Many people see tardiness as irresponsible behavior. But what if you really struggle with being on time? Shouldn’t employers help alleviate the situation?
TikToker Suffers From Time Blindness
Well, that’s the debate generated by Sarah Tehfren, a TikTok user who claims to suffer from “time blindness,” which prevents her from being on time.
Tehfren, who goes by the username chaotic_philosopher on TikTok, posted a video last July recounting a bad experience during a job interview.
What Exactly is Time Blindness?
According to Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials, time blindness is a phenomenon where people struggle to recognize when time has passed or accurately estimate how long something will take.
It can affect anyone, but those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder are particularly prone to it.
The Interviewer Yelled At Her
There, with tears in her eyes, the young woman said that some interviewers yelled at her for making a “reasonable” request.
“Are there accommodations for people who struggle with time blindness?” was Tehfren’s question.
There Are No Accommodations For Time Blindness
Given her request for suitable accommodations, the response she received was not pleasant.
“They actually started yelling at me and saying: ‘Accommodations for time blindness don’t exist’ and ‘if you struggle being on time, you will never be able to get a job,” related Tehfren with teary eyes.
The Interviewer Insulted Her Generation
One last sentence was harsher and ignited Tehfren’s frustration.
“Your stupid generation wants to destroy the workplace!” the interviewer reportedly told her.
Companies Should Take a Different Approach
In the video, Tehfren also expressed her disagreement with this way of treating workers that struggles with being on time. In fact, she thinks that companies should offer them alternatives and consider them.
“I think that a culture where workers are just cut off because they struggle with being on time when there are other solutions we can look to. I think that just anybody who thinks it’s okay to just treat people like that, yeah, that culture needs to be dismantled,” said the young woman.
She Fought Back
“And then I asked that person, ‘How can you feel good about yourself upholding this kind of system’,” she said in the video, denying that she is “entitled.”
“If people think it’s okay to treat others [like that], that’s [an] entitlement,” she concluded in her video.
Sarah’s Claim Goes Viral
Since its posting, Tehfren’s video has over 220K likes and 50K comments. And although the TikToker claim points more to the prioritization of workers’ rights, the issue of “time blindness” is what has generated the most discussion.
For some TikTok users, Sarah’s condition is just an excuse. And this caused a lot of mockery in the comments section.
Social Media Users Reacted To The Story
“Would you be okay if your employer has paycheck blindness and occasionally forgets to pay you?” replied one user.
Other users think that Sarah’s request was unrealistic. And, in a way, they agree with the employers’ argument.
“I think it’s becoming a problem how much we try to pathologize every single shortcoming we have”, was one of the comments that disagrees with Sarah.
“That was a very unreasonable question,” said another user.
Time Blindness Actually Exists
Although many do not take Sarah Tehfren’s claim seriously, time blindness is real. This inclination towards ‘time blindness’ is due to hyperfocus – an intense focus on activities that one enjoys, which leads to blocking out all other stimuli. This is where our ‘automatic attention’ lies.
When we need to shift from ‘automatic attention’ (where we are happy and engaged) to ‘directed attention’ (things we have to do which require concentration), that’s when the problems set in.
Some People Suffer From Time Blindness More Than Others
People with ADHD often find it more difficult to use directed attention, so they tend to avoid it and instead opt for activities that use automatic attention— resulting in time blindness.
All of us have experienced it at one time or another. To be clear, time blindness is not a diagnosed condition or a specific symptom. Rather, it is a term used to describe the phenomenon of losing track of time.
Is Tehfren’s Claim Valid?
As you could see, time blindness is not an invention of a Gen-Zer looking for attention on social media. It’s a real problem; even some users who commented on Tehfren’s video admitted to having the condition.
However, most of those users disagree with her “protest” and agree with one point: the persons with this condition are the ones that must adapt.
You Are Responsible
“As someone with time blindness, it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m on time. That’s what alarms are for,” replied a TikTok user.
“I totally understand struggling with time if you have ADHD. However, you need to accommodate to your employer. Learning to manage yourself is possible”, says another comment.
It’s Not The Employer’s Problem
Others, although criticize the way she was treated in the interview, reaffirm that dealing with this condition is each person’s problem. Not the employers’ problem.
“You should be treated with respect but being on time is managed by you. Not your employer. If you’re scheduled at 2, tell yourself 1”, commented another person on the video.
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The debate caused by this video shows how some health problems are unknown to many. And, even, how many believe that they are “excuses of a generation”.
Although Sarah Tehfren is willing to fight for these rights to be respected, the truth is hard: those who suffer from time blindness are the ones who have to adapt. At least this is the only solution for now.
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.