Habitually Late People

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by spaceman_spiff, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    I have a colleague who is late for work every day. On a good day, it's about 5 minutes; on a bad day, it can be 10 or 15. Either way, she's consistently late by roughly the same amount of time.

    From a work perspective, it doesn't bother me (I don't care that much about work). I'm just curious about the mentality. It's something I simply can't understand because I have a problem-solving mentality. If someone is consistently 5-15 minutes late, my brain sees an easy solution: leave 15 minutes earlier.

    I long ago realized that a lot of people don't have the same simplistic mentality that I do. So, I'm curious to hear explanations/analysis of other mentalities in this type of situation. Are habitually late people simply unaware of the time? Are they asserting their dominance by making others wait? Are they unwilling/unable to accept it when real travel times turn out to be longer than what they think they should be?

    What do you all think?
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
    #1
  2. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    do some reading on "passive aggressive behavior" and "executive function" (the neuroscience type) and you may understand the issue more.
     
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  3. BeGreat

    BeGreat Rookie

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    some people are just inconsiderate and self-involved. that's it. they don't understand that there are other people in the world. it's just as easy as that.

    they're rude, not self-aware, and won't amount to much.
     
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  4. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    I can't stand people who arrive early and disrupt my schedule.
     
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  5. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    Ooh, executive function looks interesting. Thanks for the tip.
     
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  6. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I recall having this debate in freshman rhetoric class 20 years ago. It was split right down the middle.

    One side talked about the importance of being on time as a "contract" with others, a courtesy, etc.

    The other side talked about "not being so anal". They insisted that everyone should be flexible, etc.

    I find this 50/50 split true to this day. About half my tennis partners show up anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes late, and the other half show up anywhere from 15 minutes early to on-time.
     
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  7. volleygirl

    volleygirl Semi-Pro

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    That sums it up. They just dont care that someone may be waiting on them and could care less that you dont like it.
     
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  8. Tamiya

    Tamiya Semi-Pro

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    BITD when office ran OS/2 Warp, my desktops would take 12-13mins to bootup.
    So I set them up to turnon about 30mins before I'd turnup, usually about 15mins "late" :twisted:

    IMHO it was better than colleagues who arrived on the dot, hit their 'on' button
    then popped out to the cafe for 30mins to get their morning coffee & cookie.
     
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  9. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Maybe she has a scheduling issue, bring her kids to school or drop someone off.
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Sorry for being late on this thread, but it is a mindset. Some people always rush to the airport at the last minute, arrive 2 hours late to a party, spend too much time applying makeup and adjusting their clothes, deliberately commit to doing something at the last minute so they can justify being late, etc.

    Others are anal and show up 2 hours before the 2 hours requirement for a flight, arrive 20 minutes earlier for a doctor's appointment and bug the receptionist, arrive for a college exam 1 hour earlier in case traffic is bad, etc.
     
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  11. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Please don't make it into a habit Sureshs! :razz:
     
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  12. volleygirl

    volleygirl Semi-Pro

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    and then others just show up on time
     
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  13. smoledman

    smoledman Legend

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    You must be an INTJ type.
     
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  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is why I did not take such courses
     
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  15. hansolo

    hansolo Rookie

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    At my work, I'm usually always late(between 5-20min). My boss doesn't really care, because he knows I put in alot of hours.

    Also blame the snooze button...
     
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  16. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Required

    ..
     
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  17. Lex

    Lex Rookie

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    I have adopted the Mantra of "I'll wait 15 minutes for anyone and 16 for no one".
     
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  18. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Talk Tennis Guru

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    In the middle of tomorrow and yesterday..
    I'm usually between 3 and 15 minutes late. It honestly seems like every day there's always some kind of B.S that makes me late. Today for example, I was 15 mins late bc I went to get a haircut before work, which was much needed, and one of the barbers wasn't there that usually cuts my hair so I had to wait longer than normal. Every day it's something.
     
