Career Watch: Creative excuses for tardiness

Tardiness Tales: 'My Dog Ate My Cell Phone'

Bosses were hearing excuses for being late to work less often last year than they did the previous year, according to an online survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com. According to the poll of 5,231 U.S. employees, conducted in November 2009, 16% of respondents said they arrive late to work at least once a week. That's a drop from 20% a year earlier. Common reasons for workplace tardiness included traffic (cited by 32% of respondents), lack of sleep (24%), bad weather (7%) and preparing kids for school or day care (7%).

In addition, CareerBuilder asked hiring managers and human resources professionals to give examples of outrageous excuses for being late. Among the more unusual ones were these:

• I got mugged and was tied to the steering wheel of my car.

• My deodorant was frozen to the window sill.

• My car door fell off.

• It was too windy.

• I dreamt I was already at work.

• A roach crawled in my ear.

• I had to go to the hospital because I drank antifreeze.

• I had an early-morning gig as a clown.

• I saw an elderly lady at a bus stop and decided to pick her up.

• My dog swallowed my cell phone.

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader: Ronald Pilcher

The CIO at Varsity Brands Inc. answers questions about the hunger for new technology, kicking off a career and getting back into the workforce after a layoff.

I'm getting worn down by working in bare-bones IT. Are we ever going to get back to working with interesting new technologies? Be patient, my friend. Multiple new technologies are right around the corner. Take note of what's in the pipeline, and think about problems in your business that those emerging technologies could address. Remember that only technologies that truly help the business are worth our time. We are notorious in this industry for wanting it all, but having it all isn't always helpful.

I graduated with a computer science degree this year. I worked in tech support while I was in school, but I want to move beyond that. Which direction should I go in? The best choice would be in the engineering area. There is great demand in most of the larger engineering firms. This could consist of actual coding or systems integration.

I've been a programmer for 18 years, but I was laid off last year. I've always kept up with developments; even with no income, I've been buying tech books and taking some training. After nine months of some interviews and no offers, I'm getting discouraged. Do I need to do something differently?I would not change my direction. I know it's been very tough, but the market has been looking a lot better in the past few months. Kick it into overdrive and push your contact list, and if you're losing momentum from your current contact list, then go to local user-community meetings. Most cities have some sort of a mix of these.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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