was completely sure it wouldn’t happen again because she wasn’t going to get sick anymore.

  18. LMW*

    I’m in the really sucky position of not having any sick leave or paid time off…so I have come in when I probably shouldn’t have because in the back of my mind, I always think “Am I sick enough to forgo a day’s pay?” Luckily I do have the option of working from home sometimes, or making up time on other days, but it’s really rough. I live in constant fear of getting really sick or injured, or needing to take off because a family member is really sick.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      This is what sucks about food service. The pay is low and there are no sick days. If you’re lucky, you get vacation (a week) after a year, but you can’t take any of it because you have to save it in case you get sick.

      The whole thing is just nuts. Who wants sick people making/serving your FOOD???

  19. Danni*

    I work in a research institute and there’s no benefits, sick leave, whatever, so whenever I need a sick day or a personal day, I ALWAYS have to lie and make up an excuse. It’s so stressful!

    1. EM*

      Why do you have to lie? If they’re not paying you for days you don’t work, why should they care about the reason???

      1. Danni*

        Well, because I can hardly call and say “Hey I just really fancy taking the day off, and since I don’t get paid there’s not much you can do! See ya tomorrow!”

        I don’t get paid for time off, but there’s obviously still an expectation of coming to work every day unless I am really sick. Sometimes I just need a personal day for various reasons (such as needing to finish a project for grad school or something) but I can’t say that to my employer really.

        Taking days off without a legitimate reason, regardless of whether or not I get paid, will give a poor impression, IMO. Maybe I’m just paranoid?

  20. Eric*

    I’m home sick today so very timely. I often feel guilty about how often I stay home sick (once every other month on average, but I’ve stayed home sick I think three times in the past two months) but I have Crohn’s disease. It’s fairly mild too–I shudder to think what will happen if if ever gets worse. Thank god I have a job with understanding management and generous sick leave.

  21. Paralegal*

    Out of curiosity, AAM, what is your view of taking sick days as a result of, say, too much partying the night before?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I hope it came through in the article, but I don’t advocate lying. I advocate working for an employer who handles time off reasonably. If, however, you work for an employer whose lack of flexibility forces you to use sick days simply to get some personal time away, you should still be as ethical as possible about it — keeping deception to a minimum, not faking specific illnesses but just saying you’re under the weather, etc.

      So back to your question about if someone was partying too much the night before: A responsible person really shouldn’t let that happen in the first place, but if it happens once, fine, take a sick day. If it happens twice, that person needs to reassess their behavior.

      1. businesslady*

        during the last Super Bowl, I was at a catered party with an open bar, & I was drinking rum & diet Cokes because I liked the kind of rum they had. I did get pretty tipsy, but it was an early enough night that I knew I wouldn’t be too hungover for work the next day.

        what I hadn’t accounted for was all the CAFFEINE I was drinking all night long. between that & the adrenaline (we’re Giants fans), I had one of the worst sleepless nights I’ve ever had, literally only getting like one hour of sleep. I was so wrecked in the morning (& I didn’t have anything urgent going on) that I felt like I had to call off, but I was also irrationally terrified that people would think I’d partied too hard & that was why I couldn’t come in. even though I’ve worked with the same people for more than five years now, & they probably wouldn’t’ve cared even if I was like, “haha, funny story: epic hangover.”

        I ended up calling my boss & being like, “I can’t come in but I am NOT. HUNGOVER.” & he was just like, “whatever, who cares, see you tomorrow.” & then I went back to sleep, & once I was more well-rested I felt silly about how afraid I was of being seen as “that person.”

        I’m also a big believer in mental health days, especially if your job is one where your absence doesn’t affect anyone else. but only if you’re in an environment where they won’t have any adverse affect on your career (or your ability to do your work, obviously).

        1. JT*

          Being “That Guy” once in five years, missing a normal day of work (not some special day) is not that big a deal.

  22. ChristineH*

    Feel better Alison! I used to think the flu shot can cause the flu, but the CDC article clears that up (Thanks Elizabeth for posting it). I had the flu once while on a trip with my now-husband (during the Christmas holidays of all times!), and I was absolutely miserable.

    I always feel guilty if I call out sick because I hate leaving an employer short-handed. So in the past, I’d only call out if I had…ummm…digestive symptoms, or if I had a cold bad enough to make me feel like crud. I cannot believe that there are people who actually think they can fake being sick and get away with it. Thanks Ferris Beuller!

