Monthly Archives: October 2008

How to Call in Sick When You’re Truly Ill

Call I Work SickFlu season in the U.S. usually begins in November and lasts through March, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite preventative efforts, you’re still vulnerable to illness. If you feel under the weather and determine you’re too sick to be productive at work, it’s time to call in sick. But, what is the proper way to call in sick without sounding like a knockoff Ferris Bueller looking to play hooky? Following these tips for proper call-in-sick etiquette will help you stay on your boss’s good side while recovering at home.

  • Speak to your boss directly. To prevent red flags going up, don’t send an e-mail or text message, or leave a voicemail when calling in sick because it’s too informal. Also, unless you’re physically unable to talk on the phone, never have your spouse call in sick for you. This makes you look unprofessional. Plus, your boss might suspect you really aren’t under the weather if you don’t speak to them directly and may require a doctor’s note.
  • Always be truthful. If you’re too sick to come in to work, just simply say so. There is no need to go into great detail about your symptoms unless asked. Doing so will make you sound like you planned it all out.
  • Stop with the act. Unless you have an Academy Award in hand, don’t purposely add coughs and sneezes to try to convince your boss that you’re sicker than you are. You can’t be that good of an actor and your boss will only become more wary.
  • Call before you’re scheduled. Try to inform your employer as early in the day as possible. They will appreciate that you gave them time to prepare for your absence. Even though they’ve lost you for the day, your boss might be able find someone to cover your shift with enough notice or cover your projects in the office.
  • Contact your staffing agency. If you’re a temporary employee, you should follow the same tips and notify your staffing agency as well. If they can find a replacement for your shift that day, your employer won’t be short a worker and it will lessen your chances of repercussion.

When calling in sick, remember to be honest, talk to your employer directly, and give them proper notice. Showing that you respect the company will help build your value to the employer. Good employees are hard to find, and your employer will remember that, even when you’re sick.

Should You Talk Politics at Work?

With all the talk about the upcoming election – not to mention the candidates, the economy, and the new bailout bill that just passed, politics is a hot topic of conversation – just about as hot as whether or not we should be talking about it at work. In the past, politics has been a major faux paus of controversial topics, along with sex, money, and religion – not just at work, but in general. But, as our culture has changed, people are more and more vocal about their opinions in a variety of places, from blogs to conversation with friends.

When you spend so much time at work chatting it up with your fellow co-workers about all other types of issues, it’s hard not to bring up your thoughts and opinions about this hot topic – one of the most historic elections in our lifetime.

Don’t Job Hunt at Work and Other Tips

Job HuntingMy friend was telling me how she has a job but is looking for a new one. Now, she is escalating her job search, much like many other U.S. workers. According to a survey by, 57% of workers are intensifying their job hunt within the next three months despite fears of recession.

Inadequate compensation, lack of career advancement and professional development, insufficient recognition, and boredom were the top five reasons for leaving a job.

But, she set off warning bells in my head when she told me that she was surfing the internet for job opportunities while at work. Searching for other employment opportunities on the job can lead to being reprimanded or worse, termination. To avoid ending up jobless and without any job leads, conduct your job hunt discretely while employed. Follow these job search dos and don’ts:

  • Don’t advertise your job search around the office. How do you expect others to keep your job hunt a secret when you can’t keep from opening your mouth?
  • Do ask for confidentiality. When needing discretion, simply ask prospective employers for the respect of confidentiality and to not contact your current boss. It won’t hurt your chances of getting a job offer. Use former employers as references if needed.
  • Don’t use work telephones and e-mails for contact information. Since work phones and e-mails can be monitored and are considered company property, use personal phones and home e-mail addresses on résumés or employment forms. Also, make sure to use cell phones while away from your desk, out of earshot from others. Make sure to use your own time on breaks and at lunch, and not on company time.
  • Do schedule an interview before work, during lunch, or after work. Not interviewing during work hours shows respect toward your current employer, and good recruiters are usually prepared to accommodate. If you must schedule an interview during business hours, use PTO time.
  • Don’t wear interview clothes to work if you normally dress casually. Dressing out of the ordinary will draw attention to yourself. If you have an interview before, during or after work, find time to change in between.
  • Do your job search on your own time. Never browse for job opportunities while your boss is paying you to work. Save the search for break time, lunch hours, or after-hours, but don’t use the company’s internet.
  • Don’t job search with company money. Using the company paper and printer to print out résumés is a major no-no. Mail them out with your own postage. Your current employer is not financing your job hunt. Make sure you do all of this at home.

Following proper job hunting etiquette while still employed will show your potential employer that you are respectful toward employers, and will keep you from being terminated before you’re ready to make a move.

Chuck vs. the Professional Crossroad

In the season two premiere of NBC’s Chuck, full-time computer technician Chuck Bartowski is finally offered the assistant manager position his family and friends thought he’d been hoping for. But, the events leading Chuck to become a super-secret, super-nerdy version of 007 also lead him to realize his full potential. His fellow spies tell him that his skills could help him be successful at whatever he wishes, but he feels that taking the promotion would be one step closer toward a dead end. Unlike Chuck, you don’t have to wait for a government super computer to download to your brain for you to reconsider your career goals. If your current job isn’t taking you where you want to go, check out these tips?

Reevaluate Your Goals
Over time, priorities and circumstances change. What you want as a recent college graduate might change when you start a family. Volunteer efforts might lead you to discover another more fulfilling and refreshing vocation. If your goals have changed, there’s no reason to dedicate your hard work to something you no longer want. So it’s important to occasionally re-evaluate your career and life aspirations to make necessary changes so you’ll be fulfilled and successful.

Consider Different Career Options
After you assess your career goals and find out that your current job can’t get you where you want to go, it’s time to rethink your career options. If you find a more rewarding calling, what is keeping you from making the career change? If the job change is constantly on your mind, make a conscious effort to do more research and see if you really want a career change or just a change of pace from your current duties. If you’re just looking for a way out of where you’re working, you may simply be experiencing job burnout, and could revitalize you with a new job in the same field.

When coming to a professional crossroad, remember to take all things into consideration before making a move. With today’s unemployment rate, a job search could take several months. So, make sure you carefully consider all your options, and what you’re willing to do to make a change.

Have you been considering a career change? What are some of the factors holding you back?

Balancing Work and School: 3 Tips to Be Successful at Both

With the uncertainty of the nation’s economy looming over the heads of every American worker, many are planning to go back to school to expand their career opportunities.

According to a recent survey by Rutgers University, 61% of 1,000 Americans surveyed said they would like more education and training to be more efficient at their jobs.

But some might find it difficult to balance work life with school life. If you’re one of the many individuals wanting to hit the books while continuing your career, check out these tips to help you juggle both and come out on top.

Create a Schedule. Time management is essential to be successful in both your career and at school. Mark all your commitments down on a calendar and create a weekly routine that you will be able to stick to. For example, schedule time to study and schedule time to socialize. Having specific time slots each week for all your commitments will help you form healthy habits and stay on task.

Communicate with Others. Let others know the elements of your schedule. Include your family, friends, co-workers, and superiors. You want to make sure people are aware of your commitments so they can schedule around you if needed.

Be Organized. To help decrease the overwhelming feeling of having too much to do, create a weekly to-do list to help you prioritize and stay on top of your assignments. Along with the calendar you’ve made detailing your schedule and deadlines for work and class assignments, make a list of everything you want to accomplish for the week and make an effort to check something off every day.

It’s no easy task, but using these tips can help you successfully navigate through work and school and avoid becoming overwhelmed by having too much to do.

Don’t Quit Like This: What You Can Learn From These Mistakes

Quitting a job isn’t always easy. There are right – and wrong – ways to quit a job, and not everyone makes the most appropriate decision when it comes to giving notice. But, you can learn from the case studies we shared about what not to do. Instead, try using the three tips below to gracefully make your exit.

Make sure you have a plan. Currently, the average job search takes six months according to Tori Johnson, CEO of Women for Hire and workplace contributor for ABC’s Good Morning America, so don’t assume you’ll land a better, higher-paying job next week if you decide to quit today. Whether it’s living off your savings, having another job lined up, or heading down to your local staffing agency to find temporary work, have a plan in place before you quit your job. Being prepared will prevent undue financial stress and frustration when you can’t find work immediately following your departure.

Don’t rush your decision. When you’re angry, upset, or frustrated, you might make rash decisions that you’ll regret later, so don’t quit when you first find yourself feeling this way. Step back, take a breath, and evaluate what’s going on. Are you constantly feeling this way, or is this a one-time incident that you can overcome? A lot of anger and frustration comes from simple misunderstandings, so communicate with your supervisor and team, and try to work out any problem areas together. This may take a day, a week, or even a month. You’ll make a better decision about quitting when you’re thinking clearly.

Leave on a good note. Potential employers often call your previous employers for job references, so you never want to leave on bad terms. Give as much notice as possible, even if circumstances don’t allow for the standard of two weeks. And, always inform your supervisor if you won’t be returning to work. Regardless of your prior work history, how you leave will be what is top of mind to that employer if someone calls for a reference.

Leaving a job isn’t always easy, but you can avoid derailing your career or sinking yourself into debt if you prepare ahead of time, make a clear decision, and leave on a good note. So the next time you leave a job, think about how you can effectively handle the situation by learning from others’ mistakes and using these tips to give your notice.

How Sick Have You Gone to Work?

Imagine you wake up late, sore, hot, and with a scratchy throat. It’s all you can do to drag yourself out of bed, brush your teeth, and make it to work on time. But should you?

As cold and flu season begins, the topic of whether or not to stay home from work doesn’t always get as much discussion as it should. Every person responds differently to illnesses, but it’s often a first impulse to push through the fatigue and discomfort illness can bring. That’s why many sick workers avoid taking a day off or using sick or PTO days for recovery.

But, physicians say that staying home when you’re really sick not only leads to a speedier recovery in most cases, it also helps keep illness from spreading. So, for the sake of yourself – and others! – check out these guidelines to find out if you’re too sick to go to work.

Curious if you’ve gone to work too sick for your own good? Check your answer here. Have a story about yourself or someone else working sick? Share your tales in the comments below.