Thursday, November 10, 2011

Deadlines. Is the concept hard to understand?

why do some individuals try to squeak past the deadline?

I work for a fairly big organization and employees are treated to a yearly Children’s Christmas Party.  Having fairly young children, I’ve attended this party for the past two years.  And although I understand that the event is free for my family and I, and the kids do receive a gift, I always leave the party thinking it could’ve been better.

This year rather than cross my fingers and hope that the party has gotten better, I decided to volunteer to convene this party.  That way if I left the party thinking it could’ve been better, I’d only have myself to blame.

One of the first items I had to cross off my to-do list was to get the event announcement and registration form published in our bi-weekly company newsletter.  The announcement was published on September 9th and I indicated a registration deadline for October 21st.  I also noted that REGISTRATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED PAST THE OCTOBER 21ST DEADLINE.

I truly felt that a 6 week registration period provided ample time for parents to register themselves and their kids.  On top of the published announcement, department reps also sent out email announcements reminding employees of the party and registration deadline.  During the 6 week registration period, a total of 3 email announcements were sent out.

By the end of the 6 week registration period I had a total of 400 submitted registration forms.  The Monday following October 21st, the emails started to arrive:


“I've been really busy here at work & my kids have been sick with ear infections so I missed a few days last week and missed the deadline. Is there anything I can do to still be able to make it?”


“Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was away from work from Sep 28 to today Nov 1.  This was due to illness.

I am hoping that I might still be able to register my two sons for the Children’s Christmas party this year.”


“Can you tell me when we were told of the event and how to register?  I don’t recall seeing anything and am surprised to see it is already full.  Any chance of more spaces being available?”


I understand that life can get busy and unforeseen circumstances can happen, but you can’t use that as an excuse for not meeting the registration deadline.  What I find amusing about the three excuses above is that although they were busy or away from work, there was still time during the 6 week registration period to submit the registration form.

What I’ve also noticed is that all the individuals emailing me regarding registrations past the deadline were women.  And they all tried to pull the heart strings and were hoping that I’d feel empathy towards their situation.  If this situation were to have happened 2 years ago, I could definitely see myself accepting the late registrations.  What happened between then and now?  I can’t really pinpoint the moment, but somehow I’ve now got the “You snooze, you lose” mentality.

And perhaps 2 years ago, I may have tried to squeak in past a deadline.  Today if I’ve missed a deadline, I quickly realize that I only have myself to blame and I move on.  I don’t think of ways to get around the deadline.
Have you tried to squeak by a deadline?  How did it turn out?

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