Saturday, September 18, 2010

Your Career and You: "Time's Up...Where Were You?"


I love it when the topic for my next post is waiting in my email inbox when I log on in the morning! Ok...here we go...


Most folks know that, in my "previous life," I was a public relations professional. Still am, but now I teach it rather than practice it.

One thing that was etched into my mind as I was working my way up the ranks was the absolute necessity of setting, as well as meeting, deadlines.

Was I perfect in observing either? No. Did I suffer gigantic pangs of remorse when I missed a deadline? You better believe it. Still do.

But one thing I'm noticing more and more, particularly with students, is their apparent belief that a deadline is merely a target to come close to, not meet.

To wit...email awaiting me this morning: "I know the paper was due last Friday and I didn't have a chance to tell you in class that I hadn't done the work...but I can hand it to you on Monday [three days later]...I really don't want to start out the semester with an 'F'."

Hmmm.........

Another example: A former student (five years ago) suddenly pops up with a flurry of emails to every address he can find that I've ever owned with an "urgent" request for a recommendation so that he can apply for a program. He even called me at home. He was told that I was out at a meeting and to call back later...to which he responded, "I can't do that; I'm going to be out."

So, the way I understand your request, former student, is that you've waited until the absolute last minute, have never communicated with me since you graduated five years ago, and are now in a panic because you need this recommendation tomorrow morning and are just now getting around to asking?

To quote the estimable Dr. Phil: "Good luck with that!"

Maybe I'm shouting into the wind. Maybe I'm old-school. Maybe...

But the fact of the matter is, businesses survive by setting and meeting deadlines...for products, for services, for customer...and media... response. If you can't meet my needs in a timely fashion, I'll find another supplier who can and will.

I doubt that my little hissy-fit here is going to do any good...although I can guarantee you that my Communication classes at Curry College are going to get a double-barreled earful come Monday morning!

But I've gotten it off my tray of things that send me straight up the proverbial wall and passed it along to you for consideration.

You're looking for a job? Or a recommendation? Or just a good grade in our class?

The assignment was due yesterday...Time's up. Where were you?!?

"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late."
William Shakespeare, "The Merry Wives of Windsor" [III, ii, 332]

5 comments:

  1. Kirk,

    Completely agree. Getting things done when asked is important. Can't bare being late with anything.

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  2. Seems to be a new generational trait -- "it's all about me." I've heard so many people say that lately! It's not at all professional, becoming or endearing. (For those who watch NCIS), they need a giant "Gibbs tonk" on the back of the head.

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  3. I totally agree on both counts...especially on the "Gibbs tonk." He has a remarkable ability to cut through the clutter and keep focused.

    Thanks for the feedback, folks!

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  4. Kirk -- I share your pain. It's a deadline business, always has been. Today the deadlines are even tighter than in the past, especially with social media and 24/7 news.

    I tell my students that if they can't meet deadlines they should consider switching to pre-law. Lawyers are always getting extensions.

    I also share the story of a Milwaukee agency that turned in a proposal at 12:01; it was due at noon. A recent snowfall delayed the delivery service. The client was a quasi-governmental body and rejected the proposal unopened. $275,000 account lost; people on the street the next day.

    John Luecke, APR
    High Point University

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  5. Very good...and painful...examples, John. We can't give up the fight although it IS an uphill battle. Thanks for sharing!

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