“I can’t make it in today…”

I was recently sent a list of “worst excuses for missing work” by a colleague as a little light relief amidst a really hectic week in the life of the consultancy team. The top 25 giving me a bit of check list for the ones I’ve heard over the years. If it had been a game of bingo I wouldn’t have got a full house, but I was close. 

In that list there are a few that I don’t agree are all that bad as things go – hallucinations wouldn’t make it onto my list of worse reasons, although I’d be interested to know if they were caused by the mushroom soup eaten the night before….

I chuckled at the “hair dye disaster” – having gone into work after my own first attempt at home colouring; despite washing it 5 times on the Sunday my now reddish/plum coloured hair still managed to glow a shade of pink under the strip lighting in the store I was working in at the time. Yet I brazened it out, despite one of my less than respectful line reports suggesting that my mother would be ashamed of me.

I giggled my way through the toe stuck in the bath tap, the sick fish and the peg stuck on the person’s tongue – begging the questions of how and why. There were of course a range of reasons that are a little to risqué to publish here, and a few that included an irresponsible amount of alcohol the night before. 

In my experience though staff were more likely to have a “migraine” on a Monday, or an upset tummy than admit to the hangover which would have the sickie turned into unpaid leave.

A few wardrobe disasters made it to the list – split trousers on the way to work among them, and within the office we’ve had a few similar incidents; breaking the heel off of a shoe, hems being repaired with staples and sellotape and the laddered tights that ended up stuck to a leg with clear nail varnish (yes, me again!), but as a resourceful lot none of ours stopped us attending work.

My favourite on the list though was “my dog has had a big fright and I don’t want to leave him”, which reminded me of possibly the most surreal dismissal I have ever been part of. “Gary” had a history of appalling attendance. To be fair, this was a challenging factory environment and not many of the operatives had a glowing record, but his was worse than most. 

The previous week I’d been involved in a final written warning for this person and hearing his voice on our answerphone that served as our absence line initially made me groan at the additional paperwork this would cause. 

Until I heard the excuse. He was pinned to his bed by his dog who had died in the night whilst sleeping on top of him.  I’m not entirely sure how his manager and I managed to keep a straight face through the hearing when I was trying to picture what breed of dog would be heavy enough to render someone unable to get out of bed. I never did get the answer.

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