10 awful excuses for calling in sick

Every year CareerBuilder.com works with Harris Poll and surveys workers and hiring managers to find the craziest excuses for calling in sick that employees give.

Most of us have probably heard the more prosaic ones — I’m not feeling well, I have a cold, I had too much to drink last night. But the ones on the CareerBuilder list can be so outrageous that you have to wonder what you’d do as an employer, says Erik Sherman. Shake your head? Laugh? Laugh and immediately take out a help wanted ad?

Here’s the list of this year’s best of the worst:

  1. My grandmother poisoned me with ham.
  2. Sorry, I can’t get in, I’m stuck under the bed.
  3. Employee broke his arm reaching to grab a falling sandwich.
  4. The universe has been telling me to take a day off.
  5. My wife found out that I was cheating and she threw away all my stuff, so I’ll need to spend the dumpster diving.
  6. I poked myself in the eye while combing my hair.
  7. My wife put all my underwear in the washer and I don’t want to go commando.
  8. I cooked something for the department potluck, but it’s really bad and I’m embarrassed so I’ll pass on coming.
  9. My doctor said I need more vitamin D, so I’m heading off to the beach.
  10. I have to get to either the vet or my mechanic because my cat is stuck inside the dashboard of my car.

Clearly some people need to take a class in excuse writing — and some have some apparently big problems.

According to the survey, 38 percent of workers admitted to calling in sick on a day when they felt fine. That’s up from 28 percent last year.

Of that group, the less colorful reasons ran from having a doctor’s appointment (27 percent), needing to relax (26 percent), catching up on sleep (21 percent), and bad weather (12 percent).

Oddly enough, 52 percent of people worked under a paid time off policy that let them take a day because they chose to. But more than a quarter of them felt the need to make up an excuse, because some old habits die hard.

But there was also the 54 percent of employees who said that they had gone in when sick at times because otherwise the work wouldn’t have been done. And 48 percent said they can’t afford to miss a single day.

A third of employers checked up on the employees who called out. Of those, 32 percent used social media to find that the employee was lying. Out of that group, 26 percent fired the employee.

Mommas, don’t let your babies post to Twitter when they’re goofing off.