In the world of playing hooky, there are thousands and thousands of excuses you can use to get out of work. But in my experience, some just work better than others. Following are my 10 personal favorites, not only for my own use but for mankind's as well. -KS
10. Working from home
Provided you have the kind of job that allows you to do work outside the "office," this excuse not only gives you the opportunity to avoid going to work but, in some cases, makes you look like a more dutiful employee. You tell the boss that you woke up this morning with some great ideas and you wanted to get them down on paper before you forgot them. Then you call in a couple of hourse and say that you're really on a roll and don't want to lose your momentum, Or you tell the boss that the project that you're working on requires your full concentration and there are just too many distractions and interruptions at the office. You want to do the best possible work that you can, so you are going to work on it at home.
Incidentally, if the boss calls you at home and you're not there, he'll probably leave you a message asking where you are. When you call him back (after you retrieve your messages), tell him you're sorry you missed his call but you turned the phone ringer off so you could work without any interruptions. That was, after all, the whole point of not coming in to the office.
9. Water went off
There you were in the shower, all soapy wet, working your shampoo into a lather and before you could “rinse and repeat,” the water shut off. Now, soapy skin is one thing, but a head full of shampoo (or, worse yet, conditioner) is a whole different ball game. You can’t blow dry it. You certainly can’t style it. Chances are, you can’t even get a brush through it.
You really have no other choice but to wait until the water comes back on so you can rinse your hair. Unless, of course, you don’t mind going to work looking like the lead singer of a grunge band.
8. Pet escaped
If your animal as legs, it can get out the door. And, as many pet owners will tell you, if an animal can get out the door, it will. The good news is it makes for a very compelling excuse — and one that can be dragged out for hours. Animals without tags and cats without claws up the urgency (and necessary attention).
On birds: It’s hard to pull this one off. With clipped wings, he’s incapable. Au natural, he’s history. Either way, it’s a losing proposition.
7. Female problems
Sorry, guys, but you’ll have to skip this one. And it’s too bad — "female problems" are a great excuse not only because of their variety but also the frequency with which they occur. Take, for example, the monthly menstrual cycle (a.k.a. Aunt Flow) which brings with it a host of symptons, not the least of which are cramps, vomiting and hemmoraging. That and the fact that you can use it every month (unless, of course, you’re pregnant, but, that’s a whole other set of excuses). Best of all, you don't need any explanations. If your boss is a woman, she can relate. If your boss is a man, he doesn’t want to.
Ditto for yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and anything else "down there."
6. Family emergency
When you put it in such vague terms, most bosses won’t ask for details out of respect or fear of your filing a grievance. In the event that he does, a simple, “It’s personal.” or “I’d rather not talk about it.” will usually suffice.
HELPFUL HINT: Keep the personal personal. One good thing about the supervisor /supervisee relationship is that it is generally limited to the office and you are not close friends. What this means is that he doesn’t know a whole heck of a lot about your personal life, nor does he have any right to ask, really.
Say, for instance, you use as an excuse, “My cat Fluffy is sick.” and your boss replies, “I didn’t know you had a cat.” An effective response might be: “Well, Boss, there are probably a lot of things about me that you don’t know. I don’t make it a point of talking about my personal life at work.” This, of course, sets the stage for future excuses and prevents these types of questions. Plus, you look more professional for keeping the personal personal.
5. Garage door opener on the fritz
A technological advance that has become essential to daily living (at least for those who have garages ... and cars), the garage door opener is also a great (read: very clever) excuse for scamming out of work. Example one: You pull out of your garage and hit the button on the garage door opener to close it... and nothing. You tried pulling the door down yourself, but you can't get it to budge. You’re afraid to leave it open to come to work because you have a lot of stuff inside — bicycles, golf clubs, tools — that you don’t want to get stolen. Example two: You get in your car, hit the garage door opener so you can pull out of the garage... and nothing. You tried hoisting it up yourself, but you can't get it to budge. Even better than the garage-door-won’t-close excuse, this one doesn’t give you a choice to stay home or not: You can’t get your car out of the garage!
4. Anything contagious
Feigning a sore throat, headache or nausea is all fine and well, but some bosses aren't going to consider a "tummyache" a good enough excuse for not coming into work. Why not up the ante, then, by coming down with something that will virtually guarantee time off — something contagious. Fine, your boss might not give a crap about how you feel, but he certainly doesn't want to risk infecting the whole office, does he?
Contagious illnesses to consider: chicken pox, conjunctivitis (a.k.a. pink eye), flu, head lice, mononucleosis or poison ivy/oak/sumac. As for the head lice, I'd probably only consider that one if I worked in an elementary school. People talk, you know.
used to think that Mother Nature had to cooperate in order to use weather-related excuses. Until I discovered a brilliant little loophole: You don't have to wait to play hooky until severe weather or natural disaster strikes your neighborhood; you simply wait for it to strike somewhere else, then you claim to have family or friends there. I mean, your boss can't expect you to come to work when your great great grandmother might be buried under a pile of rubble in her native Kyrgyzstan following an earthquake. Can he?
Remember, you don't actually have to have any relatives in Kyrgyzstan (or even a great great grandmother, for that matter) for this excuse to work. You just have to pretend that you do.
2. Key broke off in lock
It was the strangest thing. You put your key in the front door lock, turned it to the right and SNAP! The damn thing broke off in the lock. (Maybe you should lay off the vitamin supplements.) Since the key broke off before you could turn it all the way, you can’t lock the door. And since you can’t lock your door, you can’t leave the house. And if you can’t leave the house, you can forget about going to work.
The reason I like this excuse so much is because it's so unexpected. Chances are your boss has never even given such an occurrence a thought, let alone heard it as a reason for not showing up to work. Sublety, my friends, sublety.
Expecting something a little more exciting, huh? I say leave the drama for your mama™ (Sgt. Rosenbaum, "Boot Camp" Drill Instructor) and use an excuse that works. Here's why:
- It's fairly common — could be from something you ate, could be a bug, who knows?
- It is a sudden onset phenomenon. Diarrhea is not something you could have given your boss advance notice about.
- It's incapacitating. When you have yourself some diarrhea, it's not like you can cram a wad of toilet paper up your butt and hope you make it to work without incident. No, sir, diarrhea is a serious situation which requires close proximity to a toilet, a lot of TP and, maybe, a change of underwear.
- Most important of all, your boss doesn't want to hear about it. Not about the urgency. Not about the frequency. Not about the consistency. Just say you have it and that's all he'll want to hear. Trust me.