Work sucks. I know, I’m breaking a lot of new ground here. Some people manage to make it to work every day with no complaints, and will take sick days only if they have the flu. And not the, “overachieving head cold” kind of flu. Like honest to goodness, influenza. But sometimes life is weird, and you need to get out of work for a reason that, while legitimate, isn’t exactly something that you’ll find listed as an acceptable absence in the employee handbook. Here are three true stories of reasons that I’ve actually given for missing work that actually panned out.
1. My roommate blocked me in.
So I live in one of those awesome apartment complexes that provides you with two parking spots, but in tandem. Which means that one of us is parked behind the other at any given moment. It’s fucking annoying, but it’s usually no big deal, we’ve just gotten into the habit of making sure that whoever is leaving first in the morning is the person parked in the back. However, imagine one Monday morning, you wake up to find that your roommate never came home after the bar last night because he got lucky. Well that’s just fine and dandy, I’m happy for him. Except for the fact that we took an Uber to the bar, and his car is still behind mine. He has his keys, so there’s no chance of moving it. My job is far enough away that taking yet another Uber would cost more than what I would’ve actually made that day. So I called and called and called, until it got to the point that I had to suck it up and make the lamest call to my boss ever. “Hey, I’m definitely gonna be late today. My roommate is parked behind me, and I can’t get ahold of him.” There was a moment of silence, followed by my boss just kind of sighing and telling me to get there whenever I could. My roommate got home three hours later. I slapped him in the head, and went on my way. Got to work after lunch. I didn’t get in trouble, but I never lived it down with my coworkers either.
2. My friend is on a bender.
As much as I play up the silliness and absurdity of living a lifestyle that runs on an engine fueled by whiskey, I’m very cognizant of the dark side of booze. I have too many friends who have gone to dark places with alcohol to think otherwise. So I get a call from a buddy of mine at nine in the morning right as I’ve finished my third cup of coffee in the office concerning one of these friends, we’ll call him “Dave.” Dave’s an alcoholic, as in a “been in rehab a couple of times, and can’t control his actions after a single sip of vodka” alcoholic. He’s been sober for six months, but my buddy informs me that Dave’s girlfriend broke up with him the day before, and he’s now been drunk off his ass for 36 straight hours. My buddy spent the entire day yesterday babysitting Dave to make sure he didn’t get behind the wheel, call one of his many narcotics connections, or hand his credit cards out to hookers like they were fliers for a free concert in the park. Today, however, he has a big meeting he can’t miss, and he needs someone to take over Dave watching duty. I consider for a moment farming out the job to one of our other friends who doesn’t have a job, but knowing the other friends I have, I’m not sure I can trust them not to turn Dave Watch into Party Time. So I agree. I consider for a few moments telling my boss I’m sick or something, but I’ve played that card a couple of times already. So I choose honesty instead, and incredibly, my boss tells me to take the day and make sure my friend is ok. At first I thought I just had a cool boss, but I later found out that she was actually in the program as well, and had her 15 Year chip. This was a few years ago, and you’ll be happy to know that Dave’s been clean for three years, and is also married and has a kid. Bet you didn’t think you were gonna get a serious, feel good story out of this, did you?
3. I really just can’t do it today.
Some days, you just wake up, and realize that you can’t put it together for the day. Whether it’s depression, exhaustion, or the realization that your life is crushingly monotonous, there are just days where going into the office sounds like the worst proposition of all time. Most days, you just suck it up and do it, but every now and then, it’s just too much. I get that there’s not a lot of general sympathy for desk jockeys in the world, which is fine. But I’ve worked manual labor, and even on my worst days, it wasn’t ever really a struggle to get my shit together for the day, other than hydrating a hangover. But after a few years in the white collar world, it was just too much. I’d been getting crushed with work, and I was doing the jobs of three other people, because my boss didn’t trust them to handle their responsibility, and with good reason. They were idiots. So one morning, it just all hit me at once. I was drained, and could barely string together a coherent thought. I called my boss to just tell him I was sick, but halfway through, I just lost the energy to even lie about it. I told him I wasn’t actually sick. In fact, I used the actual words, “I just can’t do it today.” So he gave me the day off. I was definitely not expecting that. Turns out, most companies not only offer vacation, PTO and sick days, but they also have “mental health” days, to keep their employees in a happy and healthy state of mind.
So I guess if you take something from this, it’s that while calling in sick when you don’t wanna show up is usually a pretty decent formula for getting out of work, sometimes being honest about it actually works.