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How to Call In Sick

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Calling in Sick Effectively

Are you putting in long hours in a high-stress position at work to bring home the bacon? When is the last time you had a vacation? For that matter, when is the last time you had just one or two days off from the rat race? Is your personal life suffering because you are on the edge of work burnout?

Are you fatigued when you wake up and hate the idea of going back to work? Are you a part of a special group of people that has a local or national holiday that you would like to celebrate, but you can’t because you have to work? Every so often, do you find yourself wanting to take off work for a personal day of shopping, relaxation or a mini vacation?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you need to know how to call in sick when you need to take a day off. More specifically, you might find yourself fitting into one of the following scenarios:

Burnt-out Beth

Beth Silman was a dedicated employee. She had come to work every day for three years, and she had not taken one day off. However, she was starting to feel edgy. Although her employers hadn’t noticed, her normally excellent work standard was beginning to slip. If she could only get one or two extra days off, she knew that she could recover from that dreaded burnt out feeling that she noticed everyday that she walked into work lately. How could Burnt-Out Beth take some much needed time off?

Holiday Hilda

Hilda Johnson didn’t mind putting in extra hours as the nursing home when her boss asked. She knew that if she didn’t say yes to the extra money, five other hungry coworkers could take her place. Although it took valuable time away from her kids, doing overtime at a job that she started three months ago was paying the bills and then some. Even so, Hilda knew that her favorite holiday was coming up, Juneteenth. Although Juneteenth or June 19th had grown in popularity in other states besides Texas, it still wasn’t a widely recognized holiday. Yet, it was a significant cultural holiday that she took part in every year. Now that her son had finally turned six, Hilda felt that it was necessary for her son to experience this holiday at an early age. How could she take off work to celebrate this holiday when she just got the job three months ago?

Back to School Susan

Susan had never called in sick since she started her teaching job five years ago. She had won teaching awards and good attendance awards three years in a row, but trying to strive for excellence was taking its toll. However, many of her coworker knew that she had five kids of her own. Yet, each year it was getting harder and harder for her to shop for her kids before school started.

If she did get her shopping done, she didn’t have time to prepare the classroom lessons to show the parents at back to school night. She had volunteered to work the extra summer session this year, which took even more of her time away. However, she was talking with some coworkers and overheard that one of them had called in last year with a fake illness, so that they could skip the first parent-teacher night to attend their daughter’s wedding day. Should Back to School Susan do a fake call-in, so that she can get her kids shopping done?

Party Charley

Charley was an admitted social drinker, but he knew that he couldn’t keep up with his lifestyle choice without making it to work every day. Moreover, he often liked going to the clubs and meeting a few girls. However, since the recession, he noticed that more and more girls wanted to date men with a descent and committed work history. Party Charley had neither of these working attributes, until he landed a corporate sales position by sheer luck last year. Up until that time, Party Charley had always worked temporary jobs to get by, but his cousin took over a new position and was able to hire him on the spot. However, Party Charley hadn’t been able to do any partying lately, and he desperately wanted to take off for the weekend to visit some friends in Los Vegas, Nevada. Should Party Charley call in sick?

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? If so, you may be in serious need of a real day off from work. Moreover, work burnout could lead to inadequate rest, which often leads to a cycle of serious illness that may require mandatory time off of work. This is especially true in high stress jobs that do not offer vacation time.

Real Reasons to Call in Sick When You Need a Day Off

Most people know real reasons that are acceptable to call in sick. Some employers even provide a call-in-sick guide that outlines the legitimate reasons that they will accept to allow employees to get some paid sick time.

These guidelines usually require that you present proof that you visited an emergency room or saw a doctor. With this proof, you can receive any paid sick time owed to you, and you will be allowed to get back to work. Yet, most of these employer guides or policies for calling in sick don’t cover those in-between times when you’re sick enough not to show up for work, but you’re not sick enough to need a doctor. Nor do they cover the times when you just need a break.

Furthermore, at times you may have some minor aches and pains in your body, or you may feel fatigued mentally or emotionally. In these cases, do you risk having additional health problems by not taking any sick time, or do you take good care of your body by taking some much needed rest from work? Ultimately, you will have to decide what is best for you. Here are some real life reasons to call in sick:

