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Monday, November 17, 2014

CALLING IN SICK - a cranky re-run

This re-run is from November 2012
I retired in 2008.  I often joke that I love retirement, but I do miss calling in sick.  This is not actually true.

I hated calling in sick.  Even when I was really sick I hated calling in sick.  When I called in sick I felt as if I was cheating my employer.  Oh I did call in sick even when I was not in fact sick; I was not a “hall monitor” in school,* but I hated to do it.

The worst part of calling in sick was when the boss answered.  I always hoped for his secretary…never happened…bosses know the ring…they know from the time of the ring…five minutes before start time, someone is calling in sick.  The boss never gave any sympathy when I called in sick.

“Hello Frank.”
“Ah it’s cough, cough Joe.  Ah, I’m, ah not feeling well, cough, got a fever and my chest is all clogged up.”


“I don’t think I should come in today.”
“Do you think you will able to come in tomorrow?”

“Ah, hack, cough, probably…I’ll try.”
“You do that…see you tomorrow.”

Damn I hated that call.  If I was at my death bed my boss would make me feel guilty.

I probably only called in sick two or three times a year, and one or two of those were legit.

Some people took full advantage of the sick day rules.  We were allowed five instances of sickness per year.  If you were out for three days you needed a doctor’s note before you could return to work.

We had some people that believed they were entitled to five instances of absence due to illness and if they were going to miss one day they might as well take two as that was still only one instance.  Some people with connections even took three or four days and came back with a doctor’s note.

These people always pissed me off.  I pretty much knew they were faking it. They would always be sick on a Monday or a Friday, or both.  Not only were they milking the system, but when they returned to work they expected everyone to smother them with sympathy.  Often they would call in sick on a day that we knew would be really busy and everyone else would have to work extra hard or late to make up for their absence.

And then the next day we had to ask:

“Oh, how are you feeling?”
“Oh yes, of course you couldn’t make it in, hope you’re feeling better.”

“Oh good thing you stayed home, you might have given that to us all.”

Well at least those with records of high absenteeism got poor reviews and were not chosen for promotions….NOT!!  Make that NO-to the fucking-NOT!!

I guess the executives figured anyone who did not know how to scam a system to its fullest extent could not be expected to lead.

I probably should have called in like this:

“Dude, its Joe.  Look I got a chance to play 18 today and I still have three more illness instances this year so…hey and I’m probably going to be bushed after golf so don’t expect me tomorrow.  I can get a doctor’s note for Wednesday if you’ll need it.”

“Oh that’s ok, I’m sure you could get a note…I’ll expect you on Thursday.  Come in my office at 9:00 I think you might be management material.

“Hmmm…9:00 might be tough, you know we have five minutes leeway before you can mark us as late…I’ll drop by at 9:05.”

“Damn…you’re good!  Don’t bother even seeing me, you’ve got the promotion.”

I never learned how to play the system.  Just thinking about it makes me sick.

Maybe I should call in…oh yeah.

*In the US, school “hall monitors” were “Goody Two-shoes.”**
**In the US, “goody two-shoes” were “brown nosers.”***
***In the US, “brown nosers” were “ass kissers.”****
****Oh come on…everyone knows what an “ass kisser” is!


  1. I pretty much work unless I'm afflicted with something tummy wise and then there's not much point in trying to work under those circumstances. Thankfully, I've not been that sick in a long time and haven't called in sick since I started this job eight years ago. However, I'm not in the germ pool usually since I work at home :)


  2. I used to be averse to calling in sick, but then I realized that "hey, I work for a living, and I'm no good to my employer if I stay sick longer due to not taking proper care". Completely changed my mindset.

  3. Oh, and how about how the habitual abusers always came back to work with a killer tan.

  4. I used to call in sick twice a year. I'd call them mental health days. Then I'd watch movies all day long. I felt no guilt.

  5. It's been so long I can't remember, except as I was the "boss" there wasn't much payoff.

  6. yeah, there were ALWAYS ones who took advantage. sick days. extra, extra long lunches. leaving early. and still the drama of all they worked so hard at... blah.

  7. I called in sick the day after my wife's youngest daughter married a schmo she'd known for about two weeks and I consoled her (the wife) with whiskey until late at night. The day I wasn't there was the day Don Bolles got blown up.

  8. Bwahahahahahahahaha. I've no comment for the times I called in sick and wasn't. I'm retired now so I guess it doesn't even matter. You are right about one's always ugly when the boss answers the phone.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  9. "Who you know" is always at the top of the "move ahead" list; not discounting brains and diligence, but that was still second.

    I took the sick days, but not many. I had a conscious. (Voice mail was a nice invention. Called before the boss got to work and left a message.)
    I guess the work place will always have every type of person - from the slackers, to the worker bees, to the born leaders.

  10. 45 years in the classroom and I missed less than ten days. Why, I now ask myself. Why? Because I was an idiot. is why...:(

  11. The reason I hated calling in sick was because of the guilt diarrhea I experienced within minutes of setting down the phone.

  12. I use to go to work sick, would make all my co-workers sick, then had to do all their work when they called in sick the next day. I finally learned to stay home when puny.

  13. My first teaching job was in an Alabama school where if you called in sick, you had to have already found a sub. Who can do that? We all came to work sick all the time. :( Here in OR there's a computerized phone system where you report your absences & it finds subs for you: nice but I was already in the habit of going to work sick.I never made use of all that sick leave, ended up giving it away to people who actually needed it via a sick leave bank. If I had it to do over again I would call in sick! Geesh you got me all worked up, Cranky.

  14. I rarely get sick and tend not to call in sick (too much stress having to catch up with all the extra work the day after). When I was let go from my old job over two years ago, I lost 80 hours of accumulated sick time. Just call me hall monitor now...


  15. Our contract includes 10 sick days per year. They cannot accumulate past 100 sick days. When I leave the school district, due to retirement, resignation, termination, whatever...I will be paid at the rate of $20 for each sick day. A substitute in these parts makes $75 per day.

    I am currently sitting on 97 sick days. I plan to retire in 1 5/8 years. The way I see it, I will have saved the district $5,500 by not calling in sick the many times that I actually was under the weather.

    Not that I'm going to get a thank-you or anything...

  16. I rarely called in sick because I don't like to let people down, but if I had a 'sleep it off or die' migraine I'd phone in, but always in plenty of time so my supervisor could find someone to cover my shift. I don't believe in taking unnecessary sickies.