“I drank spoiled milk.” This excuse adds a twist to the traditional stomach virus. Ayana Green, a manager for the State of Georgia, will never forget the day an employee called in with this reason for not being able to make it. It’s likely that the employee thought naming the exact cause of their illness would make their story seem more believable. However, Green remembers vividly thinking, “If you knew the milk was spoiled, why would you continue to drink it?”
“I don’t have gas money.” While the extremely high gas prices do make getting to work an expensive feat, it’s never a good excuse for not coming in. Green has heard this line on more than one occasion. It’s odd because the whole idea of working is so you can afford expenses associated with transportation. “If you don’t come in to work, you’ll never be able to afford gas,” Green says.
“I slipped on syrup and hurt my back.” A myriad of thoughts come to mine when hearing this excuse. Andrea Walker, a pension specialist, recalls the day her co-worker phoned in with this outrageous story. She thought, syrup? Really? How? Where? “It just didn’t add up. Everyone in the office couldn’t stop laughing,” Walker says.
I put my bra on backwards.” Yes, you read correctly. “I still can’t figure out how a woman puts her brassiere on backwards,” Walker says. A better question: How does this prevent you from being able to come to work? “If the bra is backwards, why wouldn’t you just turn it around and keep going?” When the same syrup-slipping co-worker used this excuse to take a different day off, Walker says that everyone in the office was equally confused.
A Bit of Advice
Rather than creating a lame and highly unbelievable excuse for why you can’t report to work, it’s best to keep it simple and just be honest. Managers are human, too, and they know that everyone needs a day off. If you’re in desperate need of a break and absolutely must call in, don’t feel obligated to create some wacky story. “I’m not feeling well” is usually all an employer needs to hear. Excessive absence or bizarre stories can raise a red flag with employers and cause them to question your integrity.
Bottom line: Don’t make a habit of out of calling out of work. The best practice for most companies is to schedule your time off. Green suggests that employees schedule one personal or vacation day every couple of months, even if you don’t have anywhere to go. We all get burnt out and need time off. When you know that you have a scheduled break coming up, you’re less likely to tell a bad lie.