WORKPLACE / JAN. 12, 2015
version 2, draft 2

How to Find an Excuse for Missing Work

When it comes to excuses for missing work, chances are your boss has come across every trick in the book. If you’re tempted to use the same old, lame excuses – your grandma died or your kid is sick, for example, expect them to be met with raised eyebrows. You may have sick leave days coming to you, but that doesn’t mean your employer is going to like you using them frivolously – or that she’ll look favorably upon you when it comes time to decide about promotions or pay rises in the company.

Some days though, you’re just really going to need a day off to recharge your batteries, to recuperate from a big event or just to get stuff done that you can’t do during non-work hours. While these times should be relatively few and far between, sometimes the best option is to simply be honest and up-front about it with your employer. Here are a few arguments to try.

Negotiate a work-from-home day.

If you’re feeling slightly under the weather, but you’re really well enough to get some work done, ask your boss if you can work remotely. That way you can avoid spreading the cough that you have around to your co-workers, while still remaining productive. What’s more, it can give you a more flexible schedule to go do whatever errands or tasks the regular office hours aren’t allowing you to do.

Ask for time off for time served.

There are times in everyone’s career when they’ve given it their all to get a big project done or to meet a client deadline – often with superhuman effort required. After it’s done though, there looms another work day, something that can fill even the most motivated of employees with a feeling of dread. Talk to your boss about having a day off for time served, instead of slogging through and basically phoning it in on that work day. In other words, you’ve put in a few extra hours every day over the past week or so – so, doesn’t that warrant a day off?

Cite medical reasons -- or a “mental health” day.

When you’re really burned out, there’s always the only-slightly-dishonest method: calling in sick. There’s no need to feel guilty about taking that day off, though. In your mind, call it a “mental health” day; a day to recharge your batteries, to organize your life, and to give yourself the ability to return to work with a renewed sense of vigor. Most bosses won’t ask for a doctor’s note if you only miss one day of work, but to make sure the “mental health day” tactic doesn’t raise too many eyebrows, don’t take advantage of it more than you should. In general, taking just a few mental health days a year is probably more than enough. 

Even if you love your career and you can’t imagine doing anything else, chances are you’re going to need a break once in a while. You can usually have it – so long as you know how to ask.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

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