Missing Work — What’s Your Favorite Excuse?

by Joe Lavelle on November 5, 2010

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My alarm clock was abducted by aliens.

I forgot that I was getting married this afternoon.

My dog ate my car keys.

These are just three excuses for missing work that I do not recommend you try on your employer the next time you don’t feel like coming into the office.  While I just made these up, the popular website CareerBuilder.com recently conducted a survey to discover some of the more unusual excuses that people really did use for missing work over the past year. Some of the most unusual and creative reasons given to bosses include:

An inability to work the day after Thanksgiving due to a mouth burn caused by a pumpkin pie

Finger stuck in a bowling ball

Foot caught in a garbage disposal (How does that happen?)

In addition to providing these insightful examples that show the lengths to which some of us will go to get out of the office for the day, CareerBuilder also shared that 29% of workers admitted to calling in sick for at least one day when they were perfectly healthy.  And, on the flip side of that, 16% of employers have fired an employee for not being able to provide proof to back up the reason given for missing work.

The survey encourages workers simply to be honest with their employers concerning the need for a day off.  Around 60% of all bosses said that they are willing to accept mental health days as legitimate sick leave.  If you are burdened with stress or exhaustion, just say you need a break!  That’s better than using your already tired mind to come up with an unlikely excuse to cover your tracks.

If you are an employer or supervisor, what are some of the unusual excuses you’ve heard for people missing work?  How do you handle a worker who is obviously not telling the truth in this situation?

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