  23. Blinx*

    I only took a “mental health day” once. I always talked myself out of doing this, since it would be too tempting to do it again. At once place, I was a contract worker for 4 years – no benefits whatsoever. Missing a day’s pay was a major influence for not calling out. Had to do it once because of surgery, though.

    Fortunately, enlightened employers are now encouraging employees to call out sick at the onset of their illness, especially with colds and flu. They even post signs about this. They benefit 2 ways — if you don’t come in, you won’t be infecting others. And when you do come in later, you’ll be better able to provide a good day’s work, instead of a half-hearted day since you’re too busy trying to cope with being sick.

  24. Kristen*

    Thank you for posting this! I just graduated from college a little over a year ago and this has been an issue I’ve struggled with. I worried that my manager would think I was lying if I didn’t give details (even though I really was sick) so I always told her probably way more than she would want to hear. I just feel like it’s kind of annoying if I am off sick because I am one of two receptionists in our office, so if I am out my co-worker is chained to the desk that day. The last time I was sick I had an intestinal infection (seriously the most disgusting thing ever) and my co-worker was on vacation so they were going to have to scramble to find someone to cover the front desk. I felt horrible for doing that to them, but I literally had been up all night because I had to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes and there was no way I could make it in to work (even when I went to the doctor I had to use the restroom twice while I was waiting for my appointment). I gave her the details because I felt so bad about them having to scramble, and it was a Monday so I wanted to make sure she knew I wasn’t just being lazy and a pain.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Don’t give details anymore :)

      You are human and you will get sick; that doesn’t change just because you’re in a front desk position. Your manager doesn’t want to hear the details, I promise — she just needs to know that you’re out sick.

      1. Jamie*

        Please – everyone – listen to Alison.

        I tell everyone who calls in sick – I will promise to believe you if you promise to keep the details to yourself.

      2. Patti*

        Please please please… do not share details. I don’t need nor want to know. If your manager is in doubt for any reason, she will ask. Do not offer.

        I used to have a male manager who reported to me, and a female employee called in to him with, ahem, “female” problems. I’m pretty sure he was permanently traumatized.

      3. Min*

        I am an American living in the UK and the company I work for requires a “back to work” form to be filled in by my manager every time I’m off sick, even for something as simple as leaving early for a migraine. Not only do I have to specify exactly what illness I had, I also have to explain what I did about it, how I treated it, and if I saw a doctor.

        The first time this happened, I was shocked by the need for details. When asked, “Why were you out?” I tried to simply answer that I was sick, but was then pressed for details of what was wrong with me. “Well, gee, I was up vomiting all night….” What really irritated me was that my manager then had the nerve to look disgusted and act as though I’d over-shared.

  25. Elizabeth West*

    I hate when people drag in sick and cough/sneeze/wheeze/breathe/deposit germs all over the office. Invariably, other people get sick too. Also, it sets a bad precedent in some offices where you practically have to have Ebola to be excused.

    If I’m not feeling well but it’s tolerable, I might go in. If it seems to be getting worse, I leave early. Usually going to bed then is sufficient to restore me–I’m overall pretty healthy, and if I’m trying to fight something off, it helps. If it’s super bad, though, I call in. Sorry, but I just cannot work if I’m really sick. It’s not worth even coming in because I won’t accomplish anything.

    1. Jamie*

      I will come in if sick – but I shut the door to my office, excuse myself from all meetings, and am super diligent not to touch anything in the shared spaces (and disinfect that which I can’t avoid).

      Believe it or not, it’s less stressful for me to be in my office with a mild flu than home in bed. In my office people can see how pathetic I look and take pains not to bother me unless absolutely necessary. At home, where they can’t see me, the phone never stops.

      However, when I sat in a shared space I would work from home – I am a firm believer in keeping germs corralled.

  26. A Bug!*

    I knew through a friend about a guy who’d miss work one day every week, like clockwork (and occasionally other days as well, but always this particular day, which was not a likely “hangover” day).

    He wouldn’t always call, and he rarely called before his day was actually supposed to start, and because his job was on-site maintenance of equipment, the main office wouldn’t even be able to know if he showed up at his first stop of the day without checking in with him. (But he’d never answer his phone, so it would be a mystery as to whether he’d made it on time or at all until the calls started coming in from clients asking where he was.)

