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Author Topic: What to do when you are the jerk
Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I'll start out by saying that I have a problem with lateness. I know that it annoys people but I keep doing it because every time it's just a matter of thinking "I'll do just this one more thing and then I'll leave..."

That said, I do try hard not to be too bad with lateness, and so it is usually just a matter of sometimes being late and having to apologize. However, recently I've been late several times in a row with a co-worker. She's more senior than I am and is showing me how to do things, so it's especially bad on my part. I haven't done it on purpose - it's more like several "moments of weakness" in a row, but that doesn't make things better for her, and although she's been very polite I can tell that she is not amused.

I know that I look like a big jerk, and it's my fault. I don't think I really am a jerk, and I don't want people to think that I am one. In the long term, the thing to do is to stop being late (as an aside, I highly doubt that I will be able to manage that - I've been in big trouble for lateness before and I still did not change my ways). What I'm wondering is this: is there something I could do in the short term that would be more effective than apologizing yet again? I'm guessing that my apologies sound hollow by now (although I really am sorry each time). My grandparents tell me that in Russia the universal gift was a bottle of some quality alcoholic drink, and I'm looking for the American equivalent of that - is there some gesture of apology that a person can make to someone he only knows professionally?

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Bach_girl
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Some people are always late- nothing you can do about it. Thankfully friends and family get that after a while.

The best way to make up for being late to work is to not do it again and/or show up early. The incident will be quickly forgotten if you don't bring it up again.

ETA: Do you know there is a new message board now?

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kitoboo
Deck the Malls


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When you are late once, well sometimes stuff happens. When you are always late you are sending the message that your time is more important than anybody else's.

I agree with Bach_girl. The best way to atone is to never be late again.

-kitoboo

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franjava
Deck the Malls


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I was basically going to write the same thing, Kitoboo (just not as nicely.) [Smile] It does send the message that your time and activities are more important, thus making you look like a selfish jerk. Not saying you are, just saying that's how you appear. It is especially bad to do this when work is involved! Do it one too many times and you can easily become jobless.

I have many friends who are always late and it bugs the NFBSK out of me. I am ALWAYS early, so when my friends can't even be on time, it makes me think they don't care for my feelings very much. The one exception is my friends with four kids. Although, the youngest is now a senior in HS, and the other three live an hour away... Not so much of an excuse anymore.

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James G.
Xboxing Day


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I am an 'always early' person, but have never seen lateness as a symptom of selfishness so much as disorganisation. I think that whether you come across as a jerk or not will be influenced by the impression you give in other situations.

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going slightly mad
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I have one friend who is exactly like you, every time we meet it is me drinking one coffee after another, waiting for her, or me watching one bus after another leave, waiting for her, or me missing the beginning of a good movie waiting for...well, you get the drift. Thing is, I forgive her every time because she is my friend and her good qualities far outweigh that one little fault, I'm sure she does the same with my own faults.

However, I can guarantee that if that ever happened with someone at work I would be seriously annoyed, thing is, your co-worker probably does not know you outside of work, she is not your friend and therefore does not have the advantage of your many qualities outweighing that one bad thing, all she gets is an impression of you being notoriously unreliable.

You are seriously risking her professional respect for you as well as your job, also a thing to consider, while she may not say anything about it to you (yet), there is a high chance that she is talking about it to others and the retelling probably makes it sound worse every time, a bad reputation is a very hard thing to loose, as is the ire of co-workers. My advice,don't be late again, get an alarm clock that you carry in your pocket all the time. Set it to the time you have to leave and when it rings you DO leave, no compromises and no other tasks in between. It will be annoying at first and you will have to force yourself to do what is necessary but in time you will get used to it, you will have conditioned yourself to leave when the alarm rings without even thinking about it. Try it.

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Esprise Me
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I agree with everyone else on the matter of the message it sends. I have the same problem; I'm something of a perfectionist, so when I'm ready to leave with ten minutes to spare, I think, "I'll just touch up my lipstick/hang up these clothes/call my mom/take out the garbage before I leave," and before I know it, fifteen minutes have elapsed and now I'm running late. (I'm doing this now, as a matter of fact; I'm ready for work but don't have to leave for ten more minutes, so here I am!) This may sound silly, but what works for me is setting my clocks ten minutes ahead. Since I'm always five to ten minutes late, if I trick myself into being ten minutes ahead of schedule, then I'm nearly always on time or early. It's done wonders for my social and professional life.

