Whether you’re the Chief Executive Officer or working directly on the front line, one thing everybody experiences are those days when you wake up feeling like you’d rather call in and take the off. Hopefully those days are few and very far between, but for some they come more frequently than others. Oh let’s be honest here; for some they come way too frequently. The question is, what do you actually do? Get up, get going and go in or languish in bed, phone the sick line and take the day off? If you typically hit a snooze alarm and give yourself just an extra 10 minutes in sleepy land, it only means when you DO get up, you have to go from zero to super speed to make up the 10 minutes you’ve given yourself. Judge the trade-off for yourself.
Some employees are fortunate in that they work for organizations that provide sick days and mental health days; sometimes referred to as personal needs days. These personal needs days are really designed for medical appointments, the day you take off to see your child in a school event, or yes, you just need a break. These are few by nature; say two or three in a year.
It’s important to understand why you’re tempted to make that call in and take the day off of course. Is it a preference for staying home or is it a preference to avoid work on this one day? Not everyone who skips a day at work is actually intent on avoiding work; in fact some feel quite conflicted about not working when there’s nothing physically wrong to justify being off.
In addition to knowing why you’re thinking of taking the day off, know how often you actually do call in and take the day off unexpectedly. If you find you feel this way often, perhaps these feelings are symptomatic of some larger issue; you don’t like your job and should be looking at working elsewhere or perhaps even some growing mental health concern such as depression.
Whatever your personal reason, there’s bound to be some fallout. The work you’re expected to do is either done by others, or it’s mounting up and waiting for you upon your return. While it might be great to have others doing your work for you, there’s a cost to be paid if this happens too frequently in their opinion; they may come to doubt your reliability, be less sympathetic to your needs for time off, and all of this can cause tension in the workplace directed your way; most unfortunate of course.
The reasons you give the boss and others for being off fall into three categories; the truth, a lie or some version of both. For many, it just isn’t worth all the fallout for taking a day; the timesheets to fill out, the chat in the bosses office, having to call in and explain the absence in the first place, the looks from your co-workers when this absence seems to be a predictable thing.
Think seriously about why you feel this way in the first place as I suggested above. Is your inclination to stay home connected in some way with the weather? Is there some task at work you’re going out of your way to avoid? If you move around in the course of your job, are you feeling anxious about working with a particular person or feeling growing stress about where you have to go in the course of your upcoming day?
It may be that your feelings are directly connected to something at work. On the other hand, what you’re feeling may be more about what’s going on inside you and have nothing to do whatsoever with work. A genuine mental health issue such as Depression doesn’t have to have any direct connection with external factors such as work. If you find yourself just not able to get yourself up to take part in something you were really looking forward to, such as a family outing to the beach, this is a sign there’s no connection with avoiding work.
Mental health counselling, prescribed medications are two possible ways to address what’s going on so you can function better; but using Dr. Google to self-diagnose and self-medicating isn’t good practice. You might end up temporarily masking a symptom without actually addressing the root problem, and make things far worse in the long run.
For most of us, feeling sluggish wears off once we roll out of bed, have a shower, eat breakfast and get dressed. The commute in to work with some music or that first tea or coffee might be just the thing.
Some of us never call in and ‘take a day’ when there’s nothing wrong other than a desire to languish in bed a little longer. If you do take a day here and there, you’d be wise to restrict these to one or two a year. In other words, keep your absence to a bare minimum rather than establishing what might become a pattern of absences.
Look, if it’s the job, get that resume dusted off and updated. Start looking for work elsewhere. Most of the time, it’s not the work at all, just wanting a day to do whatever turns you on.
Let’s have a good day out there!