“Feeling better now?” Woman caught at mall by boss after calling out sick from work gets promptly fired

Mary Duncan

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*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*

I wouldn’t be hard pressed to admit that I don’t have the greatest work ethic in the world. I am a terrible employee to people, so writing for myself and working on my own suits me much better. I am happier this way, with no boss or coworkers to deal with, and I think the workforce is better off without having me in it.

Of course, when I was younger I had no choice but to work hard to support myself as a young, single mom. For most of my daughter’s childhood I was unpartnered and completely independent, and even when I did have a man in my life he was not financially supporting me at all. It was up to me to go out and get jobs and keep them, which turned out was hard for me. I just don’t work well with others.

There was one particularly horrible boss I had, which is unfortunate because he ran a place that I really liked working at. It was a busy family restaurant where I made incredible money working the morning breakfast shifts, but I just barely tolerated my boss, Jim’s, terrible attitude and overall personality.

One of the things I really disliked about him was that the owner of the restaurant had a strict policy that if you were sick, you stayed home. He didn’t want servers getting his customers sick and knew the importance of taking care of ones health. Jim did not, and did not respect the owner’s philosophy.

Calling out of work sick was one of the most nerve-wracking, scariest things I had to do in life in the time I was working there. I just knew that no matter what I said, true or not, Jim would give me a hard time, guilt me, shame me, and try to make me come in to work.

One night, I got an unexpected phone call from one of my best friends who lived out of state. She had made an impromptu trip down to see her parents in the town where I live and only had a day to see me and catch up with me. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity to see her, not even if it meant doing something scary and lying to Jim about being sick.

I got up the nerve and finally called out, telling him that I had some kind of bad stomach bug and there was no way I could make it through a shift that day. Then, I promptly met up with my friend to go out to lunch and the mall.

Well, call it karma, call it bad luck, call it whatever you want, but as my friend and I were walking out of one of the stores I stopped dead in my tracks because right across from me, sitting on a bench eating a big pretzel, was my boss Jim with one of his kids.

He looked up at me and we made eye contact and then he smiled what I can only call an evil, hateful smile.

“Feeling better now?” he asked me.

Did I deserve to be fired for calling out of work, even if it was a lie? In my opinion, no. We are all entitled to take time off of work when we want or need to regardless of the reason. This is life. These are our lives. I will always choose my friends over my bosses, and this is probably why I’ll never have a real job again.

Do you think I should have been fired?

Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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I write about relationships and parenting, life, society, people, and sometimes also beer.

Connecticut State
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