I haven’t done it since I was a teenager, and I had a job washing dishes at a delicatessen. It was not the greatest job in the world, but it wasn’t the worst either. I did get one free meal every day I was working, so that took a little of the sting out of it, but calling in sick at that age was inevitable.

Everybody does it once in a while, right? So you lower your voice, try to sound scratchy and hoarse, maybe throw in a few lame coughs to embellish a little bit.

But now, my surfing the web has revealed some better ways to play hooky, not that we would endorse such things, right?  Read on brethren…

According to author Jill Morris, who also happens to be a workplace expert and her book “Please Fire Me: Posts From the Revolting Workplace”, calling in sick is an art form.  First, you have to decide what your sickness will be. At certain times of the year, allergies may be the way to go. If you’re a woman, and your boss is a man, you can always resort to ‘women troubles’, since they probably won’t ask too much for you to elaborate.  If youhave a history of back problems, that one may buy you a day or 2.

When is a good time to call in? Morris says it’s a good idea to lay the groundwork the night before.

“Send an email in the middle of the night saying you’ve been sick and unable to sleep,” she said. “Call again in the morning five minutes before they get into work and leave a voicemail, concerned if they had received your email.”

“When you call in, you should indeed sound sick. However, don’t immediately start hacking up a lung as soon as your boss’s ‘Hello?’ comes out of the receiver,” Morris added. “Wait until you have been speaking for a while, preferably during a three-sentence run. All that gabbing is just too hard with a throat like yours.”

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. workers took an average of 14 sick days in 2007, either for themselves, or to care for a sick family member. The agency says American employers lost almost 3 weeks of productivity as a result.

By Chris Kai