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Call In Sick, I’ll Treat You Like You’re Sick

, , , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: A_Cat_Named_Frank | October 25, 2022

A few years back, I was developing a new vineyard. Due to the nature of the work, you end up going through a few men. I settled on a reasonably good crew of eight for the after-planting work that included a bloke we’ll call “Bobbie”.

When Bobbie started with me, he admitted that he had a past that involved some heavy drug use, but he claimed he was clean for his kids.

His brothers must have had other ideas because he was soon back on the gear (Australian slang for a particular drug), and his work was slipping. Being casual, I don’t mind being flexible with time worked as long as there’s communication, but Bobbie was coming in late, shooting through early, and at times simply not turning up.

One Monday, he didn’t turn up. When I messaged him to find out what was going on, he said something along the lines of:

Bobbie: “Sorry, mate. I’ve got a bit of gastro.”

This was clearly bulls*** given his history; he’d likely been on a bender and woken up at someone else’s place and didn’t know which side of town he was on.

This is where some malicious compliance came in. I had kids at daycare. I knew that once they got crook (Australian slang for illness) they were excluded for several days. Why should work be any different?

I checked the federal government’s health website which recommended exclusion for three days after symptoms passed to ensure the bug wasn’t spread. This was too easy.

Me: “That’s pretty s***. I can’t risk it going through the crew, and with the number of young kids on the farm, I can’t risk it spreading to them. The government recommends three days to let it clear properly, so take the rest of the week to get over it, mate.”

Bobbie’s one-day sickie to get over his hangover had suddenly turned into a week’s lost wages, and he couldn’t argue because, as thick as he was, he knew he was just digging himself a hole.

Amazingly, he seemed to have learned his lesson and didn’t try that bulls*** on me again.

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