  • At midnight you wake up in a cold sweat and you have a small headache that you know will not let you get back to sleep.
  • After leaving work, you go home and loose your appetite to eat. Then you go straight to bed. You wake up five hours before you are to go to work only feel like you hadn’t rested at all. Could this be the beginning of work burnout? Could this mean that you are really fatigued, and that you should probably call in sick?
  • You have a small tooth ache that you have been meaning to take care of, but you just don’t have time to take off work. However, today you felt sharp pains in your jaw, gums and ears that sent you spinning when you went for a bathroom break at work. You probably should call in sick the next day and see your dentist immediately.
  • Your doctor told you last week that you need to have a small procedure that can relieve you of the aching pain in your hand. She said you will need to take two to seven days off before you can return to work. You are reviewing your sick time, and noticed you only have .05 hours of sick time left for the year. You freak out and can’t decide if you should take time off anyway, or if you should keep working until you can save up enough sick time to have the procedure.
  • You have a weak immune system and you notice that there are cold and flu-like symptoms going around the office. You realize that if these symptoms catch-up to you, you will have to take off more days than the average person before you can get back to work. So instead of running the additional risk of susceptibility, you decide to call in sick the next day.

Fake-But-Legitimate Reasons to Call in Sick

Calling in sick when you need a day off is not just a method you use for legitimate illnesses that require you to be away from your place of employment. You can also use a step-by-step method when your reason for taking off work does not fall within your employers guidelines. Here are some examples of reasons to call in sick that may not fall into your employees guidelines:

  • You have a religious holiday coming up that is not celebrated or broadcast on a national or international level. You want to observe this holiday because it’s important to you and your children.
  • Your favorite singer is coming to town, and it’s the last tour that they are doing before they retire from the music industry. You have to be at that concert, right?
  • Your daughter’s last music recital for the year is coming up. Your work hours have not conflicting with her recitals until now. Isn’t this a fake-but-legitimate reason to tell your boss you’re sick and go to your child’s once-in-a-lifetime event? You will never get your child’s moment in the spot light back, but you can always work again and again for your boss or someone else.
  • There are several important errands that you need to complete during your working hours, and the only way you can get them done is to take a day off of work.

What Risks of Calling in Sick?

There are always certain risks that you incur when calling in sick when you need a day off. However, when you know what you are up against, you can reduce these risks, by preparing put one a sick act and planning for the actual sick call in advance. As times, you may be able to reduce your risks significantly, and still be able to take off on a day that is advantageous for both you and your employer. For instance, you may be able to take a day off in the middle of the week instead of on the most famously used sick days, which are Friday and Monday.


Specifically, the state of the economy poses additional risks for those of you who want to call in sick when you need a day off. Even so, you will also need to consider all of the risks involved with taking off work, even for one day. Take a look at some of the most common risks factors for calling in sick:

Getting Caught

The last thing you want to happen when you call in sick when you need a day off is to get caught doing something other than resting or going to the hospital. Of course, there are those times when you need to run a few necessary errands, even when you don’t feel good. Yet, there are two main ways that you can get caught. First, an enemy at work could catch you looking anything but sick, and then tell your boss. Second, there is a slight chance that your boss, a manager or upper management could catch you out-and-about, while on their lunch break. It is a small world, and if this happens, you already know that your job is on the line.

Getting Demoted

Although not the most severe consequence, if you call in sick and get caught, you may run the risk of getting demoted to an unfathomable position. Your boss may decide that you are costing the company too much money by taking too many days off.

Getting Put on Probation

Don’t be surprised to find yourself locked in a probationary period when you return back to work. Although you may have legitimate reasons to call in sick, you boss may feel that you are not dedicated enough, and may want to give you a small scare to keep you in their grasp.

Getting Reprimanded

Believe it or not, you may need to have a talk with your boss once you arrive back at the office. They may want to brief you on the importance of keeping loyal employees. Furthermore, they may want to review with you what a loyal employee looks like, and what happens or doesn’t happen when this standard isn’t met. Furthermore, they may want you to give “friendly” details about how you spent your sick day, which you are not obligated to provide. This may feel like a reprimand or it may feel acquired at best, especially if you weren’t really sick.

Losing Your Job

Losing your job is the worst possible financial scenario that you could face if you call in sick when you need a day off. However, if you are taking off because you need additional rest and care, then you are saving yourself from addition health problems in the future. Many studies have been conducted that have pointed to the fact that lack of sleep and rest can cause health problems. If this is the case, don’t look back, you are doing yourself a favor.

Preparation for Calling in an Illness

One of the best ways to prepare to call in sick when you need a day off is to begin faking your illness at work a few days before. First, you may want to hint around to a few coworkers that you feel something coming on. Second, you can also tell your boss that you are “ok”, but you feel a little queasy or something of that nature.

You will need to predetermine what your illness will be, so that you can talk about those symptoms with your coworkers and boss. Furthermore, you should also get a little animated with your symptoms. For instance, if you want to fake the flu, you should stop ever so often and bow over, while holding your stomach. You can also grip your mouth and rush towards the bathroom. Of course, you will need to do this with plenty of witnesses around.

If you are not good at faking anything, then you will need to practice your fake-sick statements and acts a week or two in advance before beginning your ploy. One way to do this is to practice in the mirror, so that you know you are keeping a straight face.

Another way you can practice your fake-sick statements is to practice with a friend. Your friend can judge you on how seemingly real your statement or act seems, your level of expression, and the tone in your voice. You should also write down your statements, and then practice them until you have them memorized. You don’t want to stubble over your words when saying your statement to a boss or coworker.

Write down your call in sick statement before actually executing the call. If you are using a second party to make the call, like a spouse or friend, then make sure that your notes make sense and are clearly readable.

You will also need to write down exactly what you want your friend or spouse to say to your boss or manager. You don’t want to regret pulling them into your scheme and having it go wrong, because you failed to provide them with statements and the proper responses they should give to any inquiries.

As a consequence, you will also need to prepare a few responses and statements for yourself and a second party just in case the manager or boss has extra questions.

Steps to Call in Sick Success

After you have hinted around that you feel something coming on. You will now need to increase you fake ailments in the eyes of coworkers and your boss the day before you call in sick. Instead of just making a statement about an ailment coming over you, you will now need to increase your facial expressions and body language to really convey that you have an illness. By following some simple steps you will be successful in calling in sick when you need a day off. Here are the necessary steps to take:

  • Make a quiet place in your home by closing any doors to loud areas, turning off loud or distracting machines and turning off any music or alarms.
  • Tell your spouse, children, friends or roommates that you are not to be disturbed, because you have to make an important phone call.
  • Try to relax a few minutes before the call, then grab your prepared statement and place it in front of you, so you won’t stumble if you suddenly forget what you’re suppose to say. Just remember to speak the prepared statement with normal conversational tone and rhythm without sounding like you are reading it.
  • When you’re ready, pick up the phone and ask to speak to the appropriate personnel who usually deals with sick calls. This is usually a boss or manager. However, some companies prefer to get this news from an administrative professional.
  • Say your statement as you have prepared it, and then wait for a response. You will not need to include and exaggerated coughing or sneezing to make your point, unless you are really sick.
  • Keep it professional. However, talk as you would normally speak at work, but slightly slower than you normally speak. It may help to sound groggy.
  • Use coughing, throat clearing, moaning, hacking, crying, or sneezing only if your boss gets extra curious. In this case, you will begin giving your explanation, but interrupt it with a cough or moan of pain.
  • Try to end the call as quickly as possible without actually saying you’re sick. Instead, provide your boss or manager with a few symptoms that fit what you have. Don’t actually say what you have. Instead, say what you think it might be. Then tell them that you are not really sure what you may have, but that you are making an appointment to see a doctor. Telling them that you are making an appointment will give you more time off when you need more than one personal day.

Real and Fake Call In Sick Statements

Calling in sick when you need a day off is centered on the statement or explanation that you give your boss. You sick statement can make or break your credibility with your boss and manager. Therefore, your explanation must be carefully constructed ahead of time.

If you fail to create your statement before you call your boss, you may end up stumbling over your words and saying a lot of “ums” before each sentence. If you do this, you may lose any credibility that you have gained at your place of employment, and you may put yourself in jeopardy of losing your position.

Even when you are telling the truth about being sick, you still need to construct a proper statement before you call your boss. Your boss will want to hear a clear and concise statement about why you are not showing up at work. Although he may be curious about what you actually have, you are not obligated to provide a self-diagnosis upfront.

However, if your leave will require an extended time away from your job, you will have to show doctoral evidence that you have a specific illness that needed treatment and home or hospital rest. If your illness has required therapy or an operation, you may also want to provide proof of this to keep your job in good standing. Therefore, use the following examples as a guide to help you construct a believable sick statement:

  • Good morning Mr. Peterson. This is Bob Lately. I was calling to tell you that I will not be in the office today. I woke up in the middle of the night with extreme pain in my lower abdomen.
  • Hi Mrs. Johnson, I will not be in as usual because I am not feeling well.
  • Hello Mrs. Benson, I am not in the best shape today, and I don't want to waste company dollars by being unproductive.
  • Good morning Mrs. Farawday, I need to use one of my sick days today.
  • This morning I will not be able to make it into work. I have been up all night.
  • Good morning Mr. Lovejoy. I won't be in today as expected. I'm not feeling well. It seems that I might have the flu.
  • I don't think it's a good idea for me to come to work today, because I have been up for 24 hours straight going back and forth from the toilet to the bed.

