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Needing Sick Days Right After being Hired

Q. I finally got a new job, which I started less than two weeks ago. I really like this job and I need it. So what’s the problem? An abscessed tooth! I have never been in so much pain. I had to take time off to go the dentist, and then I had to take more time off to get the tooth pulled. I am in pain and on drugs, but I am most worried about losing my job. I told my boss how important this job is, and he said all the right things about getting better. Is there anything else I can I do so there are no doubts in his mind that I am telling the truth, and that calling in sick in the future won’t be an issue?

A. Congratulations on the new job. Your concerns make sense. Starting a new job and making a great first impression about your commitment matters to most hiring managers. Unfortunately, people have taken advantage of sick time, paid or not, and some managers have become suspect about why employees are using time off.

Whenever employees need time off, and especially this early in employment, it is important to communicate with your manager. Tell him what the situation is, what you expect to happen time wise, and when you expect to be back at work. If you can schedule doctors appointments early or late in the day to minimize disruption to your work schedule, do that, and let your manager know you are trying to do that. Often employees try their best to take as little time off as possible, and what they forget to do is communicate that to the manager. Managers want to know you care about the job, your colleagues and the impact your absence has on trying to run a smooth operation.


Some organizations may have policies asking you to provide medical documentation if you are out over a certain number of days. You might choose to do that even if it isn’t policy. This situation might actually call for a ”selfie.” I’m sure your manager and co-workers would love to see a swollen jaw.
Developing a strong relationship with your manager based on trust, communication and good work is a good goal. Talk to your boss daily about your improving situation and when you return, make sure your commitment to the job shows.

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