Skip Nav
How Getting a Second Job Actually Lowered My Stress Level
Power Your Happy Q & A
How Susan Tynan's Custom-Framing Obsession Turned Into a Booming Business
In Her Shoes
These High School Best Friends Are Actually Living Out Your Dream Life as Co-Boss Ladies

Unbelievable Work Excuses, According to You

At the beginning of the week I told you about Careerbuilder's recent survey that asked bosses for the most ridiculous excuses they've heard from employees calling to say they'd be missing work. You all responded with stories of unbelievable excuses you've heard or used, and below are some that made my eyes pop! Some are true and some are not — which do you think is most outrageous?

  • "I got apricot scrub in my eye when I was washing my face. I cut my eye so I can't come in."
  • A girl called in one day because she forgot to put her clothes in the dryer, and her dryer was old, so it would take several hours for her clothes to dry. By then it was not worth coming in to work that day.
  • Someone called in sick by saying a wasp was in the closet holding all the work clothes, and the next day the worker called in say with a reaction to a wasp sting.
  • "You know how when you are drifting off to sleep and you jerk awake? One woman claims she got whiplash that way!"

See four more excuses when you


  • One boss reported that a worker called in saying his neighbor had just struck a deer with her car, and he needed to wait for the gaming commission to come tag it and then he needed to process the meat right away before it went bad. "In other words, he took a no-pay day for road kill."
  • One manager reports that a worker called in saying, "My son was biting his toenails yesterday and they became infected overnight and I can't make it to work today." Ew!
  • An employee said her ex chained a pit bull to the front porch and she couldn't get outside the front door.
  • A co-worker called in saying "she fell asleep in the bathtub last night and her tailbone is bruised so she can't sit at her desk."


