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Sick Out: Musings from the Corner Office

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So sorry, but I won’t be coming in today—I think I am coming down with a nasty case of spring fever.

Judging from the empty hallways, darkened offices, and quiet cubes of late, it seems to be an epidemic. We are closing ranks in a corporate sick out, protesting management’s mandatory attendance policy.

Seriously, sometimes even hard-core workaholics need to declare a mental health day to decompress, to take time to engage in a little retail therapy or sleep off the stress.

Especially this time of year, it’s just too nice outside to stay cooped up in a corner. Who could be blamed for wanting to trade PowerPoint for a power serve? And what about all those fabulous spring sales? So many shops, so little time …

Call it playing hooky or call it working on your tan, but you have to admit everyone calls in “sick” every once in a while. And some opt out quite frequently; I remember reading about a 2007 CCH survey in Business Week which claimed unscheduled absences cost billions in lost productivity. 

Well, I for one am plenty productive on my floating free days. Whether it’s powering through a non-business liquid lunch, sweating it out at the spa, brushing up on my bargain hunting skills, or smoking through a box set of Weeds, the to-do list literally goes on and on.

It seems lots of us don’t feel that bad about saying we feel bad when we really feel good.

The same study found that of all the employees who call in sick, just 34 percent of them do so due to illness. I can only imagine what the rest of the real reasons are for the other 66 percent.

Some of the lies are probably more “legitimate” than others (sick kids, transport trouble, hang over), but the rest of us need a break from the corporate jungle, too. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could just phone in the truth once in a while?

I’m not coming into the office today because I don’t want to.

I’m not coming into the office today because I’m going to the beach.

I’m not coming into the office today because I didn’t finish the presentation.

I’m not coming into the office today because I’m reading a really good book.

I’m not coming into the office today because I hate my job. And you.

Of course, one of the best things about sitting at the top of the org chart is that I call my own shots, and am therefore excused from having to make up an excuse for my seasonal “sick” days. As in no honey, I don’t have a headache, I’m just not in the mood.

Remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say, my door is always open … But I just might not be on the other side.

Related Story: Office Politics: Musings from the Corner Office

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