There are many words to describe “being on-time.” Many words describe those who are on time, and on the flip-side, there are many words to describe those of us who are not regularly on-time.
I happen to work in the newspaper business. My day is driven by deadlines; deadlines for film, plates, press turn, etc. When people or equipment malfunction in such a way to cause harm to a deadline, you do not get your paper on-time, this is when I have a problem in my career.
Everything in a news-paper, well everything for this day’s paper, works backwards in time from the point of delivery. The Brownwood Bulletin believes having your paper on your doorstep at 6 a.m. is the critical time for our print edition, well, Monday through Friday that is. The longest newspaper route we have may require five hours to complete. It is a rather easy expression of mathematics to determine the driver needs to leave the Brownwood Bulletin at 1 a.m. every day.
Now suppose advertisers have asked to place their circular in the Brownwood Bulletin. This will add roughly two hours to the completion time for your newspaper. Add in another half-hour, and press turn becomes 10:30 p.m. pretty quickly.
Each story adds time, placing the lottery results on the page takes time, typing the Community Calendar takes time, everything we do takes time.
Now, I don’t want you to think I am down on newspapers. I am not. The topic of this column came to me when I was waiting for service at a local convenience store. The clerk, disheveled as he was, was waiting at the counter for the next customer. I was two steps from him when BANG, boom, BAM… his cellular telephone rings… rather sings to him. His gaze averted, he began speaking with the other party. I jostled to the left, moved to the right and found myself staring at a cow… you know… that blank stare a cow gives. I was dismayed.
I raised my items to his gaze level and he held up his right index finger in a non-polite way of saying “I do not have time for you; you will need to wait for me to have time.” Neverthe-less, I waited, paid and vowed never to return.
Hey! Have you ever been at work when you need to speak with someone, about work, and they are on the telephone? You may be waiting at their desk or in their doorway and they say “Hang-on a sec.” Now listen, the jig is up, you are on a personal call, most likely waxing idiotic about something that does not matter. If you were on a professional telephone conversation with someone you would have politely brushed me away, scribbled a note to me or asked the other party to “Please excuse me for a moment.”
The largest expense of time is most likely calling someone, someone who has pledged to get something done, and they didn’t. Do not tell me you will get it done if you cannot. Please give me the truth. Tell me I have no compulsion to fit my work into your time frame. Tell me to go take a leap. Tell me the truth.
Think about it, if a coworker feels compelled to call you, taking time from his or her busy day, to check to see if you have done something you have promised by a definite time, you have caused his or her time, and more of your time, to be wasted.
The Scout Law is as follows: A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent. When an individual is not punctual, that person is neither kind nor courteous. The same conclusion may be drawn using many more points of the Scout Law.
In conclusion, the next time you promise to have something done, be considerate, be steady, be dependable… be authentic.
Art Veneris is production manager of the Brownwood Bulletin. He writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at art.veneris@brownwood