You just realized you are attending an important event — a wedding ceremony or Hong Kong Sevens — or extend an overseas holiday. Unfortunately, you just ran out of paid leaves at the office, exhausted over Christmas and Chinese New Year season.
While feigning sickness would give you a generous “required rest days,” it’s not a good option if you hate paying extra for that medical certificate and too scared to get infected with the real bug later on.
So how creative can you be to craft that reason to miss work? We don’t recommend that you lie. But just in case, these are our top picks for excuses to use when you need to get off from work.
It’s an understatement to say that using a family member as accessory to your desire to get off from work is a bad idea. Tread carefully.
- A family member died. It’s hard to question someone close to you died and not offering sympathy by, well, giving you a few days off. You need to be specific though. A longtime pet dog can be a family member but does not warrant you to get off from work. Meanwhile, using grandma might be easier to accept (and believe) than say, a spouse or a parent.
- I am attending my kid’s school function. A kindergarten sport day almost always involves parent participation so an office will at least portray its pro-family stance. If it cannot provide playgrounds or free child minding facilities, it may, at least allow you to spend more time with your child.
- Someone at home is sick. Having someone sick at home is a dreadful experience. Even if many households have housekeepers, care from family members have healing effects. So you’ll likely get permission if you use this especially for the first time.
- I am attending a family emergency. The urgency of this subject matter could discourage bosses from making further enquiry. Family matters are often very private that your supervisor find it awkward to ask.
Before you fake a physical incapacity to get a day off, remember the person you beat for that job; he or she may still be looking for work now.
- I lost my voice. Whether that’s because you had great fun at a karaoke bar or stayed long hours watching that marquee English Premier League match over beer and chips, making a call just before 8am with that soft, whispery voice (prior rehearsal with a housemate may be needed) might just be enough to get that desired day off.
- I have headache. Whether it’s a tension headache or a migraine episode, you become unproductive at work and will be better off take the day off. It’s hard to prove you don’t have it so staying low profile helps establish consistency.
- I got diarrhea. Diarrhea prompts you to stay at home, specifically in the toilet to relieve that “intestinal requirement” as George Costanza puts it. You might as well be dehydrated so fluid intake must also be noted.
- I have cramps. Male bosses normally feel weird asking about physical conditions only experienced by females. Female bosses can readily relate to your issues. The important reminder then is: you have to be a female to use this excuse.
- I have sore eyes. Such contagious condition of the eyes is something bosses colleagues don’t want you to spread to colleagues. Isolating you benefits the office. Of course, it helps you achieve your goal for the day.
Other reasons to ask for a day off
From realistic to outright crazy, pick one from these apparently legitimate reasons to skip work for the day.
- I need to attend a jury duty. Missing out on a jury duty could mean trouble, so offices are likely going to grant this social responsibility. However, bosses might just ask for proof.
- I donated blood and feel dizzy. By exercising your social responsibility, your boss might just reward you with a day off. But don’t be surprised if he says ‘the HR is asking for a donation certificate from Red Cross.’
- I have an appointment with the Immigration / Consulate. You may need to attend an appointment for your Hong Kong ID at the Immigration, or claim your new passport at your country’s consulate. However, it may take only half a day and you’re expected to be back at work in the afternoon.
- I can work from home today. In this age of telecommuting and the benefits of working at home — cutting time on daily traffic and costs of transport or gas — your boss might just give you this flexibility today.
- My ceiling is leaking with fluid from upper floor apartment. You need to deal with your landlord, your neighbor and possibly your handyman to fix the problem so there’s no question you’ll be allowed to get off from work to deal with the mess. Other similar issues include door locks broken, flooded bathtub or power failure that requires you to address the problem as soon as possible.
- I got robbed / lost my wallet on the way to work. You may be on your way to work but lost your wallet and needs to report the case to the police. Your boss would, for a moment, look at how you are instead of where you are so telling this story might just move him to give you a day off and sort things out.
When you draft these reasons for being absent, you need to be careful with the consequence. If on your supposed days off, you were tagged on a Facebook photo frolicking on the beach or sporting that wacky Sevens attire, you better be prepared with your arguments.
Needless to say, you need to be realize that other people could jeopardize an otherwise perfect excuse: in the age of social media, it will be a big question if, despite you did everything as planned, someone else ruined it for you.