Have You Ever Played Hooky to Get a Day Off Work?

Have You Ever Played Hooky to Get a Day Off Work?

When you have had a really bad day at work you may be tempted to throw in the towel and quit. At least, speaking from personal experience, I know I have certainly been tempted to give my notice when the going gets rough.

Of course, when this happens, you could also take a different approach. You could ask for a day off, for instance, in order to simply take a break and recharge your batteries so to speak. But what if you know you can’t ask because you will be turned down? If this, or something similar, has happened to you, have you ever played hooky to get a day off work as a result?

Have You Ever Played Hooky?

Of course, not everyone who calls in sick is playing hooky. According to a survey by CareerBuilder from October 2016, just over a third of workers called in sick to work when they were feeling fine in the 12 months preceding the survey. Some of the excuses given by those workers were pretty far out there as far as believability goes.

However, keep in mind these were the employees who actually admitted to playing hooky. In reality the actual number of employees who played hooky to get a day off is probably higher.

Should You Play Hooky?

While I am not condoning the practice, if you are going to play hooky to get a day off, at least be smart about it. In other words, don’t post anything on any social media site about having an awesome time while out of town or doing some fun activity. Obviously you are just asking to get caught and possibly fired.

For example, I used to have a coworker who called in sick frequently. However, my “sick” coworker was later that same day observed at the local movie theatre with her boyfriend during the time she would have been working. One of the joys of small town living was that word got back to her boss the very next day. Needless to say, although my coworker wasn’t fired, she was reprimanded for playing hooky.

The bottom line is that you probably shouldn’t play hooky at all. However, if you are going to play hooky, be smart about it.

Stay home. Don’t do it on a Monday or Friday because that looks kind of suspicious. Try not to do it when there are project deadlines or your office is already short staffed and stressed. For goodness sake, don’t say you went to the doctor if you didn’t or make up some other lie that could be checked by your boss for validity. Stay home. Avoid the sun (tan lines or a sunburn are dead giveaways). Don’t go to the salon (your hair is shorter or colored but you were sick). Go back to work the next day as if it were any other normal day.

The Bottom Line

In the end, it’s a far better and more ethical practice to take a planned day off for personal reasons than to play hooky and potentially jeopardize a good job. Don’t be afraid to go ahead and ask for a day off if you need one. Remind your boss that you’ll come back to work refreshed. You’ll be more productive by being allowed to take the time off.

Have you ever played hooky to get a day off work? What excuse did you give? Did you get caught?

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  1. I’ve never played hooky at any of the jobs I had.

    However… whenever I asked for a day off and my boss disliked the idea, my go to line for convincing him to go along with it was “I can always call in sick!” 😀

    I know it wasn’t a nice thing to say, but I rarely asked for such ‘favors’. And I always announced them a few weeks before, so hearing ‘you can’t have the day off’, when I clearly gave them enough time to prepare made me angry. So, yup… I ‘threatened’ to call in sick and stay home anyway 😀 And it always worked!

  2. It’s probably not a good thing to admit, but I’ve always played hooky at any job I’ve worked. The issue was that these were pretty toxic work environments and asking for a “mental health day” off would have been outright rejected–even if it was an unpaid day. Unfortunately, playing hooky is the only way to get a day off at some companies.

    It’s funny, because companies with more flexible time-off options tend to have happier, more productive employees.

    1. I agree! I played hooky sometimes too. I think it’s good to take a day away from the stress sometimes, but it wouldn’t “fly” with the people in charge.

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