Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Being on Time May Be an Impossible Task

Is being late a sin?

I can't tell you how many times in the last months I've been late somewhere, and I am never late. I'm not sure why this is, but I'm determined to get a handle on it.

Being late bugs me. It stresses me out. But I wait on a lot on other people who are late. They're late for phone interviews, they're late for meetings and sometimes they never even show up.

At work, we're all under some incredible deadlines, being asked to do more faster, better, smarter and -- did I mention faster?

So, if that's the case, are we now running later than ever because we set unrealistic deadlines? It's estimated that employee lateness costs about $3 billion annually, but lots of successful people run late: Bill Clinton is known for his inability to stick to a schedule.

Many of us have terrible commutes that we have little or no control over. We're juggling the demands of work and home, and many toil for our companies even when we're physically not at work through e-mail and phone calls.

I'm reminded of a hand-stitched sampler that we had in our living room while I was growing up:

"The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get."

Some will say that lateness is a way to control a situation, it's a head game the tardy folks play with the rest of us. It's the people who are whiners and slackers who are late, and the rest of us shouldn't have to pay the price. But does that still hold true in the workforce today?

Should bosses continue to punish employees for being late? It does make them mad, and ticks off plenty of co-workers.

So, maybe there's an "acceptable" amount of time to be late. If there is, I wish someone would tell me so I could quit chugging the Maalox every time I start to run behind. Is it five minutes? Ten? Twenty?

If you've found ways to stay on schedule and never be late, please let the rest of us know. I'm getting behinder more every day.


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