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I Can't Go to Work Today. I Don't Have an Umbrella

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by Lisa Johnson

over 3 years ago

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That is an actual text message we received from a temporary employee recently.   Given our weather recently, you would like to think that most people are better prepared for precipitation!  We hear the strangest, the stupidest and downright weirdest reasons for wagging work (from a minority of people, it should be noted).  And, believe it or not, we know when to expect them:

  • Rainy Monday mornings – Legions of people seem to wake up on Monday, and, if it’s raining, it’s clearly time to call in 'sick' and give themselves a doona day.
  • The first hot sunny day after a week of rain – The same people who probably 'doona dayed' it on Monday are inventing a curious infection on Thursday, now that the sun is out and the surf is up at Bondi.
  • The Friday before a long weekend – Cue the temps who want to have a long, long weekend and who have a sudden case of sick relative syndrome.
  • Any given Friday – As a result of a very thirsty Thursday, this will commonly be sold as a terrible migraine.

And then there are the odd reasons for throwing in the towel altogether. One of my all time favourites was the temp who told me that she needed to finish early because her mother died. Of course I was terribly sympathetic, but I later found out that six months later, the same mother passed away when the temp was working for a colleague. Then we found out she had accepted a permanent job with a high profile business and lasted six months, resigning because – you guessed it – her mother died. But I am saving the best for last. I once placed a temp on a three to six month contract with a major bank.  On a Friday night, about five to six weeks into the assignment, the temp went out after work with the boys from the office for drinks.  The story goes that one of the men made a comment to the temp that she found offensive.  So offensive, in fact, that she smashed the bottom off her beer bottle and stabbed him in the eye.  Now that is an interesting call to take from the client first thing on Monday morning! Now, I dare you: tell me the most interesting or strangest reason you have ever given an employer or received from an employee for not going to work.

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