Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Careers & Workplace
  3. Workplace Culture

Don't use these lateness excuses at work

See also

According to a CareerBuilder.com survey, employees are showing up late to work less and less—presumably because they want to mind their P's and Q's in this down economy. Of the workers asked about their lateness, 16 percent said that they are late to work at least once every week and 8 percent said they are tardy a minimum of twice each week. These numbers are about a 4 percent decrease from last year's workplace lateness survey.

"Some workers may be more concerned with the nuances of their on-the-job performance these days, resulting in fewer late arrivals," said CareerBuilder's Vice President of Human Resources Rosemary Haefner. "Regardless of the economy, though, getting to work on time can be more of a priority in some workplaces than in others. It's important for workers to be aware of their company's tardiness policies and make sure to be honest with their manager if they are going to be late."

But lo and behold, employees are not necessarily inclined to be that honest when explaining why they are late to work. While many workers that CareerBuilder surveyed cited some commonplace reasons for their lateness—being caught in traffic, bad weather, and dealing with their children in the morning—hiring managers reported hearing some excuses that ranged from less-than-plausible to downright ridiculous.

Excuses of a clown. Although it sounds like a bad April Fool's Day prank, one bozo of a worker claimed to be moonlighting as a clown in the morning, which made it impossible to get to the office on time.

The dog ate my.... Clearly some workers latched on to the ubiquitous "the dog ate my homework" excuse in grade school and never let it go. As a result, when these grown-up Eddie Haskells are late for work, they come up with the clever excuse "the dog swallowed my cell phone."

Hygiene hijinks. The last thing that anyone wants to deal with is a stinky coworker—and companies even get sued nowadays if they don't do anything about particularly pungent workplace olfactory offenses. With that in mind, one hygiene-conscious employee told the boss that they were late to work because they had a deodorant malfunction—that is, it was frozen on their windowsill and they didn't want to leave home until it defrosted. After all, not subjecting an entire office to BO is worth it, right?

Perchance to dream. Lots of people dream about their jobs—though they would probably consider them more nightmarish than dreamy. But if you count so many cubicles in your sleep that you are late for work, there may be a problem. One worker actually took this a step further, blaming their lateness on the fact that they dreamt they were already at work.

Show me the car facts. Traffic is a common cause of workplace tardiness, but employees have come up with much more creative car excuses—such as stories about being admitted to the hospital for drinking antifreeze, getting mugged and tied to their steering wheel, and the car door falling off on the way to work.

(Source: Fewer Workers Say They are Late to Work This Year Than Last Year, Finds New CareerBuilder Survey. Retrieved from www.careerbuilder.com.)

Advertisement