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What’s keeping us from getting to work on time?


The vast majority of us have been late for work at some point in our lives. According to CareerBuilder's annual survey on late-to-work excuses, a quarter of workers say they're late at least once a month and 13 percent say they're late once a week – so employers are pretty used to hearing explanations for tardiness.

Most of the time it's traffic (53 percent), oversleeping (33 percent) or bad weather (28 percent). But occasionally, it's much more interesting.

When asked about the most outrageous excuses employees have given them for being late, employers shared the following:

  • I thought of quitting today, but then decided not to, so I came in late.
  • My hair caught on fire from my blow dryer.
  • I was detained by Homeland Security.
  • I had to chase my cows back into the field.
  • A black bear entered my carport and decided to take a nap on the hood of my car.
  • My lizard had to have emergency surgery in the morning and died during surgery. I had to mourn while deciding whether to have the lizard disposed of by the vet or bring the lizard corpse with me to work.
  • There was fresh powder on the hill. I had to go skiing.
  • There was a store grand opening and I wanted to get the opening day sales.
  • I had to finish watching "My Name is Earl."
  • All of my clothes were stolen.
  • I was confused by the time change and unsure if it was "spring forward" or "fall back."
  • A Vaseline truck overturned on the highway and cars were slipping left and right.

Is "working 9 to 5" not working?

A time when these kinds of excuses are no longer necessary may be fast approaching. According to the survey, 67 percent of employers and 66 percent of employees believe the concept of "working 9 to 5" is an antiquated practice.

However, some employers may have difficulty putting that idea into practice. More than half of employers still expect employees to be on time every day, and 41 percent have fired someone for being late.

One in three say occasional tardiness isn't a problem as long as it doesn't become a pattern, and 16 percent say punctuality isn't a necessity so long as the work gets done. Many employees share that view, as 62 percent of workers who arrive late will stay later to make up for it.

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