There are two instances where I have noticed that respecting other people’s time and effort does not exist. I believe these two instances must do with the stereotype of Central/Eastern European honesty and bluntness, however, in the professional world I expected different. And perhaps I am inexperienced in the professional world and should have expected this but it is hard for me to believe something like this would happen in the professional world in the U.S.
The first instance happened on my trip to Vienna with my supervisor. We traveled to Vienna for a client event. We arrived in Vienna earlier than the clients to assess the event space, make sure the rooms were perfect for the clients, and go over the itinerary with the hotel manager. The hotel manager met us in the lobby and proceeded to tell us that she had to go because she was leaving for holiday. This came to a surprise considering she told our travel department, who dealt with the logistics of the trip, that she would gladly walk us around upon arrival and show us the event space, rooms and go over the itinerary with us. She then told us we could talk to her colleague and he could help us with anything we needed, we asked if we would see her tomorrow for breakfast to go over the coffee break in their tea room and she said she wouldn’t be in the hotel all weekend. I was shocked at the poor customer service coming from a hotel manager. We asked if she could at least show us the rooms and she motioned for a young bus boy who hardly spoke English to escort us around the hotel. He must have been new because it took us an hour to see the rooms when it clearly could have taken less time. The carelessness surprised me considering hotel managers are supposed to be the epitome of quality customer service.
After dealing with the hotel manager and finally seeing the rooms and the event space we waited for the clients to show up. The clients, all from Germany, Slovakia or the Czech Republic, were supposed to arrive around 6pm to 6:30pm and meet in the hotel lobby at 6:45pm to attend dinner at 7pm. The first client did not arrive until 6:45pm, my supervisor had to call the restaurant and push the reservation to 8pm. Ultimately the clients did not show up until 9pm and my supervisor had to move the reservation two more times. Nobody reached out to us to let us know they were coming late or even on their way at all and nobody apologized for being late or making us wait. What bothered me the most about this situation was there was a schedule sent to the clients and none of them followed it. I was also annoyed because my supervisor and I couldn’t leave for dinner until they all showed up which meant we didn’t eat until almost 10pm. After the event, we took the clients out to see Vienna, we went to Prater which is an old amusement park, dinner was scheduled for 7pm. Again, we waited in front of the restaurant until 7:30pm when the first few clients showed up, not everyone was there until 8:00pm. Again, no apologies or consideration for others. After dinner, the majority of them got up and went outside, we were waiting for twenty minutes for them to finish up their drinks until one of them mentioned to us that they had decided to stay in Prater and drink there. We could have left on the bus when we were scheduled to if somebody had just told us from the start.
The other instance directly affected me, my work, and my time which made me realize the client behavior wasn’t a professional nightmare. I was told by my supervisor that I would present my marketing campaign to her at 8:30am, earlier than my usual arrival time at work. To prep for the presentation, I got to work at 8am, it wasn’t until 8:20am that I received a message saying there was a client meeting and the presentation was moved to sometime between 10am and 11am. It was 12:30pm and I had not given my presentation, I received another message saying they were done with their work and were thinking lunch. I was told to be ready 1:30pm to 2pm. I didn’t end up giving the presentation until 2:30pm, six hours later than I was supposed to. There was no apology or excuse for disregarding my presentation and time. I was shocked at the utter lack of consideration for those things. By no means am I complaining but I wanted to share this personal/professional issue with my audience because I believe if any U.S. professional read this story they would also have a problem with it.