Well, that’s no excuse…

I tend to find polls interesting.

One recent poll, sponsored by CareerBuilder.com, centred on employees and their sick days.  Next to truly being sick, the most common reasons employees gave for calling in sick were because they didn’t feel like going to work (34 percent) or because they felt like they just needed a day off to relax (29 percent).

But, what I found most interesting were some of the excuses employees came up with when they called in sick but weren’t actually sick.

• Employee’s sobriety tool wouldn’t allow their car to start

• Employee forgot he had been hired for the job

• Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown

• Employee’s said her dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation

• Employee’s toe was stuck in a faucet

• Employee said a bird bit her

• Employee was too upset after watching “The Hunger Games”

• Employee got sick from reading too much

• Employee said his finger was stuck in a bowling ball

• Employee said a cow broke into her house and she had to wait for the insurance man

• Employee’s foot was stuck in a garbage disposal

• Employee called in sick from a bar at 5:00 p.m. the day before

• Employee called in the day after Thanksgiving saying she had burned her mouth on pumpkin pie

It’s been said that it’s all fun and games until someone puts an eye out.  Well, that would be the part where the employer suspects they’ve gotten a bogus excuse, and decides to do something about it.  After all, 29 percent of bosses say they’ve checked up on an employee who called in sick.

Consider this:

• 70 percent of bosses who’ve checked up on an employee have required a doctor’s note

• 50 percent of bosses who’ve checked up on an employee have called the employee at home

• 15 percent of bosses who’ve checked up on an employee have gone to the employee’s house or apartment

(This actually happened in my first marriage when my husband played hooky one day too many.  He was fired because he had been playing hooky to go make nooky with someone else on staff)

But I digress…

Which leads to my last statistic.

• 16 percent of employers say they’ve fired an employee for missing work without a proven excuse

The moral of the story?

There’s really no excuse for pretending that you have a good excuse.

And now, if you’ll excuse me…

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Now that was a clothes call…

Clothes.

Our time is consumed by clothes.  Figuring out what to wear, what to wash, what to discard, what to buy, what matches, what we like, what we don’t like.  It’s a never ending cycle.

Clothes.

We can’t live with them; can’t live without them.  Well, shouldn’t live without them.

Thinking about clothes got me to thinking about how many expressions are attached to clothes, most that have nothing to do with clothes.  No wonder English is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn.

Consider the hat.  And the hat trick.  A hat trick is universally linked to sports, especially hockey, and is used to describe 3 goals scored in one game.

But, a hat trick can actually be used to describe 3 of anything.  Although I must confess that I’ve never heard it in reference to 3 hats.  Hmmm…

Then there are people who are referred to as being too buttoned up or a stuffed shirt.  Not exactly positive.  Neither is ‘tie one on’ or ‘skirt the issue’.

One of the worst is the muscle shirt, which is often described as a ‘wife beater’.  Huh?!  Most baffling of all is that, knowing that information, guys keep wearing it!  I’ve seen someone wearing one every single day this summer!  Maybe the guys in question are single and/or clueless, and need to have this reference on their refrigerator to help them.

In order, that would be good, better, and what in the world are you thinking??!!

For a blast from the past, let’s think about the pantywaist.  It used to be a garment that was popular back in the 20’s – a child’s undergarment consisting of boxer-like pants and a T-shirt that buttoned together at the waist but, starting in the 30’s, it came to describe a man who is weak or useless.  How that transition happened, I will never know.

People talk about dressing up and dressing down, both which seem obvious enough.  But, then there’s a ‘dressing down’, which is a particularly severe reprimand or scolding, often delivered publicly.  Or being told to ‘put a sock in it’.  Ouch.  Neither may be physically painful but they’re still pretty painful nonetheless.

At some point in our lives, most of us have either been told or otherwise realized that we’re wearing a pair of ‘floods’.  Ah, the lovely flood pant.  Not ankle length pants or capri’s but pants that, well, have the appearance of successfully navigating high waters.

To finish off our head to toe clothes evaluation, we come to the ever respectable footwear.  There’s the person who’s a ‘shoe in’ (usually for a job) or, conversely, the person who’s a real heel.  Or, if you have a dog, there’s the command to heel.  No wonder dogs get confused.

