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by SixFigureStart | July 23, 2009


You can think of 'time' both objectively and subjectively. The actual passage of minutes and hours is the same for all, but one hour can go in a flash or at a crawl. However, employers usually prescribe definite constraints on everyone: Be here by 8.30am sharp, or expect to work for yourself, from home, for free.

Even so, more and more people are flouting those rules and showing up tardy. According to a poll conducted by CareerBuilder, around 20% of employees are late to work at least once a week (it was under 17% a year earlier). Why? There are plenty of guesses. One camp says young folk today simply aren't programmed to respond to 9-to-5 demands, since all manner of electronic devices ensure that many business tasks can be performed from anywhere. Another says it's a product of work stressors, a tempered version of "flight" in the old "fight or flight" behavioral model. Since we can't run (we'd get canned, right?) we try to put off the inevitable. Regardless, once employment returns to status quo mode (i.e. when jobs aren't still being sloughed off like so much skin off a snake), it might be wise for some of you to return to the old model of prompt attendance, if only for a little while.

Which side are you on? Should office hours -- and the rules -- shift with the times? Or is punctuality the unheralded key to career success?

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault Staff Writer


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