Chronically Late


“5 Minutes early is on time, and on time is late…”

Imagine working in a clinic with a person who was at least 20 minutes late to work every single day (for 3+ years). How would it make you feel? Would you confront them? Would you tell management? Would you leave the department? Or better yet, would you try and find some passive aggressive way to get them back?

Depending on your job role, being punctual has varying levels of importance. There are people that believe being late is disrespectful and others that feel there are larger issues to focus on. Let’s take a moment to hear their sides…

View point 1: Chronically Late

It takes me 40 minutes to get here every morning, and my time is important to me. Plus, I have worked here for the past 20 years and paid my dues. I show up, and all the patients get checked in.

Sure, it might be an inconvenience to my coworkers but they don’t complain, and at the end of the day is it really that big of a deal? It’s only 20 minutes, and it’s not like the patients will be seen right away anyway.

View point 2: On-Time Andy

We don’t have time clocks, but I try to get to work on-time every day. If I even think I will be late I call to let someone know I am running behind. Chronically Late is at least 20 minutes late, every single day.

Chronically Late doesn’t care, and neither does my management team. They never hold anyone accountable, and there are no repercussions for being late. I could come in late to work too, but I would feel bad for the patients and my fellow coworkers. Most days there are at least a couple of patients who need to be checked in, and I end up having to pick up the slack.

I could tell management, but nothing will change. On top of that, there are 4 pods in our office and it would be awkward if it somehow got out that I was the one who told management.

View point 3: The Waiting Patient

I had to wake up at 5 AM to get here in time to have my labs drawn, and they told me that I couldn’t eat anything after midnight. I wanted to stop by the cafeteria to get a snack, but my appointment was supposed to start 10 minutes ago and I didn’t want to be late. I’m hungry, and would like to talk to my doctor about the pain I have been having in my knee. Hopefully the nurse will check me in soon.


Time is one of the scarcest resources we have, and being considerate of others time will get you far. Next time you are running late take a step back and think about the unintended consequences.


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“Communication works for those who work at it” – John Powell

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