'My Puppy Got Me Sick'? 5 Craziest Excuses for Missing Work

Last Updated Oct 24, 2011 1:33 PM EDT

Do you ever play hooky? I'm not saying I condone it -- but if you do, you're in good company. Last year, almost 1/3 of employees called in sick with a fake excuse, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.

A quarter of them did so via email -- perhaps to prevent the boss from hearing the waves (or the Mardi Gras crowds) in the background. About 10 percent used text message; 84 percent used an old-fashioned phone call.

My favorite part of the CareerBuilder survey, however, was their list of the wackiest excuses heard by survey respondents. As a public service, I offer them here as examples of what not to tell your boss:

1. For the Halloween Season "Bats got in my hair." Silly, spooky -- and totally unbelievable.

2. For a Long Summer Weekend "I was in line at a coffee shop when a truck carrying flour backed up and dumped the flour into my convertible." Probably should have stopped at "a truck backed into me."

3. If You Aren't Thinking Clearly "I got a cold from a puppy." There really isn't much to say about this incredible excuse.

4. If Your Boss Doesn't Watch CNN -- or Check Google "My brother-in-law was kidnapped by a drug cartel while in Mexico." Extra points for creativity?

5. See Number 3... "I drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital." At least pick an excuse that paints you in a semi-positive light...

Even if your boss doesn't need to check the news crawl to corroborate your story, he or she may be inclined to investigate whether you're sick or just ditching work. According to the Careerbuilder survey, 69 percent of bosses required a doctor's note, just over half followed up by calling an employee -- and 16 percent even drove by the worker's home.

So if you truly need a day to yourself, you're much better off putting in for a personal day. If you're out of those and it's a "mental health" emergency, go with a simpler sick story than the ones above.

But if you really can't stand being at your job, it may be a sign that you need to look for a new one. Just taking steps to do so can help make your day-to-day grind more bearable. It's definitely a better strategy than coming up with excuses to top "my brother was kidnapped."

Do these suggestions sound good to you? Please share yours in the comments section below.

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Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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  • Amy Levin-Epstein On Twitter»

    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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