I really AM sick on a Monday, Boss...
September 1, 2008 2:12 AM   Subscribe

Ugh. I actually *am* sick - sick since I woke up this [Monday] morning. But calling into work has me cringing under the duvet. Please help me out of this quandry...

So I woke up this morning to a swollen gut and no less than three(!) rather explosive bouts of diahorrea [nice]. The problem? It's Monday morning - the most suspicious day of the week to be sick. I know it's only a 24 hour thing - I blame Sunday's pizza.

Anyway, I crawled back into bed around 8am and MEANT to call in sick to work [I'm one of two admin in a 6-person office]. But at around 9:15 my coworker texts me to say The Boss is in. This is special admin code: The Boss is supposed to be on a fortnight's holidays. When I ring in she says he's delayed his holiday until Wednesday. WHYWHYWHY

So not only am I sick on Monday, which looks suspicious enough, I've also rung the office only minutes after the boss arrives. ARH! In my half-sleepy state, I didn't realize how darn suspicious that'd look.

Anyway, I was put through to Boss, who was nice and calm and quiet as I croaked my pathetic 'I'm sick' explanation. Throughout which I just wanted to scream ITS TRUE ITS TRUE ITS TRUE. I told him I'd *definitely* be in tomorrow, that I am convinced it's just a 24 hour thing [I am], that I might even wander in later today after I've slept it off.

Even that last line sounds desperate and suspicious.

Anyway, since that call I've had the runs again. Nice. So the prospects of heading into work around 12 or 1 are looking a tad more remote. I usually dress up and make an effort with make-up when I go to work - but I was thinking of slobbing in sans warpaint and wearing sweats [which I can techically do, we've no dress code] to make my point that yes, I'm sick. But not *too* sick that I can't work, you know?

I need damage control! How can I stop this looking like I bunked off work because the boss was on hols? Does going into the office make it look like I only came because The Boss is there? Do I go in and look suitably haggard? Do I show up tomorrow morning right as rain and have everybody think I just couldn't drag my carcass out of bed on a Monday? The office knows I don't drink, so I don't even have a hangover excuse after the weekend. I'm rarely sick too - in the year and a half I'm there, I've only taken four other sick days.

I just can't shake the impression I've made a mess of this situation. The dicky tummy doesn't help either. Please, any advice or perspective would be *so* apprecaited!
posted by ticktockdoc to Work & Money (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you are sick, you are sick and you should just take the day off and stop dwelling on it. Rather than your boss and co-workers, the one person you need get permission from is yourself. Just give yourself permission to take the day off. Realize that any other person in your office would do the same thing. Realize that most of them won't even realize you were gone for one day and probably won't even bring it up tomorrow unless you do first.
posted by monkeydluffy at 2:21 AM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

You're a professional! You're allowed to take a sick day when you're sick!

The way this is written it seems like you've just gotten busted by your parents when you're 14.

One reason why I hate admin jobs is because there can often be this whole guilt trip and pseudo-panic if you're not there because *horror of horrors* the boss hasn't figured out how to work the scanner on his own.

Either send an email or call and tell them you're ill and won't be able to make it in to work today. Don't ask, tell.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 2:26 AM on September 1, 2008 [3 favorites]

There is no damage control because there is no damage. Stop worrying, go back to bed. Seriously. Don't try to do anything more about this. Just turn up to work tomorrow (assuming you're better) and don't even mention it unless someone asks.
posted by The Monkey at 2:40 AM on September 1, 2008

Seriously. Assuming you're not randomly calling off work every other week this is just the way it goes. When any one on my staff calls off sick I assume it means that they are sick because they are almost all (there are two that get a slight eyebrow raise from me) such dedicated workers.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:44 AM on September 1, 2008

As another admin, I understand your panic, but it's not necessary. People get sick, even on Mondays. Don't make a big deal out of it, and assuming you are a reliable employee, which it sounds like you are, your calling in sick will be taken at face value. Dash off an email saying that you won't be able to make it in, but that you will hopefully be in tomorrow. Feel better!
posted by katemcd at 3:09 AM on September 1, 2008

You're sick, stay in. And yeah, call in and tell them, no *asking* to be done.

