Career Advice

“I Missed First Day of Work!” What to Do to Get a Second Chance

On the first day of the job, you want to make a good first impression. So imagine the horror if you missed first day of work. That’s just your awful luck. 

If you’re going through this stressful situation, your mind will be racing. “What happens if I don’t show up on the first day of work? Will I immediately get fired?” “What’s the best thing to do to get a second chance?”

I’m here to answer these questions for you. But first…

Reasons Why You Missed First Day of Work

I hope you didn’t miss your first day of work because you were lazy or didn’t bother going. That’s not a good excuse at all. If that’s the case, you’re a huge red flag and should be fired on the spot. 

However, there are some good reasons that may still give you a second chance. Again, it’s just your awful luck that these things happened on the first day of your new job. 

  • There’s a family emergency. If a family emergency needs your attention the entire day, you won’t be able to show up for the first day. Let’s say your child was rushed to the hospital or there was a natural disaster that hit your home. Or, on a more minor scale, you have to accompany a family member in an unexpected family obligation. 
  • You overslept. These things happen, especially if you hardly slept since you were so nervous about your first day. But get this – if you oversleep, you should still go to work, no matter how late. Don’t make the excuse that, since you’re already late for your first shift, you don’t need to show up. 
  • There’s confusion with your schedule. For this, someone from Reddit explains their situation, “I was told at the end of that day that I’d probably be working tomorrow and that they’d send me a text to confirm once they actually figured out a time. Well, they never did, and I just received a call from them asking where I am.” As you can see, schedule confusion between you and the manager can cause you to miss your first day. 
  • You got sick. If you wake up with a high fever and cold, maybe it’s better if you miss work. For one, you don’t want to spread your germs to your new employer and workmates. Another thing is that you might not be able to perform as well as you want. 
  • Your car broke down. If your car breaks down and it needs the whole day to repair, you’ll have to grumble “I missed my first day!”. In this case, though, you should take public transportation instead. It might mean you arrive late, but at least you arrived. 
  • There’s inclement weather. Severe weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall, flooding, or hurricanes, may make it unsafe or impossible for you to travel to work on your first day.

Read More: 14 Tips To Stop Feeling Nervous About Starting A New Job Tomorrow

What to Do if You Miss Work on the First Day

“What happens if I don’t show up on the first day of work?” If you don’t do the right thing, you’ll most likely be fired. Someone from Quora gives us the hard truth:

First impressions are very important, and missing your first day of work is quite a bad start. Now you’ve got them thinking “if that’s the first day, what can be expected next”. Filling out all official paperwork is irrelevant. An employee can be fired even on their first day at the job.

However, notice what I included – if you don’t do the right thing. This is why it’s crucial to know what to do. 

If you’re stressing “I missed first day of work”, here is the best way to go about it so you can hopefully grab a second chance:

  • Let them know as early as possible, better if it’s the day before
  • Sincerely apologize 
  • Be honest
  • Ask for a reschedule
  • Prove that this is not characteristic of you

Let them know as early as possible, better if it’s the day before

If you must miss the first day of work, let your boss know as early as possible. This is so they won’t have to be waiting and wondering where you are. 

Also, to make sure that you get the message across, it’s better to call than send an email. For example, if you call in sick the day before, you know for sure that the manager got your message and won’t expect you the next day. 

What if you have to call out of work on the day? Then do it early in the morning, before your work shift starts. If your car broke down, let them know you’re going to be 30 to 40 minutes late. 

Read More: New Job Adjustment Period: How Long Is It And Tips To Adjust To New Job

Sincerely apologize

Missing your first day of work is unacceptable. But if it was for a good reason, then the best thing you can do to get a second chance is to sincerely apologize. 

To make it more sincere, let them know that you understand how unprofessional and inconvenient it is. You should also express that you’ve never missed the first day of the job before (of course, this should be a true statement for you). 

This proves that it’s very uncharacteristic of you and it won’t be happening again. Here is a take from one employer that gave their new hire a second chance:

He seemed mortified and was very apologetic, assuring us that it will not happen again.

After the call, you can even send an official missed first day of work apology letter through email. This will show that you really are sorry. 

Be honest

If you want to be more believable, you should be honest about the reason. I mean, if you just say “I missed work because of a family emergency” that’s a bit suspicious.

Nobody will know if you’re lying or not. Plus, there’s reason to believe you’re lying since a survey showed that 42% of employees lie about work absence

Of course, I’m not saying that you must go into detail about your reasons for missing the first day of work. But, if you want to be more believable, it’s best to be a bit more specific. You can say, “I had to rush my child to the hospital” and not go into further detail. 

Besides credibility, honesty is a prioritized trait in the workplace. You can get on your employer’s good side if you’re honest. 

Read More: How to Apologize for Missing a Meeting (with Email Examples)  

Ask for a reschedule 

Before you hang up on that unfortunate phone call you had to make, ask the manager if you can reschedule your first day. You should ask now while you have their attention. 

If they give you a date, then HURRAH! you’re given a second chance. If they say something along the lines of “I’ll get back to you”, there are two possibilities. 

The first one is that they no longer want to work with you. In simple terms, you’re fired. The other possibility is that they want to teach you a lesson by keeping you waiting. 

If they never get back to you, you should call again and ask. Remember, if you’re fired, you’ll be given a notice. You can’t be fired without knowing it. 

Read More: How To Get A Job After Being Fired For Attendance In 8 Easy Steps

Prove that this is not characteristic of you

Let’s say you’re given a second chance. That’s great! However, a study by Harvard showed that it takes 8 positive encounters to reverse 1 negative impression

This means that you have to work extra hard to bring your name on the bright side. Arrive early.  Be hardworking. Be productive. Be likable. Have a great work ethic. And especially don’t miss your rescheduled first day. 

Final Words

It’s terrible when you have to admit “I missed first day of work!” Your hopes for continuing with the company are probably at an all-time low (and for good reason). However, if you follow the steps that I mentioned here, you can still get a second chance. 

So go ahead and inform your manager as early as possible, sincerely apologize, be honest, ask for a reschedule, and prove that you’re a top worker. 

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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