Dear Pete the Job Guy,
What is an appropriate way to call out of work?
I have a small team, and when I have something really important to do, I feel guilty, because my other co-workers call out frequently. Do I have to explain where I’m going to justify? I feel like that might be too personal.
Help me, Peta.
- It’s never a good feeling to call out – deal openly and exclusively in honesty
- Provide a brief explanation without getting too personal to avoid your boss filling it in for you.
- Ensure that “calling out” is not correlated with your quality of work.
[This is a direct transcription for your benefit. Please ignore any typos.]
Pete: Do you have another one from the mailbag?
Arren: I do have another one, and this one is from Anxious Amy. And she kind of explains behind her question, but, what is an appropriate way to call out of work? I have a small team, and when I have something really important to do, I feel guilty, because my other coworkers call out frequently. Do I have to explain where I’m going to justify? I feel like that might be too personal. Help me, Peta. Signed, Anxious Amy.
Pete: Alright, Anxious Annie-
Arren: Amy. Amy.
Pete: Oh, sorry, sorry. Amy, let me get your name right. Listen, it’s never a good feeling to have to call out of work. We get called out of work whether it’s an emergency, it’s an errand that we can’t schedule during our off time, you have to pick somebody up, your car is not working. There’s a whole host of reasons that happen. Any time I have to miss work, I deal exclusively in honesty.
Pete: When you deal exclusively in honesty, you don’t have to fabricate anything, and the words just flow out of your mouth. The problem is, is you have to, she’s wanting to know, do I have to provide the whole reasons. To me, a brief byline without getting too personal is important. You don’t want them to insert the reason. Well, she’s probably going down to Disney or something, you know? I like to say, whether I have a very personal thing that I simply just cannot put off, I’m not comfortable discussing it, but it hurts me to miss work, ’cause I know that burden is placed on my coworkers.
Pete: Sounds to me like Anxious Amy also has a problem with her coworkers frequently calling out. There’s an issue in that work. If people are frequently calling out, whether the attendance bar is set very low at that work, or they’re all millennials, or they just can’t seem to work a full week. What’s the matter with these millennials? Doggone it. No, no.
Arren: I was in the middle of drinking.
Pete: You almost spit that one out. No, I’m not harping on the millennials. I’m just saying. Some jobs, and I think Katie Zimmerman, who is a millennial expert, would attest to this one, and we’re meeting her next week for coffee. Good. Gonna be happy to see her.
Pete: But I think she would attest that this is the proper answer. If we’re seeing a team that’s missing a lot of work, if the quality of their work wouldn’t suffer, and there was a way to work in some type of work force flexibility, I’d argue that this team might be more productive if they had some kind of a flexible work schedule, where maybe we come in at this time, work from home, do this. Because if they’re all missing work during that core time, are they making it up?
Pete: It’s tough. But to answer Anxious Amy’s question is, be open, be honest to the point where you’re-
Pete: -comfortable sharing information. And always try to have a backup plan. What do you think, Arren?
Arren: So when I have to call out for Pete, let’s say I have a doctor’s appointment for Evie. And everyone knows that-
Pete: Or you have to get braces.
Arren: Or I have to get braces. Everyone knows that they operate the same business hours that we do. And so I tell Pete, you know, I have to miss about an hour or so, because of Evie. I’m going to her appointment. And then I’ll say, I’m gonna make it up, though, tonight. So it just helps me reassure Pete that I’m not gonna take the hour for free, that I’m gonna work that hour.
Pete: Right, and you know, nobody likes to call out. It’s like, hey, I’m about to call somebody and colossally disappoint them. Or I’m gonna burden somebody with my responsibilities for an hour, two hours, the day. Unless you’re in a job where your contributions don’t matter, meaning you should get another job, if you’re not, then somebody else has to bear that burden. That’s just the way it is. And if you have a team, that doesn’t seem to care about each other, and it’s like every other day someone’s gone, man, it sounds like somebody at the top needs to kind of step in and set some guidelines down and some rules and kind of change things.
Arren: Maybe talk to HR is what Anxious Amy should do, moving forward with her team.