9 Watertight Excuses For Being Late To Work

Every now and then, even the most punctual person with utmost respect to being on time will be late for work. And depending on the corporate culture in your working environment, sometimes only a legitimate reason will be able to help you get away from being given the eyes by the boss.

Whether you call it a reason or an excuse, it’s a response to lessen or eliminate the negative impact of how you are perceived by your immediate supervisor.

Don’t even think that it doesn’t matter what he thinks. Even if you hate your job, your appraisal matters.

After discussion with a friend of mine who is a quantum physicist, at least he thinks he is one, we came to the conclusion that the “perfect” excuse for coming in late for work (or not at all) has to meet 3 strict criteria.

  1. It must be something that the person you are reporting to will have experienced himself/herself, or will never understand.
  2. It is politically incorrect in the highest order not to give you the benefit of the doubt.
  3. The event that caused your lateness has little to no means of being verifiable. And if there is a way of verification, the person controlling that verification process is in your corner.

Not all excuses, or reasons as some might put it, will meet all 3 criteria. However, not all 3 has to be present in your excuse for it to be effective and believable.

These are what our (ahem) scientific approach has come up with.

1) Pet emergency

Your Husky fell into the pool and was in danger of hypothermia...

My Husky fell into the pool and was in danger of hypothermia…

This is a great rain check if your boss is a pet owner too. He would probably give his dog the same level of care and attention if he observes any signs of illness coming from his pet after eating something wrong.

And if he doesn’t have a pet, he is expected to understand how much pets mean to their owners.

After all, a life is at stake here.

If he as much as comments something negative about the health and well-being of your pet, he faces the prospect of an online backlash of fury should you publish and share his remarks on social media. In extreme cases, he might even face the sack for disrespecting animals.

You would of course be smart about this and say something like your pet being deemed fine after the visit to the vet.

2) Menstrual cramps

The pain was so bad... I couldn't even walk...

The pain was so bad… I couldn’t even walk…

This is something that men will never truly understand. Yet everyone of them will be able to sympathize with how bad it can be if they’re married or have had a girlfriend.

It is almost a sin to fault women for not performing at a high standard when they have cramps to contend with.

The drawback of this excuse is when your boss… is a woman.

Women can be nasty at times. They will be better than men in telling whether you are faking it. And sometimes they can be much more nasty to female subordinates than with male.

So do leave this excuse in the back locker if your boss is indeed a woman.

3) Ran into a road bully

He blocked me off, got out of the car, and won't let me leave...

He blocked me off, got out of the car, and won’t let me leave…

If you have your own set of wheels, the odds are that you will have run into road bullies.

If not, lucky you. But don’t count your lucky starts just yet. You will eventually run into one. And it might just sent you fuming or depressed for the whole day.

There’s something about driving on the road that can send people ballistic with rage.

In fact, your boss would probably have his or her own bad experiences on the road involving bullies and can totally understand that things can get pretty intensed and outrageous.

You will already be showered with sympathy if you are a woman.

Because of the negative perception that people associate road bullies with, almost anything you claim that the bad guy did is believable.

But of course, your excuse for being late to work doesn’t have to be that far fetched.

A story like a bully forcing you to stop and refusing to let you leave or one that is driving so recklessly that it forced you into missing your exit on the freeway… is good enough.

The culprit of your lateness is the bully. It’s not your fault. And your boss should actually be relieved that you got to the office safe and sound.

If you choose to go all in and declare that you ran into a road bully and decide to bully him back by stalking him… you might even get a pat on the back.

4) Your kid crapped his pants

Shit happens....

Shit happens….

Some employees like to use the excuse that they had to send their kids to school because their wife or husband couldn’t do it that day. But this leaves a little room for backlash as something like this seldom happens suddenly. Because the lack of an ad-hoc circumstance makes your reason for being late “avoidable” if you had the foresight to plan beforehand.

It’s not nice to have your foresight under the microscope when you are the marketing manager…

And for all I know, you might already be well-known in the office to be the parent sending your children to school everyday. This make the excuse of suddenly having to do it even more lame.

But if your kid had crapped his pants… that’s a different story altogether.

  • Every parent will be able to relate to such a situation.
  • Even those who are yet to be parents will understand.
  • And those who choose not to be parents will be able to acknowledge it as this could be one of the reasons they don’t want kids!

You can’t really let your kid go to school wearing pants full of crap. This was why you had to do a u-turn and rush home to help him change. This is the reason you are late for work.

Is your boss going to blame a child’s bowel? I don’t think so.

