Career watch: Calling in sick on the holidays

‘Tis the Season to Call In Sick
Here’s a shocking piece of news: Employees aren’t always telling the truth when they call in sick.

When IT Workers Go Missing
While employers reported heightened absenteeism around the holidays, they said the prime season when IT employees call in sick is the first quarter:

January through March: 38%
April through June: 12%
July through September: 22%
October through December: 28%
In fact, in a survey that Harris Interactive conducted for SoloGig, 34% of U.S. IT workers admitted that they had used a fake excuse when they called in sick during the past year.
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SoloGig, a division of CareerBuilder that runs an employment site for consultants, surveyed more than 170 IT employers and 293 IT workers at the end of the summer on the topic of absenteeism.

One finding was that employers expect more IT absenteeism as the year winds down, with 36% reporting that workers call in sick more often during the winter holidays. But that isn’t the period that most managers cited as the peak of absenteeism (see box).

The survey also found that sending an email is now as likely a means of “calling in” sick as using the phone. Some IT employees said they have texted in the news that they won’t be at work, but they’re still in the minority.

SoloGig also asked the IT managers about unusual excuses they had heard for not showing up at work. Some of the excuses don’t really sound all that odd (depending on where you live, getting bitten by a deer might not be considered unusual, especially during hunting season). But some of the excuses do stand out, either as great misfortunes or as examples of acute creativity. Here are a few examples:

• One employee said she was at a coffee shop when a truck backed up and dumped a load of flour into her convertible.

• Another hurt his back chasing a beaver.

• A third complained of coming down with a headache after going to too many garage sales.

A New Job App
The smartphone job-app market just got more interesting for IT professionals, with Dice’s announcement that it is offering free apps through Google’s Android Marketplace and Apple’s App Store. Dice says that the mobile apps will let users search among more than 80,000 technology jobs using keywords and GPS location data, apply for jobs by accessing résumés and cover letters from Dice accounts, share job opportunities with colleagues via email, learn about the latest hiring trends and technology news, and discover relevant career advice tailored to technology professionals.

Recruit for IT and Win Money
A new website from Randstad called aims to encourage students and young professionals to learn about and pursue careers in growth industries, especially IT.

The site is holding a contest in which professionals and students can upload three-minute videos explaining what inspires their work or how they plan to change the world through their jobs once they graduate. Visitors to the site can vote for their favorites. The prize for the winning entry by a student is a $10,000 scholarship; the prize for the top vote-getter in the professional category is $5,000 in cash and another $5,000 for a charity of the winner’s choice. Videos can be submitted through Dec. 15, and voting ends on Jan. 1.

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