While Facebook isn’t necessarily the best source for hard hitting news, I couldn’t help but click on a link to an article a few days ago that boasted the headline: “Man Skips Work for 6 Years and Still Gets Paid”. According to the article (which has apparently been circulating around social media for a few years now), a man in Spain was getting paid for a job that he hadn’t showed up to for at least six years. AT LEAST six years of getting paid for not working sounds impossible, right?  His reasoning? There just wasn’t any work for the job that he was hired for, so he simply stopped coming in to work and started focusing on reading books about philosophy. Reasoning aside, the real question is how no one noticed, or cared enough to report, that he was absent for an extended amount of time.

As I was pondering how this scenario could have possibly happened, I stumbled upon an unfortunate truth- employees slip through the cracks all of the time. I’ll admit that six years is a more substantial absence than most; however, it’s not completely unusual for an employee to skip work without incident.

Before you start planning your own six year paid vacation, reflect on the following questions to determine how impactful and noticeable your absence would be.


Before you answer this question, stop to consider that you can be a member of a team without having a team member mentality. Answering “yes” to this question means that you demonstrate qualities of a team member such as: using your role to help other members of your team, being communicative, collaborating and maintaining a high level of respect for those you work with. If you identify with these qualities, that six year vaca will have to wait as your absence would undoubtedly be noticed.


When a problem arises at work, are you at the forefront, brainstorming solutions, or are you sitting back and waiting for someone else to fix the issue? Similarly, consider if you are a person who sees a need and takes the initiative to get in front of it, or if you wait for it to become a bigger issue before addressing it. When the office problem solvers are missing, their absence is felt.


Do others feel that they can rely on you, or are you the last person in the office that someone would ask for help? If you can confidently say that members on your team view you as reliable, you can respond “yes” to this question. Remember, being the person who others feel that they can depend upon doesn’t always mean saying “yes” to their requests; rather, it means that you follow through when you do agree to help.


Consider your productivity while you are at work. Is your productivity level noticeably high, or do you constantly feel like you are quietly completing the bare minimum? Productivity is often the result of a series of habits including: making to-do lists, setting both long-term and short-term goals, focusing on one task at a time, organizing, and living a healthy lifestyle. The absence of a productive employee would not only be felt by their team members, but by the company as a whole.


All joking aside, of course you aren’t going to disappear from your job unnoticed for six years whether or not you answered “yes” to the questions above. When it comes down to it, the question really is if you are an indispensable employee. If you answered “yes” to the previous questions on this list, it is likely that you can answer “yes” to this question as well. Conversely, if you responded “no” to any or all of those questions, it is time to start making some changes. Your goal should be to become such an integral part of the team that your co-workers would notice even the smallest of absences.