ABHAN Chadwick, Rebecca, D
The Importance of being Punctual
Although the United States is not the only society that places a high regard on being on time, Americans in particular it would seem have been criticized in the past for being a highly time-oriented people, and some other cultures may not place the same level of importance on being punctual as exists in the United States today. This sense of being tied to a clock may strike some observers from other cultures as being downright psychotic, but the fact remains that the importance of being on time is an enormously important part of the American value system and it would be reasonable to suggest that this will not change. In addition, people who fail to be on time also demonstrate - whether intentionally or not - what may be considered as a callous disregard for other people and their time. According to Wouters (1995), "Today, good manners do not distinguish any longer between 'the best people' and 'other people'; they function to enhance the understanding between all people," with punctuality representing one of the important components of etiquette in a modern society. Likewise, a recent survey found that punctuality, together with good grammar and - some surprisingly, cleanliness, is veritable hallmarks of good manners today (Kelly, 2006). This point was also made recently by Alexander who notes that, "Punctuality is one of the modest virtues hitherto regarded as good manners" (p. 18).
In the United States, then, the importance of punctuality is well established and those who are even a few minutes late for say, a job interview, run the very real risk of losing out to lesser qualified candidates simply because they were unable to find a place to park in time. Similarly, people who are consistently late will be viewed as unreliable by most employers and also run the risk of losing whatever employment they have managed to secure in the first place. Punctuality is a very important part...
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