If You Don’t Change, Your Situation Will

If you are looking for an excuse to not show up, perhaps you are in the wrong line of work.

There was a guy who worked at the coffee shop I used to manage who was there before I took over. He had some personal issues that I was sympathetic about, but the store needed to run and he was growing increasingly more unreliable.

After being significantly late on multiple occasions, I talked to him about it, advised him of the company’s policy, reiterated why it was important that he be on time, and asked him If there was anything I could do to help him to be on time for his shifts.

He acknowledged his tardiness, assured me that his behavior would change, and requested later shifts. I accommodated him and began scheduling him for the afternoon shifts, as opposed to the mornings he had been working. Still, he showed up late.

His behavior forced me to begin documenting his tardiness to the point where he received several formal corrective action notifications. As we were discussing his final written warning, he asked me, “What is a good excuse for being late?” Taken aback, I paused and responded with a question of my own. “Are you asking me to tell you what to tell me next time you are late?”

He was silent for a moment as he pondered the position we now both found ourselves in. “I see your point,” he said. Unfortunately, after a few days of arriving at his scheduled time, he was late again. He finished his shift, I brought him into my office, and we parted ways.

I do not know if this is how he always was or if something happened and his work ethic changed. I do know that not everyone in this life will give you second or third chances, nor will many people actually try to help you change for the better. If changing yourself or your behavior is not worth the cost, be honest and accept the other changes that are coming your way.

 Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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