Saturday, February 7, 2015

VOICE OF PUNCTUALITY

I HAVE COME TO NOTICE that activities organized informally by any outdoor group tend to start or proceed to their destinations late. Lucky are a few who may start 30 minutes later or less but starting late an hour or more are becoming so common that it had become an annoying fad. It destroys a well-prepared itinerary. Why is that?

Miscommunication? No way. You have the mobile phones and those touted smart phones. Communicating with each other have never been so easier, so convenient and so fast now compared to more than twenty years ago where the only way to communicate fast was by the analog telephone and by word of mouth, provided you are neighbors or workmates or classmates or lovers or whatever.

How about attitude? Yes, that is always the main problem. There are just some people who take for granted the value of word of honor and of punctuality. These people holds hostage the activities they are intending to join by coming in late all the time. Then the band starts playing and off they go very late.


What causes this?

Number 1. These people work at night. A lot of people who joined outdoor activities work in business process outsourcing companies and their working hours are tailored-fit to the different time zones that people in the United States do business – which is day time.

Number 2. These people sleep late. Some parties and get-together with families and friends demand that you stay late. These are just on a few occasions but some kept it regular and still insists to be part of a day activity.

Number 3. These people got stuck in traffic. Rain causes traffic jams because the streets would be flooded. Following a religious procession, a hearse for the dead, a street parade or a road race causes you so much anxiety about your schedule but, most often, routes for public transports are re-routed by authorities.

Number 4. These people lived far away. Distance eats time and I know of people who take three to four rides to the assembly areas either beating the clock or going beyond the time.

Number 5. These people live in a house with many people and one bathroom. This is a very unique situation but very common in cheap lodging houses. You cannot start your day until you get your turn.

Number 6. These people suffered minor memory lapses. Normally this was applicable only to the senior citizens among us but younger people now experienced this because of the advent of multi-taskings, as some things get buried under layers of doing other new things all at the same time.

Number 7. These people are habitual latecomers. We cannot do about this except hope that they do not join or they get tired of people evading them.

During our formative years, we were taught to attend flag raising ceremonies on time everyday of every school year from elementary (no, make that kindergarten) to the end of high school. Although this is purely a patriotic affair to affirm our being citizens of and members of a republic, in this case, the Philippines, but, unknown to you, it is an exercise that emphasizes the value of punctuality and honoring appointments.

In the old days when there were no cellular phones and the Internet, people were very prompt and honored their commitments. Two or more minds would agree to a place, date and time in one setting or in a simple system of message delivery and all appear in clock-work precision. Those that would be late or cannot come made it sure that everybody knows. It was such an amazing development if you compare it with our present age, where advanced technology is supposed to ensure the speedy delivery of messages.

Because of our habitual tendency to start late, the word “Filipino Time” was coined. It does not speak well of us as a people. We might have been influenced by our former colonizer who had overstayed here for 333 years along with their infatuation to eat their lunch in late afternoons and using the word mañana when they do not feel like doing things immediately although another colonizer taught us to be on time all the time.

All things considered, private businesses demand their employees to be always on time to increase production. Management takes note of tardiness and these does not augur well for those whose salaries had become smaller than usual due to frequent deductions stemming from arriving late or by administrative sanctions like fines or suspensions as a result of being an unrepentant recidivist.

A good work ethic is being on time (or early) at your work. When you are late you suffer for that. That is the bottom line in private establishments and in some government offices. When you are late for a job interview, you suffer for that. That is the norm of human resource managers. Because being an unpunctual person is never accepted anywhere for they lack the tools to function as a respectful citizen.

While you are punctual in your classes, in your work, in your job interviews, in your dinner dates, in your reply of your messages, in your visit to the wash rooms and in your thousand other necessities in Facebook, why cannot you be punctual in an informal outdoor activity? What is the difference?


Have you considered the special preparation by the organizer to relinquish their valued family time so the likes of you could be accommodated in an activity where they do not stand to gain an income and you come late for more than an hour? Is it not unfair for the organizer and the other participants who came early? Who would they blame? YOU.

Conversely, would you be so happy to be left out after you already have paid a registration fee in a commercialized outdoor activity where the organizers and participants are nowhere in the place where they were supposed to be because you were late at the appointed time? Is it not unfair to you? Who would you blame? YOU.

How do you lessen this tardiness? I am no expert and I am sure that there are a lot of articles written by experts in human behaviour tackling this problem in the Internet and I do not know if you had read about it. Neither do I. Where would we start then?

TIME MANAGEMENT. If you live far then you wake up very early. If you expect traffic then you start early. Give a big time allowance, por Dios mio! If there is only one bathroom for twenty people or more where you live then you rise at a time where nobody is expected to use it and go back to bed after that. Use the alarm feature of your mobile phones to see to it that you would awaken at the pre-arranged time.

BE PREPARED. Know the assembly area and the quickest way to get there. You have all the tools you need. Call a peer. Message them in their emails or in their Facebook accounts. Use Google Map. If you work at night or stay late, make sure that you have already packed the things you need and snatch it quick when it is time to go.

GIVE FEEDBACK. If you would be late, do not leave people in the dark. Much more so when you cannot make it. Use your mobile phones and let them know. If you received a message or somebody calls you by cellphone, please acknowledge and answer. Ignoring same would upset the organizer and some participants.

BE RESPONSIBLE. The activity would push on regardless if you arrive or not. The only thing why the activity did not start as was scheduled is because they considered your presence as important. They value your participation and would sacrifice departure time for that but do not get this into your head. Do not act like a prima donna.

SELF-DISCIPLINE. If you work at night or stay late, you should know you would be surrendering your rest time. If you think it is not feasible to go, do not pursue it but you have to inform the organizer by all means. If you would be late, you are obliged to inform same. People would understand that except when you are late all the time and causes activities to be delayed all the time.

For those who do not know me fully well, I am no Superman nor saint. I also got late many times in the past and I learned some painful lessons. This was aggravated by the appearance of cellphones. Because of cellphones, you could concoct excuses and the other end would be obliged to wait. I still come late now, but these are very very few and far between and excuses are for real.

As an organizer, I would like to be first at the assembly area no matter if I work or stay up late, or I am harangued by rain, or even if there is an unexpected traffic jam. I would lead people by example by going early because that is the only proper way.

What people do not like is when you are already VERY LATE and the rest are waiting for your arrival and then, all of a sudden, someone received a message that you cannot make it. You backed out at the LAST MINUTE in an already borrowed time. That is a cardinal sin and you deserve LONELINESS. A possibility where people would leave you out in the dark all the time until the end of time.

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer

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