On-Time, or Not

  • Joshua M Perry

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2655

    It was not until very recently that society became so temporally focused, and it has been only for the past few decades in the "information age", that we as a society have tried to transform time...the way it is used, managed, and even simply perceived. No one really worried much about time until the invention of the modern clock in the 17th century, especially with the advent of the pendulum in 1657 thanks to Huygens.

    The industrial revolution led to task orientation and labor timed by the clock versus the way things proceeded on a natural rhythm beforehand. Information technology and modern computing devices may still just be glorified calculators, however, they have not only affected our societal norms for the valuation and passage of time, they have actually changed temporality...the way people perceive time. Forget about scheduled appointments and being "on time" for a meeting, we talk about globalization and most of our systems rely on GMT to ensure global synchronicity, and what about GPS and the way it uses time to locate by coordinates exactly where in the world something is at a specific point in time...we even measure projects in "internet time".

    I am someone who may arrive late, however, I am also incredibly flexible and extremely efficient. My values come from a different era, where family and a job well done were more important than work and completing "on time and under budget", although I consistently achieve those results while the clock watchers typically do not, if their projects actually succeed, or even complete. This is likely because I do not feel constrained by time or money, but rather by quality, ignoring time and cost and focusing instead on an elegant solution. This almost always results in consumption of very little time and money, because there is no need for rework, which is typically eighty percent of a modern time and money constrained project.

    All of that said, there is absolutely no reason that a meeting cannot start right on time without everyone physically present thanks to advances in mobile communication devices and services and the virtualization of nearly everything in the information technology domain. The issue always seems to go back to organizational culture and expectations. When there is a manager that expects an employee to be at his desk from 8AM until 5PM, yet uses mobile technology to enable the manager to contact the employee outside of these hours, there is a serious command and control trust issue, not a time management issue.

    On the subject of movies, I can watch nearly any movie I want from the comfort of my own home at any time I choose thanks to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and dozens of other services, and I will never have to worry about disturbing anyone in a theater. We have the ability, thanks to modern technological advances, to be the most efficient and least time constrained we have ever been in the history of the world, however, this is not happening because so many people are stuck on the pattern of linear and temporally constrained activity, and in my opinion this is simply because we still have people in this world driven by narcissistic tendencies...they simply want to be in control, regardless of whether this approach is the most efficient or makes the most sense. I think that in most cases technology will simply never overcome basic human nature.

  • chrisn-585491

    SSCoach

    Points: 15866

    Constantly being late is bad manners, disrespectful, and uncultured behavior. Be early or on time.

  • akljfhnlaflkj

    SSC Guru

    Points: 76202

    Why not plan on arriving a little bit early so that if something unforeseen happens then you've got that buffer time? I have people complain that I'm a clock watcher because I leave at 5 PM every day and they stay later. But I also arrive 15 minutes early every day and they arrive a half hour late. I hate being late for meetings (though sometimes I completely forget about them and show up late -- a different kind of problem).

  • Joshua M Perry

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2655

    It would be wonderful to be able to work a normal 9 to 5 schedule, but most issues occur when everyone else from the office is sleeping, so I get about four hours of sleep from 2AM to 6AM, and then drag my lifeless body into the office half an hour after everyone else, and then I have to stay late to finish resolving the issue. Then someone complains about me being late...while they walk in the door at 9AM with a full night of sleep, and out the door right at 5PM to go see their family.

  • RonKyle

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31457

    It would be wonderful to be able to work a normal 9 to 5 schedule, but most issues occur when everyone else from the office is sleeping, so I get about four hours of sleep from 2AM to 6AM, and then drag my lifeless body into the office half an hour after everyone else, and then I have to stay late to finish resolving the issue.

    If you're only getting four hours of sleep each night, something is wrong. When I've had to get up in the middle of the night to fix something that had gone wrong, I could be late. The hours I had worked counted for part of my day in any case. If I had to wake up, it would usually be sometime between 2 and 6 am, and I'd certainly gone to bed before 2 (well before 2).

  • Joshua M Perry

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2655

    RonKyle (3/24/2016)


    It would be wonderful to be able to work a normal 9 to 5 schedule, but most issues occur when everyone else from the office is sleeping, so I get about four hours of sleep from 2AM to 6AM, and then drag my lifeless body into the office half an hour after everyone else, and then I have to stay late to finish resolving the issue.

    If you're only getting four hours of sleep each night, something is wrong. When I've had to get up in the middle of the night to fix something that had gone wrong, I could be late. The hours I had worked counted for part of my day in any case. If I had to wake up, it would usually be sometime between 2 and 6 am, and I'd certainly gone to bed before 2 (well before 2).

    So, your issues happen during a different time of the night, but the point still stands, and is even reinforced by what you said. There are clock watchers that don't deal with any of that middle of the night stuff, and in my experience, those are usually the people complaining about someone being late. It's not really a big issue unless the person complaining somehow gets into management, at which point it's usually only a matter of time before the IT unicorns bolt out the door.

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