Calling in Sick? Make Sure You Have a Good Excuse.

15 May

We’ve all done it before – called in sick when all we really wanted was an extra day off to lounge on the couch or hit up the mall. Most people in this situation simply tell their boss they’re sick and can’t make it into the office, but you might be surprised at the excuses some people come up with for missing work.

CareerBuilder’s Annual Survey, released at the end of 2011, revealed some of the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work. And these aren’t your run-of-the-mill “my car broke down and I can’t get another ride” excuses – they’re much more creative.

The top 15 unusual excuses for calling in sick include:

  1. My 12-year-old daughter stole my car and I have no other way to get to work.
  2. Bats got in my hair.
  3. A refrigerator fell on me.
  4. A truck accidentally dumped flour into my convertible while backing up.
  5. A deer bit me while hunting.
  6. I ate too much at a party.
  7. I fell out of bed and broke my nose.
  8. I got a cold from my new puppy.
  9. My child stuck a mint up his nose and had to visit the emergency room.
  10. I hurt my back chasing a beaver.
  11. I got my toe caught in a vent cover.
  12. I got a headache from visiting too many garage sales.
  13. My brother-in-law was kidnapped by the Mexican drug cartel.
  14. I drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.
  15. A bucket filled with water fell through the roof of a bowling alley and hit me in the head.

The moral of this story? Make sure you have a real reason for calling in sick, or simply be honest and tell your boss that you need an extra day off. Otherwise you might find yourself in danger of being caught.

In fact, the survey found that 15 percent of employers have fired a worker for calling in sick without a legit reason, and another 28 percent have checked up on an employee by:

  • Requiring a doctor’s note (69 percent)
  • Calling the employee (52 percent)
  • Asking another employee to call the worker (19 percent)
  • Driving by the employee’s house (16 percent)

The survey further found that employees are most likely to call in sick between January and March, and that 29 percent of workers admitted to playing hookey, mostly to run errands or do things with family and friends.


Writer and content creator specializing in everything from recruiting and job searching to social media and technology. Check out for more.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Calling in Sick? Make Sure You Have a Good Excuse.

  1. Steve Hopper

    May 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    love it…good stuff

  2. What I Desired To Say

    May 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    How come “in jail” isn’t listed? LOL

  3. themoonandme

    May 16, 2012 at 5:48 am

    A part-timer at a shop in my late teens with rather a penchant for wild weekends, I couldn’t think of a really good excuse one particular morning. I got on the phone hoping that I’d just work my usual magic and weave a few white lies into a believable story. Unfortunately this didn’t happen because the only reason I could think up was “I forgot to go to work.” Naturally I was fired. It didn’t matter too much because I really hated that job…plus the party was still going on around me at 9.30 that morning. The point? Always have a decent excuse prepared before getting on the phone.

  4. gtwhitfield

    May 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    The company I work for actually has Paid Time Off (PTO) days (can be used for vacation, sick, floater, religious reasons or whatever) which allows an employee to call in without having to give a reason. We certainly would prefer advanced notice, and hope that the reasoning is legitimate. However, if and employee needs a “mental health” day, they can take it without fear of having to make up an elaborate excuse. The business need does trump this request, so if it’s necessary, the PTO can be denied, but having PTO’s does take the pressure off of employees and employers alike. You only have a set amount though, so use them wisely.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: