- Before you call in, practise your story (and your sick voice if appropriate) in front of the mirror. Make it quick - blabbering indicates nervousness.
- Do not overplay your symptoms when making the actual call – adopt the same tone you would when being hounded for a report that is overdue and which you haven’t completed by firstly being vague and secondly using long words. In this case a small groan is also a nice touch.
- Report in sick real early – best aim to get your boss’s voicemail. If this fails, you will have to actually speak to them. You should not call the office secretary or ask a colleague to pass the message. And you certainly should not call in sick via email or text message (an increasingly common mistake)
- Never let your colleagues know that you are taking the following day off - the Sickie must fool everyone to work properly. You need to callously use your buddies to validate your condition and therefore you need to lie to them too.
- Keep informed on what recent excuses have been used by others – you don’t want two Aunty Mildreds dying in the same office, do you? On the flip side, always take advantage of a virus doing the rounds - there is no point letting that nice Bird Flu go to waste, yeah?
- It is ALWAYS better to take 2 days than one. Always. And the good thing with the second day is that it is okay to break rule 2.
- If you fake a doctor’s note on your home computer/printer do try to remember to use a real proper doctor. And check first by ringing – don’t make the oooopsie I did a few years back and fake my sick note on a vet’s letterhead
Don’t hesitate to use this excuse. Blood in your stool, your semen, your urine, unexpected spotting (females only), coughing blood - it’s all good.
Ideal excuses – I am very surprised more people don’t fall back on the Seizure. Seizures are always serious (indeed you can fake one in the workplace if a meeting drags on too long) and happily there is frequently no medical explanation for them.
Stay away from this one – it makes you look weak and damages your chances for promotion. Don't call up saying your pet is sick, vomiting, dying/died etc. The exception to this saying you have actually killed the animal yourself and throw a small child is in the equation: for example driving over your 3 year old’s poodle. Of course that means you will genuinely have to get rid of the poodle at some stage to authenticate the lie, but I am sure we all agree there are too many poodles in the world anyhow
Yeah well use this at your discretion. Maybe it’s just me, but it gets a bit spooky when you have to “kill off” your own mother just to take a couple days off. The good thing with death though is that you get 2 days – one for the death and one for the funeral. Some companies even give you compassionate leave that doesn’t affect the rest of your holiday leave days or your sick days.
Look shit does work – there is no doubt about it – but it is a bit lame. Diarrhoea, food poisoning, hangovers etc really doesn’t demonstrate much creativity. If you are female, you are mad to go for runny bum when Cystitis is available. If you are male, opt for Crohn’s disease.
Please send me your excuses to add to my database. I am also interested, for academic purposes, in what excuses totally don't work. This is all strictly for scientific research though and not to help me take more time off. Honest.