Now I must admit at the outset that this is not my work but I agree with the sentiments so much that I wish I had written it. It is the work of Greg Savage and was shared by Winston Marsh. I think you should force people who often run late to read it and learn from it!
This post may offend some readers but only because it’s going to cut close to the bone for many.
“How did it get to be “OK” for people to be late for everything?As far as I am concerned, it’s not OK.
In recent years it seems that a meeting set to start at 9 am, for some people means in the general vicinity of any time which starts with the numeral ‘9’. Like 9.30 for example.
People drift in at 9.10 or 9.20, or even later. And they smile warmly at the waiting group, as they sip their coffee, apparently totally unconcerned that others have been there since five to nine, prepared and ready to start.
10 people kept waiting in a meeting for 20 minutes, while some selfish pratt who idles his way via the coffee shop, is actually 20 minutes times 10, which is 200 minutes wasted – while you keep us waiting. That is over 3 hours wasted. By you! How much has that cost the school?
An arrangement to meet someone for a meeting at 3.15 pm, more often than not means at 3.25 you get a text saying ‘I am five minutes away’ which inevitably means 10 minutes, and so you wait for 15 or 20 minutes, kicking your heels in frustration.
And it’s not only at school. Why do people, invited for a dinner party at 7.30, think it’s cool to arrive at 8.30? It’s rude. It’s inconsiderate. And it’s selfish, as I witnessed in a coffee shop near my home one weekend. Three “ladies who lunch” (a species not confined to, but heavily represented on, the lower North Shore of Sydney) were chatting loudly at the table next to me. One inquired what time the ‘drinks do’ was that night. The reply for all the world to hear was ‘Oh 7.30, but we won’t get there till 9 because by then it will have warmed up and all the interesting people will have arrived’. Nice. Imagine if everyone took that view. Cocktail parties would start at 3 am eventually.
Or a dinner at a restaurant where I was meeting two other couples. My wife was away, so I was flying solo. I arrived at two minutes to eight for an eight o’clock booking. At 8.20, I was into my second glass of Pinot and at half-past I got a text saying ‘on the way’. We finally were all seated at 8.45. There were not even attempted excuses from either of the two couples, who seemed oblivious to the fact I might actually have got there at the agreed time. Meanwhile I had put a huge dent in the bottle of Pinot and was ready to go home.
It is not that we lead ‘busy lives’. That’s a given, we all do and it’s a cop out to use that as an excuse. It’s simply that some people no longer even pretend that they think your time is as important as theirs. Technology makes it worse. It seems texting or emailing that you are late somehow means you are no longer late.
Rubbish. You are rude and inconsiderate.
Recently I acted on it to. My dentist kept me waiting 50 minutes not long ago. She has done it for years and years. But enough! I walked out, past a literally open-mouthed receptionist who had never seen a patient act on their frustration, only to get a frantic call from the dentist herself as I got into my car. Sure she was “busy”, another patient took longer than she expected, blah blah blah.
But hold on, I am busy too! I would not keep her waiting 45 minutes if she came to see me as a candidate and yet I am HER customer. I told her I have been coming to you for 15 years but don’t take me for granted. See fewer patients in a day if you have to but see me on time or close to it. She has never kept me waiting again.
Me? Am I ever late? Sure, sometimes. That’s inevitable even with the best intentions. But I never plan to be late. I never ‘let time slide’ because my stuff is more important than yours.
I am not talking about the odd occasion of lateness. I am talking about people who are routinely late. In fact, never on time. You know who I am talking about!
I consider serial lateness a character flaw which I take into account when working out who to promote, who to hire and who to count amongst my real friends. It’s that important.”
*Greg Savage is the founder of leading recruitment companies Firebrand Talent Search, People2People and Recruitment Solutions. He is an established global leader of the recruitment industry and a regular keynote speaker worldwide. Greg provides specialised advice for Recruitment, Professional Services & Social Media companies.