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Q. What is the opposite of punctuality? A. Me

I wasn't really sure where to post this, but it's most embarrassing to my career and I had to get it off my chest somewhere.

I am 5-20 minutes late everywhere I go. I will probably get flamed for it, but I swear that I have tried everything to fix it. I give myself extra time to get ready, try to trick myself by running my clocks five, ten, even twenty minutes ahead, and I've tried setting egg timer alarms only allotting a set amount of time for before I have to stop and head out the door. All these things I've tried may almost work for a couple of days (I'll get to work about 5 minutes late), but after that, it stops working. I haven't honestly been on time for work in over a year :(.

I've been a good employee of my company for over three years now and my supervisors have talked lightly to me about my lateness, but they haven't brought it up again in almost a year. They know I work late everyday (partially because of the demand of my job, mostly from guilt for running late everyday) and I usually work a half hour to an hour late. But I'll admit, it's totally embarrassing to walk into work late every day. I've run late to everything since I was a little kid and it runs in my family, too. I'm not a morning person, but this also happens any time of day. I'm very organized and I hit long-term deadlines ontime and even return library books ontime, but I am literally running out the door muttering or yelling, "Sh*tsh*tsh*t," and trying not to hyperventilate every day. I do have occasional anxiety issues, but I do not take medications for it (did for a time) and I really don't want to just so I can "handle" being late.

I eat well, work out, pay my bills in full and ontime, commit time to friends and family, take good care of the house and always get great reviews at work. I feel like any noticeable "flaws" I have I can focus on and eliminate soon after they come up, but I can't just seem to conquer this. I feel embarrassed by this, but I feel like if a friend or co-worker jokes about it, I want to point out that everyone has faults like smoking/alcoholism/laziness/bad hygiene. I can own up to it, but at the same time, I don't want to always be late and I really do want to change.

I should mention that I don't run late on truely important "deal or no deal' things (career-related appointments, flights, and places before they close), but I do run late to things that have softer deadlines (work everyday, doctor's appointments, hair cuts, parties, etc.). My job security is good and I'm not likely to get another big promotion anytime soon (already promoted once and I'm the youngest person at the company by almost 20 years), so I feel like it doesn't threaten my job, but it really is just embarassing and I should fix it.

Any advice? Anyone out there with similar issues? Thanks!

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Re: Q. What is the opposite of punctuality? A. Me

  • Do you *need* to be at work by a certain time?

    If you don't, and you regularly get in at, say, 9:30 instead of 9, what's the problem? And do you at least consistently get in at 9:30 every day?

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  • Work is 8:00-4:30 here, but I usually walk in between 8:10 & 8:20. I even run into our general manager on the way in sometimes and he's always friendly and never says a word about it.

    Some people do make their own scedules. One guy whose worked here over six years works 7:00-3:30 and that's the schedule my boss usually does, but everyone else is 8:00-4:30. I have had some co-workers joke about it and I feel like I have no defense, but I don't get any truely nasty comments about it.

     

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  • So you know your work day starts at 8 and as such, your late because you get there 5 - 20 mins late.

    What if you told yourself that it starts at 7;45 or 7:30?  Just mentally get yourself thinking the day starts earlier..

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  • I have no solution other than I can totally emphasize with you. I tend to be 5-10 minutes late for things. Although once I'm at work, I'm on time for those meetings. I haven't found a good solution. And what I hate the most is the days you are on time, you hit traffic or have a legitimate excuse for being late.

    I am fortunate to work in a department where my boss doesn't care when we arrive as long as we do our job. I would guess that your good qualities shine enough where maybe your boss doesn't care either. Because unless there is a reason for you to be there by X time (like a teacher) then who really cares if its 8:00 or 8:15?

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  • image EastCoastBride:

    So you know your work day starts at 8 and as such, your late because you get there 5 - 20 mins late.

    What if you told yourself that it starts at 7;45 or 7:30?  Just mentally get yourself thinking the day starts earlier..

     I've tried that before, but I did work once. I told myself I had to be there by 7:30 in case an east-coast client called and I got to work at 7:50 and was so proud, but they didn't end up calling back and whenever I've tried since then, it hasn't worked. I've even tried going to work at 7:00 a.m. woke up early, convinced myself it wasn't worth the effort and started cleaning around the hose and still got to work at 8:10, lol. 

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  • image MadamePresident:

    And what I hate the most is the days you are on time, you hit traffic or have a legitimate excuse for being late.

