What do you do with contingency time?

It’s a common enough idea. If you need to be somewhere by a specific time, and being late isn’t an option, you throw in more time than you should need so that if something goes wrong you can deal with it. All well and good (in an ‘accepting your own inevitable failure’ type way) so far.

What happens though when you don’t fail? When things go right and your journey takes exactly as long as the internet told you it would?

I had an interview today (aren’t they wonderful things?) and being the sensible chap that I am (and not wanting to be half an hour late like I was to the last one – another story), I set out half an hour earlier than the time the journey needed. Being the middle of the day in a rather unexciting area of non-city, my route was clear, and I arrived exactly when predicted. Only now I was half an hour early.

In my book, that falls into the too-early-to-arrive-without-seeming-the-other-sort-of-disorganised category. You can’t walk into an office and expect to be catered for at that time. You may as well arrive three hours early and make yourself at home. So there I was, with too much time to wait at their office, and too little time to do anything else.

What people need to think about when planning a journey is having a contingency plan for their excess contingency time.

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Categories: Everyday Happenings, Work | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “What do you do with contingency time?

  1. At my interview for my new job I was over half an hour early – went to announce myself at the Porter’s Lodge and was dismissively sent away again, so I sat on my suitcase and shivered in the courtyard for 30 minutes… still can’t believe after that ignominious start I was offered the position! How did the interviews go?

    • That’s just the kind of reception I wasn’t after. Interview didn’t go too badly although I think they’d rather have a comp-sci graduate than a maths one.

  2. In the past when this has occured I have taken the opportunity to walk around (yes me, getting to know my potential new surroundings, shocking :P), get a cup of tea, eat something, sit and relax (as best as I can given the circumstances!)

    I echo Sophs point which I will phrase as “did you win?”

    • I drove to the nearest shopping centre and walked aimlessly around Aldi. Probably not the high point of the day.

      Currently in a winning/losing purgatory.

  3. Having experienced a large amount of contingency time over the last few days, I would say the answer is invariably eat.

  4. I arrived half an hour early to my last one too.. Only I then spent 25 minutes trying to work out if I was in the right building (I foolishly asked someone and was directed to a different building which I duly walked around until I met someone else I could ask and was shown back to the original building) and finding the right door. I also went to the gents because my mind can’t deal with translating pictograms when it’s preparing to be interrogated. I only realised it WASN’T a ladies loo until I was on my way out and noticed the urinals, by which time it was too late to do anything about it but walk away in my most invisible way..

    When I was finally convinced I was in the right place, I found and sat on a conveniently placed bench – within view of the door but not actually on the doorstep – and dug out my phone in an attempt to distract myself for 5 minutes. An overly helpful lady appeared from nowhere, asked me if I was there for the interview and promptly bashed on the door to tell them I was there. My interviewer came out to tell me he wasn’t finished yet and pointed me towards the bench.

    I sat down and got my phone out..

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