This is a topic on my mind most days. It crosses all aspects of my life; work, college, family and recreational. I often wonder if people know what it means to be punctual or not. Is punctuality a thing of the past?
As far back as I can remember, I have always been someone who is early. I would sit at the end of the driveway waiting for the bus; while my siblings ran down the driveway just as he bus driver started to leave. I have always arrived at work twenty minutes early. If I tell you we are leaving at noon, you better be ready by 11:45.
I had a friend who’s family was always late. They would try to trick themselves into being on time. They would set their clocks early. They had so many clocks in that house and not a single clock was the correct time. I look back and wonder how they thought this would work? They had no concept of the actual time. It never worked, they were always late.
I have always felt that being punctual shows your respect for others. Being late is a selfish act, for it puts your needs above another’s. You want an extra minute to do what you’d like, but in gaining that minute for yourself, you take a minute from another.
For example, showing up late for work. Depending on your job someone else may have to stay late to cover until you get there. Why is your time more important than theirs? At my work there are several co-workers who feel it is acceptable to be 3-15 minutes late every day, yet they are the first ones out the door. Several times they will all be late and we will have someone waiting at the door. To me that shows no respect for their clients time, who arrived when the office was supposed to be open. Showing up late for an appointment puts everyone else’s appointment off schedule.
The importance of Punctuality is something I feel strongly about (even if the blog is “The art of being a MAN” title could be taken as sexist.. punctuality knows no gender). Maybe I am wasting my time always waiting for others. I could be sleeping in, getting coffee and filling my own needs instead of waiting on others.
“The habit of being prompt once formed extends to everything — meeting friends, paying debts, going to church, reaching and leaving place of business, keeping promises, retiring at night and rising in the morning, going to the lecture and town-meeting, and, indeed, to every relation and act, however trivial it may seem to observers.” –William Makepeace Thayer, Tact and Grit, 1882
I personally have anxiety and the thought of walking into a room late gives me anxiety just thinking of it. I couldn’t imagine showing up late for work regularly and trying to explain to my supervisor why. I realize not everyone has this same issue and that sometimes things happen outside of our control. But this is exactly why I would never be late just because I couldn’t find my shoes, had to stop for gas or needed a breakfast sandwich. All of those things should have been planned and figured into the morning routine.
I thought I would ask people about their time habits. I received a series of responses which I found interesting. Some said it depends on the activity. If they pay for the activity, such as class they do not feel obligated to show up on time; however if they are getting paid to be there, such as work, they will be on time. If it is a family obligation it depends on the relationship they have with the person. Many said they just struggle with getting up in the morning. I followed up with a question regarding evening activities and their punctuality. They generally said they were late to those as well. So, that clearly has nothing to do with waking up late.
I found this blog on point with my time struggles with my husbands family. His family is always late and after 20 years, I have not figured out what time to show up for their events. Once we arrived before they even got there. We literally were in their driveway at the exact time they said to arrive and they were not home. We waited another thirty minutes for the host to showed up. WHAT!! We were not even early, just on time.
Each culture has their own norms toward time. It is not the same in each culture. Many cultures value the human connection over time. In those cultures it is more rude to end a conversation to get somewhere on time than to be late. They value time with people higher than punctuality. Read more about other cultures and their view of time here.
As we all look to graduation and starting our careers, I encourage everyone to think about the importance of being punctual. Punctuality is something our future supervisors are looking for. Being on time can represent a lot about you. It shows responsibility, integrity, care, respect,