Back when I worked at a Big 4 accounting firm, my tardiness was legendary. I periodically rolled into the office at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30… But as I worked 60 hour weeks, frequently staying until the wee hours of the morning, nobody really complained. I had my staff and all the partners trained to never bother scheduling any client meetings with me before 9:30 at the earliest, because I just wouldn’t show up, sleeping right through it. It wasn’t that I didn’t value punctuality, teamwork or the importance of good customer service, it was just an accepted fact that I couldn’t wake up that early.
When I quit that job to head into industry 2 years ago, all my coworkers roasted me on the necessary changes I’d have to make to my lifestyle, as that kind of tardiness just isn’t acceptable in most companies. At my first job in industry, I cleared it with my boss (VP Finance): as long as I showed up by 9:30, he wouldn’t consider me late. In appreciation of this reasonable concession, I made a point of always showing before 9… sometimes even as early as 8am! I boasted of my earlybird timing when interviewing for my current job, last September. My prospective boss was all admiration, but told me that most of the team started around 8:30, so really no need to come in earlier.
Inevitably, since starting my current job 10 months ago, I’ve succeeded in showing before 9am maybe 4 times. I can’t explain it. Its not a question of commute, as it is almost next door to my former job, approximately 10 minutes closer to chez moi. My body just cannot get out of bed before 7:45… which makes it pretty damn hard to get to work before 9am when my commute is 40-50 mins long! Two months ago I showed up 45 minutes late to an 8:30am meeting with my two bosses (one of whom is the CFO of the division) and a supplier – the only explanation I could offer was an apologetic shrug, and a “I can’t do mornings”. CFO-boss could see how very contrite I was, but he was confused: he is a morning-type, usually at the office typing away at his laptop by 7:30am.
Next week, on Monday-Tuesday, we (CFO-boss and myself) will be hosting an important visitor from our parent company, flying in specifically to see us in Montreal from head office in Paris. To be fully ready for that meeting (day kicks off at 8:30am! YUCK!) I need to follow up on some issues with one of our subsidiaries in Germany. Unfortunately for me, the controller in Germany is on vacation this week, so the only time I can get the required information from him prior to the appearance of my visitor is by having a 7:30am (SEVEN THIRTY!!!!!!!!!!!) conference call with the German controller on Monday morning.
CFO-boss has kindly offered to call me on my cell at 6:30am to make sure I am awake and headed to the office. This is both embarrassing and the only practical solution to this disaster in my life.