Career Advice

December 5, 2012

Q&A: Is it too late for tardy worker to make amends?

Q: My manager recently gave me a performance warning for coming to work late. She has started monitoring me very closely, which makes me feel like some sort of criminal. I don't think I deserve to be treated this way just because I have poor time-management skills.

I used to have a friendly relationship with my boss, but now I hardly speak to her at all. I have applied for a position in another department, but I'm afraid her feedback may keep me from getting it. Is there anything I can do to improve this situation?

A: The most obvious thing you can do is get to work on time. Given that your manager has issued a formal warning, she must have been irritated about your tardiness for quite a while. If you want her to recommend you for other jobs in the company, then this is a problem you have to fix.

Fortunately, tardiness is a behavior that can be easily modified. Even someone with poor time-management skills has the ability to calculate the travel time from home to office and prepare accordingly. This will undoubtedly require altering some long-established habits, but if your career matters, you must make the effort.

At the same time, you should also reconsider your attitude, because childishly snubbing your boss is both self-defeating and unjustified. By refusing to tolerate tardiness, she is actually being a good manager. Since all employees are expected to arrive on time, making an exception for you would constitute blatant favoritism.

If you can be both prompt and pleasant for a sustained period, your manager will undoubtedly decrease her monitoring. And if the rest of your performance remains satisfactory, she may eventually give you a favorable recommendation.

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