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Punctuality, Gentle People’s Courtesy

I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.
Charles Dickens

One Monday morning, Jack was surprised to see one of his customers waiting him in front of his office when he arrived a quarter of an hour late. He said, “good morning” with a faint smile. Usually his secretary comes ten minutes earlier before the beginning hours displayed in the office doors. Inaudibly Jack asked his secretary when this goddamn customer came to the office. He literally followed me when I opened the office she stated. He is now waiting for almost half an hour, she added in a pacifying mood. Obviously she wanted to help the customer. Behind his closed door Jack roared to the tip of his lung claiming that he did not even put off his coat and slumped in his chair. He bragged that he has to scan the morning newspapers and ask his secretary to fetch him a cup of coffee. ‘Can’t these customers realize the little rituals we need before we set up our mind to work’ he said to his work mate Omer who called him right , from the next office, when he was entering to his office. I think I have to give the customer my office key to let him open my office on my behalf, Jack said mockingly. Jack called his secretary and told her to ask the customers to come in the afternoon. As always be gentle when you tell them he advised her. Turning her face from him she winced and left with out uttering a word. Jack needed to conduct a meeting in his own way. Making sure that he has relieved his burden from meeting the customers he asked Omer to narrate the results of the ‘Premier league,’ La Liga’ and the ‘Serie A’ football matches that went on during the weekend. Soon Bahabla joined them. It was seemingly a leisurely chat that went on for more than an hour. Meanwhile the secretary was to intervene by calmly knocking on the door. She told Omer that some guest is waiting him for more than thirty minutes. Reluctantly Omer has to leave displaying a frowned face. Here again they know how to disrupt our warm chat, said Jack. So was Bahabla to rush out, as he remembered an appointment in his office. Fifteen minutes have already elapsed. The secretary can read Bahabla’s dismal look. In such state of affairs, if ever the top management may know how costly it is when senior members irresponsibly squander such valuable time.

Timnit and Nejat were seated in a café sipping their cappuccinos along with a nice bite of chocolate cakes. It was past 11:00 a.m. Suddenly Nejat remembered that she has to visit to “Stellar Voyager Adhesive glue manufacturing company” sales department to take her receipt for which she paid the previous day. I think I have to rush to that office of yesterday exclaimed Nejat, before they close. In reality they have already closed was Timnit’s response. They do not accept customers after eleven. You better see them in the afternoon, but it should not be as late as five p.m. They have the same course of action as they apply in the morning. They are punctual to close but late to start. Simply you have to rigorously adhere to their way of handling matters. Well in this case let us comfortably continue our discussions, then, concluded Nejat

In another scene, the newly elected member of “Blades and safety pins producers association” Ibrahim called the veteran member Zerai to reminded him about the meeting they will have to attend later in the afternoon. Ibrahim advised his friend that they are supposed to be right on time. ‘You do not need to bother,’ reacted Zerai. The chair person will come forty five minutes late added Zerai. Moreover some of the members would come almost two hours late. Ibrahim could not believe his ears. Do I have to understand that there is no respect for “Punctuality” he ruefully inquired? It is “Yes” to tell you bluntly countered Zerai. It seems that the word “punctuality” will eventually be blotted out from the dictionary of our minds. Zerai went on to explain to Ibrahim that most of the members are so much conditioned to such kind of attitude. It will therefore be difficult to talk about punctuality. I for one have to regretfully admit that I have been engulfed by such kind of debilitating attitude. When I am summoned to a meeting I travel holding in my mind all psychological grudge, simply because punctuality is thrown into oblivion.

In “Triple X” project counseling service giving organization Leti is admirably punctual. She immediately embarks on her work when she occupies her seat. Service seekers seem to brighten their faces when they see her coming in time. She is incredible, uttered one lady when she saw here occupying her seat and immediately calling the first person in line. Indeed she is, added one elderly person. She is such an asset to her organization and a pride to us all. What I like about this young lady is that she is humble and respectful. May God bless her abundantly he concluded. In almost a similar organization I know of a young lady called “Amna” who demonstrates the same attitude like this Leti, another middle aged woman indicated by adjoining in the discussions. What I like of these girls is that they never change their attitude. They come to the office; use their time responsibility to the maximum until the office is closed. Sometimes one will feel that they will need some recess for tea or coffee.

The acclaim of Leti and Amna in the eyes of their customers is totally tarnished in the eyes of their work mates. Not known to them they have developed serious antagonism among their fellow workers. Addressing to leti, stealthily, one young lady, Shashu, said, “This mean, little lady feels that she is the only hardworking member of our organization. I know she want to be admired by our bosses and thus expose us. What a fool she is. Does she think she will get any reward? If she is prudent enough she should have joined our bandwagon. Ne’ema, I think she goes well along with you, so why don’t you talk to her Shashu asked. You are right I will talk to Leti Ne’ema agreed.

