On-Time, or Not

  • Andy Warren

    SSC Guru

    Points: 119676

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item On-Time, or Not

  • Orlando Colamatteo

    SSC Guru

    Points: 182269

    Great column. My grandfather used to say that intelligence is being able to gauge the level of the person you are speaking with and communicating in a way that they will understand your point. This is being smart enough for the both of you and when you succeed you both win.

    All of it comes with experience, maturity and the willingness to meet someone half-way (read, humility). I look at it like this, if I put my best foot forward (in the area of adjusting to someone else's preferences) and the effort is not met with a similar willingness then I know I did my part. I have confidence that down the line the person will make a course-correction and grow in the process. Maybe the growth will happen long after they have left my world but in the end they will get it and in that way we all benefit. My thoughts may be a bit naive but it works for me and I feel it has allowed me to build good relationships with people.

    Certainly we have all been that person that someone with more knowledge or wisdom has had to accommodate so in my estimation it is paying back. And, we all have our moments in life, growth is never done, so in some contexts I was merely paying it forward.

    There are no special teachers of virtue, because virtue is taught by the whole community. --Plato

  • Kyrilluk

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1269

    Being late might mean several things depending on the culture and on the event.

    It might mean "I value more my time than yours" if this is for a 1 to 1 meeting. And this can be true: think about your boss having to prioritize important meetings.

    It might mean "you can start without me" when it is a group meeting.

    "I'm not well organised or I forced myself to come" if it's an interview or a date.

    Or it can be a polite way - among Latin people - to let you and your wife finish preparing the delicious lunch you are going to serve (for example in France, it is usually seen as bad manners to be right on time for an evening meal: we should always give that extra 15 minutes for people to finish sorting out the meal and the house before we come ringing to their house).

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    I grew up with an English mother and a Hungarian father. My mother instilled in me the importance and etiquette of being on time. My father was almost always late.

    I always try to be on time (that is a few minutes early), however, I now understand that my Dad wasn't late just because of his more carefree attitude to time but that he was often held up by his work and expected everyone to understand.

    The thing I still hate most about lateness is the wasted time.


    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • P Jones


    Points: 12323

    One side effect of dyslexia is an inability to estimate time and manage time hence my OH is always late unless I'm ruthlessly managing our arrival.

    He knows when I say "I am NOT doing late for this" that it matters, but we are famous for starting dinghy races late and making up ground - they don't wait for anyone, but being in clear air rather than in the melee really helps us!

  • BenWard


    Points: 5903

    Getting to meetings on time is important even if it's simply for the sake of cost.

    If you've got a meeting for 5 people, being paid an average of £25/hour, and one is 15 mins late, the company has just lost, not just £25, but the hour of work that those people would have accomplished if they were at their desks. It may not sound like a lot but in an economic climate where a company's stationary budget won't allow for pens that cost more than 15p it's not so small.

    Multiply that by 10 meetings a day with at least 1 person turning up late and the company is loosing an entire FTE to punctuality.

    If my company is anything to go by, if someone has booked a meeting for a certain time, you can guarantee that either 1 or more invitees are exceedingly busy and that's the only bit of time they have available, or that's the only time when there is a meeting room available. Turning up late to that meeting will either cause the meeting to be cut short, thus impacting on the value that the meeting may have otherwise provided, or everyone else's (probably very busy) day gets affected by the meeting running past it's scheduled finish time.


    ^ Thats me!

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  • Neil Burton


    Points: 22137

    Punctuality is important to me, if you're supposed to be there at 1000 be there for 1000. That, to me, means allowing enough time for the trip plus a proportional margin for error and holdups. My wife hates being late to the point of taking this margin for error to extremes. As Gary mentioned, the most annoying thing about lateness is the wasted time. Believe me, the most annoying thing about being early for things can be the wasted time. I've sat outside several businesses for half an hour or more, waiting either for an appointment or for them to open because we've allowed over an hour for a twenty minute trip. I've said in the past that I could have walked to a destination three or more miles away and still been on time because we've left so early.

    On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
    —Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher

    How to post a question to get the most help http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537

  • paul s-306273


    Points: 10615

    Yes, something that gets me too. I used to have a manager who would wait until a meeting started before going to make his coffee.

