Leaves and the Reggie Perrin syndrome
Occasionally, things go wrong, and we are all late for something. You hit heavy traffic and miss a meeting, or your car doesn’t start and so on. It’s a part of life and annoying as it is, you just have to live with it. These delays are due to something unexpected and uncontrollable.
Remember that story a few years ago where one of the train companies put out a statement that many of their late trains were due to ‘the wrong leaves’ on the line? It became a running joke excuse for a while. The public was outraged by this statement because it seemed a ridiculous excuse that something that has been happening for millions of years, autumn leaf fall, should be able to make a train late.
So why, when we know the weather is going to get worse in winter, do we allow it to make us late for work. OK, if there is a real extreme fall of snow or floods for example then maybe there is good reason, but in general, it shouldn’t be a problem because we know it’s coming.
You and your employer lose out if you are late. Your employer loses productivity, and you potentially lose their confidence, income and even the job. So this year, as the autumn rolls to a close why not do the following:
- Do a winter check on your car. It is relatively low cost to make sure your car is winter ready, and that it will not let you down come the first frost. I appreciate that we can’t all drive a new car and that sometimes our circumstances are difficult, but things, like having a scraper and making sure you have anti-freeze, are a lot less expensive than a loss of income.
- Get an alternative route. One of the surprising things is when an employee, who lives relatively close, says they can’t come in because their car won’t start. Why not have an alternate route using public transport until it gets sorted out?
- Arrange an ‘uberpool’. When the weather is bad the chances of individuals having issues increase so why not get everyone (management included) to list their route to work. People on the route, or near to the route, agree to be an uber for the others if they have an issue. If you are going to be late, you call your fellow uberpoolers and ask them for a lift and vice-versa.
- Don’t be a duvet diver. Winter can very easily and very understandably turn into an excuse to take a day off where you would go in. When you get up, feeling a little off colour and look out at the sleet sweeping down the street and hear the wind howling, it becomes very tempting to just roll over grab a bit of extra snooze time and blame the weather for being late, then that turns into a day off. Ask yourself a simple question if you feel this way - ask ‘would I do this in spring’? If the answer is no, get up, get dressed and ready and have breakfast. Most of the time you will find yourself going in to work.
- Get the earlier bus if possible. Simple as this seems, beware of your routine making you late. In the bad weather public transport is less reliable, so if possible simply get the earlier bus. Account for delays in your morning schedule and move your wake and shower times back 15 minutes or so. Silly and simple as these sound, people often get stuck in their routine.
If you make efforts to compensate for the season, you should find that you can avoid the Reggie Perrin syndrome. For those of you who don’t remember ‘The fall and rise of Reginald Perrin’ was a sitcom where the central character was habitually late. Every morning he would arrive on a train that came in 11 minutes overdue. Reggie would walk through the door of his office and say “Morning, 11 minutes late, overheated axle’ or ‘Morning, 11 minutes late escaped panther on the lines’ or some similar increasingly silly excuse. It was a great show, but I always wondered why he didn’t simply set off 11 minutes earlier. His routine was more important than arriving on time.
So this winter, why not avoid Reggie Perrin syndrome and adjust your approach to account for the weather? After all, we all know it’s going to happen.