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5 Excuses For Skipping Work That Don’t Sound Like Utter Bullshit

Skipping stuff in college was so much easier. Unless you were missing a test, professors didn’t give a shit how made up your excuse sounded. They deal with dozens of lies about sickness every semester, and unless you ask a favor from them, they really couldn’t care less. Work is slightly different. You’re likely being paid to be there whether you show up or not. Granted, many postgrads work in positions that are paid hourly, and these positions also don’t come with a lot of time-sensitive responsibility. In that case, getting out of work is much easier. Sure, you won’t get paid for that day, but it’s often worth it. Here are a few ways to get out of your 9 to 5 that are a little bit better than your simple, “I have a cold.”

1. Call in sick…the right way.

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Here’s what you do. Call first thing in the morning to tell your boss you’re going to be late. You have cold and flu symptoms or the bullshit “stomach issues.” This puts the decision on your boss. The worst thing that can happen in any of these scenarios I’m about to list is that your boss calls you out and tells you you’re fired unless you show up. If you just play the “I’m gonna be a little late, I’m so sorry” card, there are two ways it can go. At the very least, you get an extra hour of sleep or so and then show up right before lunch. You can play the “working through lunch” card to make it look like you’re a responsible employee (this is like truancy poker, lots of cards to be played). Or, if it all goes according to plan, your boss will just tell you to take the whole day. Bosses don’t like to be dicks for the most part, so if they can afford to let you off, they will. Plus, you know what bosses hate more than being dicks to sick people? Having a whole office full of sick people. They will spare 20 or so people a sickness before you infect the whole accounting department.

If you really need to spice this up, feel free to divulge some information that a normal human being would consider embarrassing. If you’re saying that stomach issues are your problem, wait for your boss to ask how bad it is, and then just say something to the effect of, “it’s coming out of both ends.” I’m basically a sociopath, so saying anything like that won’t move my shame needle a single tick. Feel free to embellish as much as you want, depending on your relationship with your boss. If you guys aren’t super tight, I’d maybe avoid talking about the paradox of “vomiting out your ass and shitting out your mouth.”

2. Something at your house fucked up.

Photograph by Jeff Werner

One of those hidden bummers of adulthood they don’t tell you about is when the place you live in fails you. Gas leaks, pipes bursting, electricity going out: it’s all fair game. If you’re one of those lucky bastards who has a job or lives in the right part of the country where you can afford to have already purchased a house, you don’t have a landlord to do the dirty work for you. The bonus of all of this is that you can use it to get out of work. This is one of those you don’t want to use too much, because stuff really is going to stop working at your place and you may actually need to take work off when that happens. The important thing to remember is to sound a little pissed on the phone when you call your boss. Make it sound like there’s a project you’re working on and you’re actually infuriated that your stupid damn pipes are gushing all over the place. Even offer to have one of your office buddies to run your work to your house on his lunch break so you can at least get something done. Ninety-nine percent of bosses will just tell you not to worry about it. If you work for the 1 percent who agrees to let one of his or her employees skip the time he normally eats Subway and talks himself out of calling in a bomb threat to the office to bring you your work at home, you should probably seek alternative employment.

3. A serious sounding, but explainable, doctor’s visit.

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You can’t just take off spur of the moment for a doctor’s visit. You often have to ask off for that weeks in advance. Plus, who has a “surprise checkup?” You had no idea you had to see the doctor for zero pressing reasons, but you need the day off? That’s hilarious. But, let’s say you went to see the doc the previous weekend. And let’s say that some of your bloodwork came back a little wonky. That merits not going to work, right? Even better, show up in the morning, make a show of taking a call on your cell phone, and then let your boss know your doctor just called. Your doctor needs to run some additional tests ASAP, so ask if you can have the next day or two off. Your boss will probably tell you to take care of it right away, and boom–you’re clear for the rest of the day. Maybe your boss will go for the suggestion and just give you an entire day for later in the week. Either way, you’ll have plenty of time to hit the links very soon.

The key is to pick something that sounds like a thing, but isn’t actually life threatening. Once you’re back at work, just tell your boss that your initial tests showed elevated blood lipid levels (which is basically just high cholesterol, not like he’ll fucking know that) and that you’re supposed to hear back soon. A few days later, just go in to his office and tell your boss your doctor is worried about your risk of hyperlipidemia; however, as long as you start being more diligent with what you eat, you should be fine.

4. Pet emergency.

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Be careful with this one. You have to know your boss pretty well in order to pull this off. If he or she isn’t a dog person, or even an animal person, you’re probably screwed. People like that have no souls and literally cannot understand why you’d need to leave to go to the vet. But if you know your boss has three puppies of his or her own, not only will you immediately get to leave, but your boss will literally push you out the door. Again, don’t pick anything that’s life threatening, just something vet-worthy. The easiest is that he was hit by a car, but quickly followed by, “DON’T WORRY, HE’S FINE” and that you just need to go make sure he doesn’t have any fractures or internal bleeding. Your animal loving boss won’t give you the day off fast enough.

5. Lady problems.

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Look, you girls know what I’m talking about, so it’s not like I need to give you the step-by-step. It’s sort of like the sickness excuse–get as specific as you think you need to be. This is another scenario where you have to read your boss, though. If he’s a guy, there is a solid chance saying “feminine issues” will be good enough. If he has a wife and/or daughters, you may need to give more information. If your boss is a woman, on the other hand, I cannot stress enough to Be. Fucking. Careful. Maybe she’s nice and will empathize with your issues and happily tell you to stay home. But you also run the risk of REALLY pissing her off. She’s probably sucked it up and come to work through all sorts of cramps to get to where she is today, and if you’re not willing to show the same amount of dedication, you may make her hate you forever. But you’re a woman, which means you’re probably smarter than I am, you know all of this already.

To wrap up, there is one king rule to follow in all of these scenarios. Whatever you do once you get your time off, be discreet about it. I shit you not, at my last job, a girl who had been hired not two weeks before called in sick. She then proceeded to post picture after picture of her getting drunk at Disneyland with her friends for the rest of the day. I don’t think I should have to explain how impossibly stupid that is, but since someone actually did it, I guess I do. You should avoid anything that has the potential to be publicized to your boss. You know how I talked about golf earlier? Well, if you and your boss both play at the same course, maybe avoid going to that course. And for shit’s sake, just stay off social media for the day. People with stomach bugs don’t tweet jokes about lasagna. They just don’t.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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