    EXACTLY! This happens to me the rare occasion I'm heading out the door on time. It's because everybody and their dog apparently has to be at work by 8:00 a.m. Traffic is much lighter leaving the house late, but I try to tell myself it's no excuse.

    I'm so bad about being ontime that my husband lies to me about what time we have to be where. We rarely go out to movies, but when we do, the 7:10 showtime is usually "6:45" from him. It usually works, but I'm still panting and running around the house half-dressed asking, "Is the movie REALLY at 6:45? Dammitdammitdammit..."

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  • This may sound so ridiculously simple and obvious but it helps me so hopefully it will help you.  Rather than letting the mental focus be on "I must be at work at X time" instead shift your thinking to " I must must must leave the house at X time, no exceptions."  So pick a time a departure time in your head that you know is extra safe to ensure timely arrival and just keep checking that clock every five minutes as you get ready.  If it hits that time (for me it's 7:45am) then move your butt out the door regardless of whether you've got makeup on or wet hair or whatever (and as a side note those things are more optional than other things so be sure you prioritize your "getting ready" activities).  

    You said you once got up early and convinced yourself you had time to clean the house. Don't DO that! Don't check your email or your facebook. Don't clean the dishes, Don't make a call. Just get ready for work and GO.

    :) 

    P.S. my husband has the same chronic lateness disease that you do and it's rubbing off on me, haha. 

  • Oh and two other things that help me a lot:

    1) always have outfit and meals ready the night before

    2) hand over car keys to H the night before and commit to taking the bus so that I'm totally screwed if I don't get to the bus stop on time

  • image joanart:

    Oh and two other things that help me a lot:

    1) always have outfit and meals ready the night before

    2) hand over car keys to H the night before and commit to taking the bus so that I'm totally screwed if I don't get to the bus stop on time

     lol, #1 is one I used to do religiously and I do think I need to do again. I have my lunch prepped on a shelf in the fridge so it just needs to go in the bag, but I have totally slacked on picking out clothes. Getting dressed is usually the last thing I do, so I really should move it ahead. I am the kind of person who believes I can't leave the house with dishes out, no makeup and hair a mess. I used to make breakfast my last step, but too often I would rush and feel sick or spill something on my clothes and have to change. These are great reminders!

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  • You need to pinpoint WHY you always run late in the morning.  Do you get sucked into morning TV?  Do you agonize over what outfit to wear?  Do you sit down to "just check email" and end up down the internet rabbit hole?  Some combination of all of them?

    I would walk through what you do in the morning, and set timelines for each.  Say "I need to get up by 7am.  I need to be out of the shower by 7:15.  I need to be dressed and headed downstairs by 7:45."  etc. 

    Honestly it speaks volumes that you told yourself you absolutely had to be at work by 7:30 for a potential important client call, and were proud of yourself when you were there at 7:50.  Shrugging your shoulders and saying "it's just how I am" is juvenile, and is not going to lead to career success (not to mention, it sounds like you are just constantly stressed out, and that's no way to live).
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  • image mythaldo:
    image joanart:

    Oh and two other things that help me a lot:

    1) always have outfit and meals ready the night before

    2) hand over car keys to H the night before and commit to taking the bus so that I'm totally screwed if I don't get to the bus stop on time

     lol, #1 is one I used to do religiously and I do think I need to do again. I have my lunch prepped on a shelf in the fridge so it just needs to go in the bag, but I have totally slacked on picking out clothes. Getting dressed is usually the last thing I do, so I really should move it ahead. I am the kind of person who believes I can't leave the house with dishes out, no makeup and hair a mess. I used to make breakfast my last step, but too often I would rush and feel sick or spill something on my clothes and have to change. These are great reminders!

    Ah, see that is really interesting--so it really is about prioritizing.  I am a super-punctual person (at least before I married a Latino, lol) and I think it's because I'm quick at discerning the essential from nonessential things for getting ready and just plowing through them.  I could stop to do the dishes but I'd rather be on time.  I could put on makeup but since I already picked out a nice outfit the night before I look plenty nice enough. I could stop to search for my missing sunglasses but it won't kill me to go without them, etc. My H is just like you and I also have to lie to him about what time our appointments are haha.

  • Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

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  • image vanillacourage:
    You need to pinpoint WHY you always run late in the morning.  Do you get sucked into morning TV?  Do you agonize over what outfit to wear?  Do you sit down to "just check email" and end up down the internet rabbit hole?  Some combination of all of them?

