Tech & Work

The worst excuses for missing work

A CareerBuilder survey reveals some of the weirdest reasons employees have given to explain a day off.

 A CareerBuilder survey reveals some of the weirdest reasons employees have given to explain a day off.


You've got to hand it to the folks over at, they conduct some interesting surveys. As part of its latest survey, CareerBuilder got employers to share some of the most unusual reasons employees gave to explain an absence:

  • Employee didn't want to lose the parking space in front of his house.
  • Employee hit a turkey while riding a bike.
  • Employee said he had a heart attack early that morning, but that he was "all better now."
  • Employee donated too much blood.
  • Employee's dog was stressed out after a family reunion.
  • Employee was kicked by a deer.
  • Employee contracted mono after kissing a mailroom intern at the company holiday party and suggested the company post some sort of notice to warn others who may have kissed him.
  • Employee swallowed too much mouthwash.
  • Employee's wife burned all his clothes and he had nothing to wear to work.
  • Employee's toe was injured when a soda can fell out of the refrigerator.
  • Employee was up all night because the police were investigating the death of someone discovered behind her house.
  • Employee's psychic told her to stay home.

Who knew the turkey one could work?!

Another interesting little detail revealed by this particular survey, which was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of among 3,388 hiring managers and human resource professionals, is that quite a few managers check up on their employees who claim to be out of commission for one reason or another:

Of the 31 percent of employers who checked up on an employee who called in sick, 71 percent said they required the employee to show them a doctor's note. Fifty-six percent called the employee at home, 18 percent had another worker call the employee, and 17 percent drove by the employee's house or apartment.

I won't even begin to calculate the creepiness factor on that last one.


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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