How To Recover From the Dreaded “No Call No Show”

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How To Recover From the Dreaded No Call, No Show
“JOH_1963” flickr photo by star5112 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license


It’s 2 p.m. and you just woke up. You worked last night, and ended up sleeping through your morning alarm due to exhaustion. Your heart sinks into your stomach when you realize what time it is.

“Oh my gosh! I am screwed!” you think while anxiously scrolling through your phone. You have 10 missed calls from your manager, three new voicemails and several text messages from your co-workers:



“Are you OKAY?!”

You were scheduled to work the 7 a.m. brunch shift and did the unthinkable— the no call, no show.

The reality is, things happen and everyone makes mistakes— so try not to panic—you can recover from the dreaded no call, no show pending you are in good standing with your place of employment and this is an isolated incident.


How do you make amends? Start here:


Call Your Manager Right Away and Be Honest

There is nothing worse than avoidance in this situation. Regardless of the reason for your no call, no show, call your manager the moment you have an opportunity. The longer you wait to call and explain yourself, the angrier your manager may become.

If you are honest and handle the situation like an adult offering a sincere apology and the true explanation (do not say your cat died unless it really happened), you are more likely to earn the forgiveness of your boss and a second chance.


Apologize to Your Co-workers

Once you call your manager, reach out to all of your co-workers who were scheduled to work with you and apologize to them. While this may seem trivial, I assure you it’s not.

Your absence likely caused a lot of inconveniences for them such as having to take on more work (setting up your bar, someone needing to work a shift they weren’t planning to work etc.) and may have even impacted service. A sincere apology goes a long way and is a quick and easy way to earn the forgiveness of your co-workers.


Offer to Pick up an Unwanted Shift From Whoever Covered Your Shift

Your no call, no show probably ended up causing someone else to have to shuffle his/her plans around in order to cover your shift. A nice gesture in this situation is to approach whoever covered your shift and ask this person if there is an upcoming, unwanted shift you can pick up in order to return the favor. Even if there isn’t, the offer will likely be appreciated.


Ask Your Manager How You Can Make Amends

Put the ball in your manager’s court and ask him or her what you can do to make amends for your no call, no show. Perhaps your manager will say something along the lines of “just make sure it doesn’t happen again” or maybe he/she asks you to be on-call for the next two weeks.

Whatever the case is, by allowing your manager to decide the best way for you to make amends (within reason— you shouldn’t be scrubbing toilets or doing anything outside of your normal job description) will show your manager you are really sorry and prepared to take responsibility for your mistake.


As long as you make amends and are not a repeat offender, a no call, no show isn’t likely to cost you your job. Instead, you may receive a verbal warning, or be written up, but employers usually won’t fire a valued employee over one incident— so take a deep breath and know it will all blow over soon.


How To Recover From the Dreaded No Call, No Show
“JOH_1963” flickr photo by star5112 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

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Filed Under: Better Bartending, The Bar Career

About the Author:

Antasha Durbin

Antasha is seasoned bartender with more than seven years of bartending and hospitality experience. She is also a mama to a beautiful little boy named Elijah, a graduate student, freelance writer and spiritualist. You can find her creating craft cocktails on the weekends in NYC or spending time with her son.

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  • Ryan Castleberry

    This only covers the having to work the night before and then the next morning? Really? Not the much more common got drunk the night before and then didn’t wake up on time? Also you’re working at a bar and think cleaning the bathroom is out of your job description?

    • Adurbin

      Hi Ryan,

      Thank you for taking the time to read this piece and comment. While there are certainly a multitude of reasons why someone may no call, no show to work, such as getting drunk the night before and not waking up on time, the introduction of this piece simply set the tone for one of those reasons.

      In my experience, I have never worked at a bar where part of my duties (opening or closing) was to in anyway maintain the bathroom. This of course was my experience, and it is limited to that. This point of course is to not be taken advantage of, but to still make amends within reason. If it is part of your job to clean the bathroom, by all means you’d be expected to do so.

      Best of luck to you in all of your current and future endeavors, and thanks again for reading and commenting on the piece. 🙂

      • Ryan Castleberry

        Must have been a really weird place where you worked in the front of house but the cleanliness of the customer areas wasn’t at least in part your responsibility.

        On the other hand I’ve worked in a number of restaurants and met a number of FOH employees who thought they were “to good” to clean a restroom (aka their customers, aka source of incomes, service areas)

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