Work long enough at any corporation, and we can guarantee you’ll hear one of these fibs – especially once you become the boss. It’s only a matter of time before your employees begin delivering the exact same white lies you used when you were in their position.
So without further ado, the nine lies we always hear at work*. Heads up, guys, your boss is onto you – so either stop fibbing or think of more creative excuses.
*Except our workplace, of course. That being said, this article in no way endorses lying, especially if you use fibs that date back to your grandfather’s time.
1. “I was caught in traffic this morning.”
The truth: You overslept
Everyone gets stuck on a broken train, on a congested highway, or behind a six-car pileup once in a while, but every day this week? Not very convincing, especially when the colleagues who live in your neighbourhood arrived bright and early. You, on the other hand, have been stumbling in with disheveled hair and pillow marks on your cheeks.
Believability: 4/10, thanks to overuse. Disable that snooze button next time.
2. “My inbox is full so all my replies got stuck in Drafts.”
The truth: You haven’t checked your emails for the past 6 hours
While there are plenty of things to hate about a small inbox, this handy excuse provides an easy way out when you’ve been neglecting your email chores.
Believability: 7/10. Outdated tech is the bane of office productivity, especially when your corporate inbox has only a fraction of the storage offered in contemporary services like Gmail. But be careful about using this one, as the overly-full inbox excuse can make you look disorganised and innattentive.
3. “OT again, too busy.”
The truth: You’re only staying late because you slacked off the entire morning
Just because someone stays in the office past 8 pm doesn’t mean that they’re busier than anyone else. Maybe they’re showing off. Or maybe they just have the worst time management skills ever. While you were slaving away at 10 am, this person didn’t log off Facebook and Instagram until 3 pm. If this person sounds like you – well, your supposed “work ethics” ain’t as impressive as they seem.
Believability: 5/10. A good boss would be aware of your workload, especially in relation to your colleagues’. Pretending you haveso much to do when everyone else can knock off at 6 pm sharp isn’t that convincing, especially if you’ve been taking a lot of two-hour lunches.
4. “I lost the receipts for filing my taxi claims.”
The truth: You put off filing your claims for so long that they expired
You keep telling yourself that you’ll file your travel claims in one batch at the end of the month, but before you know it, it’s been nine weeks and you’re $200 in debt. While you’d really like your money back, you feel a little embarrassed to reveal the extent of your procrastination. So you pull out the ‘ol “I changed my wallet and lost my receipts” excuse and hope for the best.
Believability: 1/10. Your boss will probably wonder what kind of functioning adult misplaces an entire stack of receipts. Next time, just admit that you were swamped with other duties or consider those lost dollars a charitable contribution to your company.
5.”I need to work through lunch today.”
The truth: You’re feeling too antisocial to hang out with your colleagues
Either you’re feeling a little reserved, or the combination of people going to lunch just ain’t your cup of tea. Or maybe they’re eating at a restaurant that is above your personal budget. Whatever the case, you need an easy way to reject their invitation without seeming antisocial or offending anyone – hence the “ugh, work” excuse.
Believability: 10/10. Imbue your voice with remorse and no one will question your resignation to a sad desk lunch.
6. “I need to go out for a smoke break”
The truth: You’ve scheduled some afternoon delight with that cutie from sales
Twenty minutes sounds just about right for a long smoke – or for some canoodling in the janitor’s closet. But be wise – red flags will go up if you return smelling like springtime and daisies. And do be aware that the other office smokers might just tag along when you say you’re going out, thus ruining any encounters with your secret paramour.
Believability: 10/10 if you’re actually a smoker, 1/10 otherwise.
7. “Sorry boss, my phone died so I never received your SMS.”
The truth: You were napping, on the toilet, watching TV, doing something other than checking your phone after work hours.
While this excuse sounds perfectly plausible, it doesn’t hold up when you’re the type of employee who is always M.I.A. What are the odds that your phone always dies or that you always go three hours without taking it out of your bag? On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who usually responds, but was M.I.A. this one time, your boss will close one eye and let it go.
Believability: 6/10 – use sparingly, as this excuse is getting less believable thanks to the ubiquity of portable chargers.
8. “Boss, I’m sick, I need to take MC.”
The truth: You need to queue up for the new iPhone
You haven’t used a single sick day this year. Incidentally, the new iPhone comes out tomorrow. Or the new Marvel movie’s coming out tonight and you’d like to buy tickets for the midnight premiere. Sounds like a perfect time to fake indigestion and take MC.
Believability: 8/10 – most bosses won’t question your illness, but the doctors might give you a little flak when you’re obviously faking an ulcer.
9. “I’m taking leave this afternoon for my dog’s vet appointment!”
The truth: You’re interviewing for another job
You’re eating lunch in town. You’re taking half a day of leave to do home repairs. You’re going home early due to a sudden migraine. Right – more like you need a believable reason to duck out of the office for three hours.
Believability: 9/10 – less so if you show up to work in corporate attire instead of your usual T-shirt and jeans, but still. Who would question your need to spend half a day at home caring for your ailing pets? This is the ultimate diabolical lie, yet everyone who’s ever switched jobs has had to use it.