Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Stupid Work Excuses

I haven’t always been a model employee. I was young once, too. So there was a time when I figured that life owed me a little more than I was getting, so I would take things — like days off from work.

We’ve published dozens of excuses that superintendents have sent us from their crews, and it got me thinking about some of the reasons I played hooky.

I never lied, mind you. I never really thought it was worth it. But I was a giant flake at times. Like the time I went through the drive-through for lunch and saw a hitch-hiker standing by the freeway when I was on the way back to work. “Surely this was a noble cause that my boss would understand,” I thought to myself. So I pulled over.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“Pennsylvania,” he replied.

“Hop in.”

He was fresh out of jail on drug charges. I was taking him across state lines. But it didn’t seem as risky as calling my Type-A personality boss to tell him I wasn’t coming back for the afternoon. Needless to say, he didn’t deem the act as honorable as I did.

It wouldn’t be the only time brutal honesty got me in trouble. While working for the same manager, I called early in the morning on a gorgeous July day to leave the following message:

“Good morning Jeff, hope you are doing well. I decided it is just too damn nice outside to come to work today, so I’m going golfing. See you tomorrow.”

The next day, he had a message of his own for me. It went something like this: “Dave, we have three personal days at this company, and when you take them, I don’t want to know why.”

Check out our favorite excuses at and send us more of your favorites.

— David Frabotta

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We All Need Some Compassion

We try to dodge illness and suffering all our lives. But really bad things still happen to people. Things you don’t want to hear or think about because you’re too busy trying to be happy.

I try to remember that when I’m driving amid road ragers or grocery shopping around people who clearly have a biting contempt for humanity. I often wonder “Man, what’s their problem?”

Truth is, I probably don’t really want to know. Many people have huge crosses to bear, and no one wears badges that say, “Diagnosed with cancer,” or “My daughter is missing.”

A guy from Texas once told me, “You have to respect the right of others to be in a hurry.” I’m not sure if it’s a local saying, but it made sense to me. And taking it further, people are permitted to be in rotten moods sometimes. You never know what they’re going through, and a few unsolicited kind words might keep someone from losing faith in themselves for just one more day. Don’t we owe each other that much as a society?

Your crew is a micro society. Someone is always happy, sad, tired, lazy and eager. It’s easy to get frustrated with apathy and moodiness, but sometimes, they just might have a good reason for a healthy dose of compassion.

Ever embarrass yourself when an employee has a good reason to slough off?

Monday, June 02, 2008

How's the Housing Market Doing Where You Live?

I recently sold my house after it was on the market for seven months. I didn't get what I wanted for it, but I was satisfied with the sale knowing that there are some good deals to be had out there for an upgrade.

I'm amazed, however, at how many people have told me "congratulations!" on the selling of my house. It's like I won the lottery or something! (Believe me, I didn't hit it big on this transaction.)

The housing crisis hasn't been in the news lately as much as it was in previous months. But I get the feeling -- especially when people are congratulating me for selling my house -- that the market is still enduring tough times, at least where I live.

How's the housing market doing where you live? Any sign of a turnaround? Let us know by blogging here.

-- Larry Aylward