Man Skipped Work For 6 Years But No One Noticed Until He Won An Award For His ‘Loyal & Dedicated’ Service

Talk about a dream job…

man relaxing while he skipped work for six years Monkey Business Images / Canva Pro

Do you ever wish you could quit your job but keep getting paid? Of course, you do. We all do. Most of us think about it every single time the alarm goes off in the morning, even if we like our jobs, right?

Well, one Spanish man actually did it and has become something of an internet legend for the scam he pulled — until it blew up in his face, that is.

The man skipped work for six years and continued getting paid because no one noticed.

I know; it hurts to see other people living out your dreams. Take all the time you need to console yourself. Though if it's any consolation, this bit of subterfuge does not come with a semi-unhappy ending, for what it's worth — we'll get to that in a minute.


Engineer Joaquín García of Cádiz, Spain, was a dedicated civil servant who began working for the local city council in 1990 and moved to the area water board in 1996, where he oversaw the construction of a water treatment plant.

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Or… at least he was supposed to. Whether or not he actually did is to this day unknown because while it's known for sure he didn't work for six years while getting paid, he may have skipped work for as many as 14 years — from the time he was posted to the water board in 1996 until he was finally discovered in 2010.

Garcia got away with skipping work until he was slated to receive an award for 20 years of dedicated service, but no one knew where he was.

"Where is this man? Is he still there? Has he retired? Has he died?” Those are the absolutely hilarious questions Cádiz's then-Deputy Mayor Jorge Blas Fernández told The Guardian in 2016, the year the hammer finally came down on García.

boss suspicious that man skipped work for six years and no one noticed mediaphotos / Getty Images Signature / Canva Pro


Blas Fernández's quandary began in 2010 when García was due to receive a traditional award for 20 years as a civil servant, and Blas Fernández realized he had no idea what García was up to. The former manager of the water board who was in charge of García hadn't seen him in years, either.

After Blas Fernández finally tracked García down, he asked him questions like, "What are you doing? What did you do yesterday? And the previous month?" which, it must be said, is extremely hilarious for a country that once had an infamous Inquisition.

As is, frankly, the visual of García sitting in Blas Fernández's office playing it cool like he hadn't been playing hooky while getting paid since potentially the days before email existed.


You call me after I've been hiding out stacking euros since the Clinton Administration (or that of Prime Ministers Felipe González and José María Aznar, as it were) — I am not even answering el telefono, for starters, let alone showing up to a meeting! Swimming to Morocco with my ill-gotten gains, maybe, but certainly not attending any chit-chats!

García is obviously built differently, and you have to respect that. Because he did show up, even though "he couldn't answer" questions like — I cannot stress this enough — "What are you doing?" and "What did you do yesterday?" We have no choice but to stan him for his moxie!

suspicious man shrugging Icons8 Photos / Canva Pro


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García ended up being charged with crimes, going to trial, and being fined an entire year's salary.

So what exactly happened here? Nobody knows, but it seems that at the basis of the debacle was that the city council thought the water board was in charge of García, while the water board thought he was the city council's problem, and he just sort of… slipped through the cracks.

What they did determine is that he had done "absolutely no work" from at least 2007 to 2010, the year before he retired without anyone apparently noticing.

shocked man PeopleImages / Getty Images Signature / Canva Pro


In court, García admitted to keeping irregular hours at the office, in part because he said he was bullied at work for his leftist politics. His friends said he never reported the bullying because he "had a family to support" and feared he'd lose his job, especially since he'd already been largely cast aside at the water board. He also feared he'd be unable to find another job due to his advanced age.

The court tribunal determined that he'd basically taken advantage of the confusion and fined him €27,000, or about $29,000 —one year's salary and the legal limit he could be hit with.

And it certainly could have been worse. An Italian hospital worker dubbed "the king of absentees" for skipping work for 15 years was slapped with multiple criminal charges, including forgery and extortion after it was discovered he'd been paid more than half a million euros. 


All things considered, a $29,000 fine is pretty much the best-case scenario, considering he collected at least six but possibly 14 times that while using his time to become "an avid reader of philosophy and an expert on the works of Spinoza," according to The Guardian. 

It's not a bad deal, really, and the more you think about it, the more you gotta hand it to him. Good for you, Señor García! 

Anyway, in related news, I will be moving to Spain as soon as possible. And if you suddenly realize you haven't seen me at work in years, no, you didn't!


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.