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  19. Polaris

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    Regarding the bolded part, it appears to square with a hypothesis that I have: Some people do not have an intuitive handle on the passage of time, e.g., what does an estimate of 15 minutes mean? What does it mean to wake up 1 hour before leaving for an important appointment given XYZ activities need to be completed? And so on.

    It's not all due to the above reason, of course. People are also often late because they care insufficiently about punctuality, or because they are obsessive about something else that makes them late, etc.
     
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  20. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    ^^ all of what you describe comes under the psychological rubric "executive functions" which are specifically impaired in some people, not least those with A.D.D.
     
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  21. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Makes sense. It usually starts at night. Working late..up late..etc..then you sleep in longer than expected..now its a scramble to be on time.
     
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  22. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    pot calling kettle ...

    Hey hey, we have a problem right here. You don't care about work !!!

    As a boss, I'd rather have an employee who cares but is 15 mins late everyday, than someone who is punctual but doesn't care :D
     
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  23. spaceman_spiff

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    Oh, we've got plenty of those as well. Show up on time, but then spend half an hour making coffee/tea and chatting with people.

    Not this particular case. I think it's an executive function issue like Ollinger pointed out. I think she's in the habit of leaving the house at a particular time, rather than planning her departure based on past results.

    If there's always something every day that makes your journey 5-15 minutes longer than you think it should be, then your journey really is 5-15 minutes longer than you think.

    For example, if you think your journey is 30 minutes, but you're always 5-15 minutes late, then your journey isn't 30 minutes; it's 35-45 minutes. In that case, you could plan for a 45-min journey and always show up on time or slightly early.

    Either that or you're adding extra activities to your morning routine and will always be late no matter how early you leave. For example, you could leave an hour earlier but then stop for a haircut, breakfast, post office, bank, supermarket, etc., and end up 5-15 minutes late. In that case, you'd have to mentally separate those activities from your actual journey to work in order to leave yourself enough time to get to the office.

    I care enough to do my job. I don't care enough to be bothered by a colleague showing up late. ;)

    I just find it interesting that someone can be visibly embarrassed/displeased about being late but never successfully rectify the problem.
     
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  24. The Meat

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    'Oh look it's 20 minutes before work starts, but it usually takes me 15 minutes to drive there. I'll wait another 5 minutes while watching a t.v series because I know I can make it on time. Crap! I forgot something in my house. Shoot! The traffic is bad.' -arrives 5-15 minutes late.

    This happens a lot to people, that's why I believe in the 30 minute rule. Plan to arrive 30 minutes earlier than usual and take your time to prepare and leave your house. Never been late to any of my classes or appointments.
     
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  25. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    I get upset when people are late to work. I'm an RN. After working a 12-hr shift, I'm ready to go home, get to bed. Our rules are that the next shift should be ready to take report at 7 (AM for oncoming dayshift, PM for oncoming night shift). I was raised "better an hour early than a minute late". One place I worked, our manager told a nurse that if she was late 1 more time, she would be fired. The next day, nurse was late, she was fired. She didn't understand why she was fired since she was "only 10 minutes late today". Some work places may not care if you're late, but in nursing, lateness usually causes the preceding shift to be late getting out. This can lead to overtime, which of course, the hospital really doesn't like.
     
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  26. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    Look here dude. We are all going to die one day. It really doesn't matter if someone was "late" to some "office" for something called "work".
    These are all just artificial concepts.

    You are missing the forest for the trees, or branches, or leaves, or dust on a leaf on one twig on one branch.

    One day our world will be over, then the sun will die out, then the entire galaxy will fizzle out. Can we please see the bigger picture ?
     
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  27. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG]
     
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  28. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    ^ I did not mean life is meaningless or even that everything dies. That's a very negative take on it.

    Realizing deeply that all matter decomposes is very liberating. It frees us from meaningless, repetitive lives, of living with petty purposes, of living selfishly. It frees us to love and be kind, to serve others. Impermanence frees us of the false notion of an individual person.
     
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  29. DCaicedo

    DCaicedo Rookie

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    Bonus points for the Myers-Briggs reference
     
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  30. maxpotapov

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    ... and showing that you care, by being on time for them ;)
     
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  31. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    some years ago, I had a russian hitting partner. One day, I showed up to the courts 10 minutes late. He was ****ed and told me, in the old days, we would have you shot :shock:
     
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  32. Mike Bulgakov

    Mike Bulgakov Semi-Pro

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    Mick, I think I know who your hitting partner was.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It could have also been the notoriously bossy and tyrannical Anna K., once a WTA despot.
    [​IMG]

    I have found Danes, in general, to be particularly concerned about precise arrivals.
     
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  33. Fearsome Forehand

    Fearsome Forehand Professional

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    Germans are notoriously punctual.

    People who are chronically very late are simply inconsiderate. They are selfish jerks who are not concerned about anyone but themselves.
     
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  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It would really matter to you if the guy was an ambulance driver and you needed him. It would really matter to you if it was a surgeon in the ER who was supposed to operate on someone you know.
     
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  35. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBuUUBrC9eQ

    As I was walking down the street one day
    A man came up to me and asked me what
    The time was that was on my watch, yeah...And I said

    (I don't) Does anybody really know what time it is
    (Care) Does anybody really care (about time)
    If so I can't imagine why (Oh no, no)
    We've all got time enough to cry

    And I was walking down the street one day
    A pretty lady looked at me
    And said her diamond watch had stopped cold dead...And I said

    (I don't) Does anybody really know what time it is
    (Care) Does anybody really care (about time)
    If so I can't imagine why (Oh no, no)
    We've all got time enough to cry

    And I was walking down the street one day
    Being pushed and shoved by people trying to
    Beat the clock, oh, no I just don't know
    I don't know, and I said, yes I said

    People runnin' everywhere
    Don't know where to go
    Don't know where I am
    Can't see past the next step
    Don't have time to think past the last mile
    Have no time to look around
    Just run around, run around and think why

    (I don't) Does anybody really know what time it is
    (Care) Does anybody really care (about time)
    If so I can't imagine why (Oh no, no)
    We've all got time enough to die
    Everybody's working (I don't) I don't care (About time)
    About time (Oh no, no) I don't care
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
    #35
  36. Abbygrant

    Abbygrant New User

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    Occasional lateness is understandable, but habitual lateness baffles me. Start times for things like meetings, workshops, league tennis matches, church, and appointments are simply not flexible. It’s not that hard to plan ahead to make sure you are on time. I think habitually late people are often too lazy to plan ahead.
     
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  37. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    whats 5-10 mins? whats the hurry?

    what about arriving back late from lunch? isnt that a premium?

    so starting late in the morning is a premium too and if you can get away with it, isnt that a bonus?

    all else equal, you are getting more bang for the buck.

    just playing devils advocate, i m not a late person.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
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  38. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Executive function impairment? Nah. Many people who claim this impairment are just lazy, and I can prove it.

    Take someone who is chronically late. Tell them they will win $1 million if they are seated at their desk ready to work on time tomorrow. No prize if they are even one minute late. Guess what? They will be there with time to spare.

    Chronic lateness is not a disease. The person is saying "this obligation isn't important to me."
     
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  39. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    My company once implemented this rule that if you came five minutes late (even a second past 9:05) you would lose half a day's pay.

    A lot of people would just go back home if they were a minute late, or go and while away half the day in the library or cafetaria. This was despite the fact that we mostly worked late and came on holidays too (and there's no overtime here).

    Morale took a nose-dive. Luckily, after a few months or a year, they revoked the rule.
     
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  40. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    It's a modest sign of personal respect when you show up on time. You're not forcing the other person to wait. It's the right thing to do, and also makes things work more smoothly.
     
