Topic of the Week Excuses, Excuses
Excuses, Excuses, Executive Summary:
- Minimize impact.
- Truth. Avoid lying.
Excuses, Excuses: What Not To Say When You Skip a Day At Work
Juggling life and work is tough, so when I saw a study about why people miss work and the lies they use as excuses, I was hooked. Here are a few actual excuses given to managers. "My dog had a nervous breakdown." "My Grandmother was exhumed as part of a police investigation." You can't make this stuff up. "My toe got stuck in a faucet." "The sobriety tool wouldn't let my car start." And my favorite excuse for missing work, "I forgot that I had been hired."
Okay, now that you know the don'ts, how should you approach those times when work is really getting in the way of your life? CareerBuilder.com also discovered that 17% of companies have fired someone for lying about why they missed work. And another 14% admitted to driving by an employee's home to see if they were really home sick. Given that the stakes here are probably higher than you may have thought for getting caught lying about skipping out on work, here are four strategies for surviving a job and a life.
Minimize impact. Don't you hate it when a coworker disappears when you are overwhelmed with work? So do whatever you can to avoid doing that to others. Sure, sometimes you just can't juggle your schedule and you have to miss work. But often you can reschedule a doctor's appointment, sleep in on another day or run your errands later in the week if it means that you'll put less of a burden on your coworkers.
Truth. In a perfect world you could just ask for a personal day off. Unfortunately the perfect world doesn't exist for many people. So you might have to bend the truth a bit, especially if you need to miss work for a job interview. The good news, as more companies move toward personal days instead of sick days and vacation time, there is much less of a need to lie when you need a day off.
Avoid lying. With a lot of employees actually being fired you need to be very careful here or at least wave when your boss drives by your house.
Telecommute. I know what you're thinking, but my company doesn't allow telecommuting. That's precisely my point. Ask them if you could be a pilot program a day or two a week. When you erase the commuting time you can often get a bunch of extra stuff done at the same time that you do your job. So put together a business case why a little telecommuting will make your team more productive and happier.
Watching your coworkers lying to get days off can create the temptation to do the same. Be careful. Because there are consequences here. Do you really want to lose credibility, or your job, over a day off? I prefer to avoid any situation where my company tries to forget that they hired me, so I tend to opt for the truth when I need a day off.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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