Life happens. But don't let it ruin your credibility.
Oh, that event sounds great, and that one too! Oh, that’s my favorite event of the year; of course I’ll be going. It’s a common occurrence for people to hear the description of an event, think it sounds great and sign up without even considering the timing. Then the event approaches and they realize they have to work, class or another commitment and decide not to show.
As a former President of a student organization, let me tell you the easiest way to lose the respect of your peers is for you to sign up for an event and not show. Now we all know “life happens” and things do come up. However, it’s all about how you deal with it. The simple act of letting the person in charge know you can’t make it is all you need to do. If it’s a onetime thing, it won’t be a problem. On the other hand, if you have what I call “trigger finger” where you consistently sign up for things and don’t show, you will forever lose your credibility with others.
What people often don’t realize is the effects on others when they choose not to come to an event. In some instances it creates more work for everyone else by your absence. In other instances money was spent on you or you could be taking the spot of another individual at the event. Something I used to have to continually stress to my members is that we understand you can’t make it to everything, and we don’t expect you to. We would much rather you not sign up, then not show up.
Some of you may be thinking, why would anyone do this? There are a lot of reasons, however a common one I’ve encountered is overscheduling. This is especially common with students because we want to do it all and simply just don’t have the time. I’ve fallen victim to overscheduling myself many times, where you think about everything that has to get done and realize something will have to be cut. It’s all about priorities and planning. By planning ahead, if something really needs to be cut at least it can be done in advance. This is an important lesson for us all to learn before we enter the workforce as no one wants to be the unreliable employee.
Emily McGowan is a current MBA student at the Robert O. Anderson Graduate School of Management.