• Use creative and believable excuses for being late to work
  • Don’t overuse the same excuse or you’ll get in trouble
  • Come up with realistic excuses now to cover your ass later
It’s not like you’re always aiming to be late for work. It’s just that shit happens sometimes and it screws up your morning commute to the office. And, when it does, you just know that your demoralizing boss will be at their desk as you try to sneak past.

Without looking in their direction, you can feel their eyes piercing through you like daggers as you slink into your open office workspace. You don’t even have to look up. You instinctively know that they caught a glimpse of you.

And it gets even worse when you login and see a few new emails from them in your inbox asking about project statuses. So, you gotta reply knowing that your first emails of the day are starting late. It’s like they’re doing it on purpose just to mark your tardiness. Bosses like this make managing work stress a never-ending ordeal.

Now, you gotta swing by their desk to explain why you came in late or at the very least, reply with a believable reason for not getting to work on time.

Here Are 10 Believable Excuses For Being Late

It’s inevitable that you’re gonna hit a snag in your stressful morning commute at some point. It happens to everyone. Nobody is immune to being late for work due to circumstances out of their control. It could be a massive multi-car accident, road closure, construction delays, etc.

Those kinds of events are clearly out of your control and any sane and normal boss would understand that. However, even the most unlucky folks will only ever experience these kinds of issues a few times a year. What you need are realistic reasons for your sometimes frequent lateness.

Here are ten realistic starter excuses that you can use to explain your lateness at work.

Forgot Work Laptop At Home

Forgetting your work laptop at home is like forgetting your phone when you go to the bathroom (don't lie, we've all done it). Your bullshit micromanaging boss may not be impressed with your forgetfulness, but they'll certainly understand the importance of your laptop. After all, without it, you won’t be able to do shit.

So, next time you're running late and feeling stressed, just remember: forgetting your work laptop is the ultimate excuse. Now if only we could forget our shitty morning commute altogether.

Your Kid Was Barfing Like Crazy

We've all been there. You're running late for work and need a good excuse. Enter the classic "kid barfing" excuse. It's believable, it's relatable, and let's face it, it's pretty gross. But hey, desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

And if your manager tries to call your bluff, just lean into it. Go into graphic details about your child's eruption, complete with the gross details of barf splatter on the walls and sound effects if necessary. Trust us, they'll regret ever asking. 

Severe Menstrual Cramps

Obviously, this one only works if you’re a woman. Although men do have their own periods of emotional angst, it’s not as well accepted.

Telling your boss that you're late because of severe cramps is not only a believable excuse, but it also has the added bonus of bonding with your lady boss. After all, who knows the struggle of menstruation better than another woman?

So the next time you’re running late to work, tell your manager that your uterus is having a WWE match with your ovaries. Don't hesitate to throw out the cramp card and embrace the solidarity with your female supervisor. It’s also a sly way to build alliances at work with her.

Taking Your Spouse to Urgent Care

If you plan to use this one, you need to plant the seed in your boss’s head that your spouse gets randomly ill a few times a year. Then, you can use the urgent care visit as a believable excuse. Most sympathetic bosses will accept it. Because let's be real, what kind of heartless boss would deny the tragedy of a sickly spouse? None. Absolutely none.

So next time you're running behind schedule, just remember: the urgent care center is your golden pass. The only drawback is that you can only pull this a few times a year at most. If you overdo this, you’ll just get written up at work.

Garage Door Malfunction

Using the typical "traffic was terrible" or "I overslept" excuses are tired, stale and overused by tons of people. If you really want to make your excuse believable, try telling your boss that your garage door wouldn't open this morning. Not only is it a legitimate reason for being tardy, but it also adds a touch of humor and relatability to an otherwise boring topic.

Explain that no matter how hard you pressed the fucking button, nothing happened. You had to go back into the house and dig around the kitchen drawers for some fresh batteries which finally did the trick. This is one excuse that you can only pull off once so save it for when you really need to cover your ass for being late.

Trapped At The Drive-Thru

Everyone needs a morning cup of coffee to get going. And for many commuters, stopping by Starbucks or your local coffee shop drive-thru is just a part of the morning drive to work.

And, who hasn’t been stuck behind someone in the drive-thru who’s taking forever to decide what to order or just doesn’t have a fucking clue as to how to order. When you’re already in the drive-thru lane and other cars are piled up behind you, you’re trapped without a way out. Explain the frustrations to your boss about this and they’ll totally relate.

Filling Empty Tank At Gas Station

We've all been there before. You're already running late and then, to top it off, your gas light comes on. It's like your car is taunting you, "Hey there, you lazy piece of shit. Here’s your snooze button revenge."

Everybody knows that you shouldn’t drive on an empty tank. Telling your boss that you were running on empty and needed to stop for gas is actually a pretty believable excuse. I mean, sure, it's not as glamorous as saying you were rescuing kittens from a burning building, but it's definitely more believable than saying you got caught in a traffic jam of penguins on unicycles.

Parent/In-Law Collapsed At Home

It's true what they say, honesty is the best policy. But when it comes to being late for work, sometimes honesty just doesn't cut it. That's where the "my mom/dad/in-law collapsed at home" excuse comes in handy. It's believable, it's urgent, and most importantly, it's not easily verifiable.

Plus, let's be real, who wants to question the legitimacy of a family emergency? It's the perfect excuse to buy you some extra time for you to get your head outta your ass before facing the wrath of your boss. Just be sure to keep a straight face when delivering the news - you don't want to come across as too delighted about your in-law's misfortune.

Train Delayed For Unknown Reason

Well, well, well, what do we have here? The classic "my train was delayed" excuse for being late to work. Is it believable? Certainly. Is it overused? Absolutely. But let's be real, who doesn't love a good old-fashioned train delay to use as a valid excuse for the late morning commute?

It's the perfect excuse because no one can really argue with it - it's not like you can control the municipal train system. So go ahead and use it to your advantage - just don't make it your regular routine or your bitch boss will catch on and will make your office life a living hell.

Signing Forms At The Bank

Ah, the age-old excuse of having to go to the bank. It's one that we've all used at some point, isn't it? But let's face it, it's also one that's incredibly believable - especially when you have to go there in person to sign a few official forms that can’t be done online.

Nobody can argue with the strict business hours of those financial institutions. Everyone is forced to make the pilgrimage either at the start of the business day or during their lunchtime side hustle or in the afternoon before 5pm. There’s no way around it. It can only be done during business hours.

Use The Right Excuses At The Right Times

If you are often getting into trouble for showing up late to work, you really gotta have evening routines for stress-free mornings that will get you to work on time, every time.

However, the reality is that not everybody can be a robotic commuting machine and get to work early every day - that shit just ain’t happening. The reality is that bosses don't like employees who are constantly late. And if you have an asshole boss that catches you lying about it, you’ll just be screwing yourself with career limiting moves. Or even worse, you might find yourself on the chopping block at the next round of reorgs and layoffs.

Instead of pushing your luck with one-too-many "traffic was horrible" excuses, come prepared with clever yet realistic excuses that your boss will actually believe.

You just can’t use the same excuses over and over. Any boss will see through that. You’ve gotta be smart about when to use these excuses. You gotta be selective and use the right excuse at the right time.

Use these ten as starters. Then, get in the zone and come up with additional creative ones for future use. You’ll be glad you did.

Feel Better,

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