Uber One excuse generator
Steve Carrell in The Office.

IT IS WEDNESDAY afternoon, and you’re likely in one of two camps. Either you’re staring down the blissful barrel of a four day weekend, or, like me, you’re wondering why you didn’t have the foresight to ask for Friday off. By now, it’s too late. You can’t possibly ask for a last minute day of annual leave when half the office is already ‘OOO’, and calling in sick would be about as convincing as pulling a sickie the day after a work Christmas party. So then, the only viable option is to have a relatively quiet Thursday, and turn up to a mostly empty office on Friday, ready to experience some proper waves of FOMO as your mates make the most of their long weekend. 

Or is it? 

This Anzac Day weekend, Uber One is encouraging last minute thinkers (such as myself) to take the extra day, by launching an AI generated excuse maker that will churn out bespoke ‘excuses’ to arm you with the confidence you need to submit that last minute leave request. How? By entering a few small details into the generator (such as your job title, and, hilariously, how much your boss likes you), artificial intelligence will come up with a tailor-made excuse that promises to help turn your one day off into four in a row. Presumably, the less your boss likes you, the more pleading the excuses will be. 

While it is a novelty – and Uber states the excuse generator is for entertainment purposes only, not actually for use in real situations – there’s a method behind the fun, and it’s to raise awareness of the fact that Australians, despite being known for our comparatively healthy work-life balances, aren’t particularly good at asking for days off. 

According to a new nationwide study from YouGov and Uber One, two in three city workers across Australia say “they have hesitated or would hesitate to request time off or leave from work because they can’t come up with a good excuse.” Meanwhile, 67 per cent of working Australians in capital cities admit they are more likely to request time off from work if they know that their boss likes them – and even if you’re your bosses favourite, asking for leave can still feel fraught. The data also showed men are more likely than women (74 per cent versus 67 per cent) to specifically book time off in and around public holidays to take advantage of a long weekend, while millennials (76 per cent) are the most likely to specifically book time off work in and around public holidays to take advantage of a long weekend. I suppose I missed the millennial memo. 

So while Uber One does not endorse dishonesty or unethical behaviour – which some of the excuses to come out of their excuses generator may risk falling under – the organisation is encouraging Australian workers to feel more empowered to ask for days off. After all, we accrue annual leave for a reason. 

If you’re thinking, cool, that’s easier said than done, it’s worth considering the incentives at play. From today to April 28, Uber One is unlocking $1 million in discounts and savings available across Uber and Uber Eats for Uber One members. Those making the most of the long weekend discounts across the ride share and food delivery apps could save up to approximately $100 over the course of the weekend, which is nothing to sniff at in this economy. 

So if you haven’t already, it’s well worth jumping on and signing up for an Uber One membership ASAP, so you can save money while you’re off the clock. And for fun, go try the excuse generator – it might even inspire you to bite the bullet and take full advantage of your next long weekend.

I did, and this is what I got back:

Hey Boss,
I hope this email finds you well.
On April 26th, I need to take a day off to test my accidental time machine invention in the garage; the fabric of time beckons for exploration. Regrettably, my phone got stuck in a time loop during a test run, so email is my only means of communication for now.
I look forward to hearing your approval. 
Sending virtual high-fives and confetti your way,
(the best Features Editor you’ve got).

Not bad.

Try the Uber One ‘Excuse Generator’ here.

Sign up for your Uber One membership here.


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