Lying on the job is way more common than you thought.
The average person lies two to three times every 10 minutes, according to a study by the University of Massachusetts. Often, we lie in order to make life easier in the interim but there are always consequences if the truth is ever revealed.
Lies also come in all different forms at work. Whether it’s fudging your resume to give yourself more experience on a job application to twisting the reasoning behind your latest termination, people have told some outrageous lies in an effort to get ahead at work. There are even specific lies about work that have apparently been damaging your career.
But perhaps where employees lie the most is when it comes to getting out of work, according to a new study.
Careers website Zety recently looked into the art of lying at work, specifically the lies Americans tell the most for not showing up at the office. The study, which collected responses from 1,034 American respondents, uncovered both the most common lies and just straight out of left field fibs that workers admitted to telling in order to not work for a day.
‘I’m feeling sick’ and other excuses
Whether it’s the classic ‘I may be coming down with a cold’ to excuses about what you ate last night, using sickness as an excuse was the most common way for employees to lie their way out of work, according to the survey.
Eighty-four percent of respondents said they’ve used “I’m feeling sick” as a lie, which beat out the classic family emergency (65%) and personal issues or having a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment, which was used by 60% of respondents.
For commuters driving to work, 48% admitted to saying their car broke down in order to skip work. Thirty-seven percent said they used their kids’ fake sickness as an excuse and 32% said they needed to pick up their kids from someplace.
As for actually telling the truth, consider it very rare. Only 4% of respondents said they’ve never made an excuse to get out of work.
How we lie
There’s always going to be an internal debate as to which method of communication is best to call out of work. Some find phonecalls to be more sincere while opting for something like an email or text message can quickly get the message across without building anxiety due to telling a lie.
But it turns out that people actually like telling lies to someone either on the phone or in-person.
Forty-one percent of respondents said they called their supervisors via the phone to let them know they were not coming to work. Nearly a quarter — 24% — said they lied to their bosses in a face-to-face meeting.
Seventeen percent said they used emails and 16% via text in order to get their lie across and out of work for the day.
Too true to be lies
While some excuses might seem farfetched, these will make you do a double-take.
From a rabbit being neutered to dogs eating hearing aides, here are some of the oddest truths told in order to get out of work, according to the survey.
- My rabbit had to be neutered.
- My horse died.
- I had to skip work one day (years ago) because my neighbor got attacked by his girlfriend and almost died and the police had the whole apartment complex cordoned off—they were treating it as a murder investigation. The man ended up living after several days in the hospital. Really doubt my supervisor believed that story, but it was true.
- My dog ate my hearing aid.
- I had five consecutive deaths in the family over the course of two years and I think people were skeptical. I wish I were just making that up.