"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Toasts gone wild!

One of the advantages of working for an educational institution is that Spring Break once again has meaning in our lives. Mrs. Toast gets all next week off, so the two of us plan to head on down to South Padre Island to join in the drunken revelry. We'll suck jello shots out of each other's navels, dance all night, go bungee jumping, get nekkid on the beach, engage in wild unprotected sex with multiple partners, and party 'til we puke.

Yeah, right. In my dreams.

Not that this sort of thing won't be going on, mind you; it's just that we're not likely to be among the ones doing it. Spring Break has been a celebration of youthful debauchery for decades, and things are only heating up this year. Several newspapers, including the Boston Herald and the Baltimore Sun, have picked up on a recent survey conducted by the American Medical Association of 644 college women between the ages of 17 and 35. The poll revealed that 83 percent of them equate spring break with heavy drinking, and 74 percent agreed it results in more sex and outrageous behavior. The study went on to say that this "outrageous behavior" included "public nudity and dancing on tables". This will no doubt be a busy time of year for the producers of GGW.

Yes, lots of folks are going to be raising all sorts of hell next week. But regardless if you're shocked by this or it sounds like an awesome party, it's going to be a tough time for those who are not college students nor employed in academia. The weather is starting to turn nice, and you really can't stand the thought of going into work. Yeah, you can call in with some lame excuse about feeling sick, but you know that your boss isn't really going to buy it. Plus, the "sick" excuse is a short-term solution that won't win you any fans at the office, as someone else is going to have to pick up the slack, you'll miss deadlines, and it won't help your career any. But if you're desperate for some 'break time off, here are 10 excuses (five smart and five not-so-smart) courtesy of Monster.com to help you save face and your sanity.

Smart Excuses

1. I've Earned It: No one can argue with performance. Come in two or three hours early -- or stay late -- for a week or two. Then negotiate a day off in advance. "Really work when you're there, so you'll be able to feel good about taking time off," says Andrea Nierenberg, president of The Nierenberg Group, a management consulting and personal marketing practice.

2. I'm Playing Golf with a Client: For this one to work, you've got to have a job that requires you to meet and court current and prospective clients. Neil Simpkins, an account executive at Oxford Communications, has used this one successfully. One note of caution: Meet the client; don't just say you did.

3. I Have a Doctor's Appointment: This excuse will get you out of work for a half-day or so. Make the appointment first thing in the morning or late in the day, say around 3 p.m. You can leave the office by 2:30 p.m. and get home (hopefully) by 4 p.m. The shortened day will help you recharge, especially if you schedule it on a Friday afternoon.

4. I Have Cramps: Before you dismiss this one, think about it: Who can argue? "It's such an embarrassing topic that nobody will ever challenge it," says Jennifer Newman, vice president of Lippe Taylor Public Relations. She has used this excuse -- and had it used on her -- successfully. "It's one of those things that men honestly have no clue about, and women can sympathize with." One important point: Don't use this one if you're a man. It'll never work.

5. I'm Working from Home: This is an excellent way to give yourself a break if your company allows it. Although you'll need to do some work, you can generally get away with a shortened day. And you'll eliminate your commuting time.

Not-So-Smart Excuses

1. There's a Death in the Family: Don't ever use this excuse if it's not true. Your employer will lose all trust in you. "I had an employee whose mother died -- twice," says David Wear, a Virginia PR executive. "He also had the misfortune of losing all his grandparents -- 12 of them -- during a two-year period."

2. I'm Too Sleepy: When she was a manager at IBM, Marilynn Mobley heard it all. This one still makes her laugh: The employee apparently took Tylenol 3 with codeine instead of a vitamin, because the bottles looked alike.

3. I Can't Get My Car Out of the Garage: This is another one that Mobley didn't buy. An employee said that a power failure was preventing him from opening his power-operated garage door. "I reminded him that there's a pull chain on it for just such cases," she says.

4. I Can't Find My Polling Place: Mary Dale Walters, a communications specialist at CCH Inc., couldn't believe this one. A former employee needed an entire day to figure out where she had to go to vote in the 1996 presidential election.

5. I Have a Personal Emergency: This one is so vague that it rarely works. It could mean anything from fatigue to an appointment with your hairdresser, and your boss knows it.


As for us, we (seriously) plan to get away and visit family for a few days. Not exactly a Festival of Bacchus, but it will still be nice to get out of the house and relax.

However you spend it, have a good spring break!


  • At 3/09/2006 08:25:00 PM, Blogger April said…

    I've never gone anywhere fun for Spring Break. While in school, I always worked a lot to get more money because everyone else was gone having fun which meant I got to pick what shifts I wanted.

    I've never used a lame excuse for getting out of work. THat is no lie, I've only missed work when I was truely sick. Which is sad when you think about it. I need to get out more. I'm a horrible liar, I couldn't pull any of those excuses off!

  • At 3/09/2006 11:32:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    Yeah, but I'll bet you could use Smart Excuse #1, though.


Post a Comment

<< Home