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Being present on the job isn't being just physically present -- good attendance on the job means you're present and accountable. Poor attendance can ruin your employability, make your boss question your motivation and wreck your relationships with co-workers. Taking a day off anytime you don't feel like working might seem justified, particularly if your employee benefits include vacation and sick time. But spotty attendance is a reflection of your work ethic, and how seriously you take your job and the people with whom you work.
An Honest Day's Work
When you accept a job, you're essentially saying that you'll give the company an honest day's work in exchange for the pay your boss promised. Whether you're hired as a part-time, hourly worker or a full-time, salaried employee, a commitment to showing up every day is the foundation of a successful career and work history.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Whether you perform your work independently with your office door shut or you're standing next to a co-worker on an assembly line, your attendance affects the people with whom you work. If you're present for work, completing your tasks enables others to fulfill their tasks and responsibilities. For example, if you're a bookkeeper charged with tallying monthly receipts, the results of your work could determine whether the sales department needs to increase its client base. If you're consistently absent or off work, departments that depend on your numbers may have to delay their projects.
Nobody wants to be short-changed when payday comes around, and if your attendance is poor, it will likely result in a smaller paycheck -- especially if you're an hourly worker. If you're a salaried employee and you're continually absent, you'll ultimately exhaust your paid time off and, in some circumstances, your employer could deduct the time from your pay. Attendance matters where wages and salaries are concerned, and routine absenteeism can complicate even the most technologically advanced payroll systems.
Your Professional Reputation
Even if your absences don't directly impact other employees' jobs, your professional reputation could suffer if your work record shows excessive absences. Employees with excellent attendance records generally are viewed by their colleagues as dependable, reliable workers. And in some cases, a trait or soft skill, such as dependability, may even outweigh technical competence, suggests Bloomberg Businessweek columnist Dan Schawbel in his September 2013 article, "The Soft Skills Managers Want." When your peers and supervisors know they can count on you to be at work every day, you're a valuable employee. Valuable employees often are recognized with kudos from management, wage increases and opportunities for advancement.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.