At this time of year ( in the southern hemisphere anyway!), people are dropping like flies; the flu, head cold, sniffles, headaches, gastro and an array of weird and wonderful illnesses, costing Australian businesses huge amounts of money in sick leave and decreased productivity. Whilst genuine sick days are inevitable, along with it are the inevitable ‘sickies’. According to the 2013 Absence Management Survey (Shave, 2014) annual sick leave in Australia costs Australian businesses $27.5 billion per year. That’s a lot of ‘sickies’. On average it’s actually around 8 days per person in full time employment. I wonder how many of those days are actually ‘sickies’? The definition of the Sickie: a day taken as sick leave when one is not actually ill (just in case, you were wondering)! After contemplating not coming into work one morning after a particularly bad night with bronchitis, after weeks on antibiotics and many sleepless nights; it got me thinking about the different type of sick day personality types.
Sick day personality types:
The martyr – Comes to work no matter how sick and complains the whole time and won’t go home
The try hard – Comes in, tries hard, lets everyone see they are sick and then waits until they get sent home
The opportunist - Takes a sickie at any opportunity; tired, hung over, mental health day (aka I feel like going to the beach)
The entitled – The person who knows exactly when they have accumulated a sick day and takes it
The long weekender – The person whose sick days always fall on a Friday or a Monday (and you notice the entire office are ‘unfriended’ on Facebook for the weekend) The personality of your direct manager will also have a pretty strong influence in the type of ‘sickie’ personality you actually fall under.
Which one are you? As recruitment consultants we get to hear the best and the worst, weird and wonderful array of excuses for the commonly referred to ‘sickie’. The dramatics of some entertain me, whilst the sheer lack of effort by others, surprises me. Discussing this around the office, here’s a quick story of the ‘sickie’ with consequences! A friend of a friend of a friend of mine (many years ago) … was up all night partying and realised she would not be able to make it in to work in a decent state the next morning. During this night of debauchery, said friend had noticed a tin of dog food on the floor of the house where she was partying and thought, “hmmm, I can see myself tripping over that thing and twisting my ankle at some point tonight.” In her intoxicated moment of wisdom, she decided a sprained ankle from this can of dog food would be the perfect excuse why she could not make it to work the next day.
She decided to call her manager that night to let him know about the terrible accident and that she would not be able to come in tomorrow because she sprained her ankle. Waking up with a sore head after a long sleep in, slowly sobering up she started to remember the sprained ankle story from the night before.
Her first thought was how clever she was, her second thought was “Oh no”. The realisation that she couldn’t just turn up to work the next day with two perfectly fine ankles (as a waitress, those ankles were pretty important) and as a casual she desperately needed the money from those shifts. Suddenly she didn’t think she was so clever after all! She decided the best thing to do was strap up her ankle and get into work the next day. Hmmmm, could she remember to hobble and limp all day? No probably not! The solution, she put rocks around her foot bandaged up the ankle and limped off to work. What a painful day and night that was.
Especially when all her friends, who knew the terrible truth came in to give their ‘support’. A limping, painfully long day with friends laughing at your injuries and stupidity. The irony! She thought twice about calling in sick again and decided a simple case of gastro might have been easier to get away with.
What are the ‘best’ sickie stories, you’ve heard? Comment below! We’d love to hear them!