A recent post that included some great examples of call-in-sick excuses caused several of our lovely staffing professional readers to open up and divulge some of their own recent work she-nanigans.

We’ve ordered them in a very deliberate way as to slowly build up to the most ridiculous, so if you’re the impatient type who hates to be teased into anticipation, either start at the bottom or seek professional help. Your choice.



Michelle Hodapp, owner of Excel Personnel Services in Lompoc, California
Well this didn't happen today, but needs to be shared. A few months back I had an applicant come into my office, and he says to me: "I need a job, something that will pay for this."

He proceeded to put his leg on my desk, roll his pantleg up, and reveal an ankle monitor. I didn’t bother asking what he had done to warrant a police monitor and a likely hefty fine, but I can tell you it had us rolling for days on end!!!

Craig Frank, president of Frank’s Employment Inc. in St. Charles, Illinois
One of our temps had a habit of calling in with excuses of why she couldn't go into work on that particular day. The reasons seemed to get progressively more creative until one day she called in to her supervisor: "I can't go to work today … my baby died!"

The next payday when she stopped in to the office to pick up her check, I said to her, "I am so sorry to hear about your baby."

She hesitated, then replied, "Oh, that's OK, she's much better now."

Pamela Goodwin, recruiter with anonymous staffing company
I’ve been recruiting for many, many, many (you could add about 3 or 4 more "manys" here, but the general idea is I’ve been around a while) years, for everything from clerical/administrative to CFOs and everything in between. And, for the most part, the people I’ve placed over the years have been professional and had a solid work ethic.

About three years ago, I decided to be bold and try something new: temporary staffing.

Suffice it to say, this was a huge "culture shock" for me. I was amazed at how many people, who claimed they WANTED to work, actually had more excuses for NOT going to work, than I had ever imagined.

So, for a laugh at our holiday gathering, I compiled a "Top Ten" of actual excuses used by temps on our company payroll.

10. I was on my way into work and got in an accident. Now my car won’t move.
9. When I went to get into my car, it was smoking …
8. I need to go post bail for my baby daddy.
7. As a result of last night’s activities, I now have to appear in court this morning.
6. I got on the wrong bus and now I am at the mall.
5. My car was towed and my phone was in it, so I couldn’t get to work or call.
4. My plane was re-routed to another airport so I won’t be back until tomorrow.
3. My back is sore. I am in a hot tub.
2. Someone tried to kill my family last night
1. My mother was shot and killed by Somalian pirates.

Craig Frank, president of Frank’s Employment Inc. in St. Charles, Illinois
By unanimous vote of our office staff, our nominee for Applicant of the Year* is the girl who submitted her résumé to us for a bookkeeper position.

Her cover letter said, "I feel I am perfectly qualified for the bookkeeper job because I have been working at Borders." **

Stephanie Guzman, of an anonymous staffing company
On the corner of Chicago Street and South Jackson, our building stands. It has been repainted, renovated, and changed over the years, but as I sit here reading these stories, I can’t help but realize that, while the building has changed, the workers we employ haven’t changed one bit.

Every day we have to fill orders from different companies and make sure that we send the best quality people. We hand over our trust in these people like candy, only to have it shot back at us causing disappointment and sometimes tears. That said, when all those things are put aside, there are several enlightening and hilarious moments along the way.

On the chilly day of Dec. 7, I was filing I-9's and drinking coffee when I receive a call. But not just any call. A really freaking weird call.

The caller is an older man from down south, with a heavy Texan accent. And as you read this conversation, imagining his voice, do so also by adding frequent grunts and heavy breathing.

I answer. "AHEAD Human Resources, my name is Tennille, can I help you?"

"Hello, is Tennille available?"

"That's me. How can I help you?"

"Ma'am, I have a grave situation. You see, I've technically been held hostage"

There was a pause after this statement (you can imagine my shock and awe).

"Are you alright?"

"I’ve been locked up in my room. … By a woman. … I’ve only had two glasses of water. … I’m losing a lot of weight. … I might have been raped. … So I can't go to work tomorrow."

"Ah hah. Well, um, OK. Thanks for calling in. I hope things go better for you."

"Can we three-way call my boss? So I can explain ..."

I started losing it right around now, holding the phone in a way that I cover the receiver so he doesn’t hear me cracking up. I think I might have cried a little, too.

Then, as professionally as I could possibly muster, I said, "Don't worry, I'm sure you missing one day won't require a conference call. Just take the day off and relax. We’ll talk again tomorrow. Have a great day!" And I hung up.

As I write this, it’s a Friday. Payday at our office. And he just came for his check – head up, hat on. He seemed just fine. I sat there just staring at him, marveling at a man who created the best excuse for a sick day I’ve ever heard.


* I think Craig’s idea for an ironic Applicant of the Year Award needs to become an official thing. And be on syndicated television. Seriously. You know you’d watch that, and fans of The Office and/or Office Space would love the crap out of that, too. Who do we need to write to make this happen, and who’s with us?

** We like to imagine that there’s someone else out there who’s made this same claim, only with Barnes & Noble under experience, and we can somehow magically get them together for a debate over who deserves the job more.

Tags: Business, True Staffing Stories, Pamela Goodwin, Craig Frank, Excel Personnel Services, Frank's Employment Inc., Michelle Hodapp, Stephanie Guzman