  • call.copse


    Points: 17095

    I'm somewhere between. I've always been a punctual type - but my OH has trouble being on time for anything. Typically, leaving for holidays has involved driving to the airport at double the speed limit where possible (perhaps a little exaggeration) in order to scrape through the desk just before the gate is due to close(so far we've always made it!). It's not good for the blood pressure I can assure you. I've lost count of the number of films I've seen at the cinema where I re-watch on the TV and realise 'Ahh, that is what that was all about.' when I actually catch the opening scene. Paying the extortionate sums involved these days for such tickets and missing the start does get right on my wick.

    Thing is in order to cope with this sort of thing I've had to sort out my own attitude. There's really no point in getting overly stressy or causing aggro when it just makes things slower / more unpleasant. So in a way it's kind of good for me.

    Lateness is certainly part of her culture though - on meeting someone in a remote area in Kenya my father was less than overjoyed to wait 2 hours in the heat. The latecomer said it was pretty good for the area though, if he had been meeting a Masai he could have expected a few days to a week to wait!

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    call.copse (3/21/2016)

    ...I've lost count of the number of films I've seen at the cinema where I re-watch on the TV and realise 'Ahh, that is what that was all about.' when I actually catch the opening scene. Paying the extortionate sums involved these days for such tickets and missing the start does get right on my wick...

    As someone who arrives in plenty of time so has sat through the trailers (enjoyed) and the adverts (total tedium) I can say that I find it totally annoying that cinemas let people in late. Should I really have to put up with being disturbed once the film has started? This is one of the two reasons that I rarely go to the cinema anymore. (The other being people who think that it is their right to talk all the way through the film - and cinemas that let them).


    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Athuruga

    SSC Journeyman

    Points: 91

    I'm German and "they" say that Germans are always there on time.

    But is not really like this. I've grown up in a family where we always arrived much too late.

    When I went to school I came minimum 5 minutes too late because I learned this from my family.

    But now I changed I learned that it has something to do with respect. I try to be there 5 minutes earlier than agreed. If we meet at friends, I'll try to ring the bell exactly at the agreed time (waiting the remaining 4 minutes in front of the door).

    I have learned that time is valuable, not only for me also for others, people coming always to late to an appointment are stealing "our" time the time we could have spent together having fun, arguing, laughing...

    I hate it if someone thinks coming to a dinner 1 hour too late is ok.

    Arriving late is disrespectful of the other person.

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    Athuruga (3/21/2016)

    ...Arriving late is disrespectful of the other person.

    I agree with this.


    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • dean.giberson 64357


    Points: 431

    Nice post, I will start by saying meetings in general are a waste of time since most spend them texting or checking email on their phone anyway. I agree with all who said that it is costly and a waste of others time when people are late. I would add that it doesn't matter what their reasons are it is rude and points to deeper issues with the person that is late that probably can be seen in other areas of their work if looked at. One mentioned lack of organization I would add lack of planning and not instilling margin in their life. Lateness is something that in the latest generations appears to be something that was not taught at an early age like a lot of other common courtesy things I see missing like please and thank you and normal conversation, looking into someone's eyes when speaking and many others. Happy Monday.

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75312

    If you are going to insist on punctuality of start then I'm going to insist on punctuality of the end, a clear objective to the meeting and an agenda. If meetings overrun then that has a knock on affect for any subsequent meetings.

    How much advanced warning do you give for a meeting? I've had someone get very upset that I was late for a meeting for which they sent out the invite during my lunch and expected me to attend immediately after my lunch.

    I've had people who attempt to triple book me for meetings on the basis that "it is hard to get a slot in your diary so I just booked it, you are a critical attendee"!

    Then there are people who think I have a teleport system to get me between offices 2 miles apart.

    Worst of all are those people whose body seems to consist of 99% bladder and they can't understand that this is not a standard fit issue on a middle aged bloke.

  • dean.giberson 64357


    Points: 431


    I am with you. It is unreasonable to expect people to come to a meeting without plenty of advanced notice and to schedule you for a meeting with no option to say NO. Especially if you are important to the meeting they should check with you to see if it fits in your schedule or what YOU can move around to make the meeting fit. Yes as I said people just don't have some common courtesy these days.


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