Then, there’s the person who continually ‘flip flops’.  Or someone who’s a ‘loafer’.  I guess if you’re really special, you could be a ‘penny loafer’.

I just made that up.

A penny loafer is an actual shoe but I guess if it was a reference to a person, it would be a loafer who has spare change.  Ok, that’s probably a stretch.  I doubt that term will catch on.

To round out our shoe section, there’s the saying “give him the boot”.  Pretty self-explanatory, and one of the phrases that actually makes sense when you consider a potential use of a boot.

Having made this clothes assessment, I’ve realized that most of the terms have a negative connotation.  What’s up with that?!  Is it really in our nature to think from a negative standpoint as opposed to a positive standpoint?  It would seem so.

I’m thinking it would suit us to avoid using these terms, and instead stick to more positive phrases like ‘suits him to a ‘T’ or ‘my hat’s off to him’.

Well, that makes me feel much happier.  On that note, I think I’ll put on some music and go ‘belt out a tune’.

Call 1-800-GOT-BUGS…

I’m a big fan of the television show, Sell This House – Extreme.  The premise of the show is to help desperate homeowners sell their difficult-to-sell spaces through extreme renovation and home staging.

During a recent episode, they were tearing down drywall in one of the rooms when they made an unexpected discovery.  Termites.  While the damage was extensive, it  would have gone unnoticed if the walls had never come down.

This scenario can be applied to life.  How many times does someone come across as the perfect husband or the perfect wife, or always seem to be perfectly dressed, perfectly mannered, or perfected presented, yet one day the walls come down and we find out they have termites, so to speak?  Maybe it’s even been true of you.

Termites can be issues such as insecurity, anxiety, greed, anger, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, impatience, addictions, compulsions, and/or obsessions, to name a few.  It starts out as just one or two termites but, before you know it, you’re completely infested.  Termites always multiply.

People with termites generally like to keep it a secret… perhaps just focus on making a few cosmetic changes and, for whatever reason, ignore what’s happening beneath the surface.  But, you can have the nicest home and furnishings, the most successful business or career, any cosmetic procedure that makes you look younger or prettier or more handsome, or you can publicly say or do all the right things, but it won’t do a thing to get rid of the termites in your life.  Just like painting the walls of your house won’t do a thing to get rid of termites.  The walls first have to come down.  You can either choose to initiate the process or it will happen one day when you least expect it.

It’s inevitable.  Whether it’s in your house or in your life, you ignore termites at your own peril.

The first step in getting rid of termites is acknowledging you have them.  You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.  If they’re in your house, seek professional help.  The same is true if you have an addiction, compulsion and/or obsession.  If it’s a lesser issue, it’s still critical that you bring it into the light.  Whether it’s a trusted friend, your doctor, your pastor, or an accountability partner, it’s important to tell someone.  Termites are harder to get rid of than you think, so you’ll need all the help you can get.

I’m a big believer in praying.  And in counselling.  Counselling can help us gain perspective from a trained but neutral person before a minor infestation mushrooms into a full blown invasion.  I’d rather drop a bomb on my termites, to be on the safe side, than to wake up one day and wish I’d done a whole lot more a whole lot sooner.  I want my house to be sound from the inside out.

I hope I haven’t bugged you with this post but, if I have, it might be time to do a self-evaluation for termites.  After all, if you don’t have them, they can’t bug you.

It all depends on where you are…

I’ve noticed an unusual phenomenon lately.  The temperatures have been in the high twenties, with the humidex in the low thirties, yet I’ve seen an unnerving number of people wearing jackets.  Two days ago, I saw a man mowing his lawn with a bomber jacket on… and not only on but completely zipped up!  Then this afternoon, in less than a thirty minute span of time, I passed by at least seven people wearing jackets.  Three of the guys were in one group, leaving me to briefly wonder if I was the one improperly dressed for the weather!

Several years ago, Sesame Street demonstrated how perception of something depends on our proximity to it, using an elephant as an example.  NEAR………. far.  The slogan was “it all depends on where you are”.

I’ve come to conclusion that this slogan can be applied to life.  Or to wearing jackets in sweltering heat.  Or to wearing shorts in the freezing cold.

You get my point.