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I don't think it is ever appropriate to give a gift to your boss. Well except birthday type things if your office is in to celebrating - - and even then it can be awkward. The best way to atone with your supervisor is to not be late anymore - if anything to be early, or at the very least stay late. Prove to her that you're not a clockwatcher in the most positive sense of the word. If quitting time is 5 don't leave until 5.15 at the earliest type thing. That will get noticed. But even so stop being late!

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Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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A hint: Don't concentrate on when you have to be somewhere, concentrate on when you have to leave to be somewhere. Don't even think about the time of the appointment, think about the time you must leave to arrive at the appointment on time. If you are anything like I use to be, you forget about travel time in addition to that one last thing thing. I didn't figure it out until I had a baby I had to get ready whenever I went anywhere.

Last time a I was a major jerk I apologized with chocolate, the sort that someone can sit on her desk and share with co-workers if she chooses.

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Well ****. It looks like my latest stunt was particularly bad, "you're going to have to explain this to our boss" level bad. Luckily for me, I'm a grad student still doing lab rotations, so that almost certianly won't have consequences beyond severe unpleasantness, long-term bad reputation, and the inability to work in this particular lab in the future (in other words, I don't think I can get fired for it). Still, I liked this lab, and now I doubt they would take me permanently if I asked. The worst thing is, I didn't actually do any less work. I did all the work I would have done otherwise but I did it at the wrong time and so I get (and deserve) blame instead of praise.

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Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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My advice would be to make a copy of this thread and enclose it in a note of sincere apology to the lady. Do not give her a gift. Then the next thing you need to do is to work on your being-late problem. Most people have at least one habit that needs work, and this is yours, so do it. I don't think you're a jerk because you have this bad habit, but others in your circle of coworkers and friends might. Good luck!

I, too, have a problem with not wanting to leave the house until the last minute, but I know when that last minute is and I'm out the door by then. I tried setting the clock ahead by ten minutes, but it didn't work because I was always thinking I really had ten more minutes, which I did. [lol]

(I see all of us diehards are still hitting this board! I guess we'll do it until snopes turns out the lights. [Wink] )

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

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going slightly mad
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Troodon:
Luckily for me, I'm a grad student still doing lab rotations, so that almost certianly won't have consequences beyond severe unpleasantness, long-term bad reputation, and the inability to work in this particular lab in the future (in other words, I don't think I can get fired for it).

I don't want to sound condescending or anything but you should really be careful with that attitude. You may only be a grad student but every commendation (or lack of it) you get at jobs now, may well decide if you get this really great and well paid job later in life, or if it goes to the man or woman who comes highly recommended from their prior job(s).

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Apologies don't mean anything if you don't plan to change your ways to be on time in the future. Gifts are downright insulting if again you don't plan to change your ways. What is that exactly saying, "I know my time is more valuable than yours, but here's a trinket to make us even". Learn to be on time, it will probably change the way a lot of people perceive you.

Beach...nobody enjoys perpetual late people, they just tolerate them...Life!

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Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


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When you are being a jerk, you are aware that you're being a jerk, and the reason for being a jerk is something that is entirely in your control to change, the answer of what to do is easy: Stop being a jerk.

Your apologies are totally meaningless for as long as you continue this rudeness. Don't waste time trying to figure out how to apologize better because it's not possible. Spend that time figuring how to budget your time so you aren't late anymore because that is the only way to mend anyone's opinion of you at this point.

Either change your ways or get used to being seen as unspeakably rude, inconsiderate, and unemployable.

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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while I agree with what Jenn said, Trooden, if you are ever late to meet me, I will still accept a large bottle of premium vodka as an apology.

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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FuzzDuckie
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Sara Claus at home:
A hint: Don't concentrate on when you have to be somewhere, concentrate on when you have to leave to be somewhere. Don't even think about the time of the appointment, think about the time you must leave to arrive at the appointment on time. If you are anything like I use to be, you forget about travel time in addition to that one last thing thing. I didn't figure it out until I had a baby I had to get ready whenever I went anywhere.

Last time a I was a major jerk I apologized with chocolate, the sort that someone can sit on her desk and share with co-workers if she chooses.

I do this myself as I have a tendency to be late.. mainly because I get LOST on the way to whereever I'm going. So what I do is calculate when I NORMALLY should leave... then tack on another 20-60 minutes to THAT to give myself plenty of leeway...then use that as the time as to what I should concentrate on in getting out of the house. For example if I have an interview at 3 PM... MapQuest tells me that it takes 30 minutes to get there so.. okay leave the apartment around 2:30. Add on another 30-45 minutes and make myself leave the house around 1:45... Most times I get it right and actually get there on time. Once in a while I STILL screw up and wind up late. I need to start taking my SK3 with me and email them to let them know I'm running late.