    His boss asked him point-blank if there was a medical issue that needed accommodation (thinking that maybe he had a scheduled weekly thing like dialysis), because if they could plan for him being out that day each week they wouldn’t be disappointing clients who were expecting him. But no, he said, there’s nothing, keep scheduling me as normal. So the boss told him he’d have to bring in a note every time he called out from then on, or they’d be treated as unexcused absences. He didn’t last two more weeks.

    When I mentioned this story to another friend because it was just such a weird thing to me, I got one sentence in before he said “That’s the day after the weekly reset on Big MMO, he’s up all night gaming.”

    And all of a sudden everything clicked into place.

    1. Anonymous*

      :) Funny. I have an occasional bad habit of staying up too late. It’s usually not a big issue, but occasionally a book or obsessive internet seeking will keep me up so late that’s its already morning before I got to bed and I only get a couple hours of sleep or less. I have always dragged myself into work on those days because sick leave was only for actual sickness.

      For my new job it seems a lot of people take what I consider a lot of sick days or sick time. I haven’t taken any in six months on the job yet, but I’m thinking that once I get a cushion maybe an occasional mental health half day or day might help. To be honest, if I drag myself into work with little sleep I know my production is negatively impacted and could be improved if I slept in to catch up. Again I am talking once or twice a year not every week and I would need to alert theoffice that I was out. That gamer totally deserved to be fired.

  27. Anonymous*

    The problem I have with calling in sick is that it’s hard for someone else to do my job (I’m in research, but this could apply to IT, teachers, healthcare workers, food service.) In research it’s also hard to cross-train people because some/all of what someone does is so specialized there isn’t time to teach another person, or time for them to learn how to do it well. So my option is going in sick, or being behind (this could be days or even weeks behind) because something wasn’t done. I usually go in sick, get the minimum done, and try avoid getting other people sick.

  28. Lisa*

    I get migraines and have to call out for them. My boss once said that emailing “Migraine, not coming in.” was elitist and made me sound entitled and that I needed to word my calling out emails in a more professionally manner. Basically, it all came down to me telling them in paragraph form why I was calling out. So stupid, I am sick …let it go.

    1. KellyK*

      Can you write that paragraph that they want, save it as a signature, and just pull it up every time you need it?

      I can see where “Migraine, not coming in,” seems kind of abrupt, but I also can’t picture wanting a paragraph from someone who’s sick.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t see how that’s elitist, but I do agree that it could read as … flippant, maybe. I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way, but just writing it as a full sentence (not paragraph) would make it not read that way.

    3. Lisa*

      Another Lisa here…

      As a fellow migraine sufferer, I can understand the necessity for brevity when sending emails…just the brightness of my cell phone is enough to make me nauseous, so I can imagine not wanting to stare at a computer screen for too long. I like KellyK’s suggestion – write the email in advance and save it for when you need it.

      And for what it’s worth, one time my boss told me I sounded like an ass in one of my emails…I think I would’ve preferred elitist!

  29. Jamie*

    My daughter was hit by a drunk driver in the early morning hours of Saturday. She’s physically okay, but banged up (much to the surprise of the police who fully expected fatalities based on the severity of the accident) and so due to her concussion and back pain she called in as she couldn’t work her shift on Sunday – she works in a fast food restaurant.

    I brought the paperwork from the hospital into her manager, since she wasn’t supposed to be up and around yet and was just out of the hospital and the response was an aggravated, “I guess she can be off then.”

    I’m the last person to tolerate people gaming the system, but for God’s sake sometimes calling in can’t be helped.

    I really hate people sometimes.

      1. Jamie*

        Thanks, I’m still physically shaking. The police said it was due to her friend (who was driving) having the quick reflexes to swerve a little which kept it from being a full head on collision and it would have been much worse for the girls.

        They think he passed out behind the wheel because there were no skid marks on his side. The drunk driver has a broken back and leg, among other minor injuries, and the girls were able to get out even though the car was on fire because the driver’s side window shattered.

        He is 60 years old and didn’t have the common sense not to get behind the wheel when he was impaired and could have cost two – sober – 19 year old girls their lives.

        It’s just a horrible reminder that we’re all just one freak accident away from everything changing forever – I’m still shaking and it’s been 2 days.

        On a work related note it wouldn’t have killed the manager to at least say she was glad she was okay – and express some sentiment beyond the aggravation of one missed shift.

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