The other day, I was waiting for VFS Global in Chennai to open up at 8AM IST so that I could apply for my Vietnam VISA. The security guards (there were several of them) were busy keeping the various VISA applicants at bay, till the official opening time. Most of the folks were there for UK and Schengen VISAs. I noticed a lot of staff members riding into the building parking at 7:59:59AM IST. Now, Chennai, like any other Metro, has traffic issues and quite often there are traffic jams. The way these employees were hurrying in and literally running to the office, indicates that VFS Global has some kind of strict work hours and clock-in/clock-out culture.
My questions: Why are folks cutting it so close? Why are they timing it to the last second? Aren’t there enough variables to make it a huge challenge to “arrive on time”? Won’t the first item which does not go 100% as per plan derail their entire schedule? Isn’t it a lot of stress piled up over a long time?
When I hear talks of India opening up Semiconductor Foundries, I really wonder … In general, respect for time (especially, others’ time) is NOT a huge strength in this part of the World.
- Ever waited for a celebrity to show up for an event?
- Ever had flight delays due to passengers turning up at the last minute?
- Ever wait around for attendees to turn up for a meeting?
- Ever have to remind people of time commitments they themselves have made?
- Ever show up on time for a party and notice you are the rare person to show up on time, as per the time indicated in the invitation?
- Ever seen students do last-minute scramble outside the exam halls as if furiously turning pages in front of the hall will ensure A+ grades?
Well, you get the drift …
I sincerely believe that one of the biggest things that is holding back India is adherence to time commitments.