Sometimes you get a day off work, but at what cost?
TikToker Jessie (@urhomiejess) recently posted a video about an awkward feeling many workers have felt after calling out of work. The video has more than 614,000 views and 120,000 likes.
@urhomiejess Its so embarrassing 😭 #callout #work ♬ original sound – empty chair
“Walking into work the day after you call out,” the on-screen text reads as Jessie wanders into a room.
Facing the camera, Jessie lip-syncs to audio of reality TV star Abby Lee Miller from Lifetime’s “Dance Moms”: “It was tough walking back into the studio, but I did it.”
“Its so embarrassing,” the video’s caption reads.
The comments section knew this feeling well—like your co-workers’ eyes are all on you.
“Literally same, and everyone is [just] staring like you committed a crime,” one commenter wrote.
Another commented, “they ask you if you’re feeling better when you weren’t even sick.”
Someone else wrote, “they treat calling off like it’s the end of the world stg.” Jessie replied, “Like John mulaney said ‘canceling plans is like crack.’”
Several commenters posted things one might hear after returning to work, like “You missed a lot yesterday” and “It was so busy yesterday.”
One comment read, “we have people calling out like once a week and nobody bats an eye but as soon as i call out ONCE?”
“I call into work sick and then the next day I do a couple nose sniffles about an hour into my shift so absolutely no one can believe me,” another person commented.
One commenter added, “i called off the other day for the first and decided that i can’t face them again & quit.” Jessie replied, “How did that escalate so quick.”
In an interview via Instagram direct message, Jessie told the Daily Dot, “I really just made the video because I myself have called out a few times and the anxiety that comes with going back in the next day is insane. But we shouldn’t have to feel like that in a workplace, you shouldn’t feel guilty about calling out no matter what it’s for.”
Jessie’s co-workers found the video and told the TikToker they agreed with the sentiment.
“I never really feel embarrassed or anything of the sort when I post online,” Jessie said. “Mainly because I know the vast majority is most likely to agree with whatever your caption is, you just have to find the right audience.”
U.S. News & World Report has a guide to calling in sick, citing a 2021 study that found 42% of workers surveyed “reported feeling more stressed or anxious about taking a sick day in the past year than they had previously.”
If we can be so bold: Don’t feel bad about calling out sick if you’re sick.
Of course, calling out from work when you’re not sick is a subject of debate. If you’d like to feel validated, Illinois-based staffing consultancy Johnson Service Group says, “If you are not able to give 100% of your effort at work, it is perfectly okay to take a sick day to stay home and rejuvenate yourself!”