Uh, boss. I’m going to be a little late for work today because ...
• I had to put a raincoat on my cement duck lawn ornament because the forecast calls for rain.
• My wife was so mad at me that she froze my truck keys in a glass of water in the freezer.
• I drove to my previous employer by mistake.
These are just a few of the quirky excuses employers heard last year, according to the annual CareerBuilder survey of memorable reasons that workers did not show up on time. The online survey of managers and workers was done in the U.S. in November.
Traffic is the most common reason for being late, at 31 per cent, the job search website said. Others often heard are lack of sleep, having to take children to daycare or school, poor weather and delays in public transportation.
More than a quarter of workers admit they are late at least once a month, and 16 per cent are late once a week or more.
“Employers understand that every now and again circumstances will arise that are out of a worker’s control and unfortunately cause a late arrival to work,” said Rosemary Haefner of CareerBuilder. “It escalates to a problem when the behavior becomes repetitive, causing employers to take disciplinary action. More than one-third of hiring managers reported they had to fire someone for being late.”
Family and traffic are common reasons for lateness, said Christine Stoneman, chief operating officer of Victoria’s Chemistry Consulting, specializing in human resources and business throughout the province. She also oversees Chemistry’s subsidiary GT Hiring Solutions, which delivers Employment Program of B.C. services.
Stoneman passed on excuses she and colleagues have heard:
• “My cat attacked me this morning and I had to wait until the bleeding stopped before I could leave the house.”
• A bird pooped on an employee’s head on the way to work, so the worker returned home to wash up.
• “Damn GPS!” took me in the wrong direction.”
• “The lid of my coffee was not on tight and spilled all over me.”
• Previous appointment ran late.
• Missed alarms, a.k.a. “accidentally slept in.”
• Car broke.
• Couldn’t find keys/wallet/shoes.
• Ran out of gas.
• Couldn’t find parking.
• An employee’s wallet was stolen.
Stoneman said in employment training programs, people are urged to think of how colleagues will be affected by lateness. That means informing a manager or another worker as soon as possible to allow others to adapt.
Other excuses cited by CareerBuilder’s survey:
• A worker dropped her purse into a coin-operated newspaper box and couldn’t get it back because her coins were in her purse.
• A bear attacked the car. The employee took pictures for evidence.
• An employee accidentally left the house wearing his roommate’s girlfriend’s shoes and had to return to change.
• The car wouldn’t start because its breathalyzer device showed that the worker was drunk.
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