Human Reliability

July 22nd, 2002

I really put a lot of effort into being reliable – meeting expectations, following up on promises, arriving on time at appointments. I put even more effort into recovering from the inevitable circumstances that get in the way of being reliable – phoning to warn that I may be late, delivering that little bit more to balance compromises that had to be made, emailing to apologize or explain lateness or inability to attend. I’m ALWAYS thinking about the other person’s perspective.

Dunno why, but in return, I’m always the guy arriving 5 minutes early but still pacing and looking at his watch a half hour after the appointed time. The guy sitting waiting for the promised phone call that never comes, as neither does the call or email explaining the missed appointment. The guy who just lets it slide and moves on when the other person strolls in an hour late with nary an apology for having wasted my time.

I’ve been a “pleaser” for much of my life. I expect I will continue being a pleaser. But no more doormat for me. Anyone who displays the kind of lack of respect associated with this type of inconsiderate behaviour gets one chance. Unless they redeem themselves without my prompting, then NO MORE.

I will not wait more than 15 minutes for someone, ESPECIALLY if I know they have a cell phone. I will not put off doing anything for me while waiting on someone else’s promised input.

As it happens, this particular rant isn’t about anyone specific, but if you were thinking it was about you, then it’s time to kick yourself in the ass for being such a putz and start being a little more considerate.

2 comments to “Human Reliability”

  1. One of the lessons I’ve learned this past year of being married is that my (and your) punctuality is not the perfect attitude in every case.

    My wife is the opposite of me in this respect. She’s almost always five minutes or more late to every appointment — so often that everyone expects it (we all know people who’ve earned that sort of reputation). And while her tardiness is super annoying and often forces me to be tardy as well, she sometimes reminds me to pay quality attention to the here and now. Oftentimes, I’m in such a hurry to get to the Next Appointment, that I treat those around me like they don’t matter. My face says, “I’m going somewhere else to see more important people than you.”

    While I still pride myself in being on-time for appoitments, I see an importance in being late every now and then.

    God bless you, my friend.

  2. Actually, while I’m perpetually tardy, I’m starting to look at my tardiness differently. Rather than being an appropriate response to a situation where you find that everybody starts the meeting 10 minutes late, perhaps punctuality is a foundation of trust.

    If you can be relied upon to be there, on time, when you said, then you can be trusted in other spheres as well.

    It’s the little things.