Why are some people always late? Psychologists have tried to answer this question. Some say it is a function of ADD and the person can only concentrate when he is under the gun. Some say certain people enjoy the adrenaline rush of cutting it close. I have always been late, late to school, late to work, late to everything.
People who are late are viewed as being disrespectful. I can’t respect those people. People who are late are judged as not caring. I don’t care. Experts claim people who are chronically late believe they are better than everyone else. I think that is ridiculous…I am better than that.
Seriously, I have always been late. I don’t know why. It seems there are two types of people when it comes to tardiness, those who are always five minutes early and those who are always five minutes late. The five minutes early people are incensed by the five minutes late people. The worst thing in the world is for a five minutes late person to work for a five minutes early person.
When I was a paper pusher for a large brokerage firm, I supervised a unit of about twenty people. As a supervisor, I was off the clock and my occasional tardiness was not a major issue. One of my better workers, however, was a five minutes late person every single day and his tardiness was a major issue.
Work started at 9:00. Everyone in my unit showed up at 8:55, went for coffee and was ready to work at 9:10. Lou, Mr. Five-minutes-late, came to work at 9:05, sat down and started his job right away. My boss was incensed at Lou’s tardiness and was constantly on me to change his behavior or fire him.
I did not want to fire Lou, he was a good worker, and he was a fellow five minutes late person. I told Lou, I expected him to be at work at 8:55 and that worked for a week or two until he realized that since he was not marked late when he came in at 9:00 he could probably come in at 9:05. My hands were tied; I was going to have to fire Lou.
Just before I had to pull the trigger on Lou’s employment, my manager approached me with a problem. He was getting complaints that our department was not staffed to solve customer problems after 5:00. Could I get someone to volunteer to change his hours from 9:00 to 5:00 to 9:30 to 5:30? I had just the candidate.
I told Lou he had one more chance before I would have to let him go. Since he had trouble getting to work by 9:00 I would allow him to come in at 9:15 and work to 5:15, but if he was ever just five minutes late he would have to stay and work till 5:30.
Lou did not come in to work one day before 9:20. He assumed he was always five minutes late and worked till 5:30 without complaint. I got an extra ten minutes of coverage without paying for overtime, and my boss was astounded that I was able to turn chronically late Lou into a ten minute early employee.
It takes a five minute late person to solve the problem of another five minute late person.