Dissection of An Excuse!


“On my way in I had a coughing episode and made myself sick, so I turned around and came back home.  My voice is gone and I feel like a mess.
I am working on the follow up from [specific project], so I have plenty to work on. I will be accessible by email throughout the day as well.”

This is the introduction to our new column, “Excuses Excuses”.  The above proves that you don’t have to work in a “creative environment” to find creative people.  Let’s break this one down just a bit:

1)  Coughing episode….unless this episode is a byproduct of a terminal lung disease or accompanied by some internal hazardous bio fluid it just doesn’t sound rational.  The kind of coughing that requires a day off is usually preceded by illness.  How do I know, you ask?  WebMD people!  I do my research! (http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/tc/coughs-topic-overview).  So the question is: “how does coughing actually make one sick enough to stay home?”….let alone…

2) Turn around and go back home:  Yep!  This episode of coughing (which can happen from drinking your morning Starbucks too quickly or “swallowing down the wrong pipe”–no scientific proof that the latter can occur), has resulted in someone, who apparently felt well enough to come to work when they first woke up, reversing their course.   Let’s see the order of this….wake, yawn, stretch, shower, dress, do hair and makeup, step into the warm sunshine, begin morning commute, cough (episodically), and return home…seems like the right thing to do.

3) My voice is gone:  The absence of a voice is huge when you’re a salesperson although many of us have muddled through.  I don’t post things that I haven’t vetted so I have it on good confidence that this is a technical person–hence a voice being important but not a job changer.  But let’s relate point #3 to point #1.  “My voice is gone.”  This says: I had a voice BUT my coughing episode erased it within the space of a car ride.

So, the party didn’t wake up with a particularly sore throat (the excuse itself makes me think this person would have divulged that to further bolster their rationale for going home, i.e….’I woke up with a sore throat and then had a coughing episode on the way in”) but coughing created one.  This isn’t out of the realm of possibility particularly if you are TRYING to and follow the 5 ways to lose your voice: http://www.mademan.com/mm/5-ways-lose-your-voice.html.  So, we can justify the loss of voice as a created condition.

4) I FEEL like a mess:  AHA!  Here’s the gist of the situation…YOU NEEDED A MENTAL HEALTH DAY!  Well, hell, why didn’t you just say this?  Even scions of leadership understand the need to step away from corporate madness for a moment.  As a matter of fact the better you feel the better you perform and the good “bosses” know this!  On another note, sometimes you feel like what you are….this isn’t a mean statement just an observation.  Could it be that your issue is psychosomatic and not physical?  Sooner or later the powers that be get the sense that these “feelings” aren’t real and will question everything!

5) blah blah “accessible by email throughout the day”.  Everyone and I do mean everyone knows that this portion of the excuse is gratuitous.  This person isn’t really expecting anyone to reach out and for the most part people won’t!  I’m not saying all of the time but there’s a pretty significant chance that this part of the statement is a way to assuage some guilt.

That’s my feeling about excuses.  Do I ever make them?  Of course!  Human beings make excuses. Excuses are a perceived necessity!  Let’s just hope that when excuses are made they’re better than this one.  To pay homage to this lamest of excuses, the MSW team is looking for the worst or most creative excuses you’ve heard or used!


12 thoughts on “Dissection of An Excuse!

  1. A classic school excuse

    Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.

    • We may have to feature this one! What year do you live in where the newspaper is important enough to use as a calendar reminder! No cell phone? Anything? lol. Great one, thanks for reading.

  2. Yes, we all make excuses from time to time but I think those who make them all of the time have little integrity when it comes to work and other engagements. I never called in sick once to my first full time job nor was I late without a valid excuse. I think that you can tell a lot about someone by the amount of excuses they make for themselves.

    • Agreed everyone makes excuses and some people are excessive. I learned early not to use the “I never called in sick..” since it could sound self righteous in the workplace but I did have to pull someone aside and let them know that the consistent excuses for everything from tardiness to lack of work production was the primary reason they weren’t being promoted. It focused on their behavior only in comparison to their outcomes and kept me out of it!

  3. Couldn’t stop laughing as I read this. Wasn’t sure if it was because I might have used some of these excuses in my distant past or because I might have heard them from someone who worked for me. In either case, great points. Other than stretching your creative genes, there is no value in making excuses. My boss asked me today why a document hadn’t gotten out to our organization yet. I debated explaining the series of stupid things that prevented it from being sent and opted to say instead, “The reasons why are dumb, it will be out shortly.” Saved us both time.

    • I love your response! We’ve all made excuses and we have all made a “bad” excuse in our pasts. Many of the excuses that I’m receiving for the column seem to come from early workplace memories. Which of us didn’t make an excuse to get out of work early in our careers?

  4. I just recently got over the flu, which included the hacking cough. I was truly sick for 3 weeks and it did include a high temperature. However, as soon as my temperature was down, I was back working, with cough in tow.

    People have been creating excuses since before I was born. I feel that the one who use excuses at the drop of a dime don’t have any integrity.

  5. What I hate is when I have put forth the effort to make a meeting and get my butt where it’s supposed to be, and someone vital to the meeting happening has decided they are “too busy but sooooo sorry but we can reschedule ok?!” No. Not ok.

    • I have been in several meetings where I’ve been asked to prepare something last minute and then been told during the meeting, “we’ll just cover that next time”. I think it’s the downside to being the employee and not the employer. My excuse, “Sorry team, the line is longer than expected here at Starbucks and I’m convinced that it would make more sense to set up my laptop and work from their corner nook today. See you tomorrow” lol

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