WORKPLACE / AUG. 31, 2015
version 12, draft 12

What to Do When No-One Believes You’re Sick at Work

You’re thinking of calling in sick tomorrow so you start conjuring up a plan to make believe you’re actually sick at work. Or, on the other hand, you really are sick but no one believes you’re feeling sick. It’s just an elaborate scheme to them. What is a person to do to actually get people to sympathize and understand their situation? 

See AlsoWhy Sick Days are Almost Always a Bad Idea 

2014 survey conducted by NSF International, a public-health testing group, discovered that way too many American workers go to the office when they really shouldn’t. A majority cite either monetary reasons or too much work would pile on their desk. Both reasons are understandable, particularly when 40 percent workers do not have paid-sick benefits

Let’s face it: sick days can make us feel even worse. When you’re really ill, you hate to call in sick because you’re either missing out on wages or they might think you are just lazy. When you’re not actually feeling under the weather, you feel guilty for telling a fib and spending the rest of your day binge-watching, going to the beach or heading out to see a movie. 

In order to garner the sympathy of both your colleagues and your superiors, you have to exaggerate your less than stellar health. This may seem like over the top and unnecessary, but in today’s world of employees trying to game the system or just lying to get a Wednesday off, you may have to participate in the world of deception. 

Here are 10 things to do when no one believes you’re sick at work: 

1. Be Clear in How You Feel

"Are you really sick? You don’t look like it. Are you sure it’s not just a bug or psychosomatic?" 

"I beg your pardon, but I feel really terrible at the present time. In no way do I think I have made it up in my mind that I am ill. Thank you for your concern, but I don’t appreciate people questioning my sickness or believing that somehow I am deceiving the workplace. Good day." 

This is the best way to describe your illness: clear, concise and curt. It’s quite annoying when people come up to you at the office and insist that you don’t have a cold, migraine or flu. It’s even more nauseating than the actual feeling of nausea. So, don’t be afraid to be clear about your current state- they are the ones who insulted you in the first place anyway.

2. Warn Co-Workers to Stay Away From You

As soon as you arrive at work, inform everyone to stay away from you because you think your cold is contagious. Dire warnings of the coming apocalypse is convincing enough. People may have a little man inside of them hinting that you’re fibbing, but the threats of potential contraction are more important to them that they’ll concede defeat. 

3. Show Your Illness in Face of Skepticism

People still don’t believe that you’re sick? Well, there’s nothing better than illustrating to them your symptoms. Here are a few things you can do to quash any sort of dissent against your illness: 

  • Blow your nose into the tissue and show them the grotesque elements originating from inside your nostrils. 
  • Cough a lot and be sure to spit up the fluids that come from the back of your throat. 
  • Have a bucket nearby and start vomiting into it and show it to your colleague. 
  • When you sneeze, either sneeze at them or at the wall to show what has just exited your mouth. 

If possible, only go through with this performance in the bathroom. It’s just disgusting doing it at your desk. 

4. Shower Your Cubicle With Tissues

Are you sneezing and blowing your nose all day? If you have a box of tissues and you’re using the pieces every 10 minutes, don’t discard them in the trash. Instead, scatter them around your cubicle: on the desk, on the floor, on the computer and any other surface to give them the hint. 

5. Look Tired, Sad and Disengaged

When we’re sick, we don’t want to be happy, we are not energetic and we quite indifferent to anything going on around us. We’re about as happy as an eight-year-old boy receiving socks for his birthday. So when you arrive at the office, make sure to look ultra-tired, more saddened and even less engaged. Try to replicate your mood the last time you were sick. 

6. Feel Frustrated About Being Sick

Don’t you just hate being sick? Indeed, when we have the cold or a virus we think about the days when we’re children: eating soup, lying in bed and watching cartoons all day. But you shouldn’t think of this when you’re sick. Instead, you have to be frustrated, angry and just sick and tired of being sick and tired. 

7. Drink Lots of Hot Fluids

All day long, imbibe loads and loads tea, drown cups of coffee and consume bowls of hot soup. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold outside. You’ll have to do this to show that your temperature is down. Or you could even fake that you are drinking hot tea- just pour cold water in a mug and drink it.

8. Spend a Great Deal of Your Day in the Bathroom

If you’re spending half of your day in the washroom then management will feel that you’re just wasting time and money by showing up to work. Why pay you wages if you’re unproductive and fatigued? Here are a few things to do when you’re in the bathroom: 

  • If you’re really sick then start to throw up. If you’re not sick then pretend to throw up. 
  • Constantly flush the toilet to suggest you’re releasing quite a bit of you know what... 
  • Wash your hands all the time and spend at least three minutes doing it. 

9. Wear Multiple Layers of Clothing

Again, whether it’s +30 degrees outside or -30 degrees outside, you have to sport multiple layers of clothing. Akin to consuming hot liquids, you have to highlight how you’re experiencing the chills. Two t-shirts, three sweaters and a hoodie should suffice. 

10. Do Not Return to Work Miraculously Better

This is the common mistake that people make, even if it’s genuine: returning to work the next day miraculously better. Whether you’re actually sick or not, you cannot go back to work 24 hours later feeling 100 percent. You should still do the occasional cough, sneeze and trip to the bathroom during your workday. This will be your last trick to convince everyone that you were actually sick the day before.

See AlsoHow to Make Sure Sickness Bugs Don’t Destroy Your Office 

We shouldn’t go to work when we’re feeling under the weather. But oftentimes we have zero choice. Money, internal competition, tough labor market and fears of additional work are just some of the reasons why we do venture to work when we’re sick. Another reason is that people tend to conclude right away that you’re faking it. People are cynical, skeptical and unscrupulous these days, so they’ll think the worst of everybody almost immediately. 

When you’re sick, or you just want the day off so you pretend you’ ill, what do you do to convince your colleagues and superiors? Let us know in the comments section below... 

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