Crazy stuff happens and things go wrong — that’s life.
As we all know though, when things don’t go our way, we can’t just give up. As tempting as it is, it’s just not an option. Having a back-up plan to help get things back on track is the way to go.
As an Ōdult, you probably already have a back-up plan in place (maybe even a back-up plan for the back-up plan). If you don’t or want to take your plan to the next level, we have put together this guide to help you plan for the worst so you can come out on top every time.
For this Ōdulting guide, we are going to give some common roadblocks you may have when getting to work and how to overcome these issues without missing a beat.
Broken Down Car
Car troubles happen at the worst times. While you can’t fix every issue that may come up, you can certainly plan for the common ones by keeping a few supplies in the trunk:
- Jumper cables so you can jump your car if the battery dies
- A can of Fix-A-Flat so you can make it to work until you have time to get the tire checked out
- A spare tire and jack for a total tire blow-out
- Keep your car insurance info in the car
- If your insurance company has an emergency number, have that preloaded in your phone
- Also, check on a roadside assistance program through your insurance company (and check to see if your company offers a discount on your auto insurance like Ōnin does)
- Make sure you have at least two people in your phone you can call for a ride or consider something like Uber or Lyft if you’re stuck in a bigger city until you can get your car looked at.
At some point, you are going to get caught in stand-still traffic due to an accident, road closure, or otherwise. In these situations, be sure to let your manager know ASAP. A simple text or phone call is okay just to let them know you are on the way but working through some rough traffic. The reason to let them know is not only so they can alter staffing needs, but so they know you are at least on your way into work, doing what you are supposed to do. Don’t cry wolf and pretend you’re in a traffic jam because you left late, though. In this age of Waze and Google Maps traffic updates, it’s easy for your manager to know if you are telling the truth or not.
Also, plan for alternate routes. It’s never a bad idea to know of at least two or three ways to get to work in case things like this happen.
Spilled Coffee on Your Shirt
Oww! That makes for a terrible morning for sure! Don’t let a stained shirt blow the whole day though, you still gotta rock this. If you are notorious for getting coffee, mustard or salsa on your shirt from time to time, just keep a back-up in your car. Also, don’t let that stain set in while you finish up the workday.
Power Is Out
Waking up to the power being out is a nightmare of a morning. You likely won’t have hot water for a shower or light in the bathroom to get ready. In this case, have a back-up plan in your head of how you will still get ready for work. For night shift workers or early risers, it’s not a bad idea to keep a flashlight by your bed for this situation. You can also use your phone’s flashlight, just make sure you charge it the night before.
Now when you go to get ready, you will need to make some sacrifices to make it to work on time even though the power is out. Ok, skipping the shower may be gross, but just take a stick of deodorant to work with you or add some extra perfume or cologne. If your hair is looking cray, think of what your go-to bad hair day trick will be — ponytail, hat, gel or pomade.
If all else fails, leave early and bring your flat-iron to work and fix your hair or make-up in the bathroom mirror at work. Also, consider in your plan if your work has on-site showers you can use in these crazy situations.
Late Public Transportation
Being able to hop on a train or bus each morning has its perks, but it can break down just like a car. Just like the broken down car situation, you should have a back-up plan for public transportation, too. This means knowing alternate lines to hop on that will still get you to work on time. Or have a person to call for an emergency ride to work. Again, don’t use this excuse for being late if it’s not true…there may be others at work who use the same route and still made it on time, giving you away.
Left the house without your lunch? Maybe you forgot your hardhat, badge or work gloves. Did you leave with two different colored shoes? Forgetting stuff is a tough one because you usually need whatever it is you left. In this situation, you need to really consider how badly you need the thing you forgot. Can you hit a drive-thru and take what you packed tomorrow? Are there extra hardhats or gloves at work you can use or buy? Will anyone really notice the shoes, or can you blame it on #Monday? Only you can make the call on stuff that you absolutely must turn around to get. If you do decide to go back for it, make it quick.
If you find yourself forgetting something pretty often, you may want to buy a “work extra.” Always forgetting your lunch? Keep some emergency cans of soup in your locker. Forgot to throw on some DO for the BO? Stash an extra stick of deodorant in your glove compartment. Maybe even keep an extra jacket, change of clothing or umbrella at work, too.
We are all guilty of oversleeping at some point. Whether it was for work or a personal event — it happens. It’s how you deal with it that really matters. If you oversleep, just be honest and let your manager know. Tell them you are headed into work so they know you are making an effort to make it right. Also, let them know that it won’t happen again. They need to know that it truly was an accident, and you were not purposefully blowing off work.
You’re Sick or Sick Kids
Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up 365 days a year feeling perfectly healthy and absolutely vibing? For the days you or your family feel sick and you have to stay home, you will need to have a plan of action when it comes to your work responsibilities. Give your manager a call. This isn’t news that is great to deliver by text. Let them know who is sick and when you expect to be back to work. When you speak with your boss, you may want to let them know what’s going on so they understand how sick you are. Then again, they may not want to know all the details about the pukefest going on at your house. Just make your best judgment call based on what’s going on.
By giving them an expected date you will be returning, they can effectively do their job of figuring out who can cover while you are out. Keep your manager updated if you can’t meet this date so they can continue to meet work needs and so they can genuinely know how you are doing. Despite what you may think, your boss probably does want to know you are going to be ok.
When it comes to sick kiddos, make your life easier by using convenient options to get them better. Ōnin offers free teledoctor benefits, which means instead of going to the doctor’s office, our Teammates can video chat with a doctor and get a diagnosis quicker.
Family Emergency or Death in the Family
These are the worst days. You have a family emergency, and on top of that, you have to think about work. It sucks. There is no other way to describe it. But being an Ōdult means you juggle it all with grace. When something like this happens, call your manager as soon as you can to explain the situation.
While you don’t have to give all the details, it is important to let them know that the situation is a family emergency. Try your best to let them know when you will make it back to work. While this can be hard to predict in these situations, it helps your manager fill in staffing gaps so the work team can still function while you are away. Check-in with your manager when you can. They really do care and want to know you are ok.
These situations don’t just have an effect on your work schedule but your mental health too. Make sure to utilize your company benefits if you need support or grief counseling. Ōnin has a free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) where Teammates can talk about their stress or grief and get the emotional support they need.
Overall some general rules to remember:
- Be honest with your manager
- Contact your manager ASAP when stuff happens
- Let them know it was a one-time thing or when they can expect you back at work
- Stay calm so you can stay safe and not get caught in another delay
- Once you get to work, get right to work
You can also work around a lot of these issues by being prepared for the morning. Check out our other Ōdulting guides to help you balance life right.