Community Thoughts: Taking a sick day

Apologies for the wait guys, better late than never I suppose. We got quite a few good responses and enjoyable stories for this one; it seems skipping work and school to play games is only natural for us gamers. Take a look at the responses below.

Howler_2007:

I have pulled a sick day one time when Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 came out.  I don’t think it was overall worth it, but when you have been waiting for the game for so you just have to.  That particular day I missed out on some classes at college but since there were no exams or anything there were no big issues.  Save to say everyone gets caught especially when its a major franchise, for the mere fact everybody takes the day off to play the game.  In addition to that I have pulled all nighters where I go to class the next morning regardless, but without energy drink that wouldn’t be possible.

Daniel Elkins:

I bought Final Fantasy XIII when I was a wee-lad searching for a nice, long RPG with bright-eyed hope!  Well, I beat it, got tired of it and traded it in at Gamestop (got me a new Bluetooth headset for $30).  What does that have to do with anything?  Well, couple months later I felt compelled to add another platinum trophy to my internet ego, so I borrowed the game from a friend one July night and set to work.  Eventually, it was August.  For a good, solid month I played FF XIII just grinding out levels and loot.  Now, in this whole time I never left my house to go enjoy life.  And it wasn’t even like I was enjoying myself.  It eventually got down to the point where I wasn’t going to let this game beat me!  What do you mean this item I need 6 of has a 5% drop rate?  What do you mean I have to get a perfect score on the hardest boss battle in the game?  Well, I stood my ground and conquered it in the end!  While not exactly calling out sick from work, I felt this was comparable.  So you may ask, in the end, was it worth it?  &%#$ (edited for the children) no!  And having just re-bought Demon’s Souls after a similar, albeit worse situation, I feel this same scenario happening again.

Steve (GreenMekon):

I had a back operation last year and was off work for 2 months. I basically laid on my sofa in my lounge and played games for 2 months, it was awesome. I took last weds off for UC3 and I am sure I have had a sick day for a game in the past.

SegaSlave:

This is a real throw back but I always think back and smile.

When Super Mario 3 came out my mom let me skip school, I think I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. She took me to toys R us to buy it I remember we got there right as they opened and I was the only kid in the store. I played the entire day then went out to the bus stop to tell my friends and we all ran back to my house to play for hours and hours.

DSonicX:

I called in sick once playing zelda:wind waker till 6am and I started work at 7am. I rang in then carried on playing, and another time my friend and me hammered the first Pro Evo till 5am but we got an hour and a half’s sleep then went work – that was a long day. Ha ha.

ChazzH69:

Well, unless you’re a doctor or air-traffic controller it’s an excellent thing to do. Not with every game and only on the odd occasion.

The only game I’ve considered doing it for this year was Uncharted 3, but was able to get someone to cover my shift so didn’t need to.

PSNation writer Rey:

My greatest achievement was the following:  On the day that Phantasy Star 4 came out on Genesis, I took off from all classes.  The night before, I took my girlfriend to a huge dinner, bought her roses and an angel from Hallmark store.  I told her that the following day I would be completely unavailable.  I picked up the game and didn’t leave my dorm room for 28 hours.  I beat Phantasy Star 4 in one sitting.

Krit Unhawat:

Yes I have done it multiple times. But my most memorable one that I can’t even forget until today. It was for Dragon Quest IV. Many years ago back when I was in Thailand, I took the money that I was supposed to pay for my special Saturday school to buy Dragon Quest IV. Since I didn’t pay for it, I couldn’t attend the class. So I had to skip the special classes for the whole semester. And unlike the US, a semester over there = 6 months. Every single Saturday I had to pretend to go to class, but had to find somewhere to go. Was that worth it? I don’t know, I beat DQ4 from the beginning to end 20+ times. And until today, I have never got caught yet, not from my parents anyway.

Eldarto shows the unfortunate consequences:

I did it for Battlefield Bad Company and actually ended up losing my job.
Wasn’t worth it at the time but I have a better job now so it’s all good.


Derek/Beaver6622:

The closest I came to taking a sick day was while driving around for work I stopped at a BestBuy got GTA4 went home for “lunch” and never went back to work.  Boss man didn’t like that too much.  Had to work that Saturday.  Still was worth it cause I got overtime.

Richard Ball:

Yes, I’ve done it before but kind of. I told my boss I needed a day off for some family stuff but didn’t get too much into details of “family stuff” . It was for SOCOM: Combined Assault. Stupidly, it didn’t come out the on Tuesday but the next day on Wednesday. I ended up buying NFS: Most Wanted and played that all day.

Conrad Lawrence:

I have, several times, but not since the early nineties. Super Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back, Flashback, Shining Force 1 & 2, Rebel Assault, Tie Fighter, Wing Commander (SNES), Starfox and of course MORTAL MONDAY!

