10 weird excuses workers use when late to work

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If you’re like me, there are days when you hit the snooze button on your alarm or phone at least 27 times. Eventually you get up, throw on some clothes without the pretense that it’s actually an outfit and slink into work, as if you’ve been there the last hour.

Sure, we’ve all had rough mornings, and sometimes the weirdest things do happen that prevent us from getting to work on time. I’ve walked all the way to the train station, only to realize I didn’t have my fare card. That was 20 minutes lost. But never have I blamed my tardiness on my cat’s hiccups, as apparently some people have. Poor kitty.

A new CareerBuilder survey revealed that 16 percent of workers reported arriving late to work at least once a week or more, up slightly from last year. In addition, 27 percent of workers said they arrived late to work at least once a month.

So what were some of the other crazy excuses that hiring managers shared with us? Read on, faithful The Work Buzz follower:

  • Employee thought she had won the lottery (she didn’t).
  • Employee got distracted watching the “Today” show.
  • Employee’s angry roommate cut the cord to his phone charger, so it didn’t charge and his alarm didn’t go off.
  • Employee believed his commute time should count toward his work hours.
  • Employee claimed a fox stole her car keys.
  • Employee’s leg was trapped between the subway car and the platform (turned out to be true).
  • Employee said he wasn’t late, because he had no intention of getting to work before 9:00 a.m. (His start time was 8:00 a.m.)
  • Employee was late because of a job interview with another company.
  • Employee had to take a personal call from the state governor (turned out to be true).

Traffic, sleep schedules and weather conditions are the top three causes for late arrivals to the office, according to workers:

    • Traffic — 31 percent
    • Lack of sleep — 18 percent
    • Bad weather — 11 percent
    • Getting kids to school or day care — 8 percent

Other frequent reasons that were reported had to do with public transportation delays, pets, spouses, watching TV and using the Internet.

Most employers nowadays are flexible with worker schedules and start times, but it’s still important to remember that excessive tardiness can lead to termination. More than one-third of employers said they fired an employee for continuously showing up to work late.

“Punctuality — or lack thereof — can impact how your commitment, reliability and performance are perceived by your employer,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “One of the best ways to make sure you get to work on time is to get organized and plan ahead. Lay out whatever you’ll need for the workday the night before, plan to be at the office early, account for expected commute delays and eliminate distractions in your morning routine.”

So, tell me: what’s the worst excuse (or weirdest TRUE story) you’ve used when you were late to work?

  1. And if you need help making excuses to go to the interview read this:

    Interview Excuses – 10 Sneaky, Desperate, Slightly Kooky, Yet Effective Ways to get out of the office for an interview > http://bit.ly/mzFbuz via cc: @ResumeTarget

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  3. As a observer of my fellow members of the rank and file, I found this amusing; but it never surpassed the excuse I heard one snowy morning in N.E. Scotland when a fellow sailor ducked into ranks at morning muster late. When asked by the petty officer why he was late we learned the tardiness was because there was a “snowman in the way!” Seems the chap lived up a single track road and the kids had rolled a giant snowball that his little British Ford Angelia could not push out of the way. Anyway best excuse I’ve heard in my 40+ years ‘workin fer the man.’

  4. How about the truth? I HATE this job, the clueless tyrant “managers”, the entire way the operation runs, and ever time I waste a precious day here with you idiots, my SOUL dies a little.

  5. I had a 22 year old nursing student call in sick to her part-time job with what she thought were ‘stroke like symptoms’. Turned out to be true. She did think she was having a stroke. She went to the hospital to get checked out. She wasn’t having a stroke.

  6. If companies encourage more people to work from home it will eliminate the first excuse of TRAFFIC. It will also reduce traffic for the rest. Not to mention reducing pollution and gas consumption.

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  8. Pingback: What not to say when you’re late for work | Career Services Blog

  9. I’m doing some of the excuses mention. Sometimes those excuse are true but very obvious. One day, I will use one of those excuses.

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