Anyone who is working in a customer service business has probably experienced having to deal with the ‘late arrival’. This is the person who is supposed to be at the office for an event, service and/or appointment. The person who is ten-minutes late is often indignant that they will not be allowed into a meeting. As the guy called to the reception desk to deal with this situation I can attest it can get ugly fast.
I been told, ‘You’re F***ing me!’, called a jerk, an < >hole and just about everything in between. After all, they are only (insert number here) minutes late. People have moved into my personal space or tried to stare me down in an attempt to get their way. The reasons for being late are varied. I am not saying the reasons are not valid. Just that lateness not only is a trend, it is a trend that is growing.
From my point of view I have a room with 15 to 40 people who arrived on time. The have sat through five, ten, fifteen-minutes of a meeting. Often they have completed paperwork or received some specialized instruction as to how the subject matter will proceed. How fair is it to them that they be forced to go back to square one and rehash what they just heard? What about in instances where multiple people arrive late? I know I would be getting torked-off if I had to go through it.
It just seems that increasing numbers of people are late and emotionally taken aback when I say, ‘We’ll have to reschedule.’ Has one of the basic assumptions of our society melted away. I talk to many employers who decry the fact that they can’t find people who show up for work and arrive on time. Sound familiar? In some ways I blame the rising ‘its all about me’ aspect of society. There is no courtesy to the person doing the meeting, people in the meeting or the company paying your salary.
Hey I am the center of the universe! Don’t you dare go disrespecting me! First, respect is earned. I used to work with a business manager who would mail second notice bills to companies with ‘Police Yourself’ stickers on them. There can be no better message to the mutinous minions of chronological order. My hope is that they learn from experience. Reception desk history tells me I will be hearing more colorful descriptions of my character.