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Home  > Article

More Great Excuses for Calling in Sick

By Rosemary Haefner

It's 6 a.m. and you are about to throw the alarm clock out the window. It's too cold out, you're tired, you had one glass of wine too many last night, you've really got to clean your house, and, most importantly, you haven't had some real bonding time with your couch lately.

It's 6 a.m. and you are about to throw the alarm clock out the window. It's too cold out, you're tired, you had one glass of wine too many last night, you've really got to clean your house, and, most importantly, you haven't had some real bonding time with your couch lately.

"Just call in," you tell yourself. "They can get by one day without me."

So, in your best sick voice, you leave a near-death sounding message for your boss and throw in a cough just to make it believable. Ferris Bueller has nothing on you!

The art of playing hooky
CareerBuilder.com recently took a look at employees who call in sick with bogus excuses. Forty-three percent of workers said they called in sick when they felt well at least once during the last year.

The most popular motivator for missing work: good, old-fashioned rest. Almost 23 percent of workers said they just wanted to relax and catch up on sleep. Seventeen percent said they just didn't feel like going in, 16 percent attributed it to a doctor's appointment, and 9 percent said they had to catch up on housework and run personal errands.

Three-day weekend or mid-week break?
Thirty-eight percent of workers said they viewed sick days as equivalent to vacation days. The most popular day for calling in sick when feeling well was Wednesday, with 27 percent of workers getting over the mid-week hump by fabricating an excuse. While extended weekend absences were also popular, with 26 percent of workers calling in sick on Monday and 14 percent on Friday, those partaking may have put themselves at more risk of scrutiny.

Your boss is no fool.
Sixty-three percent of hiring managers said they are more suspicious of employees calling in sick on a Monday or Friday. The survey also revealed that some hiring managers were less tolerant of workers playing hooky, with almost one-fourth stating they fired an employee for missing work without a legitimate reason. While the definition of a sick day has evolved, with more employers including mental health and special circumstances in the description, workers should be mindful of company policies and their responsibilities as an employee.

"I was abducted by aliens..."
When asked to share the most unusual excuses workers gave for missing work, hiring managers shared some of their favorite examples:

  • "I'm too drunk to drive to work."

  • "I accidentally flushed my keys down the toilet."

  • "I had to help deliver a baby on my way to work." (Employee was not in the medical profession.)

  • "I accidentally drove through the automatic garage door before it opened."

  • "My boyfriend's snake got loose and I'm afraid to leave the bedroom until he gets home."

  • "I'm too fat to get into my work pants."

  • "God didn't wake me." (Employee didn't believe in alarm clocks and thought a higher power would wake her when she was ready.)

  • "I cut my fingernails too short, they're bleeding and I have to go to the doctor."

  • "The ghosts in my house kept me up all night."

  • "I forgot I was getting married today."

  • "My cow bit me."

  • "My son accidentally fell asleep next to wet cement in our backyard. His foot fell in and we can't get it out."

  • "I was watching a guy fixing a septic pump, fell in the hole and hurt myself."

  • "I was walking my dog and slipped on a toad in my driveway and hurt my back."

  • "My house lock jammed, and I'm locked in."


    Rosemary Haefner is the Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder.com. She is an expert in recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior, workplace issues, employee attitudes and HR initiatives






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