Ne’ema fixed an appointment with Leti, in one convenient Saturday afternoon. They met in one of the nicest café house in the town. The usual tete a tete followed over a cup of cappuccino. In the intervening time Ne’ema hesitatingly has to inform Leti about the rumors circulating in the work place. With out any sign of anxiety Leti prepared herself to hear what all is about. Well Ne’ema said her voice was rather sounding hoarse; all the work mates including me are rather not comfortable as you do not seem to be one of us. Though she can feel the spasm inside her, Leti contained herself from hastily interrupting her. Ne’ema continued, Leti we do not believe that you are a share holder of the company. The least we can suspect is that may be you are looking for, or promised, a special reward. You come early in time and you are also late to leave. Moreover you are fast in handling customer’s cases. You are simply exhausting yourself for nothing she concluded. Leti fell in deep thoughts for a while. She then said, “thank you Ne’ema, it is good to know what people are thinking about one self. In most cases there is a partisan perception. However when you try to unearth the reality then things gets easily clarified. Well as a good friend of mine you know that in few months time I will travel for my post graduate studies. This will therefore imply that I have no ambition to get rewarded and to win any admiration at all. But I have a principle. First and foremost the working hours are visibly displayed on the doors of our company in large fonts. It follows that customers have to abide by the working hours. They come in time. I do not see any reason why I should come late. I have to be courteous. It is simply embedded in my own personality. Furthermore I can not bear to see customers waiting in frustration. Why Ne’ema just ask yourself? I am sure you agree with me that it is not fair. Therefore irrespective of what my superiors evaluate me and my work mates think about me, I feel I have to be courteous in my giving services. The other day one old man stopped me along the street. He asked whether I know him. I replied that I do not. The old man humbly said that he thanked me for the timely services that I am rendering. I told him that it is my bounden duty. Yes it is your duty, said the man, but I can see that you are exceptional. One day I came to your office he went on. You treated us so fast that he was able to return home and give the medicine prescribed to his wife in time. Had I been delayed, said the old man, my wife could have drowsed into a coma and perhaps slipped away into eternity. So I have always blessed you. He said May the heavens fulfill all your wishes and he went away.. Keep up the good word he added just before leaving me. I can read his genuine face and I was enthralled, Leti said. It was heart touching. I was to realize that my modest services could have so much impact on people’s lives. On many occasions many more people treat me warmly. Such conscientious reward fulfill my ego of doing something good not only to my customers but to any body for that matter.

Ne’ema was carried away by the scene she has created in her mind. She found it hard to argue against. She vowed to follow the example of Leti. She admitted that she was enlightened by Leti’s determination to give one’s services unreservedly. “You are such an admirable lady of great substance” Ne’ema told Leti and she promised to follow her style.

The following Monday morning, Ne’ema was sharp in time and occupied her place. She winked at Leti when both entered in time and in a smile. No sooner was Ne’ema seated than she started calling names. Customers were happy to see the manpower strength. Shashu, as usual, came late. She was informed by another colleague that Ne’ema came so early. Shashu was incensed. Later in the day Shashu met Ne’ema and yelled at her whether she was spoiled by that devil Leti. Ne’ema grinned. She told her that she is endowed with a mind that can critically see things and analyze. She proudly asserted that she has found Leti’s stand rational. When she tried to explain further, the furious Shashu adamantly closed her ears. This devil has intoxicated you she roared. As Shashu turned away abruptly she stated, ‘we will see whether you will get any reward at all “

The Management of “Triple X” organized a staff meeting at the conference hall of a good Hotel at the end of the financial year. This was the first time in three years. In the past meetings were held yearly and in the premises of the company. In his presentation The Executive Director, on behalf of the board members, declared that the organization has gone through difficult times in the past three years due to the general economic instability. However due to the determination of some of its outstanding members it was able to sustain. The Director was pleased to announce that “Leti” would be leaving for further study merely at her own efforts. However the company will bear all her lodging expenses so that she can continue her education straight without looking for part time jobs. She will also receive an arrear of one year salary increment. He added that Ne’ema and other exemplary members would receive handsome salary increment. It is with great regret to point out that, he went on; some of our members, whose performances were below the expectation of the management, would be required to leave the organization. We will not disclose it here. They will receive individual letters. Shashu felt the pinch as she bent her flushed face. The Director congratulated the organization’s outstanding members.

Meanwhile, the organization where Amna works and other similar organizations also followed suit of Triple X commendable arrangement. They in turn took laudable measures to motivate their members.

Quite humbly Leti thanked the Director and the board members for all the generosity shown upon her. She pointed out that she never expected such surprise. She was only doing her work as a matter of principle. In response the Director said that the management is not short of overseeing the performance of its staff. He concluded his speech by emphasizing that “Punctuality coupled with good performances is the courtesy of Gentle people” and he quoted

Punctuality is one of the cardinal business virtues: always insist on it in your subordinates.
Don Marquis

 

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