And finally, a superb extract from Derek (Dekeglyph)’s award-winning sick day novel, available at all good retailers:

“Cough, cough” you croak into the phone, “I’m too sick for work today!” sneeze, sniffle, phlegm clear.  Yup we all know the drill.  Our best acting is done on the phone, hoping it rings straight to the answering machine.  We practice in our head at least a half dozen times before calling, as the phone rings we brace for the moment of truth….and….success!!

Calling in sick for reasons other than being legitimately sick is not something new.  I know and have joined in on several “I’m sick” days to play in a sports tournament, get a free day with a loved one, or just some much needed r&r from the grind of work.  In today’s day in age with life being compressed into evenings and weekends, many of us find it difficult to set aside some solid “me” time.  With family, house, work, friends etc. filling our lives we end up reducing our private “me” time.  Now don’t get me wrong I love hanging with friends, family, fiancée and playing sports, but every so often I do crave the pale glow of a TV screen on my face.

About 4 years ago I was afflicted with the “WOW” bug (World of WarCraft).  I caught it at a time between my contract work so I essentially had every hour of every day to dedicate to it.  I got used to playing as much as I wanted every day so when worked started up again in the spring… well 5 days between gaming sessions just wasn’t working out.  I found myself looking to wean my addiction by setting up some 4 day works weeks, taking a sick day here and there, usually tagging it onto the weekend.  Which if you’re going to do I highly recommend making the Friday a sick day rather than Monday.  “Develop” symptoms Thursday and call in sick Friday, if you play the Monday sick game it looks suspiciously like a hang-over excuse.  After the few times of burning sick days for WOW I realized the game had taken over, it was a drug that needed purged.  I went cold turkey and ended my WOW dependency.

It didn’t take long for another game to find its way into my psyche. In the time that had passed I found out some new terms.  My favourite being “personal day!”  I had work two back to back (19 on 2 off) schedules and decided enough was enough and took my allowed personal day, which counted as a sick day.  What an awesome term!  You have to love working for the government.  Needless to say I enjoyed my time beating R&C Weapons of M.D. and Uncharted 1 and partaking in some after hours beverages with my breakfast 🙂

A job change back to the private sector and “personal day” was available anymore.  I soon found the “sick” excuse was back in my books.  I recently was legitimately sick.  Not so sick that I couldn’t actually work but following the new work policy of not bringing a severe cold to work I called in sick and spent my day playing League of Legends (PC). It was fun, relaxing and filled that gaming void.

Speaking of the gaming void I believe everyone has an inherent video game fuel tank, except our everyday lives drain it and games fill it.  When you play for an extended period of time it fills up.  As you go through days of no video games the tank starts to drain, the lower the tank gets the more urgent and necessary the need to fill it is.  Hence, when people get really low they’ll even settle for playing minesweeper at work just to put a few drops into the tank.

Currently my tank is quite full.  I have been able to game about 1 hr per day so I’m able to maintain my video game tank levels (i.e. topping it up each night).  So even though I have recently purchased R&C All 4 One and Uncharted 3 I don’t have that burning desire to play endlessly and beat them immediately.  I love the games immensely but with my video game tank full I can handle the slow grind to beating them instead of requiring the 1 day marathon.

What I personally get out of trading in a sick day to play is that when I get home my “life” isn’t there.  Family & friends are all at work so I have the free time to relax and just play my heart out.  It’s not advancing through the game that gets my heart singing but just the free uninterrupted time to play.  It always puts me in a better mood and gives me the video game injection I need.  It might be scary to say, but when the video game tank is low a little “bow chicka wow wow” isn’t as tempting as normal.  Tossing a wrench at a robot in R&C or hanging from a cliff in UC3 seems more entertaining. Yikes!  Yes I just said that!  I guarantee many of you have said “just after this level babe!”  So don’t be givin’ me the evil eye 🙂

From the view of a supervisor I may have frowned on learning the true excuse why someone was sick but I always held myself back from saying anything.  Each employee only has so many sick days and if they wish to burn them on games, friends, sports, tv, etc. so be it.  They’ll pay the price when they’re legitimately sick 🙂

All in all I say do it, enjoy it, but do NOT get caught! You might be the ‘lucky’ guy with that “not so cool” boss who deems it an abuses of the system. This then leads to them asking for a doctor’s note as sick proof and when that happens you’ve just ruined it for us all!

Written by Raj Mahil

Raj Mahil

Game collector. Journalism graduate. Batman addict. Movie goer. WWE nut. Sports obsessive. Arsenal fan. Squawka.com Sub-Editor.

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  • Anonymous

    PSNation writer Rey has got to be the best one.