As communication scholar Edward T. Hall wrote regarding the American’s viewpoint of time in the business world, “the schedule is sacred.” Hall says that for monochronic cultures, such as the American culture, “time is tangible” and viewed as a commodity where “time is money” or “time is wasted.” The result of this perspective is that Americans and other monochronic cultures, such as the German, Austrian and Swiss, place a paramount value on schedules, tasks and “getting the job done.”[full citation needed] These cultures are committed to regimented schedules and may view those who do not subscribe to the same perception of time as disrespectful.
Norwegian time vs CPT
My wife never got to work on time. In 30 years as a professional, she was always about 10 minutes late. As a teacher, she had the janitors open her door for her kids who went in and got right down to work, knowing she’d be in in a second. As a counselor, she always got in early if she had an appt with a parent, but otherwise…….. 10 minutes late.
Now here’s the harpoon: some of those reading the above lines will tsk tsk and say, “That’s not professional behavior”. It is the distortion of language that bugs me. Distortion of the word professional, reducing it to a Norwegian concept of time-keeping. Here’s what I saw throughout my working life: people who got in as much as an hour early, got the lights on and the coffee started, and then sat around the next 3 or 4 hours bullshitting, doing nothing. But by god they were at work early.
Another thing I saw when I would visit my wife’s counseling office: students lined up outside her door while other counselors’ doors were open and either no one inside or someone laughing and snickering over a personal phone call. One principal accused my wife of seeing only Black kids (pace conservatives, who say there is no racism), which was statistically almost impossible unless she were seeing only one kid a week b/c the whole school had only 25 Black students. So someone decided to start a sign-in sheet for the counselors; my wife’s and her friend’s were filled every day while other counselors’ were practically bare about a 10 to 1 ratio. BTW, no one mentioned the LDS counselors who saw only Mormon kids.
I’ve seen all this. No one needs to tell me that the Norwegian mentality aka Northern European Protestant ethic prizes timeliness above all else the lock the door to the exam room on the late kid type. Notice how stupid they are? They give a gold watch to a guy on his retirement, when he no longer needs to track time. Clever con artists know how to manipulate people based on these irrational cultural values remember the movie Paper Moon with Ryan and Tatum O’Neal? He sells bibles by looking at the obituaries and then going to the deceased’s house and telling their relatives that they had ordered this bible. He was playing on the religious sentiments as well as the familial feelings of people a bad thing to do but it’s done all the time. It’s called advertising.
Edward T. Hall wrote a lot about these things in books like The Hidden Dimension and The Silent Language. My wife and I still argue over leaving, arriving, leaving again, and arriving home…… on time.
Addendum printed from Wikipedia article “Polychronicity”