The Dog Ate My Homework (and other excuses)

Working for a road construction company has its benefits. Winters are magnificently slow and we have the pleasure of crossing paths with some interesting characters throughout the busy season. Sometimes these guys get past our loose screening procedures and they end up gracing us with their presence for a few weeks or months. Others are odd enough upon initial consultation that red flags are raised, torn up, and burnt to the ground.

We had a bright gem who worked with us for a few months last season. Not only did he call in sick every other day, but the days he decided to show up, he was chronically late. This gentleman listened to Eminem on his iPod while wielding a flag paddle, trying to direct traffic. When approached by his Supervision about the danger of not being able to hear his surroundings, he explained why it was kosher for him to continue his antics.

“I know Eminem’s daughter.”

Supervisor: “How do you know her?”

“I met her once and we keep in contact. Actually, we dated for a while.”

Supervisor: “I don’t believe you.”

“Well we did, and I met her Dad.”

Supervisor: “That definitely didn’t happen.”

No. Kidding.

Since we do not perform pre-employment drug and alcohol testing, this is one of the things we screen for during the interview. We are not allowed to directly ask someone if they have an addiction, but we can casually mention pre-access testing as a job requirement . . . and wait for a positive or negative reaction. One cool cat said he could pass a “piss test”, but last time he almost failed.


“Yeah, people were doing drugs in my building and I went outside to have a smoke. I was close to it so I almost failed the test for coke.”


“I have never even seen coke before.”

Bull. Shit.

There is no such thing as ALMOST failing a drug test. Sometimes preliminary testing has to be sent away to a lab because results were “inconclusive” for a number of reasons. But when it comes down to the results the worker receives, it’s pass or fail. You either did drugs or you didn’t. You didn’t just walk by someone “smoking coke” and now you’re unsure of your ability to piss clean. Something’s not adding up for me here.

This guy is probably sitting at home wondering why he hasn’t been offered a high paying executive position somewhere. His next excuse will be he “lost his licence because someone hit his truck out of nowhere.” He was “completely sober and parked safely in a parking lot.”

Maybe the dog ate his homework too?

YOU sir, are not a good candidate for this position.

YOU sir, are not a good candidate for this position.

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