On Punctuality

Being punctual is an admirable trait. It’s not easy to be on time for everything when one is attempting to juggle multiple responsibilities, such as work and school. And it becomes considerably tougher to pull off in a big city, where factors like rush hour traffic and highway accidents constantly make our commutes more difficult. When you arrive somewhere on time, though, people take notice and good things happen.

It is an unofficial rule that you should always arrive 10 minutes early for a job interview—not right on time, and never even a minute late. First impressions are extremely important; you want to show that you are a reliable individual who will show up to work on time. If you show up late to an interview, the prospective employer will probably assume that you will slack off in other ways as well. In the professional world, punctuality indicates reliability.

Once you land a job, don’t fall out of the habit of being early! Arriving a few minutes early for work allows you to collect yourself and be both mentally and practically prepared for the day. If your job involves punching in or signing in before a shift, arriving late results in the loss of some pay, but this should not be your primary motivation. Being late also gives the higher-ups a negative impression of your character—they will begin to wonder how seriously you take your job, and to have doubts about your dependability.

Let’s face it: there are few things worse than the feeling of anxiety that accompanies running late for a job interview, exam or other such important engagement. The added stress will most likely throw you off and hinder your chances of making a good impression. Here are a few little tricks you can employ that will help you avoid that unpleasant situation:

  • Set your watch and at least one other clock to be five or 10 minutes fast. This way, you’ll always find yourself slightly ahead of the game and, therefore, in less of a rush. It’s a simple thing to do, but it really does make it a little bit easier to be on time.
  • Alarm clocks are useful for more than just getting up in the morning. Set alarms to remind you about things like appointments and due dates as well.
  • Head out earlier than you need to. This will prevent nasty surprises like transit delays and crummy weather from slowing your travel time. If you end up arriving even earlier than you thought you would, use the extra time to grab a coffee and take a look around—if this is a neighborhood you may be commuting to daily in the near future, you might as well take the opportunity to scope the place out!

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