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Healthy lies used to call off

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Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

If I try really hard, I can picture in my mind how someone might glue all your doors and windows shut, making it hard to leave your house and get to work.

I suppose it can happen.

But to get lost on your way into the office and end up in another state? Or to call in sick because you're unable to decide what to wear? Or to not be able to come to work because a swarm of bees surrounded your vehicle?

Really?

To be fair, most workers use sick days to recover from illness. But the number of employees who called in sick when they weren't ill has gone up since last year. And the excuses seem to get more imaginative every year.

Nearly 32 percent of workers said they faked illness this past year, according to a CareerBuilder survey conducted from Harris Interactive, which surveyed thousands of hiring mangers and full-time nongovernment workers.

What's really going on with the fakers? The most common reason workers say they take sick days is because they “just don't feel like going to work.”

Next most common: They need to relax. Others go to the doctor, catch up on sleep or run errands.

Why do people feel a need to lie?

One woman told me she had no other way to escape doing work at least six days a week.

“When I complained that I couldn't get all my work done, they gave me a laptop to take home so I could work there,” she said.

But many employers tell me they wonder whether someone is really sick when a worker calls in. No wonder, the most preposterous explanations from the survey include these:

• The employee's fake eye was falling out.

• The employee received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI.

• The employee was so angry that he felt as if he were going to hurt someone if he came in.

• The employee said a chemical in turkey that's supposed to make you sleepy, tryptophan, made him fall asleep, and he missed his shift.

• The employee bit her tongue and couldn't talk.

Whatever the excuse, 30 percent of employers said they check in on workers who have called in sick to see whether they really are ill.

Fifteen percent drive past the employee's house. Nineteen percent check the person's social media posts. Seventeen percent have an employee call the sick worker. Sixty-four percent require a doctor's note.

Lying can get you axed; 16 percent say they have fired workers who called in sick with a fake excuse.

The survey found that 30 percent of workers say they went into work when they actually were sick to save their sick days for when they're well.

Well, I won't be able to finish this because my dog apparently unplugged my computer four hours ago when his paw got tangled in the electric cord while he was dreaming about oven-baked lamb and apricot dog biscuits.

I didn't know it until he sprang up when a bird flew into the window and the cat leapt on his head, and now my computer is about to die. And it looks like he needs to get to the vet pronto, because the cat just scratched his eyeball.

Write to career consultant Andrea Kay in care of USA Today/Gannett, 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22108. Email: andrea@andreakay.com.

 

 
 


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