"OUT SICK. CU2MORROW"
Late last year a tile store sales clerk named Mark Morrison won over $14,000 after a court found he was wrongfully fired for calling in sick to work via text message. I guess that would really make it ‘texting into work sick.’
The case found that the employee was unaware that the company’s policy required an actual voice call. He thought any ol’ communication would do.
At my full-time job it is acceptable to e-mail your director and let him/her know if you’ll be out sick. When I first started with this employer, the method sounded shaky, leaving too large a loophole for scheming employees.
The first time I called in sick I opted to go the old school route, leaving a voicemail. I know, how 1990’s of me. Upon my return, my boss called me into his office and questioned where I had been the previous day. I explained that I left a voicemail on his personal office line. We both glanced down at the phone and found an illuminated red light.
"Oh, sometimes I don’t check my messages," he said.
From that point on I’ve always made it a point to leave a phone message AND send an e-mail.
But texting in sick?
It’s a recipe for disaster. What’s next?
"You didn’t read that I’d be out on my blog?"
"You’re not following me on Twitter?"
"You didn’t hear me sneezing the other day?"
Here’s why texting your boss doesn’t work, and never will.
1) Texting is too passive a form of communication. Are you scared of your boss? Scared to call in sick? Texting in sick makes you look like a scaredy cat. It also shows a lack of respect.
2) Curt messages can be interpreted incorrectly. That’s fine when you’re joking with your peers, but it’s too big of a gamble to take with a boss.
3) The risk of your message not being received is greater than other means of communication. Network problems, a dead battery, or quiet ringtone are all hindrances that can potentially derail your message, resulting in a headache for all parties.
This is not to put all the blame on texting employees. This growing problem is a result of corporations not being able to keep up with rapidly-spreading technologies. It also stems from managers and bosses who set the tone for this type of behavior by initiating communication via text message with subordinates. We live in an age where bosses want to be your friend, when in reality, we’d all be better served if they were just a boss.
Will companies begin rewording their employee handbooks? If I ran a company, I certainly would include specific language outlining in great detail, the organizations policy on calling in sick. From who to contact to the means of communication, today’s employees, especially Gen Yers, need it spelled out.
This is certainly a Career 2.0 problem. Please think before you text. and remember, no amount of technology can break the chain of command.