May 25, 2014

The Very Best Excuses For Being Late

There is an old saying, if you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late. This is true in all aspects of life. No one likes being late – especially in the workplace. It’s unprofessional.

It’s your job to develop the appropriate time management skills that allow you to be in the right place at the right time. Appointments, deadlines, dinner dates, and especially work are all times where punctuality matters.

Being punctual makes you appear professional, shows integrity, presents the right attitude, and improves your value as a professional. Showing up on time is a simple way to show that you’re the professional you want to be.

Of course, everyone is late once in a while. Maybe your alarm clock broke, an accident stopped traffic, you had a wardrobe malfunction, or something else. What you don’t want to be is habitually late. If you’re the type of employee who is never on time, it makes you look incompetent, unprofessional, and unfocused – not the type of person your company wants around.

Everyone knows that being late is unacceptable. The statistics may surprise you:

  • 23% of employees admit to being late once a month
  • 15% of employees admit to being late once a week
  • 35% of employers have fired people for being late
  • 48% of employers expect employees to be on time every day
  • 34% of employers allow late show ups once in a while
  • 18% of employers don’t care when employees show up, as long as the work gets done.

Being late can even cost you your job. That’s why we make up excuses. defines excuses as a “an explanation offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an obligation, promise, etc.” Have you ever made up an excuse?

In a recent study by CareerBuilder, interview managers were asked to document the best excuses for being late. The most common excuses for being late are:

  • Traffic – 39%
  • Lack of Sleep – 19%
  • Public Transportation Issues – 8%
  • Bad Weather – 7%
  • Dropping Off Kids – 6%

Sometimes employees get a little bit creative with their excuses. Here are the top 12 most amusing excuses from CareerBuilder:

  1. Employee claimed a zebra was running down the highway and held up traffic (turned out to be true)
  2. Employee woke up on the front lawn of a house two blocks away from his home
  3. Employee’s cat got stuck in the toilet
  4. Employee couldn’t eat breakfast – he ran out of milk for cereal and had to buy some before getting ready for work
  5. Employee was late to work because he fell asleep in the car when he got to work
  6. Employee accidentally put superglue in her eye instead of contact lens solution, and had to go to the emergency room
  7. Employee thought Halloween was a work holiday
  8. Employee said a hole in the roof caused rain to fall on the alarm clock and it didn’t go off
  9. Employee was watching something on TV and really wanted to see the end
  10. Employee forgot that the company had changed locations
  11. Employee got a hairbrush stuck in her hair
  12. Employee was scared by a nightmare

Now those excuses should put a smile on your face. Stop by Facebook and tell us the most amusing excuses for being late that you’ve heard.

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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