Do’s and Don’ts

Although calling in sick when you need a day off should be a simple task, it’s helpful to keep some things in mind throughout the entire process. If you are generally faking an illness, then you can expect to have a slightly more difficult experience trying to actually prepare for the phone call. However, if you are well prepared, you can get through the phone call within just a few minutes and with little complications. Of course, this also depends on your boss’s attitude and mood the day that you decide to call. Take a look at the following do’s and don’ts before you call in sick:


Don't overdo the crying, moaning, coughing or sneezing. Generally, most employers know that you will take some sick time eventually whether you need it or not. In fact, they actually use government statistical data to factor in the cost of absent employees into the pay scale. Don't worry about your boss or manager thinking that you are lying. When it comes to calling in sick when you need a day off, your boss will have to prove that you are lying before they can fire you or reprimand you.

Don't ever ask your manager or boss, if you can take off work because you are sick. This gives them the option to say no, and they will plan your day around their schedule. This can be heartbreaking if you have made other plans. Simply state that you are not coming in to work, and remember that it is always your choice.

Don't forget to rehearse your explanation several times before you actually call in sick. It is also helpful to create possible questions that your boss may ask you after you tell him that you are sick. If you are cool with your boss, then it's probably more appropriate that you tell the truth about why you are taking a sick day. In this way you do not jeopardize the positive working relationship that you have.

Do not immediately go to Facebook or Twitter to post the actual occurrences of your day. If you have called in sick, doing so may lead you into trouble with your boss. Remember, it's a small world, and you never know who is paying attention to your social media site. If you post detailed information about your day when you are really supposed to be sick you might find yourself jobless. Avoid getting suntans when you are taking off work and using your sick time. This will be an obvious sign that have not spent any time being sick, and it will ultimately incriminate you. However, if you do end up with a tan make sure that you use light colored makeup to tone down your skin.

Don't volunteer or flaunt any extra information when you arrive back to work. This includes showing pictures and telling detailed stories about where you were during your absence and what activities you participated in doing. If a coworker decides to ask you where you were, you will need to make sure that you tell them the same story that you told your boss or manager. Don’t allow loud music to play in the background, while you are making you’re call. This could tip off your boss into thinking that you are faking. Also, don’t call your boss from a club, party or concert for obvious reasons.

If you must call your boss from your car, don’t leave the engine running, and roll the windows up to mask any outside noise.


Do wake up earlier than usual to call your boss, manager or whomever you should talk to. In this way, you can use your naturally groggy voice, so that you seem more genuinely sick. Do call in sick when you are actually sick, especially when it’s contagious. Doing so will allow your body to heal, and it will also keep less people from taking off of work because they won’t catch what you have.

When you are planning several days off at a time due to a real sickness, you can use it to your advantage. You can do this by getting your doctor to fashion a return-to-work date that is slightly longer than you need. Then you should go back to work a couple of days before the date of the doctor’s note. Although your boss may desire to send you back home, this will give you the advantage of being a committed employee in their eyes. Furthermore, it will also allow you to gain some credibility in the future when you might need some time away from work.

When possible, offer to do some simple tasks at home if you are going to have several days away from the office. Requesting these types of tasks will work well, if you are in good with your boss, or you have contributed several years of outstanding work to the company. Using gender specific ailments can also get you off the phone much faster when you call in sick. For instance, you can tell your boss that you are experiencing extreme and unusual cramping, or you can say that you think you need a prostate exam.


It’s important that you follow a careful plan to call in sick when you need a day off. You boss will expect you to be in topnotch shape once you return to work. Therefore, you can anticipate what your boss will require of you and anything extra that she may need, so that you can get back into the work game. Plan to go the extra mile once you have returned to work. Using a sick day does provide you with a much needed break. Therefore, you should really seem thankful that you are back to work and still have a job.

Working hard and displaying a positive attitude will also help you build credibility after you have returned to work. You can construct elaborate acts to seem sick at work, by using cans of soup or other colorful food to help you with a barfing scenario. If you do want to act sick in this way, you will need to hide the can of soup very well, and head towards the bathroom quickly, after witnesses have scene you holding your stomach in pain. If anyone follows you to the bathroom, make barfing sounds and use the can of soup as barf that is going into the toilet.

Putting on a dizzy act will also work well. Just be careful not to overdo it, because someone may call an ambulance.


Although it will be tempting to tell you best friend at work about your little scheme, don’t do it. With an unstable economy, you don’t know who may be vying for your position at work. Therefore, leaking your sick day plans may put your livelihood at risk.

Don’t abuse the sick day system to often. There have been hundreds of people who have lost their job, because they took too many days off. Only use fake and real reasons to call in sick once in a while.

Avoid planning any shopping rendezvous that are near your place of employment. You will increase the likelihood that you will get caught.

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