The other morning, as a result of a night of excess at a gentleman’s club, I woke with a head pounding like The Guns of Navarone, and my guts in a precarious state that would have caused an outrage in any public space had they gone off. Despite the self-inflicted nature of my malady, and the wallowing in self-pity that followed, I was clearly in no fit state for a solid days’ work at the office. And that left me with the classic gentleman’s dilemma: How does one ring in sick?
If put it to you that even when you are genuinely sick – especially when you are genuinely sick – there lies the problem of how convincing you make that phone call sound. This is where most gentlemen make a fatal error, which we call the ″sick voice″.
Let me make this absolutely clear: Under no circumstances should you use a whining ″sick voice″ when phoning your boss or your colleagues to say you will not be attending that day, no matter how genuinely ill you are. At the other end of Edison’s invention, the sick voice always sounds put-on, an act, a disguise, and will not be believed in the slightest.
In fact, your boss will listen to you, and respond as follows: ″Just concentrate on getting better″, which is boss code for ″I know you’re lying and I will be closely monitoring your Facebook and Twitter accounts for the rest of the day, and woe-betide you if you check in at the pub″.
The second fatal mistake is getting a spouse, or – worse – your mum to ring in on your behalf. What? To ill even to come to the phone? There’s probably a bloke with a cart heading up your road as we speak, ringing a bell and shouting ″Bring out your dead.″
So, how should you handle this? Answer: Man up and do it yourself. Not by text. Not by email. On the phone, direct to your boss. Use your normal speaking voice, and just come out and say you’re ill, you won’t be in, and you promise to call back later with your expectations for the next day. Anything else is just pussy-footing around and will have your card marked as a skiver.
Or better still, just turn up to work and infect everybody.
You stay classy.