    I would walk through what you do in the morning, and set timelines for each.  Say "I need to get up by 7am.  I need to be out of the shower by 7:15.  I need to be dressed and headed downstairs by 7:45."  etc. 

    Honestly it speaks volumes that you told yourself you absolutely had to be at work by 7:30 for a potential important client call, and were proud of yourself when you were there at 7:50.  Shrugging your shoulders and saying "it's just how I am" is juvenile, and is not going to lead to career success (not to mention, it sounds like you are just constantly stressed out, and that's no way to live).

    I made a the list your described here before and again it did work for a few days, but I couldn't really make it a habit. You're right though and I suppose I should make this list again and see how it goes. I used to check my email/get sucked into the internet before work and swore that off, but now I am wondering if the Today show is sucking me in...

     

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  • image ILoveRedVino:

    Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

    Good point, but I never said they didn't care. They've joked about it and it does bother me and that's why I'm embarrassed and trying to change it.

    I don't care too much how they feel because I have my share of annoyances with them and think they should grow up (Coworker A always leaves their dishes in the breakroom sink, Coworker B always parks like sh*t, Coworker C always takes long lunches, etc.), but I don't criticize them for it because I'm their coworker, not their life coach.

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  • image ILoveRedVino:

    Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

    This.  I work with someone who says she 'just can't' get here before 9.  Well, the rest of us are here between 6:30 and 8, and it's aggravating that she has declared herself to be such a special snowflake and not subject to core office hours.  People talk about it negatively, calling her a slacker.

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  • image LesPaul:
    image ILoveRedVino:

    Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

    This.  I work with someone who says she 'just can't' get here before 9.  Well, the rest of us are here between 6:30 and 8, and it's aggravating that she has declared herself to be such a special snowflake and not subject to core office hours.  People talk about it negatively, calling her a slacker.

    Ditto all this. You really need to start getting to work on time.

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  • image joanart:

    Oh and two other things that help me a lot:

    1) always have outfit and meals ready the night before

    2) hand over car keys to H the night before and commit to taking the bus so that I'm totally screwed if I don't get to the bus stop on time

    This. I lay out clothes and pack my work bag at night. This helped me for awhile. I'm 10 minutes late everyday, but so are the rest of my CW's. I live 5 minutes away from the office and leave at 8:30 when the office opens. 4/5 times a week, I'm still the first there. Our goal is to beat the office manager (who is also always late).

    Pick a CW and say, "I'm going to beat Sam to work today". Maybe alternate CW's and make a game of it?

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  • image LesPaul:
    image ILoveRedVino:

    Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

    This.  I work with someone who says she 'just can't' get here before 9.  Well, the rest of us are here between 6:30 and 8, and it's aggravating that she has declared herself to be such a special snowflake and not subject to core office hours.  People talk about it negatively, calling her a slacker.

    Now this make me wonder... do the people who arrive at 6:30 think the people who arrive at 8 are slackers? :)

     

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  • image franklintngirl:
    image LesPaul:
    image ILoveRedVino:

    Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

    This.  I work with someone who says she 'just can't' get here before 9.  Well, the rest of us are here between 6:30 and 8, and it's aggravating that she has declared herself to be such a special snowflake and not subject to core office hours.  People talk about it negatively, calling her a slacker.

    Ditto all this. You really need to start getting to work on time.

     Thanks, Mom!

    Just kidding... That stung a little, but you're right. I'm trying if you can believe it, but either way, I can't control what other people think of me. It's easy for you to say, "Get to work ontime" if it's not hard for you, but it would be pretty insensitive for me to say "Stop eating so much" to someone trying to lose weight, if that makes any sense.

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  • image mythaldo:
    image franklintngirl:
    image LesPaul:
    image ILoveRedVino:

    Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

    This.  I work with someone who says she 'just can't' get here before 9.  Well, the rest of us are here between 6:30 and 8, and it's aggravating that she has declared herself to be such a special snowflake and not subject to core office hours.  People talk about it negatively, calling her a slacker.

    Ditto all this. You really need to start getting to work on time.

     Thanks, Mom!

    Just kidding... That stung a little, but you're right. I'm trying if you can believe it, but either way, I can't control what other people think of me. It's easy for you to say, "Get to work ontime" if it's not hard for you, but it would be pretty insensitive for me to say "Stop eating so much" to someone trying to lose weight, if that makes any sense.

    It does make sense.  I was actually thinking of the same comparison earlier.

