How to Call In Sick on Monday After the 4th

dam thoughts, barry currin, beaverdamusa.comHappy Fourth of July. I hope you have a relaxing day and a great weekend.

And then I hope you extend it by a day. Why? Because you’ve earned it, right?

Think about it: you know everybody is going to be cranky after the 3-day weekend, including your coworkers and your customers. You’re going to be cranky, too. Plus, you’re going to be busy. It is going to be torture when that alarm goes off Monday morning.

Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! No! No! No!

Relax. Breathe deeply. It doesn’t have to be that way. I can help you stop the alarm while stopping the madness of jumping in the foxhole with all those other poor schmucks who did the right thing and went to work after the holiday weekend. You must work with a couple of responsible people, right? Sure you do! Let them face all the cacca that somehow mysteriously happens at your workplace even though no one is there for 72 hours. As the song says, “You’ve got to fight for your right to par-tay.”

Oh, but you say, “I can’t do that. My coworkers and the boss will have to pick up my slack, and everybody will know I’m faking it because it’s the Monday after a holiday.”

That’s true; if you do it the wrong way you’ll get busted for sure because your coworkers and certainly your bosses are not idiots. For example, here is a quote from then-University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley after some people in the football office called in sick:

“Are you kidding me? You shouldn’t be sick on a Monday. Nobody gets sick on a Monday. You’re not sick. If I gave you a million dollars, would you go to work today if you’re sick? ‘Oh yeah, I would have gone.’ Then why didn’t you go? What do you need a million dollars for? If you can go, go. That’s your obligation to the organization. That’s how it works.”

Dooley couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag, but he was always good for a quote. When I think about it, Tennessee might have been better off if Dooley would’ve called in sick more often.

Now, here is the right way to call in sick. Are you still with me, grasshopper? Good! After you read these tips, you will be able to take the pebble from my hand and snooze ’til noon.

1. Put social media to work for you. Your last post, tweet, selfie, whatever, for the weekend should come around 1:30 Sunday afternoon. Say something like, “Started feeling tired at church, going to lie down for a while so I can be fresh at work tomorrow. #hate3dayweekends!” Then go social media dark for the rest of the day. (You’re gasping, I know. It’s going to be tough not posting one of those “my view” selfies of your feet from the lake or Facebook a photo of your syrup-stained waffle-less plate from IHOP. But this is an important first step to getting you that free day off to which you are so desperately entitled.)

2. On Monday, call in as early as possible. Don’t let all those bubble-headed rookie coworkers of yours beat you to the punch. By calling in first, you force them to have to hear the boss say, “Well, try and come in if you feel better. Brittney, Brittney and Brittney have all called in sick, too.”

3. When you call in, keep it brief, and don’t oversell it. Here’s the script: “I’ve been sick since yesterday afternoon, I think I may be contagious. I’ll come in later if I feel better because I have lots to do and I know you’re slammed.” That’s all you have to say! If you get any lip, just say, “Hey, that’s the pharmacy calling through. I’ll check in later.” Click. Period. Save yourself. You’re not a Green Beret for Heaven’s sake.

4. Don’t specify what is wrong with you. You don’t need a go-to sham. Nobody has 211 stomach viruses in one year. It’s the sign of a raw rookie. And don’t talk about the tidal wave of bodily fluids you’ve been gushing from every imaginable orifice. None of that is necessary.There is one exception. In an extreme emergency — for instance if this is your third Monday doing it in a row, or you already know the three Brittanys have beaten you to the punch — you can always say, “I threw up in my car on the way to work.” This is your golden ticket. Your get out of jail free card. But you can only use it once per boss.

5. Don’t try to sound sick. Sure you could stick tissue up your nose to fake a cold, but colds don’t go away in a day. And don’t gag, sniffle, blow your nose or fake a coughing fit. Those are total rookie moves. Flushing the commode used to be a nice touch, but by now it’s been done to death.

6. Be careful of background noise. A gifted and brilliant person I know and love tells the story of the employee who was in the middle of her 5-minute stomach virus dissertation when a Jet-Ski fired up in the background. So if someone near you is already in “hey, y’all, watch this” mode, make sure you are far away from him.

7. If you haven’t left for the lake yet, use the landline in your house if you still have one. That proves you are at least at home if the boss has Caller ID. But a huge word of warning: do not use a landline where the phone prefix is in the town where the lake is. (The same gifted and brilliant guy tells that story, too.) Unless you can call from home, use a cellphone.

8. Continue to stay off of social media. I know that telling everybody you are at the lake is more fun than actually being at the lake, but you have to stay the course here. Making a clean getaway is more important than showing your friends who the boss really is. There will be plenty of time for gloating when you actually do show back up for work.

9. Don’t throw your kid under the proverbial bus. If you call in and say you have a sick kid, then you’d better have a sick kid. Karma is real. And most folks have to learn that the hard way.

10. Or you could just chuck Nos. 1-9 and instead text the boss “I won’t be in today,” then show up on Tuesday exhausted with a sun-kissed nose. What’s the boss going to do, fire you? Yeah, right. Then he or she will have to run a help-wanted ad, do interviews, do second interviews, pay for background checks, train the new hire, blah, blah, blah. This strategy will not endear you to anyone, but it can be highly effective if you don’t really care what anyone thinks. And it can be used over and over.

Regardless of how you do it, do not feel guilty. You’ve earned it, and those poor do-the-right-thing schmucks can handle it until you get back. That’s their obligation to the organization. That’s how it works.

We’ll see you Tuesday.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:


  1. Barry, as someone who oversees the work, and work habits, of about 15 other folks … I wouldn’t recommend the use of No. 10. You see, I’m one of the “schmucks” who sometimes has to cover for missing people. I suspect there’s a world of other “schmucks” who might agree with me on this one. And I can personally attest, “schmucks” get really riled with MIAs when it’s a Monday.

  2. Fellow schmuck here. I’ve been on the receiving end of MIA calls a million times.

Speak Your Mind

* Finest Craft Beers from America’s Best Micro Breweries- 728x90 banner