And why are Mondays the most suspicious day? I'd say that's Friday or even Thursday (because if you've got the "flu" on a Thursday you sure ain't coming in on Friday, and by then it's Saturday).
posted by neblina_matinal at 3:28 AM on September 1, 2008

Gosh, perspective is awesome! Thanks guys - it's a relief that others are aware of the 'admin panic' that happens. And it totally DID sound like I was a teenager busted for mitching, as Flying Squirrel said!

But at least I went back to bed, and some of the panic has worn off.

I think my main concern was how dodgy the situation looked - that the very day the boss starts his holidays, is the day I bunk off. That my coworker's text message woke me up and it was only *then* I called in, literally 10mins after the boss walked in the door. Like I was trying to take an unofficial holiday and the sickie day is now just a cover for it?

But wow, yeah. I sound like I'm wound tighter than a tick. Back to bed.
posted by ticktockdoc at 3:58 AM on September 1, 2008

Like you, I hate calling in sick on Mondays. But that's what sick leave is for. Not just for your own sake, but to spare your coworkers from anything contagious. I'm sure they'd rather you stay home than prove you are really sick by making them sick a well.

Relax! You are doing the responsible thing. There will be many more Mondays in your life when you are sick. Your boss has certainly has his share as well.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 3:59 AM on September 1, 2008

You're overthinking this. You're sick. Don't sweat it.
posted by rokusan at 4:01 AM on September 1, 2008

Friday is way more suspicious, I'd say. And my last two sick days were both on a Friday, and I also felt terribly guilty about that.
posted by Hildegarde at 4:12 AM on September 1, 2008

You're sick. A boss that punishes you for that is shiftless. Now get back in bed and get better. *Brings chicken soup*
posted by Phalene at 4:22 AM on September 1, 2008

First of all, never grovel. Anything worth saying is worth saying with confidence. "I'm not feeling well, so I won't be in the office today" is all that's required. Second, everybody knows--including your boss--that people use their sick time when they're not really physically ill. And nobody cares, as long as you get your work done, and do a good job.
posted by mpls2 at 4:47 AM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Gosh - if you're really that worried then visit your GP and get a doctors certificate (not that they're particularly trustworthy but it does show willing) and hand it either to the boss or the relevant party. Certificates are often required by companies in order to get sick leave paid. Disclaimer: may only work in Australia
posted by ninazer0 at 4:59 AM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is a problem everyone who calls in sick has to face. Don't worry about it. Certainly don't try to do damage control. Like everyone above said, you're sick, don't sweat it.
posted by jayder at 6:01 AM on September 1, 2008

I had the same problem as you do, i never called sick even if i was. Once i came to work and i was really unwell, we're talking cold sweat and altered state of mind. I was white as a sheet.
I fucked up every single thing that i did at work that day, every single thing.
At the end of the day my boss calls me in his office and he got really pissed off that i came even though i was sick. It wasn't because he cared for my health, but because it created a shitty atmosphere in the office and i was probably contaminating my colleagues. He was probably right on both point.
Since then i always call sick when i'm sick.
posted by SageLeVoid at 7:44 AM on September 1, 2008

Echoing the scads of others who say don't worry about it. Sickness happens. I always feel so guilty/suspicious when I am sick, sure that my boss will nail me to the wall. Almost always the case that people are more sympathetic than suspicious though.

Side note, has anyone noticed that when you DO fake it (haven't done that in ages) you get on with a relaxing day without a second thought, but when you're actually really sick you're consumed with guilt?
posted by yellowbinder at 8:01 AM on September 1, 2008

Ah, I went home early on Friday (my intestinal problems had been going on for three days, however). The Friday before a long weekend.

I rarely take a sick day, so I refuse to feel guilty about it.

If I'm not feeling well in the morning, though, and think I may have to leave early, I do skip the makeup. I want to look wan, pale and not my usual self. I worry people won't believe me if I'm all pink and rosy. Guilt is stupid, but there it is.

If you do not have a pattern of 'oh... I'm sick. I won't be in today...' then please don't worry about it.
posted by Savannah at 10:14 AM on September 1, 2008

A former boss accused me of frequent Monday & Friday sick days. Prove it, I said. There was a slight increase on Tuesdays, so he looked like the fool he is. 1 Monday absence does not a crisis make. Not calling in promptly is a bigger mistake. Just do better next time.
posted by theora55 at 4:13 PM on September 1, 2008

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