“Hi boss. I can’t come into work today. I ate cat food instead of tuna and am deathly ill.”
While that may sound like a completely ridiculous excuse, an employee actually used it this year, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.
The survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,600 hiring managers and 3,100 employees, and found that 35% of workers have called in sick when they were feeling well over the last 12 months.
Some just “didn’t feel like going in,” while others “wanted the day to relax” or “needed to catch up on sleep.” A few even played hooky because they needed to run an errand.
“In some companies, people don’t feel comfortable telling their managers they need personal time off, so they will think of an elaborate excuse to get out of work,” Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s vice president of human resources, previously told Business Insider. “The more flexible the work environment, and the more open and honest the communication is across the company, and the less likely it is employees will feel the need to lie.”
The excuses below aren’t necessarily lies — but they’re certainly odd and sound suspicious.
If you do need to take a day off, your best bet is to be honest, but not share too many details with your manager, Haefner said. “Many employers are more flexible in their definition of a sick day and will allow employees to use them to recharge and take care of personal needs.”
If you choose to fib to get out of going to work, beware: While the majority (67%) of employers give their employees the benefit of the doubt, 33% said they have checked to see if an employee was telling the truth, and about 22% said they have fired an employee for giving a fake excuse.
The survey asked hiring managers and HR professionals to share the most suspicious excuses employees have given for needing to miss a day of work. “It never fails to surprise me what they say employees have revealed to them in order to get out of work,” Haefner said. “The excuses have become increasingly creative over the years.”
Here are 14 of the most ridiculous ones they shared:
An employee said he had to attend the funeral of his wife's cousin's pet because he was an uncle and pallbearer.
An employee said her roots were showing and she had to keep her hair appointment because she looked like a mess.
An employee said she couldn't come in because she used a hair remover under her arms and had chemical burns as a result -- and she couldn't put her arms down by her sides.
An employee said she was experiencing traumatic stress from a large spider found in her home, and she had to stay home to deal with the spider.
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