What to Say When You Call in Sick

What to say when you call in sick is easy enough if you remember to keep it simple and are prepared for a question or two. There are a few ways to make a call in, choose the method that works best for you.

What to say when you call in sick yourself

Decide what you're going to say if the boss asks what's wrong with you and any other questions you think he might come up with, like, "Is this for real?".

Knowing what you're going to say will keep you from sputtering into the phone line not knowing how to answer your boss' questions, which you might think makes you sound like you're too sick to even call in, but more likely sounds like you're making the whole thing up as you go. Let's face it if you don't know why you're too sick to get yourself to work, likely you're not sick enough.

Actually say your spiel out loud a few times.

Some folks get real nervous thinking their boss can see their lying mugs right through the phone lines. I guarantee you this isn't true. Although some bosses seem to have an unholy connection with the underworld when it comes to catching skippers, they can't actually see you.

Keep it short and simple.

"I'm not feeling well, I can't make it in today."

Sometimes this is enough. The less detail you get into the better the chances you'll get away with it.

If the boss asks...

Don't get elaborate. "I have a migraine." "I have the stomach flu." Whatever excuse you've decided on ahead of time. Try to sound a little weak.

If he asks if you're going to the hospital? State simply "No, there's not a lot they can do for me, and I feel too lousy to drag myself down there for nothing."

Remember to use excuses that don't need hospitalization or a visit to the doctor.

Sometimes bosses require you to make a visit to the emergency room or your doctor anyway, to verify that you are really sick. Don't suddenly have a miraculous recovery and say you'll be in. Say, "OK, I'll try to do that." There is no sense in arguing.

Now, if that happens you have a few options.

You can try faking out the fine folks at the hospital, not the brightest idea but it's been known to work.

Or you can try for a fake doctor's excuse.

If either one of these great choices doesn't ring your bell then the next day you can tell your boss you didn't go to the hospital because after the phone call you took a few pills and went to lie down for a bit 'cause you felt so bad. You fell asleep and when you woke up the day was over.

You can try the "call in before anyone mans the desk" routine. That way you get the answering machine and avoid the one on one with your boss, or the secretary.

What to say when you call in sick and get a machine.

Leave a simple message.

"I canít make it in today, I'm not feeling well." Don't forget to leave your name, there's a better than good chance he won't recognize your voice, so clue him in to who you are.

Then take the phone off the hook.

Your boss will sometimes phone you back. If you decided to leave the house, it better be to make an appearance at the hospital, otherwise how do you explain not answering the phone, or not knowing someone tried to call? But if it's off the hook, you can tell him you wanted to make sure you weren't disturbed because you hoped the rest would make it possible to come in the next day. Always use something that sounds like you're trying your best to get to work, not get out of it.

Have someone else call in for you

A spouse, or your mommy, is a good bet here. What they say is simply "Joe is too sick to come in today." Have an excuse ready, "He puked all night." If the boss wants to talk to him/her say "Heís asleep. I don't want to disturb him, he had a real rough night."

Make sure the person sounds genuinely concerned, giggling or sounding sarcastic isnít going to go over too well.


What you say when you call in sick isn't a huge deal as long as you don't make a big production of it. Either the boss is going to take your word for it or he's going to ask for proof.

The ugly truth is sometimes you're going to get called on your excuse. Don't come straight out and admit you made it all up. Stick to your story. There isn't a lot they can do since they need proof you were lying.

If you don't use sick excuses too often what to say when you call in sick shouldnít be too tough and should go off without a hitch.



Boss went and asked for proof? It happens, here's some info on a doctor's excuse Do what you gotta do.

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