Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Irresponsible Adults

I recently returned from a meeting earlier tonight and I come home disgusted. This was a contest meeting and as of three days ago I had five people scheduled to compete. On Sunday one of the five pulled out (although I did not get word until Tuesday) and today another person pulled out. The day of the contest, one of the participants is pulling out.

Add to this that two weeks ago there were an additional three names on the list. Some of these people pulled out before others entered but what should have been a contest featuring eight members ended up with only three participants. Why? Because people do not feel it is important to honor their commitments.

Since it is a dinner meeting, we need to have a head count to the restaurant ahead of time. There were thirty people who committed to being there yet we only had 21 people show up. Two of the people who were there were individuals who did not make reservations. That means 11 people who committed to being there did not show up. Why? Because people do not feel it is important to honor their commitments.

Three of the people who cancelled out of the meeting over the past three days, one as early as this afternoon, had ‘smaller’ parts that they were supposed to form at the meeting. Some worked at finding a replacement, others just sent out a blanket e-mail to all members asking for a replacement and then did nothing more. Still, there were people who had roles to fill who backed out at the last minute. Why? Everyone say it with me now, “Because people do not feel it is important to honor their commitments.”

In a number of recent posts you have read my complaints about the lack of commitment from students, about how whenever they do not show up to class or are not there when they are supposed to give a speech, it sends a message. It lets the teacher know that the student felt something else was more important.

It is the same with adults, with working professionals, with members of an organization. The people who did not honor their commitment are business professionals. Many of them have jobs high on the organizational ladder, some of them own their own business; all of them know better.

When we do not say anything to students who skip out on class, when we do not penalize them for not being there, we are sending them a message. Unfortunately that message carries over to other parts of their life. It carries over to when they are older. They are just not accountable.

Perhaps I would not be having such trouble in the organization if some of these people had teachers, professors, or other individuals, who held their feet to the fire and penalized them every time they pulled this nonsense.

To my students I say, “Show up, it’s important”. To the members of my organization who are not keeping commitments I say, “Grow up, it’s important”!