"In my office there was an employee who was fired 20 years ago, but his excuses for being late or staying home still live on. He had dozens of dead relatives, and multiple ongoing problems with his car. He even was late one day because he backed up over a cat and was too upset to drive. But I think my favorite one was when he was waxing his kitchen floor, and waxed himself into a corner. Apparently he had to stand there for an hour until the wax dried. I've never met him but I feel that I know him well from his excuses. Just the other day, I woke up after a windstorm overnight to find my dead end street completely blocked by a downed tree. I emailed my excuse for being late to my boss. Her joking reply-'You sound just like [fibbing ex-employee].' Even 20 years later his legend remains" (Source).
"A fresh hire, and trouble from the start. Told the supervisor that she had to have Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays off for church, needed Tuesdays off for classes at the Y, needed at least one evening off to spend with her husband, and so on. She was the kind of person you knew wasn't going to last long, especially in a hospital setting. You just don't get to name your terms like that. But for whatever reason, she got hired. Anyway, one day, she went home for lunch. We didn't get a long lunch, it was usually right on a half hour and not worth going off-campus. But she drove home to her apartment across town, and we didn't hear from her for a couple more hours. Finally, she called and said, 'I came home and forgot I was working today. Can I just stay? Do I have to come back in?' The supervisor said that no, she did not have to come back in (ever)" (Source).
"I once worked with someone who was either bored, incompetent or a masochist. The supervisor in the finance department was losing their patience with why my co- worker was either late, or disappeared over long stretches during the day. All the time. OK, so my supervisor, let's call him Bob loses it after Mr. Late and Disappearance waltzes into our room (6 people 6 desks in one big room crunching/analyzing numbers) after being gone for 2 hrs. Bob starts by asking nicely why the consistent lateness and disappearance Mr. Late shrugs. Bob escalates his questions. Mr. Late starts shuffling his feet - you know - uncomfortable. The questions and accusations increase. Finally, Mr. Late says, and I will never forget this, 'Look I have had diarrhea and constipation, on and off, for the last, maybe, 7 months. I sit on the can in pain. Nothing works. So, if you fire me, know s--t is on your hands.' Silence. We all go back to work. Two days later, Mr. Late quits. He didn't have stomach problems, he was job searching and training for a triathlon during the work day" (Source).
"I once worked with a gal who had some of the most hilarious excuses for being late and missing days entirely. She was very funny and clumsy herself so some may have been true, but all of 'em certainly aren't. Here's a few choice ones... 1) 'I superglued my eye shut thinking it was contact solution.' 2) She missed a second half of day because she, 'Got stuck in the blood pressure cuff at Rite Aid.' 3) 'Yesterday was (insert Jewish holiday)' while plainly wearing a cross, which she wore everyday... 4) 'I sleep eat sometimes and I guess I dropped my car keys in a glass of water which froze in the freezer and I had to thaw it.' 5) 'Sorry I'm late. I helped a woman give birth on the side of the road this morning.' 6) 'The heater broke so I had to stay home and cuddle with my snakes to keep them warm.' 7) 'I accidentally drove off with the gasoline pump in my car and had to return it.' 8) 'A coffin fell out of a hearse and hit my car. The lid flipped open and the deceased body inside was a huge fat man and he cracked my windshield.' Those are a few of the funniest. Oddly enough, the woman was fantastic at her job, always got her work done ahead of time and was very well liked so some managers just laughed and let it be and others took it very seriously" (Source).
"I was hired to be a landscape foreman (I was so freaking excited.) And one day seven of my eight crew members didn't show up for a job. When they came the next day I asked each one why. They all had the same excuse, 'Court appointment for a paternity test.' I had to check it; it seemed too convenient for all of them to have the same excuse, I thought, 'Maybe a night of drinking together.' Nope... all seven went to the SAME courthouse for a paternity suit with the SAME WOMAN. Oh, and none of them was the father. And according to the Bailiff (who was my uncle's friend) none of the other NINE MEN were, either" (Source).
