I ask you — what do you have in common with Ferris Bueller?
I tell you — you both need a day off.
No, I’m not talking about one of the measly vacation days your miserly company gives you, and I am certainly not talking about one of those endless “training days” where the HR department whisks you away to a secret bunker to brainstorm new rules for the safe and sensible use of paper clips.
I’m talking about a real day off — a day of leisure and indolence, just like every day you’re at work, except you can spend eight hours snoozing in the comfort of your futon, instead of sitting at your desk, pretending to be conscious.
And get paid for it, too!
Clearly anyone who has the presence to school you in the fine art of being absent is deserving of a serious donation to his Cayman Islands bank account, but since I like the cut of your jib and the way you trim your mainsail, and the fact that the leaky scow that is your career is still afloat, I’m going to share my knowledge without any thought of recompense.
It’s the right thing to do, especially since these brilliant ideas were given to me, gratis, by ADP — the big payroll processing company.
Sad to say, the sharp pencils at ADP didn’t provide these tips in order to help us scam extra time off. ADP’s No. 1 goal is to assist management in their No. 1 goal — to make our working lives miserable.
So, when’s your next day off? Think small.
According to ADP, more than a dozen states have adopted “small necessities” laws that provide protected leave for employees who must tend to certain routine family matters.
If you’re lucky enough to have rotten children, who are always getting into trouble at school, you have a virtual “get out of jail” card, since parent-teacher conferences are considered “small necessities.” Of course, if your children are well behaved and studious, you’re out of luck. You best buy them a dozen video games and hope they will rot their brains before the next big brainstorming meeting.
Jury duty is another valid reason to miss work, but let’s face it — getting on a jury is not as easy as you think, especially when you explain that you believe in capital punishment for parking tickets. But you do have another option. There are dozens of opportunities every day to break some minor law, such as driving backwards on the freeway. You’ve seen Vin Diesel do it a dozen times! You won’t end up on a jury, but you will be able to be the next best thing — a defendant.
Calling in sick is a classic workplace fiddle, and, frankly, I was shocked the ADP folks would even include it. At our level of work avoidance, to snort pepper flakes, or to gargle A-1 Sauce before you call in sick is really not up to our low standards for loyalty.
If you must resort to this sad cliche of an excuse, at least show enough pride to come up with a really interesting disease. Like “aquagenic urticarial,” a disease so rare there has only been 30 documented cases in the world. The main symptom of this prestige disease is an allergic reaction to water — so the sufferer cannot get caught in the rain or take a shower longer than 10 seconds or drink water. Is that not beautiful? No more showers, and you can spend all day drinking beer. Heck — your beer will probably be a deductible medical expense!
Of course, if you want to save your sick days for the days when you feel really well, there is another medical option. According to ADP, some states have passed laws that force the employer to give you time off for organ donation.
Think of all the organs you have! Think about the abuse you have done on a daily basis to your liver, your lungs and your spleen — whatever that is. With all the organs you have to get rid of, you can donate yourself to a year’s worth of days off and still not be in much worse shape than you are today.
And when you run out of organs to donate, you can start receiving organ donations from your co-workers and let them get time off. Just be sure to avoid organs donated by the IT department. They could have cooties.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org.