‘You’re Late’: Power Trip Or Accountability Reminder?

Your boss has probably said this to you at least once in your working life, “you’re late!”

It doesn’t matter if you’re late by two minutes or ten (oops!), there are times that you’ll hear about it if you’re late to work.

In my working life, I’ve had bosses handle this a variety of different ways. Some cared a lot about tardiness, and some seemingly could’ve cared less.

I really do my best to be at work on time, and truth be told, my attendance is pretty good. I think most of us actually work hard (pun intended) to be on time. However, we all have issues that come up that make us late sometimes. Car trouble, physical accidents, illness, public transport issues, unexpected traffic… it happens.

Because I like to question things, whenever I see a co-worker get reamed for being late to work or when I’m late and get a conversation about it myself, I always ask why some bosses are stricter about it than others. What’s the logic/concern/psychology behind their behavior? I do this because as someone with reliable attendance, I take it personally when I’m called out on it. I imagine others do too.

I completely understand that a consistently tardy person can be seen as unreliable/lazy/not focused/disrespectful by their boss and co-workers. At that point, it is time to have a conversation about what’s happening and how to resolve the being late issue. However, to be called out for being “late” when being tardy “isn’t like you” seems to be a power trip. Do you feel me on this?

What’s the point of calling someone out on two minutes of tardiness when that particular employee is actually (more often than not) consistently on time? Do those two minutes really affect the workplace? In my opinion, you risk tension in the work environment in calling this out.

I can’t see the logic behind that behavior until I examine the boss’ psychology and past. If they’ve been burned by people being late before, I suppose that any tardiness will make them anxious even if you’re a reliable employee. However, I still ask if some bosses do it just to exert authority and remind you of “where your place is.”

Of course, you should be on time always. I doubt most folks would disagree with that. Most of us do our very best to adhere to our schedule, but sometimes things happen – can’t we get a break once in a while? Especially when we are reliable employees?

What’s you take on this?

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