Thursday, August 22, 2013

What Exactly Is A Deadline?

What exactly is a deadline? Obviously it's a given date or time when something is due or when a task should be accomplished. But it's more than that. It's a acknowledgeable statement of respect. It says 'Your time means something and I respect that.' It's a sign of values and integrity.

When I get a bill in the mail it tells me the amount I owe for a product or a service and tells me the deadline (when the bill is due). I acknowledge that, but why is it when the shoe is on the other foot and a credit needs to be issued to my account it can take days - even weeks. Suddenly my time isn't valued as much as theirs. Hmmm ... a double standard? Or is it 'just business'?

When you're given a deadline, whether it's a bill to be paid or a task that needs completing, do you try to meet the deadline? Sure ... things happen (to everyone) and sometimes deadlines get delayed, but do you try to meet your deadline? If you can't meet it, do you let someone know things will be delayed? Or do you just go on about your business and say 'Oh well'?

I think that when you give your word, shake a hand, or make a promise - you commit yourself. It should mean something. So why am I frustrated? Because I see people not use turn signals, not stop at stop lights, text when driving ... as if laws are an inconvenience for them, like they're too busy and too important to follow the same rules the rest of us are expected to follow.

I deal with paying a bill on time, check my bank records to see when the company cashed my check and then get a letter in the mail two weeks later saying I'm behind. Then I take the time to call to have them tell me, 'We show we received your check and your account is paid in full, so what's the problem?' 'What's the problem?' I reply. The problem is one department doesn't know what the other is doing and you act as if it's my fault for meeting my deadline! That's the problem.

So where do we go from here? I understand we're all human beings and we all make mistakes and miss deadlines. Do I lower my standards to meet others, so I don't get disappointed when people fall short? Or do I continue to care about what I do and how I act and just lower my expectations that respect should be a two-way street but the respect won't always be returned? Good question.

When was the last time you were disappointed in human nature and how did you handle it?


  1. The last time I was disappointed was my last battle with the billing company at a hospital. My insurance claim did not get paid because they billed the insurance company with a billing code that didn’t qualify as an emergency. . After grumbling under my breath, I spent my lunch hour contacting the insurance company to be told I needed to contact the hospital and ask them to re-bill it or to file a dispute. I chose the easier way (or so I thought) and called the hospital asking them to re-bill it. I claimed it was an emergency but the person in the billing department refused to research or pull the discharge papers from that night. After grumbling under my breath, I pulled up the last dispute letter I’d written my insurance company, changed the claim number and other pertinent info, and sent it out. Weeks later, after the insurance company requested the medical record and discharge paper for the visit, it was paid. However, I still had to keep sending the billing statements back each month with a copy of my dispute letter explaining why I wasn’t paying the bill. It was very time consuming on my part. I’m disappointed in the person at the billing department in the hospital. They wouldn’t acknowledge that there might have been a mistake and wouldn’t take their time to even look into it. How did I handle it? I grumbled under my breath, went through the proper steps, and took care of it. Will it change how I act? No. I will still try my best to do what I say, hold my end or a bargain, do what’s expected of me at work, and the right thing (golden rule: treat others as you’d like them to treat you). Do I excuse everyone else who doesn’t? No, but I also have learned that me fuming over it doesn’t help me and doesn’t change them.

    1. I completely understand your frustration and applaud your ability and motives to try and do things the right way. The world seems to have gone lax in the idea that we should treat each other with respect. Of course, the whole world hasn't gone bad, but what's that old saying we would hear growing up? Something about 'one bad apple can make the rest look bad.' hang in there Cindy, you're doing great!