Early Is On Time
Throughout my life I was consistently hearing the same phrase over and over again; Early is on time, on time is late, and late is not acceptable. Coming from a long line of relatives in the U.S. Army, this was a very important part of our daily lives, because once a soldier always a soldier. It just becomes a habit and a very good one at the least. Now, this therefore raises the question, "Why is punctuality important?" The answers to this question are numerous. These range from respect, to stress, to personal strength and growth, and the way people around you (to include your colleagues) perceive you. It shows a relative amount of your personal character. The military is all about perception, we all know this much. Punctuality becomes a part of the way people will see you throughout your military career. You can either be seen as the one who is always late, never prepared, and consistently stressed out because they need serious time management help. Or, you can be seen as the soldier who is fifteen minutes early to everything, well prepared, and shows up with a smile on their face and the motivation to get the job done because everything is running smoothly. That soldier is the one who will be promoted and climb through the ranks without even breaking a sweat.
Let's go back a bit and talk about the soldier who is always late. What kind of life is this person leading? Quite commonly, the first thing you will hear out of this persons mouth is some sort of excuse. "I was caught in traffic." "I couldn't find my keys." "My car was out of gas and I had to stop at the gas station or I wouldn't have made it to work." If you look closely at these answers, you'll see every one of them has an easy solution. You were caught in traffic? If you would have left at an earlier time, you would have had that pillow of time beneath you to fall on and still be early to work. You couldn't find your keys? If you led a more organized lifestyle, you wouldn't have the issue of having to tear apart your house for your car keys. Your car was out of gas? If you would have taken the extra ten minutes to fill it up on your down time, you wouldn't have the issue of worrying about getting to work on the fuel you have left.
Being late sends out a bad message to your boss, or in this case, the people that out rank you. It portrays a lack of respect for your chain of command. When you are told to be at a certain place at a certain time and you turn up late and unprepared, you may as well be saying "My time is more valuable than yours." "I am more important than you." or even perhaps "I am doing you a favor by even showing up so you should appreciate that much." We also know that the military is built on respect. It is the foundation of everything we do and the way we operate. We must have respect for one another to properly function as a unit and when someone shows disrespect to their fellow soldiers by showing up late, it frustrates the people around him or her and causes them to look down upon that person. In turn, that can create an extremely stressful working environment for that individual making them lose focus at the task at hand and make mistakes that can either be minor or life threatening. It creates a sort of snowball effect that can make a sharp turn for the worst. 623 One of the other reasons it is important to be on time is it proves you are a credible and reliable person. It is a huge deal in the military to be a reliable individual. People need to be able to count on you to drop everything within seconds of receiving something such as a GRF call. They need to be able to trust that as soon as you receive that message, they can expect to see you in…