14 Excuses You’d Totally Use If Work Life Was Like College Life

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Being an adult is a lot more complicated than being a college student. But what if it wasn’t? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could go back to the days when a few lame excuses were all you needed to get out of doing work? Well, with this list, you can. Here are 14 excuses that will get you out of work with almost no effort — or at least, they would if office life were like college life.

1. Asking for an extension on a project because your grandmother just died.

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Just like in college, this excuse should be used as many times as necessary, testing the limits of your boss’s memory and making it appear as though you have six grandmothers. Ideally, all your coworkers would also be using the same transparent excuse, even if they’re in their 50s, creating a constantly rotating cycle of lies that are impossible to keep track of.

2. “I forgot all about the meeting; can you just email me an outline?”

If you didn’t have to work every day at the same time — and if the constant presence of email and your coworkers didn’t make it impossible to “forget” things like meetings — this excuse would be a real winner.

3. Emailing your boss at the last minute and saying your roommate kept you up all night so you won’t be able to make it in today.


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You can also use the excuse that the fire alarm went off at 3 a.m. if you’re hoping for extra sympathy.

 4. “I was totally at work yesterday, didn’t you see me? I must have forgotten to sign in.”

If the old “forgetting to sign in” trick worked at the office, you could get at least two extra weeks of vacation a year.

 5. “I think I have food poisoning.”


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This is something that could conceivably occur on a college campus; make it work in an office setting by blaming the vending machines or food that was left in the back of the break room refrigerator for a month.

6. Claim that you’re questioning your life choices and career.

If you could get away with the things you did in college, the whole “My life is really hard right now and I’m just so overwhelmed” excuse would get you out of at least a week of work.

7. “My computer crashed.”


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In this fantasy world where work is like college, a computer crashing means that you can get away with not doing the work you were supposed to do, unlike in the real world, where every single person in your office will know that you’re lying because they can clearly see that your computer is fine.

8. “The library didn’t have any copies left.”

In college, you can blame all your problems on the library. Didn’t do the required reading? It’s because the library didn’t have any copies of the book left. Forgot that there was required reading? It’s because you put a hold on that book two weeks ago but the library must have lost your request. If work was like college, the library would be the source of all your lateness and no one would question it.

9. Claim that you have an important exam on the same day a project is due.


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An exam is the perfect excuse for not turning in your work. If the workplace were like college, you could spend at least four weeks a year telling your boss that you have mid-terms or finals on the day of that deadline, so you couldn’t possibly finish the project until the week after.

 10. “One of my other bosses asked me to tutor someone.”

This excuse would work marvelously in the workplace if you have multiple bosses. Pit them against each other and make each one think the others are taking up too much of your time while simultaneously pretending that you’re teaching one of your coworkers how to do something.

11. “I got called in to work this morning.”


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In a perfect world, you could use work as an excuse to not go to work.

12. Say that you got so caught up in the reading that you forgot to write the paper.

Be one of those people who is so enthusiastic about the subject matter that they forget what their actual assignment is. Assure your boss that you were so thrilled by the quarterly reports and year-end data metrics that you got lost in them and didn’t even realize it was the end of the day until someone told you to go home.

13. “This wasn’t on the syllabus.”


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Feign shock and dismay when told that you should have done something. Every time you’re told that you should have done more work, explain that you were never told about it and that it’s completely unfair to expect you to do it now.

14. Tell your boss that you’re just not comfortable with the material yet and you really need some extra time with a study group.

During the desperately earnest days of college, you were allowed to use your emotions as a refuge. You could claim that you were overwhelmed, overworked and uncomfortable, and say that all you really needed was some extra time… perhaps an extension, or maybe some extra-curricular study group time to really get to the bottom of that difficult concept and lock down exactly what it means. If you use this excuse at the office, make sure that, just like in college, your “study group” is you and your TV.