The Worst Excuses to Give for Calling Off

When I faked an illness, my phone calls to the boss had to be genuinely inventive. I once called off saying I had a cold. I was an awful actor, so I hung upside down off the side of my bed, allowing my sinuses to plug up, to put on the performance of a lifetime. Having later served in management, I developed a sixth sense, telling me when an employee seemed to be making up an excuse.
Here a few of the lamest excuses for calling off:


This one makes the top of the list. Why? Because it is used so often. Granted, if someone says they are suffering with this ailment, the safest thing to do would be to stay home. No one wants to spread a virus. If I were to take an educated guess, though, I would approximate this excuse as being truthful in about 50% of cases. I can only speak from experience. When I called in with this sickness, I reasoned, “They must believe me. Why would I invent something that is embarrassing?” I can’t be the only one who’s thought that, right?

My Car Won’t Start

This one is my personal favorite. The situation has an easy fix. “Oh, your car won’t start? Well, you certainly don’t want to sacrifice a day worth of wages if it turns out you’ll need to pay for repairs. I’ll tell you what, I can pay for an Uber for to get you to work and back home. Better yet, I can pick you up!” Guess what percentage of people took me up on that offer? Let’s just say that I began to take it personally that few people ever wanted to ride with me to work.

I’ve Been Drinking

Not only can this excuse get you terminated from a position, but it is also irresponsible. Honesty may be the best policy, but copping to drinking before a shift reflects poorly on your character. If you truly have been drinking, then you are certainly in no condition to work. You’re going to have to face the consequences when the time comes.

I Didn’t Get Enough Sleep

No employer wants an employee to fall asleep on the job, so this puts management in a corner. Just like the, “I’ve been drinking” excuse, be prepared to deal with consequences that will may involve counseling and corrective action forms. If you want to remain in good graces with upper management and keep your opportunities for advancement or pay increases alive, it would do you well to mind your rest.

A Final Work on Personal Days

I once overheard a call off by a coworker to our boss. There was no acting in the caller’s voice, no pain, no suffering. The caller only said, “I need a personal day today, boss. I’ll be in tomorrow.” That was it. Nothing more was said. All the boss could say was, “Okay, take care. We’ll see you then.” Sometimes, we just need a personal day. Why not just say it?

Omar Tarango is a Freelance Blogger
And Social Media Manager