When thinking of time, I can easily be fooled into thinking that everyone is in the same time that I am. It felt like an April Fools Day when I missed a call from a Linkedin connection who was in a different time zone––or maybe I was out of time. Time zones are arbitrary lines we draw in time. We now work in a global economy where time can be elusive.
We work with clients, colleagues, and employers who live in different parts of the country or the world. When we make connections through social media, friends of friends, or colleagues we may not know what time zone they are in. It is so much fun to talk to people from different parts of the country and the world. Amazing how we can touch people’s lives and learn from different cultures and people.
When I connected with a career professional who wanted to talk to me about coaching, we agreed that she would call me at 11:30. At 9:40 she sent me an email and asked if I was ok and could we talk at a later time. I realized I hadn’t checked her time zone so I was expecting her call at 11:30. Neglecting time differences could mean missing a business opportunity.
I worked with an illustrator in the Philippines on my children’s book, “Vegetable Kids in the Garden.” His night was my day. We had an awake time overlap for a short time in the morning and evening. I needed to be aware of the times I could reach him by email to keep the project moving at a steady pace. His artistic talent made it worth the effort, and I also learned a little about his world.
One of my first coaching clients was in New Jersey. I wasn’t used to working in different time zones when we made the appointment at 7:00 P.M. When I realized that was 10:00 P.M. for me, I changed it to 6:00, which worked well for both of us. Fortunately I caught my mistake before I missed my client call.
Now I am used to working with coaching clients, colleagues, and entrepreneurs from many different time zones, but still it is easy to forget that time is fluid rather than static. It is 10:00 A.M. in California in the United States of America, but what time are you?
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