O'BRIEN: Have a good excuse if you're going to show up late for work

Posted: Mar. 14, 2014 8:59 pm Updated: Jun. 7, 2014 12:14 am

By the time we all walk back into the office on Monday, we'll be hit with a blizzard of sorts. The NCAA Tournament bracket will be released on Sunday night, and whether you're a basketball fan or not, you're sure to get hit up to be in a tournament pool of some sort before games start in earnest on Thursday morning.

For really big basketball fans or degenerate gamblers, this is the time of year when you have to be creative with your boss if you're going to be late to work because of your March Madness obsession. You might really need a good excuse to be late to work at some point over the next few days.

Whatever you do, don't make getting to work late a habit. According to a recent study by, nearly a quarter of all employees admit to being tardy at least once a month. Some 15 percent of those folks say they arrive late at least once a week.

"Most employers understand that occasionally things pop up and cause employees to be behind schedule. The trouble comes when tardiness becomes a habit," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

"Employees who are often late should consider regularly checking the weather forecast for their commute, setting up alerts from any public transportation they use, or getting more done the night before so they're not rushed in the morning."

According to the CareerBuilder study, traffic was the biggest reason for tardiness (39 percent), followed by lack of sleep (19 percent), public transportation problems (8 percent), bad weather (7 percent) and taking children to school or child care (6 percent).

Since we live in a rural area, we can't get away with telling the boss that we got stuck in traffic or that the train was running late. You could try one of these doozies that bosses who were surveyed shared with

One employee claimed the cat got stuck in toilet.

An employee couldn't eat breakfast before work because he was out of milk and cereal. He had to run to the store and get those items and go home and eat before coming to work.

Sleeping at home wasn't enough for an employee of one firm who told the boss that he fell asleep in his car when he got to work.

One person claimed to have accidently put super glue in her eye instead of contact lens solution and had to go to the emergency room.

A rainy night led to moisture getting on an employee's alarm clock and it didn't go off.

An employee had forgotten that the company had changed locations.

If you continually show up late to work, you might not have to worry about going to work for much longer. Of those surveyed, 35 percent said they've fired people for habitual tardiness. Surprisingly, only 48 percent expect their employees to be on time every day.

Most workers would assume that 100 percent of their bosses want them to be on time. Also, 18 percent of bosses don't care how their employees manage their time, they only care that they do their jobs well.

Still, I don't think, "Sorry, boss. I'm running a little late today because I was figuring out whether or not I should pick Wofford to pull off an upset in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament" is going to work out very well.


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