How to tell your boss you won’t be coming to work. English health idioms

Sometimes you just don’t feel like going to work. ( = nie masz ochoty iść) Life sucks ( = jest do kitu), it’s raining cats and dogs ( = leje jak z cebra), or it’s simply a bad hair day ( = zły dzień). But you can’t really tell your boss that you won’t be coming to work today because it’s raining, can you? I have a better excuse ( = wymówka) for you today!

Ta lekcja jest dostępna także jako podcast i filmik. Hura!

A plausible reason ( = wiarygodny) for not coming to work is… being ill! Of course I hope you will never need to use this reason, but – just in case ( = na wszelki wypadek) – let’s look at five idioms which you can use here.

1. When you aren’t seriously ill yet, you can say: I’m going down with something. This means that you are becoming ill. For example, “I’m sorry Mr Jones, but I won’t be coming to work today. I think I’m going down with something.” In Polish: coś mnie bierze.

2. The next stage is being slightly off-colour. This means you’re feeling a little ill. For example, “I’m afraid I have to stay at home today. I’m feeling slightly off colour.” In Polish: marnie się czuję.

3. You can also be more specific and talk about the various body parts that are problematic. For example, “my back is killing me,” when you have problems… well, with your back. When your back hurts. This is quite a common complaint while working from home in the pandemic, without a good office chair. In Polish: “plecy nie dają mi żyć,” or some other, less polite, version ;).

4. Another body part which can cause you problems is your head. If you have a splitting headache, you have a big pain in your head. You can combine this with all the other idioms and say: “I’m feeling a bit off-colour today. I have a splitting headache, and my back is killing me. I might be going down with the flu, so I think I’d better stay at home.” Splitting headache in Polish: rozdzierający ból głowy / koszmarny ból głowy.

5. And after you’ve fully recovered, or after you’ve had all the resort from work you needed, you can email your boss and announce joyfully: “I’m back on my feet! I’m coming to work tomorrow!” This means you’re feeling good again after an illness. In Polish: stanąłem na nogi.

So, these are five useful idioms to tell your boss that you won’t be coming to work! I hope you’ll never have to use them, of course!


And if you need more English idioms for work, I have a special treat ( = smakołyk) for you! Only till Friday, April 16th, can you get 10% off ( = 10% zniżki) my course on English idioms! It’s an ebook packed with useful work idioms, but I didn’t want to stress you out by mentioning work in it, so I packed them into a funny story, and I called it… well, “English idioms in a funny story.” Not very creative, I know…


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