    But the fact is, whether it is chronic tardiness or overeating, we're all in control of our own actions.  Maybe it is a habit or an addiction, but that doesn't change the fact that it IS within our control.

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  • NSLNSL member
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    image mythaldo:
    image franklintngirl:
    image LesPaul:
    image ILoveRedVino:

    Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

    This.  I work with someone who says she 'just can't' get here before 9.  Well, the rest of us are here between 6:30 and 8, and it's aggravating that she has declared herself to be such a special snowflake and not subject to core office hours.  People talk about it negatively, calling her a slacker.

    Ditto all this. You really need to start getting to work on time.

     Thanks, Mom!

    Just kidding... That stung a little, but you're right. I'm trying if you can believe it, but either way, I can't control what other people think of me. It's easy for you to say, "Get to work ontime" if it's not hard for you, but it would be pretty insensitive for me to say "Stop eating so much" to someone trying to lose weight, if that makes any sense.

    By the same token, it would be bulllshit for someone who overeats to chalk it up to "it runs in my family" the way you're doing with your chronic tardiness. Getting to work on time should not require so much teeth gnashing.
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  • 1.  We could never be friends...I would want to punch you.  Why is your time more important then mine.  My sister has your problem so we just don't make plans with her anymore.  It is a matter of respect to be on time.

    2.  I'm in the "if you were my co-worker I would joke about to your face, but probably talk smack about you". 

    I honestly can not except I can't be on time.  It is a choice...you choose to convince you self you can not be on time so guess what....you late!

    Sorry if this sounds harsh but part of being an adult is responisibility.

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  • image vanillacourage:
    You need to pinpoint WHY you always run late in the morning.  Do you get sucked into morning TV?  Do you agonize over what outfit to wear?  Do you sit down to "just check email" and end up down the internet rabbit hole?  Some combination of all of them?

    I would walk through what you do in the morning, and set timelines for each.  Say "I need to get up by 7am.  I need to be out of the shower by 7:15.  I need to be dressed and headed downstairs by 7:45."  etc. 

    Honestly it speaks volumes that you told yourself you absolutely had to be at work by 7:30 for a potential important client call, and were proud of yourself when you were there at 7:50.  Shrugging your shoulders and saying "it's just how I am" is juvenile, and is not going to lead to career success (not to mention, it sounds like you are just constantly stressed out, and that's no way to live).

     

    This.  Lateness only "runs in the family" because it is a bad habit that you picked up from the people around you. 

  • srgwsrgw member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    Being late is a huge pet peeve of mine. My dad was almost always late and my older sister is much the same way. When going places with them my family members and I frequently take different cars because we want to be on time.

    Being late tells me the late person doesn't respect the on time people's time. Why is your time more important than your coworkers/boss, family and friends' time?

  • image NSL:
    image mythaldo:
    image franklintngirl:
    image LesPaul:
    image ILoveRedVino:

    Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

    This.  I work with someone who says she 'just can't' get here before 9.  Well, the rest of us are here between 6:30 and 8, and it's aggravating that she has declared herself to be such a special snowflake and not subject to core office hours.  People talk about it negatively, calling her a slacker.

    Ditto all this. You really need to start getting to work on time.

     Thanks, Mom!

    Just kidding... That stung a little, but you're right. I'm trying if you can believe it, but either way, I can't control what other people think of me. It's easy for you to say, "Get to work ontime" if it's not hard for you, but it would be pretty insensitive for me to say "Stop eating so much" to someone trying to lose weight, if that makes any sense.

    By the same token, it would be bulllshit for someone who overeats to chalk it up to "it runs in my family" the way you're doing with your chronic tardiness. Getting to work on time should not require so much teeth gnashing.

    It shouldn't, but it does. And thanks for not holding back that comment by calling my admission here "bullshit." It really helps communicate that I need to change my ways, or I'll be the fodder of people who like to scoff at strangers for the rest of my life.

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  • image ILoveRedVino:
    image mythaldo:
    image franklintngirl:
    image LesPaul:
    image ILoveRedVino:

    Are you sure that people (coworkers) don't care?

    If you were my coworker, I'd be SO annoyed and wondering why you couldn't just grow up and get to work on time like the rest of the world.

    This.  I work with someone who says she 'just can't' get here before 9.  Well, the rest of us are here between 6:30 and 8, and it's aggravating that she has declared herself to be such a special snowflake and not subject to core office hours.  People talk about it negatively, calling her a slacker.