"'I got attacked by a terrorist squad.' There was this woman at one of my friend's office, in Paris, who constantly had weird excuses. From 'Sorry, my train was late' to 'Sorry, the ceiling broke in my living room.' People at the office didn't really believe it. Actually, many of them badmouthed that woman whenever they had a chance to. Then it happened. On November 13th, an ISIS squad shot and killed numerous people sitting at cafe's terrace. It was a Friday night. The next Monday, she did not show up at work, and emailed that she was under trauma as she was sitting on the one of the terraces that the squad attacked. She added that one of the terrorists came right to her to shoot her, but that the man's gun jammed. You guessed what's next: her manager forwarded the email to other people in the company and the whole office made fun of her, cracked jokes about how she was an opportunist, incompetent, lying person and so forth. A few days later, The Daily Mail released a video of the shooting. On that video, you could see the exact incident that she described. It shut a few badmouths at her office" (Source).
"'I set my boyfriend on fire.' To be fair to her, it was an accident and not (as I first assumed) a crime of passion. It happened in Delhi in early February, when temperatures dip tenuously close to zero and central heating is a luxury unheard of. My co-worker liked to sleep with her heater on her bed (already a pretty terrible idea). The night before she'd indulged rather too freely with herbal substances and consequently was knocked out solid. She said she started thrashing in her sleep in the middle of the night and must have flipped over the heater so that it came in direct contact with the blankets. You can imagine what happened next. She said something woke her up - the smell or a sound or something and she saw flames. She jumped out of bed but her boyfriend, right next to her, was asleep. She said fight or flight instinct kicked in then and she just pitched the portable water filter in the other room all over him so that the flames were partially doused and he woke up at least. Thankfully they were both fine. Their blanket and their heater, sadly, were not" (Source).
"This is one I overheard a coworker telling the foreman about twenty years ago when I was slaving away hauling crates at the local brewery. Disclaimer: This is a true story. I know that there's several racist jokes, but this is a story about how an African employee used those jokes to tap into his boss' racism to his own advantage. This happened at 60 degrees North, and winter was coming, and the days had started to get really dark. My work mate was around 40, eloquent and educated with a degree in sociology, and quite fun to be around. He had only one problem, the fact that he was Somali with a degree from an African university, and thus not-so-employable in Europe. This is a sort of discrimination that immigrants to Europe often face, and they have to resort taking menial jobs well below their qualification level. Enter the foreman. This guy was in his late 50s and basically saw it as his responsibility to make sure that the work day was as little fun as possible for us temps, and repeatedly tried to forbid us to listen to the radio while working or even chatting. Whenever the foreman was not in his little office on the end of the factory floor he was sneaking around trying to catch a temp for minor infractions. He especially had it in for some of the Africans, which he probably saw as inherently lazy and unreliable, or some other racist stereotype. One day, my work mate came in two hours late. The shift started at 7 AM, but he didn't get there before 9. Naturally, the foreman was furious and demanded an explanation. My work mate just calmly replied: 'Boss, it was pitch dark outside this morning. Have you seen the colour of my skin? Nobody can see me in the dark.' To which the foreman just replied: 'And what?' My work mate continued: 'Neither could the bus driver. So he just drove past me. So did the next one. And the one after that. I had to wait until it got light enough to actually see me before the bus driver stopped. That's why I didn't get here before.' To my great surprise the foreman grudgingly accepted his excuse. I realized that my work mate had played up to the racist notions that the foreman obviously had, and masterly used those against him. Naturally, my work mate had to see how long he could push it, so the next day (which was even darker) he didn't appear before 9:15 with the same explanation. The foreman was unsure on how he should handle this, but accepted the explanation once more. But he obviously planned a countermeasure. The day after, my work mate didn't show up until around 9:30, but this time the foreman was ready for him. 'I know how to solve your problem. Just wear this when you're waiting at the bus stop, and the bus driver is bound to see you' he exclaimed while handing him a high-visibility reflector vest. My work mate, sensing he could not outmaneuver this one easily, appeared on time the next day, but couldn't resist ridiculing the foreman one last time. That morning the foreman asked him 'Did it work? You're here on time.' 'Well boss, I didn't wear the vest. But I found another way to make myself visible to the bus driver. I just show the inside of my hands and smile my white teeth when the bus approaches, and then I'm just as visible as when I wear the reflector vest.' We were all laughing till our guts came out" (Source).
