Dear LateefaYou were late again today…nothing new about it, except that this time it really made me mad. This is the about the tenth time that I’ve had make excuses to a client on your behalf. Needless, to say he didn’t buy my excuses…and that made me look and feel stupid. But then you came in to his office, all charm and laughter and immediately he forgot that you had been late and gave us the contract anyway. Another reason for you to say ‘Punctuality is over rated’, right? Easy for you to say, when you’ve got stupid old me around to make excuses on your behalf. What if, I got delayed too? But then it’s not likely to happen, so we’ll never know, will we?
I’m not likely to be late because I take the trouble to get all the preliminary work/printouts done the night before, get up on time, factor in the bad traffic in Mumbai and leave well in time to reach the clients’ office at least 10 minutes before the appointed time. I don’t know how you do it – but you always have a problem with your printer, your alarm (do you even use one?) doesn’t go off, your tyre gets punctured, you get caught in a couple of traffic jams and you are at least ten minutes late for a meeting – on your good days.
You tell me that it’s not a sign of disrespect to me or the clients. I disagree. It is a sign of arrogance to think our time is not as important as your life. Let me point you in the direction of a book by Andrea Perry – Isn’t It About Time: How to Stop Putting Things Off And Get On With Your Life (perhaps I’ll get you a copy as a Christmas present to me!). Allow me to quote: “I don’t really agree with the idea that late people don’t mean to be rude,” says Perry. “Clearly when one person is habitually late, they are regarding themselves more than those they are keeping waiting. They wouldn’t be ten minutes late for President Obama. So be aware of who you are late for, and why.” You get it?
To my mind, punctuality is a sign that you have self-respect, that you love your job and that you have respect for others. The only thing that is overrated is your supposed charm…It’s wearing thin, buddy. So the next time you’re late, will be the last time we’ll work together. Hope you get this – on time!