Author Topic: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!  (Read 7295 times)

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CL32

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Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« on: July 29, 2013, 02:09:49 PM »
Hi All,

By way of background, I provide administrative support for my supervisor, who is the "manager" of several departments in our division. As such, when people call boss's phone number, it rings to my desk first and I get her voicemail messages, which I just forward on. This includes normal business calls and calls from co-workers about things like calling sick to work, etc.

Most people leave call-in messages that go something like "I'm not feeling well and will be staying home today" or "I'm staying home with my sick kid." Occasionally they leave a little more detail like "Feels like I'm coming down with the flu" or "The allergies are acting up again" or something similar. All fine. However, there is one co-worker who always gives way, way too much information. Like "I was up until 1:00 vomiting and then I got <unpleasant intestinal symptom> and had to stay in the bathroom all night. I've managed to keep some juice down, but it feels like the vomiting might start up again. I also might have a fever. I've been chilly and sweaty all night and my stomach hurts. I'll stay home so I can be close to the bathroom...." etc, etc, on and on and on. Please note that this was a sanitized version of co-worker's typical message. Some of her messages have been so detailed and so graphic that I feel the need to take a shower and two aspirin after listening.

The thing that's funny (sort of) is that boss doesn't really care why people call in sick. She doesn't get upset about people calling in and would never question someone about whether they needed to stay home. Some people actually say they're "taking a mental health day" or "catching up on sleep" or something, and it's fine.

My question is, how do I politely and professionally communicate to co-worker that I do not need or want this much information in her call-in messages? I'm really at a loss here....

MissRose

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2013, 02:18:38 PM »
I would remind people via email and verbally in a team meeting like my boss has done in the past from time to time, when calling in sick, after calling the main corporate line to state reason for not coming into work to simply say " I am sick or ill " then after getting confirmation # then you are transferred to your bosses line to leave your name, # and simply state "I am sick or ill" - no need to go into detail or reason.  Most bosses do not want to know about your ailments even if you have a doctor's note (if it is required for absences over a certain time frame).

shhh its me

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2013, 02:22:31 PM »
  In a pleasant voice you can just say "Sickly Sue, hope you feel better soon/that sounded like a terrible bug. Oh, Sickly btw when you're calling in you can just say " I'm calling in sick for today. Boss doesn't require the details to count it as a sick day"

Ms_Cellany

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 03:01:25 PM »
The Sweetie tells her staff "When you call in sick, just say you're sick. You don't have to do the Sick Voice."
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nuit93

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2013, 03:27:59 PM »
I've heard of bosses that can be skeptical/harass employees who call in sick with "are you REALLY sick?", asking for details (because if THEY don't think it's bad they'll bug the employee to come in) and stuff like that.  Sometimes grossing them out is the only way to get them to stop.

Other than that..."out sick" works for me.  I don't care if you're really sick or you just want to spend the day playing scrabble with your spouse.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2013, 03:31:53 PM »
'Sickly, please do not give me details of your sickness; just letting me know that you will be off for the day because you aren't feeling well is information enough.'

I have phoned in and let people know that I've had something 'Norwalk-like' because it can be highly contagious.  It gives work a chance to wipe down any door handles and such I might have touched the day before, in hopes of preventing anyone else from getting it.  But I don't give them all the details!
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siamesecat2965

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2013, 03:47:21 PM »
  In a pleasant voice you can just say "Sickly Sue, hope you feel better soon/that sounded like a terrible bug. Oh, Sickly btw when you're calling in you can just say " I'm calling in sick for today. Boss doesn't require the details to count it as a sick day"

I like this. I used to be guilty of that; giving too much info when calling in. And sometimes, when it was a day I just simply didn't feel like coming in, I felt even more like I had to make up an excuse, which meant i babbled on, like an idiot and there was a greater chance of me getting caught in a lie.

Now, I simply say, or even better, email my boss, "i'm not feeling well, not coming in today" or "I threw my back out, not coming in" and that's fine. He doesn't want details, which is fine by me.

