The Review — 14/05/2018 at 17:15

Being habitually late is a potential career buster

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Late to work? Chances are good that your employer will cut you a break, provided it’s not too often. After all, sometimes alarms really don’t go off, kids do get sick, trains run late, and buses get stuck in tunnels.

Yet, while managers typically ignore occasional tardiness — 25 percent of us are late once a month, according to a survey by employment site CareerBuilder — when it becomes chronic, it’s an entirely different story.

CareerBuilder found that 43 percent of managers have fired someone for being tardy. Meanwhile, co-workers get miffed, supervisors worry about how to respond, and the latecomers beat up on themselves even as they fabricate elaborate excuses.

For example, one intern from dating-app maker Cheekd was more than two hours late to the company’s Manhattan office.

“He claimed that the rain was coming down so hard that he spent most of his commute [walking to work] under scaffoldings,” says Lori Cheek, CEO of the company. When she asked him if he considered using an umbrella, “he told me he was ‘against them’ , ” says Cheek.

Dean Myerow, formerly of Bergen Capital in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, initially gave his tardy employee who said, “My dad is in the hospital” followed by, “My cat died” the benefit of the doubt. The worker eventually fessed up to lying. However, if Myerow had known the real reason, he might have been able to deal with it instead of firing his charge.

“It’s too bad, because when this guy was in the office, he was very productive,” he says.

That’s often the case, according to experts.

“People who are chronically late often have a great work ethic, love their jobs and are strong performers,” says Jan Jasper, a time-management consultant based in Plainfield, NJ, and author of “Take Back Your Time: How To Regain Control of Work, Information, and Technology” (St. Martin’s). She adds that some managers look past employee tardiness because it may not be the most important box to check.

But etiquette and relationship expert April Masini, who runs relationship-advice forum Ask April, sees it differently.

“When a person is late, you’re seeing a personality trait that’s about being self-involved. When you have a meeting or a start time and someone misses it over and over, they are giving you a little, silent middle finger.”

That’s a sentiment that Nicole, an analyst employed at a Times Square-based management-consulting firm, shares.

“There’s a woman who always waltzes into meetings 15 minutes late. Meanwhile, I skipped breakfast with my kids so I could get there on time,” adding that five other people were also on time. “Selfish and inconsiderate,” she says.

Julie Morgenstern, author of “Time Management From the Inside Out” (Henry Holt and Company), says that people who are always late typically think that being on time is something that “just happens” for other people.

“What they don’t understand is that people who are on time work really, really hard to be on time. They make sacrifices. They say no to things so they can be on time,” she explains.

Experts say that chronically late people can be lumped into groups. “Some are afraid of arriving early or on-schedule because they will have nothing to do,” says Morgenstern. “The other type is just bad at estimating how long things take and often say yes to things without thinking them through.”

Time-management coach Elizabeth Saunders offers another reason. “Being on time simply isn’t a priority to some,” she says.

Bob Rosen, author of “Conscious: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life” (Wiley, out July 18), says that there could be a whole host of other issues going on. “The person could be unaware of the effects on others. There could be health or substance-abuse issues, or problems at home.”

But whatever the reason, being on time matters, says Rosen.

“If you’re constantly late, it chisels down on trust between you, your employer and the people you work with,” he says.

Always late? Here are the fixes.

Don’t aim to be on time, aim to be early

“If you plan for on-time and one little thing goes wrong, you’re late,” says Morgenstern. “People who are on time get there 10 or 15 minutes ahead of schedule.”

Say no to last-minute requests

“Be clear about what you can fit into a day, and whether you really have time to stop and read e-mail before the big meeting,” says Saunders

Follow the money

Consider the impact of being late. If you’re 15 minutes late to a meeting and there are three other people involved, twiddling their thumbs waiting for you, you’ve cost the company an hour’s pay. “It adds up,” says Morgenstern.

Keep records and set alarms

“Create a record of how long it actually takes to do things,” says Saunders. “Then set alarms. One might go off 15 minutes before you need to leave for a meeting. Another might be for when you need to walk out the door, and so on.

Get an elevator strategy

Say no to back-to-back meetings where one stops at the exact time another ends, says JP Morgan Chase veteran Alexander Lowry, now a professor at Gordon College, who notes that it can “take forever to get between floors.”


Virginia Backaitis – Read this great article on NYPost.com


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