Everyone is at a different place in life, and so their perceptions tend to vary.  It’s easy for us to decide that our way is the right way or the best way or the only way but the reality is we’re not always right.  And, even if we are right, the other person or people might not see it the same way because they’re not in the same place.  It all depends on where they are.  Just like it all depends on where we are.

The answer isn’t to force anything on anyone else.  The world would be a much better place if everyone voiced their opinions or convictions without judgement, hatred, or ridicule.   It’s the least we can do for others because it’s the least we hope for ourselves.

It’s ok to respectfully explain our viewpoint but that’s where it needs to end.  Sometimes the most effective way to get our point across is to do more and say less.  With the more important things in life, hopefully others will take notice and see that we’ve put our money where our mouth is (in a manner of speaking…).  But, with the less important things in life – like wearing jackets in sweltering heat – maybe we’ll realize that it’s ok to be different.  That there’s no right way or wrong way.

After all, at any moment the winds of change could blow, and we might be tempted to put a jacket on after all.

Just to ‘egg’ you on…

I’ve probably had way too much time to think lately since it occurred to me that eggs and people have a lot more in common than one might think.

To start with the basics, there are small, medium, large, and extra large eggs.  Some eggs are white and some are brown, and there are good eggs and bad eggs.  The occasional egg is cracked, while others are rejected for no other reason than the way they look, even though you’d find they’re a perfectly good egg if you’d take the time to look past their shell.

Then there’s the cooked egg.  Most people prefer their eggs to be served over easy (or sunnyside down).  A few prefer them to be cooked all the way through (or well done).  A lot of people don’t see the sunny side of life on a regular basis but they still have the ability to if you cut through their exterior, while others are so hardened that cutting through their exterior won’t make any noticeable difference.

If people don’t eat their eggs over easy, they more often than not choose to eat them scrambled.  That makes sense, seeing that’s how a lot of people’s lives can be described.

There are also eggs that are served sunnyside up, and I find it interesting that there are as few people who see the sunny side of life regularly as there are those who order their eggs sunnyside up.  I guess all that sunshine can be a little hard to take.

Of course, you can’t forget that some people don’t like eggs at all.  They would be just as happy if they never had to encounter another egg.  They tend to be anti-social.

All things considered, it seems to me that sunnyside up eggs have gotten a bad rap.  I have to admit that I’ve avoided them as much as the next person.  But, this little exercise, as trivial as it seems, has turned into a great reminder that I need to yolk it up a little more often.  If that makes me ‘egg’centric, so be it. 

Choosing to roll with the punches…

I love to laugh.  In my opinion, the funniest comedy is situational humour.  As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing funnier than everyday life.  And there’s nothing better than having a good laugh, even and especially when I haven’t had the best of days.

Today was a typical Monday.  I couldn’t get to sleep last night and, when I did, I was woken at the crack of dawn when the guy who lives in the apartment overhead dropped something heavy onto the floor.  Then, when I arrived at work, the code to the secondary entrance showed it was working but the door wouldn’t budge.  Ever.  And, when I got to the office I was working in today, I couldn’t log onto my computer.  Everyone else’s computer was working but mine.

After work, I had to find a government office in an area of the city that I’m not familiar with.  I found the building way faster than I expected, only to discover that the office I was looking for had changed locations 3 1/2 years ago!  I was given a list of four current office locations but things went from bad to worse when I became disoriented and headed due south instead of due north.  I eventually realized my mistake, and switched direction, only to somehow overshoot my exit by a country mile.  The result was that I ended up on a wild goose chase for well over 2 hours – all through rush hour traffic – and I never did find even one of the four offices.

The best part?  When one thing after another was going wrong, I chose to just roll with the punches, and stayed calm, cool, and collected.  I don’t always handle days like this the way that I should but I am proud of how I handled things today.  All I had to do was stay standing and, when the dust finally settled, I was still standing.  It was a good feeling.

I’m learning that I can’t change what happens to me but I can decide how I’m going to react to it.  I can’t choose the first but I can totally choose the second.  And it’s easier to potentially laugh at some of the things that go wrong if I don’t needlessly stress myself out about them in the first place.  Nobody ever changed anything by worrying, and I’d be deluding myself if I thought I would be the first.

So, what’s the perfect end to an imperfect day?  I love Peanuts, and so who better to give me a great laugh about a situation we can all identify with.  Happy Monday everyone.  I hope you have a terrific Tuesday!