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Top 10 Excuses When You're Running Late

By Rosemary Haefner V.P. of Human Resources

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Here's the situation. So you went to the ball game last night. Your team won and you stayed out a little bit later than you should have. Fast-forward six or seven hours and you're still poking along nowhere near being ready to leave for work. What do you do?

A. Tell your boss the truth and assure him this is a one-time thing.

B. Cook up an elaborate tale that involves checking the morning's traffic conditions, implicating your children and cursing the inventor of orange juice.

If you tend to suffer from a lack of punctuality, you're not alone. One-in-ten workers -- 13 percent -- say they arrive late to work at least once a week and 24 percent say they arrive late at least once a month.

What are the biggest causes of workplace tardiness? Here's what workers said:

  • Twenty-seven percent of workers blamed traffic
  • Ten percent pointed to getting their kids ready for school or day care.
  • Eleven percent said falling back asleep was the main culprit.
  • Other popular reasons: forgetting something at home, feeling sick and misplacing house or car keys.
  • One in five admit to making up fake excuses to explain their tardiness. Hiring managers provided the following 10 examples of the most unusual excuses employees offered for arriving late to work:

    1. I dreamed that I was fired, so I didn't bother to get out of bed.

    2. I had to take my cat to the dentist.

    3. I went all the way to the office and realized I was still in my pajamas and had to go home to change.

    4. I saw that you weren't in the office, so I went out looking for you.

    5. I couldn't find the right tie, so I had to wait for the stores to open so I could buy one.

    6. My son tried to flush our ferret down the toilet and I needed to tend to the ferret.

    7. I ran over a goat.

    8. I stopped for a bagel sandwich, the store was robbed and the police required everyone to stay for questioning.

    9. A bee flew in my car and attacked me and I had to pull over.

    10. I wet my pants and went home to change.

    While the majority of bosses tend to be lenient if employees occasionally run late, others are much stricter in their policies. Thirty percent of hiring managers say they don't care if their employees come in late as long as their work is completed on time with good quality. Be warned: One-in-ten hiring managers say they would consider terminating an employee if he/she arrives late once or twice in a given year; and one-in-five say a pink slip may be in order if an employee is late three times in a year.

    Not surprising, Monday is the most popular day for late arrivals, 64 percent of employers say. While the majority of bosses don't typically question the validity of the reasons provided, 35 percent say most of the time they don't believe the excuses.

    © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority
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