Sure, being Pinoy has its perks. It’s amusing to be born in this society though there are quite a lot of ills as well. One of my biggest beefs is when Pinoy attitudes affect work. I’m pretty sure one of the beefs of many foreign investors, BPOs, and perhaps even local businesses and is the (seemingly) Pinoy notion that deadlines are optimistic estimates.

I’ve been involved in a project for some time now, and in engaging consultants and contractors, they all seem to suffer from this faulty idea. We set a deadline and even include it in the contract which they sign. Then come the deadline, they fail to turn in anything. Then they plead for another week in which they fail to deliver again. Then the weeks turn to months leaving us with no option but to cancel the engagement and find alternatives.

If only legal action is cheap, I would’ve recommended taking some against such people. If only to teach them a lesson. The fact of the matter is that the timely delivery of expected outputs has a business impact. Thing is, any impact on the business means not only an effect in profit and loss statements but also in other issues like job security for people involved.

And we love excuses but clients shouldn’t care about your misfortunes. Why should a client care if this and that happened? You’re the one who committed anyway. Unless, of course, we are talking about something major (like dying), as a contractor, you should’ve managed your own time and resources and provided contingencies. Busted computers? Computer viruses? Accidental deletion of files? Come on. Your dog never ate your homework.

The big question still is why?

It’s not the first time I’ve encountered so-called professionals who have this sense of time. Have we settled with that embarrassing stigma of “Filipino time” that even in the 21st century and in the context of global competition we still think of deadlines as optimistic estimates – that there would always be some extra days and weeks to use up just because we procrastinated. Oh yes, we do.

It’s cultural methinks but that should stop any self-respecting professional (especially young ones who are still carving out their names) to do the right thing. Deadlines are deadlines. There’s a reason why the word “dead” is there. You don’t meet it, you’re dead. And so is everyone involved.

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