12 Amusing Excuses for Being Late to Work

CareerBuilder.com

There is no worse feeling than waking up in the morning, rested from good night's sleep, and glancing at the clock, only to do a double-take: You're late!

For most people, knowing they're running late for work strikes the fear of God within them and as a result, they move like there's a fire under their feet to get ready. They hustle, scramble, frantically throw things into a bag and are out the door to ensure a timely -- though unkempt and graceless -- arrival at the office.

But for a smaller group people, knowing they are running late for work does absolutely nothing except stimulate their creative juices in order to make up the latest excuse as to why they are late for work -- again.

Twenty percent of workers said they arrive late to work at least once a week, according to a February 2009 CareerBuilder.com survey of more than 8,000 workers. Twelve percent said they are late at least twice a week.

One-third (33 percent) of workers blamed traffic for their tardiness, while 24 percent said lack of sleep was the culprit. Ten percent of workers said getting their kids ready for school or day care was the main reason they ran late in the morning. Other common reasons included public transportation, wardrobe issues or dealing with pets.

See Also: Work-at-Home Jobs

"While some employers tend to be more lenient with worker punctuality, 30 percent say they have terminated an employee for being late," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com. "Workers need to understand their company's policies on tardiness and if they are late, make sure they openly communicate with their managers. Employers have heard every excuse in the book, so honesty is the best policy."


Use Your Imagination

If you've decided honesty is not the best policy for you, don't try using any of the following excuses as the reason why you're late -- they've been heard before.

Here are 12 of the most outrageous excuses employees have heard for being late to work:

1. My heat was shut off so I had to stay home to keep my snake warm.

2. My husband thinks it's funny to hide my car keys before he goes to work.

3. I walked into a spider web on the way out the door and couldn't find the spider, so I had to go inside and shower again.

4. I got locked in my trunk by my son.

5. My left turn signal was out so I had to make all right turns to get to work.

6. A gurney fell out of an ambulance and delayed traffic.

7. I was attacked by a raccoon and had to stop by the hospital to make sure it wasn't rabid.

8. I feel like I'm in everyone's way if I show up on time.

9. My father didn't wake me up.

10. A groundhog bit my bike tire and made it flat.

11. My driveway washed away in the rain last night.

12. I had to go to bingo.


Follow the Culture

The general rule is that you should be in your desk, working by your designated starting time. Technically, even if you're at your desk "on time" but you're still booting up your computer, saying your hellos and making a cup of coffee -- you're late.

Though you should always try your best to be punctual every morning, sometimes it's safe to observe the company culture. If you arrive to work every morning to find all of your colleagues diligently working while you shuffle in on your own accord, your tardiness will probably stand out. On the other hand, if most people filter in at their own paces -- within reason -- an occasional late arrival will probably go unnoticed.

To be on the safe side, try your best to be on time for work every day. Your boss, co-workers and reputation will thank you for it.

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Tumadre

Ok, so for the person that comes in late 2 to 3 times a day needs to not be late but for a person that's late once a month and comes in early or on time the other 20 days ahidnt be told anything, and I mean anything!

October 31 2009 at 4:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ed Sorrels

I was a mechanic for a transit mix company, We had a young man that was the fuler for the parked truck's in the evening there were 120 of them and he operated a fuel truck and filled each one in the evening's, He was frequently either late or just plain didn't show up, Now this was a union job that paid prime wages and benifit's and when he didn't show a mechanic had to be pulled to do his job which messed the repair schedule up. After repeated warning's and union required writeup's he missed another day and when he showed up the next day the boss told him if he missed another day he was "GONE" I was standing there as his union rep and he told the boss that he was going to take the day off to think about it. LOL that was it he fired him on the spot, I laugh till this day about it.

September 06 2009 at 5:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Emily

No matter how outrageous they sound, some of those 12 could have been
true for those people. Some women have obnoxious husbands who hide
their car keys, especially if they don't like their wives working
outside the home. The Spider web thing I could totally understand.
Some parent out there could have been locked in the trunk by their
kids while playing a hide-and-seek game, especially if the kids are
aiming to get out of going to school that day. And living in
Southern California, all kinds of bizzaar things happen on our
freeways so it's not implausible that a gurney fell out of an
ambulance. Mattresses, tires, furniture, oil spills, and all kinds
of things fall out of the back of vehicles on California roadways.
Why are all of these absolutely considered excuses when in some
cases, they could be reasons?

May 17 2009 at 5:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Emily

No matter how outrageous they sound, some of those 12 could have been true for those people. Some women have obnoxious husbands who hide their car keys, especially if they don't like their wives working outside the home. The Spider web thing I could totally understand. Some parent out there could have been locked in the trunk by their kids while playing a hide-and-seek game, especially if the kids are aiming to get out of going to school that day. And living in Southern California, all kinds of bizzaar things happen on our freeways so it's not implausible that a gurney fell out of an ambulance. Mattresses, tires, furniture, oil spills, and all kinds of things fall out of the back of vehicles on California roadways. Why are all of these absolutely considered excuses when in some cases, they could be reasons?

May 17 2009 at 5:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kris

I was a supervisor for a Home Health agency, and an employee once called off work because "her dog ate her teeth". (we're assuming they were dentures!)

May 17 2009 at 2:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gregory

I had a young Yankee working for me. His late excuse, he had gotten bacon caught in his teeth! He didm't last long

May 17 2009 at 1:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jennie

i'm late all the time. i work in a grocery store deli. i try not to be late, but sometimes it doesn't work for me. lately when i've written in my schedule for the week on my calender, i put in that i need to be there 30 min before i have to be there. that's worked pretty good so far. i just say i may be late, but i stay late to make up for it. also, back in 2006, when i lived in florida, i actually called in to say my cat ran off and i had to find her, which she did run off and it took me two or three hours to find her. but i did go into work that day after i found her.

May 17 2009 at 12:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ryanoback

I was going to hire a guy but when I asked if he smokes pot he said no. So I didn't hire him.

May 16 2009 at 10:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ryanoback's comment
Tricia

If I had to work I'd work for you in a second...LOL I have never understood what smoking a bowl at night has to do with work the next day...thank god i don't have to work!

May 17 2009 at 3:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard

The most funniest excuse and a original classic one for being late to work in my 30 years of retail was one that I given from one of my Dept. Managers who was always constantly late 10 to 15 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. My Store Manager instructed me to write him up and give him his final written warning. If he was late again, he would initiate his own dismissal. I gave him his last written warning and would you believe he was late 15 minutes the next day!!!. I approached him as he was walking towards his dept. shaking his head, he knew I was going to fire him. I stopped him and he tells me, " You not going to beleive what happen to me." I already knew he had already used every excuse in the book and I said to myself, well I am going to fire him anyway, I'll let him give me his last excuse. He tells me " I am sorry for being late, what happen was that I was dreaming that I was at work and all of sudden I woke up and realized I was not! so I rushed over right away !! " Now that was really an original classic excuse. I laughed inside to myself and told him, I needed to talk to the Store Manager. I told my Store Manager and he started laughing with me hysterically. He tells me, what are we going to do with him? He is a very good Dept. Manager. We came up with a solution for him to report everyday 30 minutes earlier then the rest of the management staff. We did not fire him and he continued to come two or three times late every week. In our books, he was still early and that took care of his problem. NOW THAT IS AN ORIGINAL CLASSIC EXCUSE!! LOL

May 16 2009 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
terrigone

True Story: My best friend lived a rural area at the time and had to call in one day because her neighbor's horse up and died in her driveway. She could get her car out and had to wait for the owner to get a crane over to lift the horse out.

May 16 2009 at 9:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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