They involve cats, zebras, and superglue. But only one turned out to be true.

Here are two closely related facts from two very different sources…

  • Last year, more than 40 percent of American workers were too busy to take all their paid time off. “Workers said their employer supported time off, but their heavy workload kept them from using their earned days,” claimed a report from a consulting firm called Oxford Economics.
  • Last month, the job-searching website Careerbuilder polled more than 2,200 hiring managers and found 23 percent of U.S. workers “admit to being tardy at least once a month on average, with 15 percent admitting to arriving late at least once a week.”

Employees too busy to take days off, yet too tired to make it to work on time.

The best of the worst excuses

Of course, arriving late to work requires some creativity. You have to tell the boss something. But “There was a lot of traffic” is just the adult version of, “My dog ate my homework.”

So CareerBuilder asked those hiring managers for the most fantastical excuses for being late they’ve ever heard. Here are’s favorites from that list…

  1. “A zebra was running down the highway and held up traffic.”
  2. “I woke up on the front lawn of a house two blocks away from my home.”
  3. “My cat got stuck in the toilet.”
  4. “I was late because I fell asleep in the car when I got to work.”
  5. “I accidentally put superglue in my eye instead of contact lens solution and had to go to the emergency room.”
  6. “I thought Halloween was a work holiday.”
  7. “A hole in the roof caused rain to fall on my alarm clock and it didn’t go off.”
  8. “I was watching something on TV and really wanted to see the end.”
  9. “I forgot that the company had changed locations.”
  10. “I got a hairbrush stuck in my hair.”

While some of these may actually be true — who hasn’t almost fallen asleep in their car when they pull into the employee parking lot? — only one was verified. There really was a zebra who held up traffic.

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Meet the Author

Michael Koretzky

Michael Koretzky


Koretzky is a PFE-certified debt management professional and the editor of

Career and Business

employment, office life, time management

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Article last modified on January 3, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: The 10 best excuses for being late to work - AMP.