Top 10 Office Lies

talking bookI started working in an office in March of 1973 — yes 1973. We were still in Vietnam, Nixon was president, and I was listening to Stevie Wonder’s album “Talking Book” (which had the title in braille on the ALBUM cover) over and over again.

In that time I’ve learned a lot about people who make their living in the corporate world and even more about the corporate culture. One thing I discovered is that if you want to survive you better know how to at least tell little fibs if not outright lie from time to time. Here are the top 10 lies that anyone who hangs around an office long enough will either hear or tell.

  1. My aunt (uncle, cousin, mother-in-law) died. Death is a good excuse to not be at work – especially if it is your own. But if you are going for the funeral lie it is better to go with your best friend’s mom/dad/spouse. Why? Because if you are smart you will find someone in the obits that you can pawn off as the deceased.  Also you aren’t close enough to the deceased to feel the need to talk about them or look too sad.  And, if you are taking a half day off be sure to dress in appropriate funeral clothing.
  2. I would be happy to stay late. No one is happy to stay late, come in early, work on the weekends. In fact most of us aren’t happy to work the hours we have to work. The closest we come to making this statement true would be “I don’t want to work late but I would like the overtime.” If you don’t get paid overtime then you have nothing left but the lie.
  3. office-lieMy wife/husband and I have an arrangement. No you don’t. If we hear this then say you need to have a note from them saying it is okay to fool around – and it has to be notarized.
  4. I’m working on that right now. No you’re not but with any lucky it is within arms’ reach or you know exactly where it is on your computer.  Better yet, if you know there is a project you should be working on but are putting it off as long as possible in order to check Facebook and watch videos on YouTube keep the file near you – and opened – or have the document opened on your computer so you can switch to it quickly if necessary.
  5. I already sent that to you. This one is harder to pull off because back in the days when we had interoffice envelopes instead of email inboxes you could get away with this. Now you have to say “I thought I sent it to you” and say you’ll look for it. Never use this if what they are asking for is not ready because you don’t have time to do anything – just find it and send it. See #4 above.
  6. You remind me of [insert name of popular star like Beyoncé or Emma Stone or Betty White]. No you don’t. This person wants to have sex with you or, if you are their boss they are kissing up to you. If they are married see #3 above.
  7. I’m working from home. This is usually a half lie. They are indeed logged on to their computer and they may be working some of the time but they are also cleaning, doing the laundry, walking the dog, playing with the dog, playing with themselves – whatever they are not “working” like they are when they are in the office.
  8. No, I didn’t take the last donut. Yeah the crumbs in the corner of your mouth and the powder sugar on your chest give you away.
  9. I love what I’m doing. Much in the same way I love walking barefoot on hot pavement, having my gums scrapped and listening to feral cats mating outside my window.
  10. I’ll get back to you Today/Tomorrow/Soon. I will never hear from you on this subject again until I ask again and you put me off again and I ask again, etc. leading to a cycle of lies until I finally give up asking and you win.

What other office lies have you heard?