The Cost of Tardiness

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The Cost of Tardiness

February 21, 2011 · 10 comments

Welcome to the tardy party! My name is Tard Part, and I'll be your host for this evening!

I’ve never really been one for punctuality, that’s for sure. It caused hell with jobs previous, resulting in a suspension and demotion at one I had for 5 years, and with every job since, including my current one, I still do it. One way or another, I will be late to work.

I told my manager a couple of weeks beforehand that if I were to be demoted, I’d just quit instead, so when I walked in to the office one last time knowing what was coming, with ID in hand, she yelled “No Jake, don’t do it!” whilst diving at me in slow motion. Okay, so the diving part didn’t really happen, but it was quite amusing nonetheless. I didn’t quit, opting to go on-call instead while I pursued more permanent, livable-wage paying employment, but I never worked there again. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t invited back the next season.

Fast forward to the present. Or, more accurately, the past month or so. I’ve been getting some flak for my tardiness lately, most recently when I was informed that I’m now on the safety committee, and that they expect me to show up to meetings on time. I’ve been skating on by, 3-6 minutes late every day for almost two years now, mostly because they care more about what you do when you are there. They knew about my problem when they hired me – when I was a temp there, I was 15 minutes late every day. Now that I think about it, it took me 15 minutes to get to work back then, and now it takes me 3-6 minutes to get there. I sense a trend.

It’s catching up to me, and I generally tend to be paranoid about my job security. So, I decided to take a look back to the beginning of the year and figure out what I’ve been doing. Much to my surprise, I had actually managed to be on time twice, and even early once! You can see towards the right of the above graph that I’ve been doing much better lately, since I, well, started paying attention to it. As with all goals, it’s tough to meet if you don’t measure and observe your progress. I went ahead and added everything up, and I’ve been late 203 minutes so far this year (with early clock-ins counting as credit). That amounts to $36 in lost wages, which certainly doesn’t sound like much, but when you stretch that 5.64 minutes per day out over a year, it adds up to $262.

If your boss told you he’d pay you $250 to show up to work right on time every day for a year, wouldn’t you jump on it?

I’m going to keep tracking my numbers to essentially catch up on that lost time and even it out. It certainly won’t make all those late days magically disappear from the stone they’re carved in, but at least I’ll be able to say I did it. It would be pretty easy to do so by going in 20 minutes early for two weeks, but I just don’t think I can swing that, ya know?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Austin February 21, 2011 at 0951

Love your blog, man, and I can sympathize somewhat with your current financial plight. But, dude! Get to work on time! I mean this as just simple encouragement from a regular reader of yours. Not only will you guard against lost wages, but it will increase your job security and improve the impression your employer has of you. And who knows? The better impression your employer has, the more opportunity there will be for advancement or more responsibility (which leads to more $$$). I know it’s tough and it will take more and more discipline. Hope I don’t offend you. Just trying to light a friendly fire :-)


Mom February 25, 2011 at 0933

I used to be the same. Learn best the hard way. At the VA if you were 6 minutes late you were docked 15 minutes of vacation time. We didn’t even punch a time clock there. So I had to set my watch exactly like the nurses’ station clock. Later jobs where I did punch a clock, I set my car clock about 7 minutes fast. Then got speeding tickets! So, it’s always cheaper to be a little early.


Jake February 25, 2011 at 1906

Kinda tough to imagine that old Chevy going fast enough to get a speeding ticket… đŸ˜€


John Parmater February 28, 2011 at 1643

I like being on time or early for several reasons.
1. It demonstrates competence.
2. It shows I can manage my time and activities.
3. It is respectful of others.
4. It keeps agreements.
5. It is honorable.
6. It is fair.
7. It is the opposite of stealing or cheating, so it is ethical.
8. It reduces stress.
9. I feel superior.


Tricky February 28, 2011 at 1655

The other aspect is that when you’re driving and you’re late, most people tend to drive faster and more aggressively to make up. Your fuel consumption doubles and you’re also far more likely to get into an accident. And if you think you’re an excellent driver, you’re still increasing your chances of being hit by someone who *isn’t*!
In my car I average about 7l/100km (37mpg) as long as I drive sensibly in the city. If I rush the average climbs (drops) to 13l/100km (18mpg) .


Betsy March 1, 2011 at 1333

I used to have a major issue with being on time, and eventually I realized it was because I didn’t want to be there– dragging yourself in sucks up time. After leaving that job I made a serious effort to change, because I started thinking about what my lateness was saying to people, specifically “I don’t want to be here”. Being on time says “I want to be here”, and being early says “I *love* being here”.


Keith March 3, 2011 at 1451

I really don’t see why anyone has to be late to a job at all. I’ve always been a good 30-45 minutes early to the job. Plus if your late too often… why would the company even want to keep you?


Yadgyu March 19, 2011 at 1430

Have you guys seen the video for “Tardy For The Party” by my friend Kim Zolciak? She is a TV star who was in the most recent season of ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’.

Check it out:


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