    Ditto all this. You really need to start getting to work on time.

     Thanks, Mom!

    Just kidding... That stung a little, but you're right. I'm trying if you can believe it, but either way, I can't control what other people think of me. It's easy for you to say, "Get to work ontime" if it's not hard for you, but it would be pretty insensitive for me to say "Stop eating so much" to someone trying to lose weight, if that makes any sense.

    It does make sense.  I was actually thinking of the same comparison earlier.

    But the fact is, whether it is chronic tardiness or overeating, we're all in control of our own actions.  Maybe it is a habit or an addiction, but that doesn't change the fact that it IS within our control.

    I appreciate that. I figured admitting it publicly in some nature is a good start to acknowledge I have to change. My father is a psychiatrist and he believes tardiness is my way of controlling people. I don't think that's true, but I don't want other people to think I'm late to disrespect them. I figured I'd get a mixed reaction here, but I need to be fired up to get over this :).

    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/papa_squat/dickbutt.jpg"width="180px">

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  • 1. It is eye-opening to hear that you avoid your sister because she runs late, but doesn't that mean you miss out on other opportunities for her to earn your respect and spend time together? It really makes me think how much I'd miss my sister if she felt that way.

    2. I realize that some people would treat my post as a joke and take aim at it, but I'm surprised at how many people admit that they would actually talk smack about me to other people for it. I try to avoid office gossip at all costs because it wastes time at work and it is also disrespectful.

    I am admitting and taking responsibility. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  • image srgw:

    Being late is a huge pet peeve of mine. My dad was almost always late and my older sister is much the same way. When going places with them my family members and I frequently take different cars because we want to be on time.

    Being late tells me the late person doesn't respect the on time people's time. Why is your time more important than your coworkers/boss, family and friends' time?

     It's not. You're right. I get so angry at myself about it sometimes because I would hate if they thought I was late because I wanted to waste their time. But why do people insert themselves into someone else's problem just to say, "What is wrong with her?? This is an intentional attack on me and the other on-time people's time!" Does it not cross their mind that I run late because I'm just not a punctual person? It's a habit, and like many other habits, it is reclusive and I'm trying to overcome it without affecting the people around me.

    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/papa_squat/dickbutt.jpg"width="180px">

    [IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/papa_squat/GirlsGoneWild.jpg"width="160px"[/IMG]

    <a href="http://www.fertilityfriend.com/home/4141e7">"My Ovulation Chart"</a>
  • You say you're taking responsibility, but you're not. Re-read all of the answers you've written here and you'll find one thing - excuses! These are not 'reasons', they are not 'issues', they are excuses. What's the difference? Issues and reasons can be solved. Excuses are just a way to block yourself from having to make change. People have suggested laying out clothing, setting goals, etc. and your answers have consistently been, "I've done that, it doesn't work. Nothing works." Well, guess what? That isn't an attitude that's actually going to make a change.

    Every day you show up at work late damages your credibility and the respect from your peers and your boss a little bit more. Over time, their view of you, even if you do great work, will inevitably change. For your own success in your career and your own sanity, you should want to have a respectful, credible and relaxed approach with your colleagues, and you can't given the current situation.

    My best advice for getting out the door in the morning is similar to others, so I hope you'll hear it eventually. Get up, get ready, get breakfast and get OUT THE DOOR in the morning. Do not turn on the TV, do not check your email, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Get out the door. I am constantly early because I don't let myself sit down and relax in the morning. I get up, do makeup, eat breakfast, get dressed and I'm out the door immediately. Eliminating distractions will go a long way towards making your goals a reality.

    But even more than that, you need to think about whether or not this is something you really want. Given all of your excuses, it doesn't sound like you're actually motivated to change.

    New Name, Old Nestie Blog: Career Girl Network
  • As much as I believe in punctuality I do think some of these answers are unnecessarily harsh.  Tardiness is not some kind of intrinsic evil or serious moral problem.  People just have different paces of life and different priorities.  It just so happens we live in a culture where people are expected to be on time.  And if you want to thrive, especially in a professional environment, you have to get with the program.  But as someone who used to be in the camp of getting very angry over someone else's lateness, I finally realized that fuming like a scorned teenager is just as immature (if not more) than having a lateness problem. There is something to be said for patience and understanding that someone has different weaknesses than you do.  And gossiping about someone behind her back is never classy regardless of whether you think she deserves it or not.

      

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