Cross-cultural Ponctuality

Cross-cultural Ponctuality

Punctuality It was a Monday morning when British expat John, or João as he likes to be called, came to class extremely angry with Brazil, which was a surprise to me. He worked for the Olympic Committee, which was building the Olympic City to host the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In his daily work he had frequent problems with lack of structure, bureaucracies and lack of attention to deadlines, but he always understood that this is how things are here, and because he was very fond of Brazil and Brazilians, he was always in good spirits. He told me, outraged, that they were receiving the English delegation, and the entire national and international team were due to meet in Niteroi on Saturday morning. The Brits, who were the directors, arrived on time and the Brazilians arrived almost an hour late. For João, operating this way in Brazil with Brazilians was bearable, accepted, understood, but when it involved the English team, it became a serious problem. Niterói is a city close to Rio, which can be reached by ferry or by a bridge that is known for its traffic jams. Cariocas rarely go to this city and, despite being neighbours, they have the impression that it’s a long way away. I asked him if the Brazilian team knew they needed to be on time in Niteroi Saturday morning. He looked at me with a look of astonishment and asked, “Sure. Why are you asking me that?” I asked if he had verbalized to the team the importance of punctuality. He said, “Of course not. It should be obvious, it does...