I do have a funny story; in a previous job, we had on-site healthcare (pharma co, manufacturing on site, so we had to have something there) if you weren't feeling well, a perk was you could go at certain times, and see the dr., no charge. So my one boss asked me one time to see if i could get him in, off hours, to see the dr. He was a bit of an SS, and felt HE could be seen whenver. So I askd him, knowing they would ask me, what's wrong (I could care less but I knew they'd ask me to determine if he could come in off hours or not). I was then treated to a rather graphic description of how he had the runs and something else. Boy was I sorry I had asked!

Sharnita

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2013, 03:53:53 PM »
I thimk there are wotkplaces where people have to give this much info. If domebody comes from that kind of environ,ent they might not realize you need minimum info.

Specky

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2013, 04:40:54 PM »
I thimk there are wotkplaces where people have to give this much info. If domebody comes from that kind of environ,ent they might not realize you need minimum info.

True.  I had a boss who asked me if I was sure my thermometer was properly calibrated (she didn't want to believe that I was ill, and was playing 40 questions with me).  I was so ill that I could barely say anything at all.  After that, I tended to overinform for a while.

Jocelyn

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2013, 11:07:17 PM »
I thimk there are wotkplaces where people have to give this much info. If domebody comes from that kind of environ,ent they might not realize you need minimum info.

True.  I had a boss who asked me if I was sure my thermometer was properly calibrated (she didn't want to believe that I was ill, and was playing 40 questions with me).  I was so ill that I could barely say anything at all.  After that, I tended to overinform for a while.
Pod. I once called in and was asked if I was SURE I couldn't come in. So I reported that I could not come in because I couldn't be away from a bathroom long enough to walk from my home to work. I was again asked if I was SURE I couldn't get there...after all there were plenty of bathrooms at work.

*inviteseller

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2013, 12:14:41 AM »
I had co workers a few different places that did this..stomach virus is much preferable to some of the extreme over shares.  I would just tell sickly that all she has to say is sick that the details are not necessary. 

The best call off I took was a woman who called in and snapped "I am too far into my PMS to come in today!"  Thanks for the warning!

cwm

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2013, 01:32:29 PM »
I've worked both places. I've had a food prep job where they wanted me to come in despite me giving graphic details of how sick I was and the temperature I was running. Despite it being a food safety issue, they nearly didn't relent. It took my roommate (and coworker) in the background yelling at me to get off the phone and clean up the bathroom that they realized I was serious.

My current job, I can just text my manager or email them and say that I'm not coming in. They don't care why. If I was pressed for a reason, I could say that I wanted to study the new species of bottlefly that was hatching from the tree outside and it would be accepted.

I'd just go to Sickly and gently remind her that if she's feeling bad, all she needs to say is that she won't be in, you don't really need any more information than that. She might not realize that you're getting the messages and is trying to convince boss that she's really sick and that she's sharing all of that with more than one person.

Twik

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2013, 03:56:39 PM »
I thimk there are wotkplaces where people have to give this much info. If domebody comes from that kind of environ,ent they might not realize you need minimum info.

True.  I had a boss who asked me if I was sure my thermometer was properly calibrated ....

I assume this was a scientific workplace? Only a true science nerd would ask that.
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BeagleMommy

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2013, 11:18:40 AM »
See, that's the good thing about the entire office knowing I'm diabetic.  All DH has to do is call my office and say "BeagleMommy passed out this morning".  No muss; no fuss.

I might mention to Sickly that a lot of her message gets cut off when the voice mail runs out of room and to save time she should just say she's not coming in because she feels sick (even if that doesn't happen).

EnoughAlready22

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Re: Calling in Sick w/ TOO MUCH information!
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2013, 03:55:40 PM »
I had co workers a few different places that did this..stomach virus is much preferable to some of the extreme over shares.  I would just tell sickly that all she has to say is sick that the details are not necessary. 

The best call off I took was a woman who called in and snapped "I am too far into my PMS to come in today!"  Thanks for the warning!

She probably did you and your co-workers a huge favor that day!