I don’t like people who are late for meetings. And, it seems I’m not alone.
Sometimes tardiness simply can’t be avoided. And, yes, sometimes I’m late for a meeting (or two). But, I’m steamed by the people who are habitually late for everything.
We have an employee who always shows up late. Always. He’ll come sauntering in, mumble something about being stuck on a client call and then slip into an empty chair. As a result, we’ll have to recap what’s just been discussed in order to bring him up to speed. It’s rude, an insult to the rest of us and a waste of everyone’s precious time. But, in our passive-aggressive workplace culture, we never directly confront the ‘late guy.’ And that’s a ‘shame on us.’
Truth be told, though, I prefer late people to their rare, but equally annoying, early bird doppelgangers. These oddities insist on getting to airports, meetings or any other appointment way, way too early. When you do follow their advice, you just end up sitting. And sitting.
I once worked for a guy who was absolutely anal
about arriving early (he was absolutely anal about life in general, but
that’s another story). I remember traveling to Pittsburgh with him for
a client meeting. We checked into the hotel, went to dinner and said
goodnight. He told me to meet him in the lobby at 7:15 the following
morning. ‘But Jim,’ I protested. ‘The meeting’s not until 9:00 and the
client’s office is only a block away.’ He repeated the time he wanted
to meet and shuffled off to the elevator.
Sure enough we met at
7:15, arrived at the client’s office at least an hour early and sat in
the lobby reading the newspapers. About 45 minutes later, a security
guard sauntered over to tell us the client contact had called to say he
was sorry, but he’d gotten ill and wouldn’t be coming to work.
boss saw the barely suppressed outrage on my face and sniffed, ‘No one
ever got fired for being early.’ Maybe not, but what’s wrong with being
Thanks to Debrah Hussey for the idea.