Frequent readers know that from time-to-time, I go off on some ethical tangent with an air of superiority that is probably somewhat off-putting, I imagine. I try not to do it often, but occasionally, it slips through. It therefore seems only fair that I am equally diligent about reporting my own flaws (as opposed that I seem to occasionally see in others), and do so honestly and forthrightly.
One pet peeve I have, about which I’ve written in the past, is when people are late to meetings. I can’t stand it. It’s even worse when the people who are late don’t call to let you know they are going to be late and are just left hanging. The only thing worse than that in my mind is people who are late, don’t call, and don’t apologize for being late.
I had a meeting at 11 AM today. At about 10:50 or so, a long timer here where I worked dropped by. We talked science fiction and flying. He’s older and so he sat down in my office to take the strain of his aching muscles. We continued to chat and swap stories. He’s a great guy to talk to.
At some point, I glanced over at the time and saw that it was 11:20 AM! “John,” I said, “I’ve got to go. I was supposed to call into a meeting 20 minutes ago.”
And so I called into the meeting, explained my tardiness, and apologized profusely. Everyone seemed amused. I had been emailed and text messaged, and they were all certain something terrible had happened to me because I’m never late. They, at least, were all very good sports about it. And yet:
1. I was late to a meeting.
2. I didn’t call and tell anyone I was going to be late.
When either of these things happen to me I rage.
At least I had enough of my wits about me to remember to apologize to my coworkers. Even so, I’ve been left with the uncomfortable feeling, ever since, that I really need to do better at practicing what I preach.
Gotta run. I have another meeting in 3 minutes and I don’t want to be late for this one…