"'My llama gave birth last night." This from an IT manager responsible for 36 programmers and QA staff at a billion-dollar company. She raised llamas in her spare time, so it was probably the truth. Even funnier, she didn't seem to think it was an unusual excuse! Sick kids and funerals can't be avoided, but she mentioned it as if HR gave everyone three 'live llama birth' days a year. Llama birth became the default explanation for employee absences and an excuse to get out of social engagements: 'Where's Joe?' 'You didn't hear? His llama gave birth last night'" (Source).
"I've had my fair share of colleagues calling in with tall tales, but this one takes the biscuit. Quite possibly, the whole jar. My aunt owns a limestone quarry. One of her lorry drivers tasked with ferrying quarried limestone to the marble factory called in to say that his wife had passed away the night before, and asked for a few day's worth of compassionate leave. My aunt told him to take as much time as he needed. After hanging up the phone, she decided to drive over and offer her condolences in person. The wife answered the door" (Source).
"At work, we are entitled to use a 'locator slip,' with this an employee can go out during office hours for a maximum of two hours provided there's a valid reason. One day I was invited to a birthday party. We can have an hour lunch break, but I know that won't be enough time and thus I would be late, so I applied for a locator slip. I needed to fill in the reason in the request form, and I don't wanna lie. My reason: to attend the 3rd birthday of my best friend's Labrador. Boss: (gave me that 'you're-definitely-one-weird-girl-with-weird-friends look') 'Just be back by 1:30pm.' Hoooooray! My request was granted. I attended this cutie's birthday" (Source).
"When I was younger and a little more reckless, I woke up with a very sore head and knew I wouldn't be able to make it in that day. I have also always believed in being honest which meant composing this text message to my boss was a joy. A little background: whilst this happened in London, my company was on a large industrial estate; the gentlemen I met were very lost indeed. They also had no bus or taxi money between them. My text: Hi [Boss], I was waiting at bus stop to go home yesterday evening when I bumped into a lost Lithuanian heavy metal band with a crate of cider. After walking for several hours to help them find their destination I was rather more drunk than I expected. Very sorry, I won't be able to make it in today. His reply: Okay" (Source).
"Well, it wasn't work, but one of my friends was due to join me in a seminar with mandatory attendance. Fifteen minutes before it started, I got a panicked call from her. 'I'm going to be late! I might not make it!' she exclaimed. I asked her why, since she lived a ten minute drive away. 'These two squirrels are tied together by their tails on top of my car!' I got to say, if I was a computer, you could have heard my system churning, trying to process. 'Wait, what?' I asked. 'Hang on!' and a few seconds later I got a picture message. Sure enough, two squirrels had their tails knotted together. I had no idea that could even happen outside a cartoon. I bust into laughter and told the professor, showing him the picture, and we had a huge guffaw over it. She never did make it---she wound up waiting for animal control for over an hour, all the while the squirrels scampered to and fro in a frenzied fit" (Source).
"When I was in high school, I worked at a local, family-owned store. One of my fellow high-school student coworkers went totally AWOL for several days. When he came back to work, his excuse was that his grandmother had died. Management heckled him, because it was his third time using the excuse in a year or so. He just kinda quietly took it, because he was terrified of making waves. Three months later he called into work and said he couldn't make it because guess what, his grandmother had died. Again. He also needed a weekend off for the funeral. Here is where it gets interesting. Manager basically told him to not bother coming back. So this coworker came in with their step-dad and he asked to speak to the manager somewhere private. The manager was the sort of person who got a little bit of power and it went to their head. So naturally, he said that 'anything they had to say they could say there at the front counter.' Step-dad lit into the manager. The cleaned up, not former-Marine gist of it was this kid had a step mom and a step dad who he was close with, and so was close with 4 different grandma's. This poor soul had gotten close with 4 sets of grandparents, and lost half of them in about a year. When the step-dad was done, he told our manager he would be quitting and taking a job offer from our competition in two weeks time. Then he handed the manager 4 sets of photocopied eulogies" (Source).
"We had a worker in our office in my first job decades ago who phoned in saying he could not come into work because his car had been buried in a snowstorm. This worker lived in a sub-tropical area and it was 30 degrees C outside. The boss was gearing up to fire him and was already starting to reallocate this worker's tasks when the boss got another call from the worker asking the boss to look on the TV news. Sure enough, the reporter was at the scene where the worker's car had been buried in a freak snowstorm. We all thought it was the craziest excuse you could use but I still remember the utter look of shocked disbelief on the boss' face when he saw the news story on TV" (Source).
