The Old “My Finger is Stuck in a Bowling Ball” Excuse

Have you ever said anything stupid and put your foot in your mouth at work?  Yeah, we all have.  But who has ever got their foot caught in the garbage disposal at home and couldn’t go into work?  Come on.  No really, that’s one of the bizarre  “I can’t come into work” excuses in the latest Careerbuilder survey.

Careerbuilder asked employers to list the most unusual excuses (“Hello boss, I can’t  come in today.  My finger is stuck in a bowling ball”)  they’ve heard from employees for why they couldn’t come to work (see list below).  Some of the interesting findings:

  • Nearly 30% of the workers called in sick when they weren’t really sick last year.  Really, only 30%?
  • 29% of employers reported they checked up on a worker who called in sick (70% of them required the employee to show a doctor’s note).  Ouch!

Top three reasons for playing hooky?

  1. Don’t feel like working.
  2. Need to chill out.
  3. Catching up on ZZZs.

Here are 12 real-life examples employees gave their bosses for missing work:

  • A chicken attacked his mom.She was hen-pecked.  
  • Finger was stuck in a bowling ball.Oh, spare me!
  • A hair transplant gone bad.Good excuse for those of us with “anchor hair”.
  • Fell asleep as his desk while working and hit his head, causing a neck injury.He was always a real pain-in-the neck anyway.
  • A cow broke into her house and she had to wait for the insurance man.She really milked that excuse.
  • Girlfriend threw a Sit n Spin through his living room window.Too much information.
  • Foot was caught in the garbage disposal. “Hey, which switch turns this on?”
  • Called in sick from a bar at 5:00 p.m. the night before.Now, that’s actually some good planning.
  • He wasn’t feeling too clever that day.Uh, can’t think of anything for this.
  • Had to mow the lawn to avoid a lawsuit from the homeowner’s association. I believe that one.  Those HA’s can be pretty tough.
  • Called in the day after Thanksgiving because she burned her mouth on a pumpkin pie.Gotta get up early for those Black Friday deals.
  • Was in a boat on Lake Erie and ran out of gas and the Coast Guard towed him to the Canadian side.Eh?

More than half (60%) of employers surveyed said they do allow their employees to take “mental health days.”   The advice from Rosemary Haefner, VP of HR at CareerBuilder?  “If you need to take some time away from the office, the best way not to cause yourself more stress is to be open and honest with your manager.”

So the next time you don’t  feel like working, need to chill, or just need a little sleep, don’t call in with some lame excuse.  Try this instead: “Hello boss, I won’t be in today, I’m taking a mental health day.” See how that goes, and get back to me.


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