Job Hunting Tips

The Truth Hurts or in This Case the Lies Hurt

Posted by Samantha
min read

What to do if you’re in a temp role and you need time off for an unconventional reason?

So you’ve committed to a temporary role through an agency, and something has happened in your personal life that is stopping you from going in to work tomorrow.  Perhaps you had a fight with your partner, your parents or your siblings?

What do you do?

Because it’s an unconventional reason to miss work, you decide, “Hmmm maybe I should make up a lie. What excuse could I use?”

  • Family member passed away
  • Got in a car accident
  • Very sick

A text message 30 minutes before you are supposed to be at the office saying, “sorry I won’t be in today, a family member has passed away” is unfortunate. Chances are, we’ll take your word for it the first time and sincerely empathise for your situation. However, as time goes on, we can generally pick up who’s lying and who’s not.

In reality, 30 minutes is far too short notice for us to replace you on time, so subsequently, the office you have been placed in, is starting the day one person short. As you can appreciate, if a client has requested to have a temp in their office – odds are they are busy and kind of need the help!

So you promise you’ll be able to make it in to work tomorrow and after discussion with the client, we decide not to replace you. They will suffer through the extra work for the day. After a quick call again in the afternoon to confirm you are definitely okay to be there tomorrow, and a promise from your end that ‘YES, yes I will be”.

8am the next morning arrives and we receive a text message again to say “Sorry, I just won’t be able to go in today, I am having a hard time”. Why were you not honest with us when we called to confirm you would be in?

I just want to make it clear – IT IS OKAY IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO COMPLETE A CONTRACT. AGAIN, it is okay if you are not well enough to complete a contract, but if it’s feasible, please have the courtesy to give us enough time to replace you! We understand that things happen and prevent us from making it into work, but just be upfront – there’s no need to come up with some elaborate lie.

So after promising the client that you would definitely be there, we now have to call and tell them, minutes before they are expecting you that you are not going to make it. The client is not happy with the service – and they decide to go to another agency. Bridges are burned.

Now, for any candidate reading this, if you are ever in a temporary role and you have an unconventional reason to miss work, please call us and tell us! If you broke up with your partner and you can’t finish the contract because you feel far too emotional – just please tell us! Call us the night before and be honest – we’re human too and we will understand! We’ll be even more understanding if you have given us the courtesy of a bit of extra time needed to replace you, especially since this will keep a positive relationship with the client. When you’re feeling up to it, we can help you secure another opportunity – it’s that simple. If you’ve decided to be deceitful and made up excuses via a last minute text message, it’s likely that you’ve lost our trust and we may not be able to help you again.

Before coming up with a lie, consider your reputation with both the agency and the office you were temping in.