That's another thing you could possibly do... CALL and let them know you will at least be late..."I'm sorry but I'm running behind but I WILL be there". I've always apologized profusely when I'm late. Most times they're...."okay with it" but I doubt that half the time lol.

I would also be careful about your attitude..."just a graduate student", well sure you are but what you do THEN just MAY follow you the rest of your life too.

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delta_T
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I have to sympathize with you, as a person who used to be late all the time. It was a serious problem, to the point that friends and family would lie to me about the time we were supposed to meet to try to get me there on time. It never worked...I just seemed to magically know what the real time was, and be late anyway. I had problems with being chronically late for work, too (although usually just 5 or 10 minutes), and although I was never fired for it, it came up regularly during evaluations.

Anyhow, my point is, that it came to a point that I was fed up with it myself...I don't think anyone else can shame you into changing your ways. I realized that when I estimated how long it would take me to get somewhere, I always figured on the shortest possible time. So I added 15 minutes to it, and even though I felt like I was leaving "early" (and sometimes I was early), suddenly I wasn't late anymore!

On my last job evaluation, I was given the highest score possible for punctuality....for never being late to work once, or even back from break late. So, it IS possible to change, if you want to badly enough.

I have to say the that my motivation came from being told that if you are always chronically late, you CAN'T change, even if you want to. I guess I took it as a challenge.

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MG123
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I had a boss one time who felt that a minute late as bad as an hour late. It showed unprofessionalism, and was inconsiderate to the other workers. It also was the very first part of the day, and was starting off bad already. At the time, being young, dumb, and stupid, I thought that he was just being silly, pushing a power trip, and finding any reason to blow up. Being older and wiser now though, I tend to agree.
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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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By no means give a supervisor a gift in this situation. Doing so would suggest not only that do you not plan to change your behavior, but that you think you can bribe her to put up with it.

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Jerry's Kids
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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*raising my hand* I too, belong to the Order of the Chronically Late, especially to work. I have my clock radio (and one other small one I tend to look at while I'm getting ready for work) set about 10 minutes ahead, and GO BY THAT TIME. Most of the time I can fake myself out and think that that is the real time. Sometimes when I'm running REALLY late, I fall into the "well, it's really 10 minutes fast so it's not as bad as I think," but I try to stay away from thinking that way. [Roll Eyes]

I also try to remember that my boss is PAYING me to be there at a particular time (and 99% of the time if I get there a little late, I make up the time, and I'm always there later anyway, I'm on salary, not hourly, but still...).

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LadyAnnora
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I had a really good friend, who had many admirable qualities, that I eventually ended up dropping because she was chronically late. She was funny, smart, passionate, etc. but it was difficult to enjoy those qualities about her when she failed to show up! So even if you are a great worker, intelligent, smart, etc, if your not there when I need you to be there none of that matters.

More over what you have to remember is that while you are attending to the things that are ultimately causing you to end up late someone else is sitting there, not getting to do the things they need to get done, because they are waiting for you. I've got very important things to do with my time as well, and there are hardly enough hours in a day to get them done...so if we are supposed to get together at a certain time and you are late...you've just created more stress in my life.

Being chronically late sends a very clear message that doing whatever you were doing that makes you chronically late is more important that what you are supposed to show up for.

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Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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[hijack]
Jerry's Kids, does your screen name have anything to do with Jerry Lewis? Just curious.
[/hijack]

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
By no means give a supervisor a gift in this situation. Doing so would suggest not only that do you not plan to change your behavior, but that you think you can bribe her to put up with it.

This was my feeling as well Lainie. I had an incident last week where a shelver failed to turn up for her shift. Believe me an abject apology and a promise not to let it happen again went a lot further with me than a gift would have! Had she come into my office with a box of chocolate I wouldn't have been able to believe whatever explanation she had to offer as I would have wondered how sincere she was. Fair? Perhaps not. But there you go.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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Jerry's Kids
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Signora del Drago:

Nope.

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Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Jerry's Kids:
Signora del Drago:

Nope.

Well, now I can stop wondering. Thanks! [Smile] Every time I see your screen name, which isn't very often, I wonder but can't send you a PM to ask.

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

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