Sooner Or Later- The Thrill of being late

150 150 Kamal Karanth

It was 930 AM in Sydney and no sight of one of my colleagues in a global meeting. My boss was obviously distracted as many of his global senior colleagues were present in this crucial summit. He called my colleague to find that he was still sleeping. My colleague eventually came at 10 AM. I am sure both their mornings (boss and my peer) were unproductive thinking about the face loss; all of us had landed the previous day to ensure we were there from the start at 9 AM and still…

Nobody intends to come late to meetings especially when you have travelled long distances for off-sites. But still, we see people coming late stressing their reporting bosses and maybe embarrassing even their own reportees. Once when I confronted one of my serial late arriver on why I should be embarrassed in front of a large section of my colleagues frequently, he said, boss’ you think I really wanted to come late, late ho gaya’ sorry.’ I could only feel sorry for myself than appreciating his candour. Grrr!

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I and my Boss

When I was a ‘first-time’ manager I just did not know how to manage latecomers. My reaction was not to talk to them or look at them in the meeting until lunch time. I used to feel that I was punishing them by doing so. But maybe they were thinking, he is a weak guy and can’t say it on the face. Pyar se koi samajhta hi nahi, Gentle reactions are never appreciated?

One of my bosses did a unique thing to us in the morning. After the cut off time for the meeting to start was over, he locked the door from inside leaving two people outside who I presume were still having breakfast or a shower. Ten minutes later we heard some heavy knocking and pushing of the door, our colleagues felt the door was jammed and were pushing it violently. The hotel staff stepped in and educated them that they were instructed to be locked out. Fifteen minutes later our colleagues were let in. We got our message in a rather intimidating way but nevertheless those colleagues never ever came late after that.

The boss had sent the message to us in a forceful way without giving us gyan on late comings.

Time Zone Blues

My own ‘late arrival” makes for interesting reflections. Once I had landed in Singapore the previous night and gone to bed in time to attend a 9 AM meeting the next day with my global colleagues. Guess what, I woke up at 855 AM. My alarm was set to India time 630, I had not changed the time zone after landing in Singapore. I was lucky that my boss had not put his mobile into silent mode yet. So, I called him and told him that I would be down by 930. I was there in the meeting by 925. All my colleagues gave me a rousing welcome by applauding my late entry.

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