“Hi boss. Sorry I was late today. I had to finish watching “My Name is Earl.”
While that may sound like a completely ridiculous excuse for running behind, an employee actually used it this year, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.
The survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll among 2,595 hiring managers and more than 3,252 employees, found that one in four workers come in late to work at least once a month, while 13% come in late once a week.
The survey also asked employers and employees why people couldn’t get to work on time. While most blame their tardiness on common culprits like traffic, oversleeping, bad weather, lack of sleep, and needing to get kids to daycare or school — others offer much more bizarre excuses.
They’re not all necessarily lies — but they certainly sound odd and sound suspicious.
If you are running late, your best bet is to be honest, but not share too many details with your manager, says Peter Bregman, a CEO and author of “Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Stop Counter-Productive Habits and Get the Results You Want. You should also acknowledge the impact that your lateness had on the people you kept waiting, he says.
Bregman believes a quick, “Sorry for keeping you waiting” or “Thank you for your flexibility,” is sufficient.
Below are some examples of what not to say.
Here are 17 of the most bizarre excuses employees have actually used, according to CareerBuilder: