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Don't Be Late to Work!
By Andrew D. Carson, Ph.D.
Ever since you were a child, you have been warned to be on time. "Don't be late to school!" "Don't be late to practice!" And now that you are preparing to enter the world of work, get used to hearing, "Don't be late to work!" Being on time is a key habit to develop if you want to hold on to your job, much less excel in it.
The fact is that when you work for someone else, very few things will make a worse impression that repeatedly showing up late. This is true whether or not the job provides a salary or is simply volunteer. Most employers have some sort of policy governing tardiness, so learn your employer's specific rules. Also, individual managers vary in how strictly they enforce such rules. It is therefore wise to get to know the company's culture and policies, and to not run afoul of them in relation to timley arrival.
There are several reasons why individuals may be late to work, but no reason provides a completely effective excuse:
1) Unreliable transportation: "My car doesn't work well." If you do not have reliable transportation, give oneself more travel time, or get a different job. This may sound harsh, but one of the challenges in any job is to assess one's resources objectively and to make the best out of what one has. Part of what makes one a reliable and valued worker is simply figuring out how to get to the job. People living on a tight budget may face real difficulties in this area, but the answer remains the same: deal with it. And if you find yourself needing to rely on public transportation (as is true for an increasing percentage of teens and young adults), be sure to give youself plenty of commute time, and the vote for candidates who promise better support for public transportation.
2) Poor self-management: "I can't seem to get myself going in the morning." What would you do if you had an employee whose excuse for getting to work late was that it...