A couple of years ago, I started one of my first managerial roles by obtaining a position as a retail supervisor. As a lowly college student at the time, it was exciting to graduate to the next level of upper-underlings, especially since it was complete with better/free clothing. Beyond the fiscal gain and added perks, it was here that I learned not the most original, but surely one of my most valuable and steadfast tenets.
The district manager (DM) at the time, a pretty eccentric and boisterous man, was leading training sessions. On our first day of training the store manager, the second supervisor, and I arrived twenty minutes early and helped the DM setup. At the scheduled meeting time we spent ten minutes with formalities, tracking down people that were lost, and waiting for others to settle down with food and drinks. After all were settled down the district manager started to speak:
Out of twelve only three of you made it here on-time, EARLY is the new On-Time, On-time is the new LATE, Late is the new you’re FIRED! If this happens again this week I cannot guarantee that you will have a position.
Working through several more jobs, and having to hire and train others, I have come back to this statement time and time again. I have even applied it to the personal side of my life. Let me explain to you why on-time is the new late.
“On-time” in general
You missed the first-first impression as you were probably not the first one there. Whether on a date or at a meeting you have now been made the second priority. Effectively, you have become the person who has to reach for a handshake welcome, the person that is not in control of the conversation and the person who even, if exactly on-time, is now technically a minute late while all this transpires.
“On-time” leading a meeting
You have probably kept someone waiting or wondering if they are in the correct spot. At this point you are still in the midst of setting up while people come into the meeting. You have not found the best place to sit and be heard properly, and more than likely, you are always “on-time” so everyone tends to come in late anyway. All said and done, you now have twenty minutes for your thirty minute meeting.
“On-time” a date or friend
You have made it very clear that this is not a big priority for you and just fits in when your schedule permitted. This might also mean that your friend/date did not warrant enough of your time for proper planning; including getting ready to leave your home, confirming where you are meeting, and planning for travel delays. Finally this also probably means that you are going to discuss why you “made it just in time” and no one really has time for that or your myriad excuses.
Now are there extenuating circumstances? Yes, but then you would be late. If you are late, then you’d better have a good reason, otherwise it’s the new “you’re FIRED!”
When it comes to matters of opinion, discover some of the most intriguing, informed points of view you’ll find anywhere — at The Opinionator, from The New York Times