You should be able to breeze through unless you have a perverse boss who insist on inspecting your car for evidence…

5) Spent the night at the hospital after your dad complained of chest pains

I was so scared... I couldn't even think straight... I'm sure you'll understand...

I was so scared… I couldn’t even think straight… I’m sure you’ll understand…

Who in the right mind is going to question your honesty on such a sensitive topic?

Chest pains are no laughing matter especially when the victim is an elderly.

And when that alleged victim is a parent, the magnitude of the event grows even bigger.

However, you might be caught with your pants down on this one if your heartless supervisor wants you to produce receipts from the hospital…

In this case, you could say that you went to a 24-hours clinic instead. And the Doctor was so kind not to charge you after he realized that it was nothing serious.

6) Breakfast stained your dress

My M&M's exploded...

My M&M’s exploded…

Nobody likes to go to work in a stained shirt or dress. In some places, it could actually be rude and disrespectful to do so.

This is why you had to make your way home to change into a nicely pressed dress after you spilled that Frappuccino on yourself during rush-hour breakfast.

Quick food can sometimes be an unwanted hassle. Yet you can’t go through the day with an empty stomach.

This excuse can be especially effective if you are doing sales.

Your boss can’t expect you to meet a prospect with a bad first impression. In fact, he should commend you for taking your personal grooming seriously.

7) Some bugger drove into a pool of water on the road and drenched you

I got splashed on the way here... had to turn around...

I got splashed on the way here… had to turn around…

Related to point #6, you can probably agree that damage to your work attire is almost always accepted as a situation where actions to rectify has to be taken.

One of those good reasons that you have little control over is having a car splash you.

If you are a driver, the chances are that at one point or another, you could have done the same to unsuspecting pedestrians too… even when you had absolutely no intention to do so.

Sometimes, things just happen.

  • You didn’t realize that there was so much water in that water pool.
  • You were concentrating on driving in bad weather that you didn’t notice the pedestrians walking on the pathway.
  • You tried to slow down to minimize the splash but failed miserably.

It’s just that this time, your excuse is that you became the victim instead of the instigator.

And what else can you possibly do except go home to change into a new dress when that happens to you?

8) A morning delivery to your house was late

An important morning delivery I was expecting came late...

An important morning delivery I was expecting came late…

Nothing better than to throw the blame for your lateness on someone else.

You can say that you were expecting a delivery in the morning and had scheduled it to arrive before you get on your way to work. And as your luck would have it, the delivery man was late.

You can’t leave the house empty when a stranger is going to arrive.

The good part is that deliveries are always late. It is almost a given. I cannot remember the last time a delivery I was expecting arrived on time. Punctuality is always a problem with logistics.

The bad part is what are you going to come up with that has to be delivered in the morning.

I leave this part to your creativity.

9) Blame your husband/wife

It was all his fault... I don't even want to talk about it...

It was all his fault… I don’t even want to talk about it…

I don’t know why this is so.

But it always seem to be that every friend, colleague, or acquaintance we have who are married or attached, the crazy half in their relationships tend to be their partners instead of them.

Maybe it has something to do with how our friends tend to paint a beautiful picture of themselves in front of us… and we never meet their other halves to paint a “normal” picture of them.

This makes our partners the perfect excuse for anything and everything. I mean this in a benign and fun manner.

They are not going to be upset. They could actually be happy that they could play a role in making our work more bearable. Heck! They might never even know that they have been used as a patsy by you in the office.

No harm will be done. And no harm is intended.

I actually do this all the time for every type of occasions like:

  • I don’t feel like hanging out and made the excuse that I had to keep my partner company.
  • I had to take a leave of absence as my partner was suddenly unavailable to watch the kids.
  • I was late for the weekend get together as I was stuck at my in-laws.

If you just come up with a stupid reason that arised from your partner, the odds are that people will seldom question you.

In fact, they would often go “Yeah… tell me about it… Mine is even worst…”.

Final words

Now that you have some of the best excuses for being late for work, and I really believe that they are some of the best around, I just want to add that you might want to take a look at the context of your lateness.

Because if you were late for something as important as a million dollar presentation your team has been preparing for the last 3 months, maybe you do deserve a tongue lashing for putting everything at risk.

And it is your job to be punctual after all. It’s written in your terms of employment. Some people actually quit their jobs because their employers have inflexible hours.

Many of your colleagues make an effort to be on time on a daily basis. To be fair, and to build a healthy work culture, you should not be getting, or expect to get any special treatment. Don’t make oversleeping and being late for work a bad habit instead of just a rare occurrence.

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