Hi Lifehacker, So I've submitted my resignation and am counting down to my last day of work, with three weeks left to go. Last week, I decided to take a — ahem — "sick" day. Now I'm wondering what's stopping me from taking more. (What are they going to do, fire me? Or what?)
I've taken sickies plenty of times during my notice periods over the years, but I was a little worried about some blowback this time. I'm wondering what everyone else does — should you use up your sick leave during your notice period? Have you ever been pulled up on it? Thanks, Seeking Sickies
This really comes down to work ethics and what you personally feel comfortable with. In most workplaces, chucking an occasional sickie won’t get you into too much strife with the boss. [Oh really now? — Ed.]
It has become semi-accepted practice ever since Bob Hawke encouraged the entire nation to take the day off following our victory in the 1983 America’s Cup. As long as you keep your responsibilities ticking along and don’t make a habit out of it, nobody is going to raise an eyebrow.
By contrast, it’s plainly poor form to deliberately use up all of your sick leave after handing in your notice. That kind of stunt will get noticed — and it won't just be the boss who's pissed off. Your co-workers will almost certainly be annoyed with you too; especially if your absence results in extra work for them. Do you really want to leave on such a sour note?
Even if you hate your job and everybody you work with, there are still potential repercussions to be mindful of. For example, you may need a reference from this workplace in the future. (For all you know, this new job might not work out for whatever reason.) A glowing reference isn't likely to be forthcoming if you go on a sickie bonanza just prior to leaving. Plus, word has a way of getting around in some industries. Personally, I'd prefer to have an untarnished reputation than a few extra lazy days in bed.
With all that said, you can probably get away with one or two more if you're that way inclined. Like dieting, the key is planning and moderation. Here are some choice tactics from Kotaku editor Mark Serrels (who, incidentally, has an excellent work ethic):
If possible, set up your sickie in advance. Display subtle symptoms on the day before if possible – sniffles, sneezes if you’re going to play the flu/cold card. Stomach pains and subtle moans if you’re pulling the gastro sickie. Making your boss or supervisor say, "why are you in the office you crazy, overworked son of a bitch?" is your goal here. You are playing the role of the loyal worker bee, sacrificing the needs of his own health for the sake of the colony.
Also, before you indulge in a sneaky day off, you should probably reacquaint yourself with the current sick leave policy — some workplaces require employees to provide evidence of illness even if they were only off for one day. If that's the case, you probably won't get paid. Fortunately, as our friends at Business Insider have demonstrated, getting a bogus doctor's certificate is surprisingly easy.
What are your thoughts surrounding post resignation sickies? Are you sick of co-workers not taking their share of the load? Tell us in the comments.
Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact form.