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Better Late – NEVER

Posted by tggokul on November 21, 2006

I have been attending some internal programs in my current company and certain ‘incidents’ irked me. Please bear with me as I vent out. Actually the problem I am going to address is not isolated to my current organisation but can be seen in all disciplines in India. It is just that the last incident turned out to be the last straw.

The workshop was for two days; yesterday and today. It was supposed to start at 9.15 A.M yesterday and around 30 were supposed to attend this whole program. At exactly 9.15 A.M, 8 persons had assembed in the meeting place including myself and the presenter. ( who incidentally is one of the Directors of the company and I am sure much more busy than every one of us).  We had to wait for another 15 minutes until we had a sizeable number ( around 20) and the presentation started. A few people came even after that.  The presentation incidentally had one slide on ‘Personal Work Ethics’ and as part of that, the presenter/Director chided the majority who came late and emphasized the wasteage of 15 minutes in the whole scheme of things.

The afternoon session was supposed to start at 14.30PM and everybody had assembled by 14.20PM. In fact I was the last to go in at 14.27PM ( Yes, I noted the time because I thought I was probably late. I actually wanted to say to the guys out there “you are supposed to ‘on time’ not before nor after :)”  ). Anyways thus ended day one.

Today, the meeting place was shifted to another location in the city and most of us had to travel atleast a few extra miles to get there. The considerate organizers of this event had actually moved the start from 9.15 AM to 9.30AM to accomadate the extra distance. At exactly 9.30A.M the head count was 10 including me and the presenter. The same people who were on time yesterday were on time today and two other people had learnt from yesterday’s follies. The rest started trickling in late and this time the presentation started at 10.00 A.M ( half an hour of my goddamned time). I got up half an hour early just to cover the extra distance and I could have probably slept for more time rather than waiting for certain goofballs to turn up.  I understand that this location was new to most people and further way, but hey if 9 of us can make it so can you.

As I said earlier this is not a problem in just one organization. In India, not only do people ( there are exceptions ) not value their own time, they don’t value other people’s time as well. In their defense, these people will not mind if others come late as well and they are probably wondering why am I making a big deal out of this. I f you are reading this and you are thinking that, you know which group you fall under.

Most people have no clue about ‘time’ in general. Let me give you an example. I happened to talk to a Project Manager friend of mine a few years back and when I asked him how long does it take to reach work from his apartment he said five minutes. See, he honestly believes he can come from his doorstep of his house to the doorstep of the office in five minutes. This can only happen if the office is in the next complex. It takes me five minutes to come out of my house, lock the door, come down the elevator, go to my car’s parking space, open the car and start it. I need to do the same in the reverse order when I reach work. So that is 10 mins without taking into consideration the travelling time. So I asked the the project manager friend of mine. Did you take all this into account? And he said no; He was just talking about the travelling time ( ideal case when there is no traffic). So I prodded him, If you were to schedule a project would you take just the development time in the whole process? Won’t you consider the PRD stage, Design stage, Testing stage and slippages? When you do this for a living, why can’t you do the same when it comes to how long does it take for you to come here from your apartment? ( Needless to say, I think that was the last time I talked to him).

Now that I have vented out my anger I feel better 🙂  Anyway the point I am trying to make is, just like the guy I mentioned above,  most people can’t scope ‘time’. That is why they are late.  But when you are dealing with me., there is nothing like ‘Better Late than never’


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