Join The Conversation
kristints kristints 8 years
For years, every time my mother would call in sick for work, she would say she had to go to something at my school, and I was home schooled!
Meike Meike 8 years
Wow, wackdoodle. You've been through a lot. Hope the future is brighter for you. As for lame excuses and what not, my boss is a primary example of a person who makes up excuses to not go to work. So, I pretty much fulfill all her duties as the creative director. Heh. She has gotten away with it for the past year. Fortunately, more people are taking note of her frequent absence from work and her disrespectful behavior towards me and several other co-workers. Several of us have file reports and now her role as my manager is slowly slipping away.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
LOL, these are really lame. I don't think anyone I've ever worked with has ever used excuses that lame, but I did work with a guy once that would leave after lunch for a good 45 minutes or so at least 3 times a week. When we asked him about it, he said he had forgotten his medication at home and had to go home to take it. We suggested that he keep a supply of the pills at the office so he wouldn't have to leave all the time, but he said he wouldn't want people to "steal" it. Whatever. I barely ever miss work, and when I do it's usually either because I'm REALLY sick or the roads are horrific. I commute 30 minutes on a two-lane highway, so it barely gets plowed in the wintertime. Of course, I have a really understanding boss and she would totally understand if someone had to come in late due to bad roads.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Yeah those are lame. But they may be true. I know for a fact that 3 of my employers have thought that my excuses were false too. "I was in the ER because of my migraine. They made me take some drug to stop the pain told me to go home and stay in bed." Employer thought I was lying and demanded proof. I should them me hospital braclet, discharge and intake sheets with medical follow up instructions stating due to the narcotic they gave me they wanted me to stay at home in bed and the receipt from the er. No apology was issued. "I have chicken pox and cannot come to work for at least a week or more." That was 1990 and my manager said LIAR come in and show me. My doctor called him as did my sister both explained that I had very bad chicken pox. He told them adults (I was just barely 18) don't get chicken pox. He told them I would be fired if I didn't come in and show him the pox. I went to the store I was working at and show him my huge, festering chicken blisters and my little 4 year old nephew who had the cute red dot variety of chicken pox. He apologized then screamed and ran because he had never had the chicken pox either. My last example was me telling my counselor and the vice principal of my high school that I was going to be absent for a unknown amount of time because my mother had died over the weekend. I went to the vice principal on Monday October 28th (I think it was) 1985 and told her that my mom had on Saturday morning and that my family was unsure what to do with me because I was the only minor child in the family and my mom was my primary caretaker even though she had been dying. The vice-principal and my guidance counselor called me a liar in front of the other students in the office and the office staff. They said "Why would you come to school after your mother died? "You don't look upset?" "We never knew that your mother was ill?" "Prove that your mother is dead and until you do you've got detention." And mind you I had never been a problem child in high school other than being late during that first semester because I was sleeping in the hospital across town every night and had to wait for some one in my family to remember to come pick me up from the hospital and take me to school. All the wrong things for an adult to say. I stood in that office shocked and asked if I could call my dad. He wasn't home he was at the funeral parlor making arrangements, so I called the Coroner's office and asked them to speak to the vice-principal. They told the vice principal that indeed the had a woman in the morgue with a name that matched the name on my school forms as my mom that she had died on October 26, after a long battle with a terminal condition. She had died of asphyxiation and subsequent respiratory failure, did they need to know anything else. Those b*tches then tried to make amends for calling me a liar and saying that I was emotionless etc. The vice principal tried to hug me and I completely rebuffed her and called her a f-ing, b*tch. First time I ever cursed using big swear words. My dad seriously considered suing those two women and he filed a complaint with the school board regarding their astoundingly bad behavior. When my dad died late on a Sunday night and I still went to work on Monday. I played my voice mail messages on speaker phone in the office that I shared with another co-worker. I didn't know The stupid VA hospital had called my job instead of calling my home and left the message "Hello, Ms. ____-, this is Dr. So and So from the Long Beach VA Hospital. I'm calling to tell you that your dad just died here at the hospital. Please call us at whatever phone number to tell us what to do with the body or whether you want an autopsy or something. Thanks. Bye." I didn't know that this jackass doctor had called my office and left this disturbing message for me. My co-worker freaked and ran from the office. I fumed then when she was gone I shut and locked the door to our office and finally cried hysterically privately. I was hoping that the call I had gotten from my sister the night before was a mistake but this cold call just confirmed that it was true and very real. From that point until I was forced to leave the three hours later because my co-workers were driving me crazy with their personal questions and accusatory statements about how they would never come to work if their dad had died I was a miserable wretch. They wanted me to cry in front of them, which I did not do. Luckily my boss, who had known that my dad has Parkinson's (his did too and had died suddenly the month prior to my dad dying) knew exactly how I felt. He came to work the day after his dad died and I was the only person he told since we had a common bond. He came into my office and sat down and said "I understand. You need to do what you feel is best for you, sometimes routine is better than sitting at home waiting for something else bad to happen. I'll support you." Then he went out and told my co-workers to STFU and go back to their desks and get to work. Great guy.
tinabeana tinabeana 8 years
My boss thinks it's hilarious. I never call in and I'm rarely sick (usually I just come in anyways) but when I do call in it's usually something nuts. Another time I had to call in because we were dog sitting my in-law's 14 year old border collie and my husband let her out to pee at around 10 PM and 15 minute later let her back in, it was only a few milli-seconds before we realized she had been sprayed by a skunk and the smell permeated our house. It also got all over us, it was so bad I was asked to "quickly make my selection and leave," the 24 hour pharmacy we were buying cleaning supplies from. I spent all night de-skunking the dog and the house, I'd never done so much laundry in my life. My bosses reply to my e-mail calling in: "I have heard a lot of reasons over the years for not coming into work. “I can’t come to work because I stink” is the best one ever!"
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 8 years
I actually have scratched my eye using apricot scrub. Not good times. It hurt for a week. But it hasn't stopped me from continuing to use them. :-)
lizs lizs 8 years
I totally relate to the wasp thing...I had a nest of bees outside my front door and my apartment complex took forever to fix it. I ended up getting stung while driving to work (one flew up the leg of my pants), which is not cool since I'm somewhat allergic. I called to tell my boss what happened and that I had to stop and get some benadryl, and she thought I was totally lying until I came in with a huge leg and big puffy cheeks. (Of course, I didn't get to go home!)
brandi07 brandi07 8 years
These are too funny!
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 8 years
so fricken funny!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
you have to admit that a lot of these are really funny. i think that if my employee called in with one of those, i don't know what i would do - get mad, or just laugh really hard and let it go cause it takes a lot of time and effort to think of those stories.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
haha one time i lived in a basement apartment and had to use the back door and go through the side gate...well on the way to go to school, the snow had blocked the wooden gate and it was frozen to the ground and i was trapped in the backyard! and i didn't have a shovel. that was annoying!
colormesticky colormesticky 8 years
I had to call in skunked once. Trust me, it was better that I just stayed home.
ffemt1201 ffemt1201 8 years
LMAO valancyjane. Too cute!
Angelica Angelica 8 years
I love the dryer one!
hibiscus96818 hibiscus96818 8 years
I once had to call in to work because I was stuck in my house. I live in the desert (very dry climate), but a couple of years ago we were having a very humid summer and the front door to my apartment expanded or something and I was unable to open it from the inside. I had to call my roommate to come back to the house on her lunch break and open the door from the outside. When I got to work an hour late my boss just laughed at me!
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
I was thinking about these this morning. I figure someone must have used this excuse at some point: I was stuck in bed! When the alarm went off, my husband was leaning into me on one side and the dog was leaning into me on the other side. Between their weight and the sheets being pinned on top of me, it took me about 5 minutes to get myself out. But I made it to work ... wow, I am dedicated. :)
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
All funny but the toenail thing is super disgusting!
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 8 years
:rotfl: Soooo lame. :p
94-Year-Old Woman Working at McDonald's
What Is Mystery Shopping?
Jobs With Less Demand in 2016
Worst Mistakes at a New Job
From Our Partners
Latest Career & Finance
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds