How to Apologize for Leaving Work on Time

When you’re trying to work your way up the ladder, the supposed “end” of the workday can be a tricky thing to put your finger on. When should you really leave the office? Surely you can’t just walk out at six like some slovenly ingrate, but what if you really need to someday? Here’s how to delicately and apologetically inform your boss that you actually have to leave at the end of the workday.

Start by Listing Everything You’ve Accomplished for the Day
Before merely asking if leaving at the end of the day is a possibility, you might want to begin with a comprehensive list of all the work you’ve completed during the day. When your boss hears about the three conference calls, six emergency errands and nine-dozen stacks of paperwork you’ve done, he may be a little more understanding about your wacky request.

Promise to Come in Early Tomorrow
A great way to show that you’re dedicated to your job despite selfishly wanting to leave on time is by promising to show up early the following day. Sure, you may already arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the beginning of your shift by default, but this calls for an especially early day. If you’re not crying when your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re probably not a very dedicated employee!

Make up an Emergency
If the need to leave is urgent, one foolproof method is the “personal emergency”. Keeping your explanation short and to the point is key here – sometimes divulging fewer details can have a more powerful effect on the excuse by making it seem too bad to talk about. Not many people question the details of a personal emergency, however you may want to practice a few painful-sounding groans or hide a blood capsule in your mouth just in case.

Just Leave
The devil’s option! This one is risky – simply leaving your office with no apologies or excuses is a bold move. You may be thinking “What the hell!? You might as well tell me to defecate on my desk while wearing a shark costume!” and that’s totally fair. We know there are potential career-ending hazards associated with this dangerous behavior, so try to reserve this option for when you’re feeling a little more secure in your job.


At the end of the day, both literally and metaphorically, the choice is yours. You can put in the bare minimum – a 50-hour workweek that doesn’t even factor in the work you do from home – or you can never actually call it quits and go home. Isn’t capitalism great?