So if you remember I decided to become a doctor at 31 years old, and for this purpose I needed an apprenticeship, which David, my brother, got me. The only issue, it was located in the clinic of my teenage crush, whom I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

The truth was I felt petrified. This man broke my 16-year-old’s heart and this heart was not ready to face him. I looked at the clock’s I had a couple of hours left before the interview. I so didn’t want to go!!!! I thought of all the possible reasons for me not to show up:

  1. I am sick, but he’s a doctor
  2. My daughter is sick, but he could check with David if it was true
  3. I got stuck in the tube, a classic excuse but he might reschedule.


“Don’t even think about the tube excuse!” Lewa, my good friend from uni, interrupted me during my reflection over excuses. “This would be really lame, Olivia.”

I called an emergency meeting with her, this was a matter of life and death… ok perhaps not that dramatic, but my life hung in there.

“You don’t understand Lewa, the reaction is visceral. The idea of meeting this man… I’m nauseous.”  Surprised by the violence of my reaction, I started to analyse what could be an acceptable excuse.


  1. Credibility

Number 1 criteria. Was the source of the excuse credible?

what constitutes a good excuse

  1. Difficulty verifying the facts

factors foe a good excuse

  1. Moral engagement

key factors for a good excuse

  1. Short timespan

critical factors for excuse

  1. A non-expert audience

This one can be optional. The four factors above are sufficient, but if you really want to bury your audience, then this one is great!


After sharing with Lewa the five factors of a good excuse, I came up with

My boss (credibility) revealed that the company is working on a secret merger deal (difficult to verify) and we have been summoned (moral engagement) to organise our financial accounts starting today (short timespan) until next week as the CEO (big credibility) wants to be briefed ASAP (again short timespan).

Not bad? I was pleased with myself for making up such a credible excuse. I was starting to believe in it myself.

Lewa shaked her head, with a stare of disapprobation, when I called Lucas’s assistant to relate my well-crafted excuse. She represented the perfect non-expert audience.

As I hung up, I looked up at Lewa, who hadn’t stopped shaking her head. She finally broke the silence and whispered: “You’re an opportunity waster.”

Perhaps, but I was not going to meet Lucas and that is all that mattered.

I was convinced I would find an alternative.

“Why don’t you just ask your sister? Everyone is a doctor in your family.” Lewa raged.

You also had this question in mind… let me answer this with the next post.


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