1/29/2004

The Great Sick Day Getaway

Skiving off work for mental health reasons is a national tradition and yet many people in the workforce are unsure how to go about it. We offer top tips on pulling a perfect sickie to secure a guilt free day off.

1. Do Your Groundwork
If you know you’re having a bender of a weekend and will need a day off start complaining about your ailment a few days beforehand. If for example you want to skive on a Monday, start complaining about a dry throat on, say, Thursday (“is it hot in here or just me?”). On Friday morning you can apply a slightly paler foundation or stay up the previous night playing Xbox to give you an unhealthy glow. Your colleagues will naturally presume that your ailment continued to get worse over the weekend culminating you being forced to take Monday off.

2. Choose a Day
It’s very important that you get your timing right. A sickie before (or during) deadlines can cause angry noises upstairs and will have you huddled at home wracked with guilt. The beginning of the week is unadvisable because everyone is instantly sceptical of another case of Mondayitess. If you want a long weekend why not take Friday off instead? That way you can be “well again” on Monday morning and most people would have forgotten about your day off altogether, thereby avoiding uncomfortable questions about your “illness”.

3. Use an Unknowing Accomplice
There’s a certain type of person who always has tissues & cough syrup. He/she is overly sympathetic, sweet and gullible. These naïve and gentle folk can be used ruthlessly. Accept their offer of pain killers (it’s always good if you look slightly spacey) and use their sympathy and natural inclination to gossip to spread the fact that you are “unwell” around your workplace. You’ll only need to blow your nose before people begin imploring you to go home and take it easy.

4. Learn to live with Guilt
The G word is your worst enemy. If you feel guilty about taking time off you won’t enjoy it. Find some reason to justify the time off and keep (silently) repeating the mantra to yourself. When in doubt just remind yourself that everyone else does it and it’s your right as a member of the free world to take advantage of the system whenever possible. Damn fat cats.

5. Always Ring up Yourself
It’s the perfect crime – you decide to skive off work and get your flatmate/lover/Uncle to ring up your boss to tell them you can’t come in.

Lose one point.

Getting someone else to ring up for you smacks of deceit - you might as well have Aunty admit that you’re bunking off to spend the day drinking Johnny Walker in the bath. Genuinely sick people ring up so that their employer can hear the illness in their voice and, funnily enough, to prove that they’re not just pulling a sickie. So bite the bullet and pick up that phone.

6. Making the Call
If you haven’t laid any groundwork you can’t feasibly pretend you’re on deaths door (although you can smoke 40 cigarettes a few hours before ringing if you want to use emphysema as your excuse). In any case it’s a mistake to sound too pathetic when calling up sick. Try and be apologetic but adamant. You are ill. Be specific about your ailment, perhaps making a bad joke (“I’ll never eat Hummus again!”) and use the decisive phrase “I’m not well enough to come into work today.” Keep the conversation brief and refrain from comedy coughing.

7. Be Ingenious
If you don’t have time for groundwork try this simple trick to give you approx 1 – 3 days off. Ring your work and tell them that it’s very embarrassing but you fell over and hurt your leg. On the morning of your return get a dark coloured foundation and rub some on your knee to create a makeshift bruise. When you (limp) into work give your colleagues a brief flash of the bruise and watch their faces crumple in sympathy. That’ll teach ‘em for doubting you.

8. Never Tell the Truth
Don’t make the mistake of telling a colleague that you’re pulling a sickie – you don’t want them revealing it by accident or when grilled by the boss, or for it to be used against you at a later date.

9. Be Wary of e-lancing
Some people are so wracked with guilt when they pull a sickie (or even when they are legitimately ill) that they offer to work from home. Beware – this will leave you no time to watch talk shows or porn in your jim jams. If you’re asked to work from home, calmly explain that your ailment will inhibit you in some way. Look up a medical dictionary to offer a more believable excuse.

10. If it’s Embarrassing People Believe You (or I can’t come in today, I have pubic lice)
It’s easy to have a common cold but if you want your sickie to look more authentic try inventing an embarrassing ailment. This will do two things;
- Stop your boss asking difficult questions.
- Afford you sympathy from colleagues. I mean who would lie about having diarrhoea? Well, you, if you want take a day off and keep your sh*tty job, that’s who.

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