“It’s Not My Fault!” and Other Excuses

By, 08/15/2013

Search for “excuses” online, and you’ll pull up countless websites providing “30 Believable Ways to Get out of Work Today,” and “Excuses 1 through 100.” Sure, we’ve all missed deadlines or shown up late to work before, often for legitimate reasons. But even at those times, it may seem much easier to resort to an elaborate excuse than take the responsibility. Why?

Ultimately, we make excuses to rationalize. When it’s “not our fault,” we don’t have to examine the circumstances, causes and impact of our actions—or lack thereof. While excuses may not seem particularly harmful at the time, they can keep us from growing, both personally and professionally—and can have unintended consequences for us and our colleagues.

The next time you find yourself thinking up an excuse, take a step back and ask: Why don’t you want to be at the meeting? Why weren’t you able to complete the assigned task? Why don’t you want to take responsibility?  By addressing these questions, you increase your self-awareness and give yourself the tools necessary to change. Further, your honesty will show others how trustworthy, cognizant and competent you are, all of which are qualities necessary to foster opportunities both inside and outside of work.