Believe it or not, most flights leave on time. Most trains leave on time too and so do buses, ships, and other modes of transportation that follow a schedule. What this means for business, and other, travelers, is that anyone who wants to be on board should arrive either early or on time or be left behind. There are always good reasons for arriving late to the airport, train station, ship terminal, etc. but these good reasons are just that – good reasons – and they will never cause an airline or other carrier to delay the scheduled departure time. Many of my employees and some of my colleagues have seemed to believe the world truly revolves around them, such that they see no reason to arrive in time to adhere to the pre-established departure time. I have missed many flights due to reasons beyond my control (usually related to having a connecting flight in Atlanta or another busy airport), and I have missed a few flights due to my own misjudgment (including once, when visiting with a dear friend in his hometown, losing track of the passage of time), but in none of these instances was I surprised when I learned the flight had departed without me. I have also literally “missed the boat” and had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for the next boat to depart; I now know the meaning of this expression. The difference is missing the flight, train, boat, etc. and taking the situation in stride, including finding another way to travel to one’s destination and missing the flight, train, boat, etc. and blaming everyone and everything about something that is impossible to correct. Once the airplane leaves the gate, there is no turning back, even if the weary traveler cries, yells at the airline’s employees, or anything else. The only thing that can be done is to move on then, next time, be sure to be on time. As the old saying goes, “time waits for no one.”
Another adage, “be there or be square.” And, Melissa would never want to be square! As simple as the be on time or get left behind message is, this is another detail on which we have had to train, remind or even cajole employees to remember. Perhaps some of the “on time” issues have been cultural, but in the western business world, being punctual is never a bad thing. However, it is a bad thing to make the bosses or co-workers wait or worry. Some appointments do not have the harsh realities of missing the boat or plane. But inconveniencing others has its own harsh realities and we have ended working relationships with contract employees because of it; employees with this tendency also have short tenures. Part of the problem is the inconvenience of being tardy – part of it is the stress and worry caused when it happens. Apparently some employees/contractors “don’t feel tardy” (perhaps they are like David Lee Roth in Hot for Teacher), but as workers in a modern world, being aware of time is critical for success.