"I was a human lightning rod. Meaning, if a whack circumstance had potential to actualize, my lightning rod super powers would attract and organize all the ingredients and make the statistically improbable inevitable. So once a corporate recruiter from one of those companies with a reputation of grueling interviews that last several days flattered me enough to convince me to come in and start the in-person interview process with the hiring manager and one of the technical teams. Unfortunately, despite trying my best to make the 1 1/2 hour drive to Palo Alto on time, I was late when I arrived to the campus. Why was I late? Well, I had driven there directly after being discharged from my local emergency room earlier that morning. This is what happened. In the wee hours before dawn, I heard what sounded like our cat doing her crazy night time cat things but I couldn't be sure. I lived in a remote mountain area at the time and I was worried someone didn't close the sliding door all the way. Up there the raccoons are the size of small dogs. We had already experienced a raccoon-led home invasion a previous year when the door was not latched shut. The raccoons had pushed it open and ransacked the kitchen and dining room. We hadn't woken up to their racket before everything not nailed down had been torn open, scattered and partially eaten. Including my dining room chair cushions. They pooped with reckless abandon on my dining room table. So, yeah, I got up to make sure that door was closed this particular night before my big interview, because I had the vision of cleaning up raccoon poop stuck in my head. I stepped into the dining room towards the direction of the sliding glass door, whereupon my left foot made unexpected contact with the furry body of a very startled raccoon that I assume was overly enthused and engrossed in the cat food bowl so shared my surprise when I stepped on him. So, being as it was, it bit my foot. Being the genius that I'm not, I put on my interview garb and drove myself to the emergency room, figuring since it was already 5 am or so, I would just continue on to the interview when I was done. The hospital was 30 minutes or so from home. They gave me a shot in the arm with the first rabies vaccine and after cleaning the bite, injected some other medicine into the wound. With my foot was wrapped, I thought I felt pretty good, all things considered. So, never one to give up when that's the only right thing to do, I showed up 15+ minutes late, limping into the reception area and greeted the recruiter who assured me it was fine that I was late. A little more than an hour into it, I had to stop and let the guy doing one of the technical interviews know that I wasn't able to continue. the cold, clammy sweat on my face was evident and I guess not anything atypical to see during the interview. It happens sometimes when people are really anxious. But, I wasn't anxious or nervous. So, I explained to the guy it wasn't the questions he was asking that were making me feel sick, but that I had, incredibly enough, been bitten several hours prior by a raccoon and the vaccine I was given was probably the problem. He looked at me as if I had sprouted a few extra heads. Incredulous, and with his head tilted kind of sideways confidently declared that my story was the stupidest thing he's heard anyone say to bail out of an interview. Pretty much his exact words. By that time, I felt like s--t. I just wanted to lie down and close my eyes. Dizzy, nauseous and not exactly having my 'A' game moment of the season, I didn't argue his point, but, I did suggest that he would probably hear less stupid answers in his interview if he didn't asked stupid questions. Not my proudest moment, but, I can't say it wasn't valid feedback. I left. No, I was not asked to interview again by that team's hiring manager. I was, however, ultimately hired by a different engineering group. And, I only returned for the second shot instead of the usual series of four injections. I almost thought rabies would be more tolerable than the reaction I got from the vaccine" (Source).
"As a supervisor/lead developer of other developers, I had to listen to the excuses of a few people who couldn't come in because... 'I have a leaf mold allergy and cannot leave (pun not intended) the house.' I told him, 'That's too bad, but you grew up and have lived in this area (Maryland) all your life, and now it's affecting you?' 'No, it's been a problem all my life.' 'Do you take medication to treat it?' 'I'm against the idea.' 'That's a shame, as I'm against the idea of you not coming in for a month.' 'I'll be right in.' Then there was, 'I need to stay home to wait for a package,' by a different employee. I had a good answer for this, 'You can leave a thing called a release form, so that you don't have to wait for it.' I was pretty shocked when they then said, 'Well, I'm thinking about taking a different job. But, I don't know. Maybe I will come in.' Gee, thanks. By and large, it was simple problem solving for some pretty lame excuses. If you don't want to come in, just tell me, 'I need a personal day,' and it's no problem. Tell me what the problem is, and I'm going to solve it" (Source).
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