You don’t want to work today. Maybe there’s a particularly heinous meeting, you’re hungover from a bit too much jubilation last night, or your BFF has tickets to the game this afternoon. There’s an infinite number of reasons not to go to work. Some legit. Some not so legit. Hey, it’s not my place to judge.
But it is my place to help. Playing hooky from the office occasionally is pretty much a right (or if not, it should be). You have your reasons. Now you just need assistance with the “how” part of the equation.
You might be lucky and work someplace that simply requires a phone call - or even better, a text or email - and that’s that. You tell them you’re not coming in today, they say, “thanks for letting us know”, and you go back to bed. But (too) many businesses require quite creative excuses to miss work these days. And idiots calling in with ridiculous excuses (my cat is stuck in my car dashboard, or my grandmother died...again) have made it harder for the rest of us. You might even have to provide a doctor’s note the next day. <Gasp> The horror!
But fear not. You can do this. And you can do it the smart way. It just takes a bit of know-how, gumption, and groundwork.
Calling in “sick” is the classic standard to which all work skippers turn to in times of necessity. And with good reason. But it’s certainly not the only way to skin a cat. You could use traffic, weather, and confusion as well.
Want to skip out on work today or tomorrow? Check out these websites. The specifics will change depending on where you are, but I’ve included an example in each category so you can see what I mean.
1. Local Traffic Report
Bad traffic, and accidents in particular, is the unappreciated cousin of being too “sick” to go to work. It won’t always do the trick, and you’ll often have nothing to use, but it’s worth a look. This one is best for when you want to come in late rather than skipping it altogether.
Here’s what you do: go to your local traffic portal (just google “local or [city name] traffic report” to find it). For example, Traveller’s Information Services is the traffic and road information service for 11 regions in Ontario, Canada. It is updated with both scheduled (planned road work and closures) and unscheduled issues (primarily accidents and breakdowns) that interfere with the flow of traffic.
On the day, you need some extra time in the morning for whatever reason, log on to your local equivalent and find an UNEXPECTED road closure or delay. It needs to be something that happened around the time you would normally be heading into work. That’s your excuse, baby! Call into the office and tell them you’re stuck in traffic. You can even use something that’s not part of your normal route...if it comes up, you were spending the night at a friend’s house, or dropping something off.
2. Local Directory
If you have a meeting, conference, or training session somewhere other than at your regular workplace, you can use the power of confusion to get out of it. Play the “dumb card”.
Caroline Zelonka, for example, wasn’t quite up to a work conference happening at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. So she used confusion to her advantage, remembering that there was another hotel in the city called the St. Francis Hotel. She skipped it, and when asked about it the next day, claimed she had gone to the St. Francis and found nothing set-up, so she assumed it had been cancelled. It worked.
You can do the same by using The Yellow Pages website. Of course, it’ll only work if you can find a venue (hotel, restaurant, office building) with a similar sounding name to wherever you’re supposed to go. But if you do, you’re off the hook.
3. Local Weather Report
The weather can help, too. You might wake up to a raging blizzard, hurricane, or tornado, in which case you’re probably not expected to show up at 9am. But you don’t have to wait for a major disaster or calamity to use the weather as an excuse.
Head on over to The Weather Network or Accu Weather and check the local conditions. Did it drop down unexpected below freezing last night? Your car is dead. Was there a lot of rain? Your basement is flooded and you have to wait for someone to inspect the damage or the main road out of your neighbourhood is flooded and impassable. Gale force winds? Tree branches are littering your street, and there’s no way out. See what is happening, or what happened in the previous 6 hours or so, and design your excuse around it.
4. Local Outbreaks
Sometimes, though, a classic is your best bet. Call in sick. But do some homework. Check WebMD to see what new but believable (so maybe don’t pick ebola) illness you can have this week. Check the symptoms, act accordingly (do you need a fake cough, sniffles, or sore throat), and make the call.
Want to get super local? Check out SickWeather Map or the CDC Outbreaks page. SickWeather collects recent “sick” reports and stats from social media platforms to find out exactly what people have in your area. What’s going around? When I checked just now, for example, it told me that whooping cough, the flu, and allergies are going around Ontario at the moment. Use that. The CDC (Center for Disease Control), Outbreaks page, lists current outbreaks of illness in locations around the U.S. You should be able to find something equivalent for your country and region with a simple online search. It lists both outbreaks of contagious illnesses, and conditions connected to tainted food. Use it. Are People getting sick from contaminated yogurt in your city? That’s your out.
5. Fake Doctor Notes
Sometimes, though, your company may require a doctor’s note when you call in sick. If so, you’re not out of luck just yet. Best Fake Doctors’ Notes provides many editable templates for a wide variety of notes, including dentists, general practitioners, emergency room doctors, dermatologists, and cardiologists. Pick your poison, fill in the details (your name and address, the date you were “sick”, the doctor’s name and contact details). It is a paid service, but they have a 365 Day Guarantee.
You may or may not have to include the reason on your note (some doctors don’t include it). If so, make it embarrassing so no one at work will want to confirm (explosive diarrhea, anyone?).
Make the note complete and believable. Make sure the “doctor” you saw is within a reasonable distance of where you live. And, much like Fight Club, the first rule of using a fake doctor’s note is that you don’t talk about it. To anyone. Not even your closest office buddy...the more people that know you submitted a fake note, the higher the likelihood that you’ll get caught. Most places (although not all) don’t have the time or resources to follow-up on doctor notes. They just want one to throw in your employee file (and because they believe it will deter people from lying about being sick).
If you struggle with lying about anything, stop by and read the Top Ten Secrets of Effective Liars for a few pointers.
You do need to go into work most days. But not every day...that would be hellish. Get out of it with style and panache. Yes, you can call in sick sometimes, but not every time. Include the weather, the traffic, and confusion in your excuse tool belt.
What other techniques and tricks have you used to skip work? Any other suggested websites to bookmark for later reference? Leave your thoughts in the comments below...