I'm often late to work, should I change my ways?

I'm often late to work, should I change my ways? Find out on
Question - Date: 2007


I am often late for work. This has been an issue with me for years. As long as I arrive to work or return from my lunch break within a 10-15 minute range, I am usually satisfied. I've read about this issue and apparently tardy people often use a late arrival to exercise some kind of power over their supervisors. I agree with that. I feel like if I can squeak an extra bit of "me" time into the day, I have succeeded somehow.

At my last 3 jobs, I've had basically the same conversation with each supervisor regarding my tardiness. They've all said, "I personally don't care when you come in, as long as you get your work done, but your co-workers have been complaining and I don't want them to think you're getting special treatment." At first I took that as a wink from my boss that it was okay, as long as I kept my co-workers happy. Now I realize that it was just a management technique to get through to me and redirect any blame I have to a third party who wasn't present at our meetings. Either way, I usually change my pattern for a few days, then slowly slip back into my usual schedule with no further discipline.

How do you feel about tardiness in the workplace? Have I been walking a dangerous path with my "no penatly, no foul" attitude? Or do companies tend to view this as a minor nuisance compared to overall productivity, such as personal internet usage or phone calls?




Answer Paywizard:

If you have a job for which you are expected to arrive within a certain time period, you should ensure that you do so.  (In fact, best practice from the WorklifeWizard is that should actually allow yourself a bit of wiggle room in your commute so as to allow any extra time needed in case of traffic, a late train, a last-minute double espresso craving, seeing a friend en route, the need to settle into your workplace without appearing windblown and out-of-breath, etc.  But I digress – let’s start with where you are, FT…)  Of course there are some jobs where employers really DON’T care what time you come in, as long as you get your work done, but these jobs and employers are few and far between.  Nonetheless, maybe this is an option for you for the future if this best suits your work style?

            However, for your purposes today, if an employer expects you to be somewhere at a certain time, consistently violating that expectation reflects poorly on you.  Furthermore, if you have a contract, you may actually be in violation and therefore be putting  your job in jeopardy.  Even if you are not in violation of a contract, if you are not living up to expectations and not fulfilling your responsibilities as a good member of your workplace team, I am admittedly concerned for you, your performance evaluations, and subsequently your future job prospects if this job does not work out for you.  After all, when you require a referral, you are already aware of what your current employer is likely to point to as a problem area for you as an employee.  Even when counseled, you have continued behavior that you are aware is contrary to your employer’s expectations.

You may perceive your tardiness as being a point of power for you, but let me suggest that your tardiness actually gives your employer tremendous leverage over you.  In other words, by continuing to arrive late, you are giving an employer a reason to call for your dismissal (or the position of power to know that you could be fired but remain on-the-job under tenuous circumstances).  No matter how good the quality of your work is, if you provide someone a reason to find fault, it is a problem.  So, instead of constantly worrying each day as to whether you will be disciplined or dismissed for your tardiness, set the alarm clock for a little bit earlier and go in early.  Make your way back from lunch promptly and rest assured that you at least have a job to return to, FT!

Although what you said may be true, that your employer really doesn’t care what time you come in, why test that statement for a few more minutes of sleep?

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