Survey Reveals Unusual Reasons for Taking a Personal Day

MENLO PARK, CA -- People never seem to run out of creative reasons for being out of the office, a new survey shows. Executives were asked to describe the most imaginative explanations they’ve heard from employees requesting time off. Among them: "I just got a new tattoo and need a few days to recover."

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives -- including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments -- with the nation's 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, "What are the most unusual reasons you have heard for why employees request time off?" The responses included the following:

  • "I need time to find myself."
  • "I need a day off because it’s supposed to snow."
  • "My cat has hairballs."
  • "The pool is broken."
  • "I have plastic surgery scheduled."
  • "I’m going to jail."
  • "My garage door is broken."
  • "I need three weeks off to travel Europe. Starting tomorrow."

Personal hobbies are another popular reason for missing work:

  • "I'm taking three days off to sing in the opera!"
  • "I'm going to be in a kick-boxing contest."
  • "Our church is having a bus trip."
  • "My partner and I need to practice for the square-dancing contest in town today."

There are some explanations employees should use only if they're accompanied by a letter of resignation:

  • "I'm taking a few days off to start my own business."
  • "I'll be out this afternoon on job interviews."
  • "I need a leave of absence to try another job. But if it doesn't work out I'd like to come back."

"Employees often offer elaborate -- and sometimes creative -- explanations when asking for days off," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Motivating Employees For Dummies® (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "But everyone needs personal time to recharge or to handle unexpected situations, and managers understand this."

Messmer encourages employees to focus instead on addressing their supervisors' chief concern, which is how the work will be handled while they're out. "Follow up your request for time off with a meeting to discuss pending projects and assign a point person while you’re away."

Accountemps has more than 325 offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com.

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