Am I Still Entitled To Stopping For My Morning Coffee If I’m Late For Work?

I’ve been wrestling with this, going back and forth, all day.  Almost every morning I stop at Dunkin on the way to my office.  I need my coffee sweet, artificially sweet, and the coffee at my office doesn’t do it for me.  I’m also afraid I’ll get there and there won’t be coffee; I don’t know how to use the coffee machine, and I don’t like talking to people in the office so I’ll never actually learn how to do it.  As far as I’m concerned, one person makes coffee for everyone, and that’s their job.  I’m supposed to be the printer-toner-replacer guy (prestigious position) , someone else leads the fire drills, someone else restocks the fridge, someone else makes coffee.  Everybody knows their role, and mine will never be making coffee for the group; way too much pressure anyway.

I’ve pretty much gotten my morning routine down to a science with timing, but you can never be too certain with tunnel traffic, weather, etc.  So when I’m running a little late, stopping for coffee adds another 5+ minutes onto my commute.  It’s my job to be in the office by 9am.  I get paid to be punctual and responsible, no different than most other jobs.  If I show up a few minutes late, it’s not really much of an issue so long as I don’t make a habit out of it.  But when the coffee detour becomes the difference of being late or not late, it creates quite the predicament.  I suppose if you have a strict 9:00 start time then that could play a factor, but in terms of principle, it’s not a black and white situation.  Is it okay to stop for coffee, as I do almost every morning, if it will make me late?  Does it make a difference that I usually make the same stop (and show up early/on-time) or is this an independent situation?  What if I’m already going to be late; does that make any difference?  If I’m already running late, what’s another few minutes, right?

My performance at work will take a significant step back if I don’t have coffee in the morning.  After an hour or so I’ll be asleep at my desk.  My day will suck, my efficiency will be down, I’ll be cranky and irritable and a nightmare to be around.  I’m not even that dependent on coffee, but I know how it can kickstart my day in the wee hours of the morning.  It’s not so much a matter of those extra minutes, but rather the perception that my decision can make.  When I walk in 10 minutes late with my coffee, I know my boss is thinking “Oh this kid had time to stop for coffee but couldn’t wake up a little earlier to get here on time”.  I just know it.  So the question now is how much does that matter to me?

This was a little more unorganized than I had planned, but you get the gist of it.  I think it’s fine to stop for coffee.  I go almost every morning so it’s not like I went out of my way to be even more late.  Plus it’s on my way, so I can live with being late knowing that it really didn’t deter me very much.  Let’s not forget I’m up with the sun to commute on the goddamn BUS every single morning.  I deserve a few minutes in the subway station Dunkin Donuts despite the almost inevitable disease-ridden walls inside which my coffee is being brewed.  But I can’t help but think I look like a real asshole for showing up late and everyone knowing I made a stop on my way, a stop that I didn’t have to make.  I won’t sit here and say I don’t feel bad about showing up late because that would be a lie.  I hate it.  Hate being late ESPECIALLY when other people are affected by it.  Really tough moral dilemma.  Retirement was SO sweet, man.

Let’s see what the people say:




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