March 3, 2011
Leaving work early today? What's your excuse?
Perhaps you saw the CareerBuilder poll released last week about the weirdest excuses employees use for showing up late to work.
[Photo by subflux]
Among the tales of traffic snarls and faulty alarm clocks were gems like "My Botox appointment took longer than I expected," and "I didn't get any sleep because my boyfriend's wife threw me out of the house."
As amusing as those late-to-work yarns may be, I'm a firm believer that they're no match for their close cousin, the Why I'm Leaving Work Early Today excuse. If, like me, you've worked in casual office environments where telecommuting is permitted -- along with coming and going as you please -- you've no doubt seen colleagues heading home early for all sorts of reasons.
Among the funniest leaving-work-early emails I've received from coworkers over the years:
Leaving at 3 to pick up an old drinking buddy from the airport. Probably will be slow to respond to messages the rest of the evening and may not be in till noon tomorrow.
I have to take my pet ferret to the vet.
My best friend was locked out of her house by her loser roommate. Have to go rescue her.
Off to the dermatologist to get my moles checked.
If you know me, you know I'm all for having a life outside the office. I just don't think you need to broadcast to your entire department that you're leaving early to meet the contractor who's heading up your $40,000 kitchen remodel (your officemates who didn't get a raise may not appreciate this news) or that you're going to work from home the rest of the day so you can stay close the bathroom because you ate something at lunch that didn't agree with you (entirely TMI for anyone other than your office BFF).
Better to keep those leaving-work-early excuses generic and impersonal. To me, no matter how frivolous or outrageous your real reason for leaving early, these are the only excuses you should publicly offer when clocking out for the day:
I'm not feeling well.
I have a doctor's appointment.
I have to pick up [or watch] my child.
I have a family emergency.
And if you live in weather-wimpy Seattle, I want to get on the road before the snow starts sticking.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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