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Always with the Germans and their Punctuality!
by Marlies and Gerhard Smits
Dealing with time varies greatly depending on the cultural circle. In northern Europe unpunctuality is considered impolite and being late can be interpreted as an insult or lack of respect.
Someone who is constantly late can be perceived as unorganized and unreliable. On the other hand, punctual people appear confident, competent and relaxed.
By appearing on time you are emphasizing your professionalism and are perceived as dependable. And that is just as important in your professional life as it is in your personal life.
Punctuality is especially expected for a job interview. It’s better to arrive a few minutes before the appointment so that your can take care of the formalities at reception without having to rush.
But sometimes things go awry anyway. Even when you have allowed extra time for unforeseen circumstances, it can sometimes happen that you still run late. If it’s just a matter of a few minutes, a short apology is enough. But you should better avoid flimsy excuses.
If it is foreseeable that you will arrive much later, then a phone call is the best solution. With a text message, you don’t know if it’s been read, and the same goes for an email. (So before an appointment always remember to take your cell phone along as well as the phone number of the person you are meeting.) Notify them that you are running late and apologize. Ask if the person you are meeting is able to or would like to wait for you. With today’s busy schedules it is possible that other appointments have been set up immediately following yours.
There are also other forms of unpunctuality. Someone who shows up too early when invited to another’s home is also unpunctual. It’s better to let the host finish his preparations in peace, while you pass your time with a short trip around the block.