Can I Take a Sick Day for a Hangover?

You were out late celebrating your fortieth birthday with friends, and you overdid it. We’re talking full-on, should-have-passed-on-that-last-drink, head-resting-on-the-bathroom-floor overdoing it. You tried to fill up on water before you dragged yourself into bed to sleep it off, but it didn’t work. And now you’ve woken up on a work-day morning and you’ve got a hangover.

You’re wondering “can I take a sick day if I have a hangover?”, and the answer is almost certainly “yes!” But before you call out of life for the day, be sure that you’ve gotten everything taken care of. From the workload to the kids – you’re going to need coverage. So make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row before you take that sick day.

Who were you out drinking with?

First of all, think about the people who were with you when you were over-drinking last night. Do a quick and cursory mental inventory to make sure that your boss wasn’t there, or any of your colleagues that may have loose lips. It’s one thing to be in charge of your life and determine that a hangover counts as a sick day, and quite another for your boss to agree with you.

Usually, hangovers are frowned upon, because they imply some sort of immaturity and lack of control. After all, adults know their limits and would never drink to such excess that they’re unable to get out of bed in the morning. More importantly, if you drank so much that you’ve got a hangover, there’s a good chance that you did at least one stupid thing while you were drinking.

If your boss was there, you might have to quickly indulge in some “hair of the dog” to get yourself up to some semblance of functionality and get to work, if only to do any necessary damage control.

Did you end up on Facebook or YouTube?

A good way to find out how stupid you were last night is to check with a buddy who was also there. If that friend, however, isn’t answering the phone (because they’re likely nursing their own hangover), your best bet is to check out Facebook and YouTube.

Look first at your own personal Facebook page and make sure that nobody put any damning photos on your timeline or tagged you in photos on their own timeline. If they did, quickly delete them from your feed and untag yourself where possible. This is a great time, as well, to double-check your Account Privacy settings and make sure that only Friends can see your posts. Even with the advent of social media and new technology, you should do your best to keep your private and professional lives apart.

Now, what about YouTube? Unless you’re aiming for the quarter-million-dollar prize on America’s Funniest Home Videos, you really don’t want stupid videos of yourself aired on YouTube. There’s so much interconnection these days that the iPhone video of you riding the mechanical bull in your birthday suit while singing songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show could show up on your boss’s computer in less time than it takes to say “I’m just a sweet transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania.”

If that happens, may we suggest taking a permanent leave of absence? Oh, and check your texts and tweets. Because that lyric didn’t just pop into your head this morning by chanceā€¦

Who will take care of the children?

If you’ve got children and they’re in daycare, preschool, or grade school, don’t forget to find somebody to get them to and from school or the bus stop. Perhaps your spouse or a friendly neighbor can take your spot for the day. If you’ve got a hangover, the last thing your head’s going to want to deal with is a million different questions about why you’re still in your pajamas, you haven’t showered, you’re not going to work, etc. Or, more likely, one question asked a million different times.

This is why the “24-hour bug” was invented. You know–the one you now remember your mom having once back when you were in first grade? Make good use of this excuse, but assure your children that it’s not contagious and, yes, you’re sure that Playdoh eggs and pretend coffee really did make you feel a little better, thank you so very much!

If, however, you’re a stay-at-home parent and there is no such thing as calling out sick, do what you usually do: Call your mom. If that’s not possible, do the other thing you do when you’re really sick–turn on the television (only quality TV, of course) and let them zombie out for the day while you rest on the couch nearby. Hopefully, the day will be over quickly

Remember: You’re an adult and you’re responsible for your choices. As long as you don’t have a history of taking sick days at work, you should be fine calling out for a hangover just this once. Or, if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you first make sure your kids are taken care of for the day. Chances are that you’ll feel so miserable with the hangover that you’re going to pray to return to your normal schedule. And hopefully, you’ll remember how awful you felt for a really, really long time to come.