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  41. chollyred

    chollyred Rookie

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    I'm in the same category as Steve Huff. I'd rather be an hour early than 10 minutes late for anything. Doing shift work for years, with overtime being prohibited, you count on your replacement to be there on time to prevent you from working extra time for free. Or, having your carpool leave without you! After 30+ years, it becomes ingrained.

    I used to have a boss that said there's only one excuse for being late. "You didn't leave the other place soon enough!"

    Back in high school, my band director had an even more extreme view. "Better never than late!"
     
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  42. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    The earlier comments about passive-aggressive character traits driving this were correct but I think there is also something bigger at play, particularly in corporate America.

    Too many businesses suffer from extreme incompetence that becomes engrained in the culture. A well run business basically forces meetings to start and end on time, have precise agendas and be accountable for results - meetings that don't accomplish enough get removed from the schedule. The late people will not succeed in this culture.

    But in a business where negligence is a constant theme, the habitually tardy get a free pass.

    Hell, in some mismanaged companies I have worked at there are no consequences for missing a meeting or even an entire work day. The managers get USED to it! "Is Joe here today?" Why shouldn't he be? It's an effin work day. But, alas, Joe didn't make it in. Oh well! Maybe tomorrow.

    Now, those people late for a tennis game - they should indeed be shot. Nothing wrong with the old Russian system!
     
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  43. WhiteStripes

    WhiteStripes Rookie

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    I must admit this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I think some of it is that me working in an extremely competitive work environment for a good chunk of my life where being on time really means being 15 minutes early, and that basically carried over to almost everything else in my personal life, including tennis sessions.

    Most of the hitting partners I've had over the years have been fine. Some are anal retentive like me and always show up early. A few, however, are always late. And I don't mean a minute or two late. I mean 10, 15+ minutes late all the time, even when we have court-reserved time, which really ticks me off. Not one to create conflict, I just internalize it and move on, but it definitely annoys the crap out of me.
     
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  44. pushing_wins

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    just warm up your serve

    when habitually late people show up on time, they get rewarded.
     
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  45. spaceman_spiff

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    Late Girl was surprisingly on time today, citing a complete lack of traffic. That just confirms the problem for me.

    I think her initial estimate of travel time when starting at this office a couple of years ago was based on unrealistic expectations of traffic conditions (conditions that will rarely ever be seen during rush hour). Any tardiness was then explained by "bad" traffic, which in her mind is unusual even though it happens every day. And, the stress/embarrassment of being late isn't strong enough to make her reassess her scheduling.

    So, you start with an unrealistic estimation of travel time, throw in a punishment/negative consequence that is not strong enough to force a reassessment, and you end up with a habitually late person.
     
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  46. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    This is really the most interesting bit to me. There is something in your organization (and too many others in my experience) that basically condones this behavior.

    Can you share more about that? How did it develop? Is it one person (e.g., the primary owner, her manager) who allows this or a whole culture?
     
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  47. Steady Eddy

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    Saturday I went to a comedy club. The owner apologized for not having enough servers. He said that 100 made reservations, but nearly 200 showed up. Then I read the club's on-line reviews. Consistently, twice as many show up as there are reservations, but this surprises the owner every time. He's thinking like your Late Girl.
     
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  48. BLX_Andy

    BLX_Andy Professional

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    It could be organization issues.
     
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  49. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    This is really it. I always think of the military notion of "friction". . . the idea that if you take 100 men, march them up the hill and back again, you're not going to end up with all 100.

    So I budget in additional bits of time for this life friction.
     
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  50. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    Because her job is fairly different from the others in the department, the managers just leave her to it without too much oversight. It's a similar case for me as well.

    If we did the same work as the others, our login times would be more heavily scrutinized. Or, if one of our old managers was still here, he would have cared enough to have a word with her because he used to do the same job.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
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