Lying To Excuse An Absence

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about lying to explain an absence: How to I do more that apologize that I lied?

Today I was to have orientation for work, and there is no interview process, just to make it clear. Anyways orientation was at 6:30 2:30 p.m. I totally forgot about it, and I woke up at 7:00 a. m. and then I remembered I was missing it. So out of nervousness, I emailed my HR representative and said I had a death in the family and I couldn’t attend today. They replied saying it was okay and that they would reschedule.

Now the issue is that I lied. I didn’t go because I messed up the dates. Finally I found courage to email the HR representative saying it was a lie. I got an email this morning that said, “At this time, I am unable to give you a position in another orientation session.” I’m so nervous because I think they won’t hire me anymore.

I apologized many times. It was an unintentional lie that I made under stress. The partial truth is that we did have a death in the family, but that wasn’t the reason I couldn’t make it. I have no idea what to do. I emailed them back asking if this is because of what happened or because they do not have another session available. What should I do?


Not the Truth


Dear Not the Truth:

What should you do? First you should quit worrying. You found courage to tell the truth and you also have apologized, “may times” in your own words. Let it go at that. HR should appreciate that you have a conscience and were upset with yourself for lying.

From the fact that you missed orientation, I assume you have not yet started work at this company or have not worked there very long. But apparently you were scheduled for orientation because you appeared to be an employee that would fit there. Orientation usually isn’t a time of rejection of new hires. Hopefully this lie you made for being absent will not prevent being hired.

Now let this serve as a lesson to you. Set two alarms, and arrive ten minutes early rather than risking an accident driving fast to make up for starting late. Arriving early will demonstrate you mean business. And at the end of the day, don’t dash out. Does this make sense to you?

Finally, Of course employees are excused for funerals of family and close friends; however, except for such rare occasions, I’m sure you have learned that using death as an excuse for being absent is a bad idea, unless it is your own. This is the kind of practical advice represented by my signature sentence: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden