Critical Incident - WAIT, WHAT TIME IS IT?
Wait, what time is it?
During the time I was in Italy I noticed that punctuality there was perceived differently than in Spain. It took me a few days to realize that so the first day we had to meet someone at a certain time I was pretty surprised. What happened was that we had to meet some of my classmates and their Italian partners; by the time we were supposed to set off from my partner’s house I was ready to leave but she wasn’t. I was starting to get worried that we were going to be too late so I asked if they had changed the meeting time or something. The answer was no, the meeting time was still the same, I decided to wait and hope we weren’t too late but when we got to the restaurant we were almost the first people to be there. As the situation got repeated more than once I started thinking this could be because:
- It was mere coincidence that during the week we were there people were unusually late.
- The concept of punctuality changes depending on the country you are at.
- The only difference on the concept of punctuality was between me and my partner.
As I thought depending on the country you are in you are expected to arrive at a certain time to meetings. This scheduling scale has been different depending on the countries because of historical events which have also shaped the way people think, live or work. For instance, being late in most northern countries it is highly impolite. This was proved when we were about to leave for a trip, two of the people who had to come were really late because they woke up late, the Italian teachers weren’t too angry but the rest were much more upset. However, in other countries like Italy you can be up to about 15 minutes late without many consequences. In Spain you can also be late but the most usual thing to happen is to get to the place on time or even early and expect the rest of the people to be late. This makes me think that the answer is:
- It could have been a coincidence if it had just happened a certain day but the fact that the meetings took place later than expected almost every time makes me think that this isn’t the only cause.
- As research has shown this is the most likely cause.
- Although punctuality is a social construct it is also a personal thing too, this means that although punctuality depends on the country maybe I’m personally very punctual.
In order to get to this conclusion I did some research. Here I leave some links to the most useful websites I found:
- Business insider’s research on the subject: http://www.businessinsider.com/here-are-the-most-and-least-punctual-countries-2015-2
- An article from express which has really helpful information and a series of images that hep you understand punctuality depending on 15 different countries: