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The Unconventional Guide to Work

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"But I have kids!" and other handy excuses to get out of staying late at work

We love lists! In fact, we like them so much we even made a LIST of why you should love them too:

  • You’ll always find one point that resonates with you personally. You’re like so #23 in that Fast Company list you read last night, right?
  • Lists make information easy to digest. We’re all busy and distracted, trying to consume as much info as we can, without actually taking anything in – wouldn’t be nice if someone summarised the key points in a handy list for us?
  • They’re so fun to share! Tag a friend that’s so #1, #57 and #84 in like, every list you read.
  • There’s always a point you hadn’t considered before.
  • They’re entertaining and well...everyone loves a good laugh!

Every Tuesday we’ll be bringing out a fab new list for you to chuckle at, share and enjoy. There is no topic that cannot be listifed, so watch this space...

This week:

The weather is warming up (if you’re in the southern hemisphere) and summer is just peeking around the corner. No one really wants to stay at work longer than they have to – but senior management often has something else planned. Do you need some excuses to get out of staying late and enjoy the glorious sun? Look no further.


"But I have kids!" and other handy excuses to get out of staying late at work

You’ve been working all sorts of gregarious hours and you have unsightly bags under your eyes, while your workmates are pulling the kid excuse and racing home at 5 on the dot. Just because you’re single and childless...You’re pretty sure it’s discrimination of some kind. I mean you have a life too, right? A yoga class to get to, wine to drink and Netflix bingeing to continue. And short of adopting a baby for the sole purpose of getting home early (a plan that can only end in disaster) can’t really do much.

But wait, actually you can! 10 things in fact.

Here’s a handy list of excuses to get out of staying late at work:


01 – You’re really not feeling well

“Sorry, I’m going to have to go out early. I think the photocopier has given me the...uh, flu”

And it’s the contagious kind. Trust me, this olden goldie never fails. You don’t want to infect everyone right? You’re actually doing them a favour leaving on time.


02 – It’s the new guy’s turn

“Sure, boss, I’d love to stay an extra hour and finish off these status reports. In fact, nothing would make me happier. But I heard Dennis saying how keen he was to really pitch in and make a difference. So I think you should ask him instead.“

Sit back and watch the magic happen – you’re off the hook and poor old Dennis has to finish the workload. You shrug as you head out of the door. It’s a ‘rite of passage’ thing.


03 – Your dog is sick and needs to see the vet

“I’m sorry, I know it’s during work hours but it was the only vet appointment I could get. If Fluffy died because she ate my vitamix, I just don’t know what I’d do!”

Tell your boss your dog ate something weird and you have to get it checked out. The pet-related excuses keep on giving. Just take your pick and get home free. You’re welcome.


04 – Your long-lost cousins are visiting and you haven’t seen them in years ...

“They’re from a remote part of Yugoslavia and barely speak any English. In their culture it’s a great offence not to show them around when they’re in, homeland”

They do things a little differently in that part of the world. Your hands are tied, really.


05 – You have a gnarly dental emergency


You chipped your tooth on the office cutlery of all things and now you have to have an emergency dental procedure. You’re trying to explain this to your boss but you can of course only mumble incomprehensibly…the more you mumble, the more agitated he becomes until he loses his patience and ushers you towards the door.


06 – You’re having womanly issues

You: “I’d love to help you finish up here, Doug, but I’ve got cramps and they’re killing me—”

Doug: “Say no more! Get out of here! Just stop talking! Aaarrrrrgh!”

It’s that time of the month. Your hormones are in whack and your tummy is aching. You’re happy to elaborate to your male boss but does he really want to hear all the glorious details? Bonus points if you're a man attempting to use this excuse. 


07 – You’re having your house done and need to meet builders/contractors/Council people etc.

“I can’t stay late, because the builder is coming over to talk about the bookshelves, and if I’m not there he’ll install it backwards and break the fabric of space and time.”

You can’t help it if these people operate at strange times of the day. You promise to make up the time in the vague (un)foreseeable future.


08 – Your allergies are kicking in

Concerned workmate: “Your face looks abnormally large and red”

You: “Um yeah, I probably shouldn’t have eaten that...”

You forgot you were allergic to peanuts and accidentally swallowed a whole tablespoon of peanut butter. Make sure to moan and groan appropriately as you siddle out the door.


09 – You feel a migraine coming on

“Greg can you stay behind tonight and—”


“Greg, I was asking if you wouldn’t mind finishing off these—”


“Greg, why are you making that awful noise?”

“My head. I have a horrible headache.”

“Go home. Your headache is giving ME a headache!”

And anyone who knows you can vouch that your one-off migraines are ugly, nasty things. Of course you’ve been meaning to get it checked out for a while…but you’re so busy working all the time. That’s right, play the sympathy card and reap the benefits.


10 – You have to get home to do ‘Religious things’

“I’m sorry. My religion forbids working after 5pm.”

“What religion is that?”

“Have you heard about our Lord and Saviour, Cthulhu?”

You might have just hit the jackpot. Religion is a touchy subject at the best of times, and most definitely something your boss will be unlikely to question. Maybe you’re fasting and about to faint, or your family is holding a big ceremony that you need to participate in...whatever the case, it’s pertinent that you head home – and immediately.


Whip out one of these handy excuses next time you’re stuck for ideas and really need to get home on time. What are some of the ways you’ve managed to get out of staying late before?


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