“Mr. Spicoli, What’s Your Reason for Your Truancy?”

“Mr. Spicoli, What’s Your Reason for Your Truancy?”

Fast Times at Ridgemont High“. One of the all-time greatest flicks with almost as many life-affirming lines as “The Big Lebowski“.

Sean Penn played the iconic Jeff Spicoli, who more than once was late for class, causing Mr. Hand great frustration.

Mr. Hand: Mr. Spicoli, what’s your reason for your truancy?

Jeff Spicoli: I just couldn’t make it on time.

Mr. Hand: You mean you couldn’t or wouldn’t?

Jeff Spicoli: Well, there’s like a full crowd scene at the food line.

Mr. Hand: Why do you shamelessly waste my time like this?

Jeff Spicoli: I don’t know.

Time. Such a critical currency in today’s world, yet we continue to abuse it, waste it and disrespect it.

Have you ever thought about retention as it relates to respecting people’s time?

I recently took my laptop to a big box retailer and their “Squad” as I knew I needed a new battery. The tech informed me my hard drive was a goner as well, and told me the hard drive I needed. I purchased it and left with a 2-day wait for install. On the eve of day 2, I get a call telling me the hard drive I purchased was not compatible – and I instead needed XYZ drive.

I’ve now made 6 trips (45 minutes round trip) to this big box retailer; I’m on my third recommended hard drive; and I’ve gotten zero response from the Manager of this Squad about my wasted time, expense and frustration. And my hard drive is still not fixed.

Do you think this big box retailer is going to retain me as a customer? Do you think I might write a review about my discontent? Maybe tell a handful of people?

And it’s all about disrespecting my time.

Do we ever disrespect people’s time in the world of work? Rhetorical question, but let’s break it down.

Meetings. Doesn’t matter if they are 15 minutes or 2 hours, they typically require scheduling, prep, to/from/during and post meeting time.

Favors. Talk to this person. Go to lunch/drinks with that team. Review my resume. Give me advice.

Free Consulting. I’m interested in working with you but give me your thoughts on this issue first.

The Drive-By. I really don’t want to sit in traffic, so I’m going to plop in your office at 5:30pm to chat.

Group Text. Group texts are the worst. They’re like a terrible, technological snowball, coming down a mountain, and you can’t stop it.”

The Essay Email. You’ve scrolled 3 times and still don’t know what the sender is asking of you – so you must read it again and then likely make a phone call.

Do You Have 5 Minutes To Talk IM? Never. Ever. Is it just 5 minutes.

Special Project Work. We want to recognize you by asking you to take on this special project that will consume at least 40 more hours a week for the next 6 months – and don’t expect us to pay you for it.

Scheduling ANYTHING before 8am or after 6pm. Exercise? Family time? Out.The.Window.

The After 9pm Work Text. No, I’m just hanging around hoping to answer a work question while watching the pivotal episode of whatever I’m into.

Add all this up and you’ve got a ton of disrespected time and dissatisfaction. Retention tool? I think not.

Let’s strive to be respectful of each other’s time. It’s more valuable than most anything else we have to offer – and it could be a big-time retention tool.

And don’t forget the occasional pizza party: “If I’m here, and you’re here, doesn’t that make it our time? Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with a little feast on our time!” – Jeff Spicoli

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