Thursday, August 18, 2005

Laying Down the Law

"Our meetings are held to discuss many problems which would never arise if we held fewer meetings."


I am not a fan of "the meeting." Truth be told, do we REALLY need this many meetings? And why are the people running meetings generally horrible at time management, interpersonal communication and facilitation?

Sometimes when I know I have a meeting approaching, I start to sort of have a mini-panic attack. It embitters me to think I will be wasting precious time sitting in a stuffy room listening to people ramble on without a point. (Hello! This is seriously cutting into my web surfing and blogging time.) I want to bring a straw and some pellets of soggy paper to spit at people when they have espoused long enough. Get to the point! That should break them out of their boring reverie.

Is that evil? It certainly isn't what some would call "teamwork."

I plan fundraising events for a non-profit. I have to work with all sorts of people on committees planning said events, many of whom have no previous meeting experience. If you are an acupuncturist, say, odds are you haven't had to attend that many meetings. That is, unless you are in AA and then you go to a differently run kind of meeting anyhow. But even the AA people have it dialed. Take turns talking. Time limits. Confidentiality. Etc.

I need to bitch. Not just because I have PMS but because honestly and truly, I am at my wits end. I have to work with a particularly fussy woman who co-chairs our annual cycling event. She has the best of intentions, really. She does. I know this and yet, I still want to yell at her. Often. She requires tact and assertive boundary setting. I am good at the boundaries, not so good with the tact. I want to say to her: It is not ok for you to call me 3 times a day to discuss minute details which could very well be covered in our meeting the following day. Why must you incessantly call me? Make a list and bring it to the god damned meeting.

She calls me on my cell phone. Woe is the day I ever gave her that number! She calls me on days that I have called in sick to work. She calls to discuss work. When I have called IN SICK. Please for the love of all that is good and noble, do NOT call me on my cell phone to discuss work. Not on days I call in sick (even if I am home watching TLC). Not on nights when I am home drinking wine trying to forget I have to meet with you the following morning. Not even on the weekends. Why? Because I AM NOT WORKING.

Why is this so difficult for her?

I tease her saying, "It is so obvious you have a crush on me."

How does she respond to that? She giggles!

Does this mean that this is true? Oh, the horror!

She is also perpetually late. She rushes in, her trusty dog in tow, with her list of excuses. Her dog goes EVERYWHERE with her. They have the same hair. I am not kidding. That whole "dogs look like their owners" thing- it is frighteningly true in this case. I don't like tardiness, particularly incessant tardiness. I am packing in a lot of work in one day, can you not just show up on time and honor that? No. You can't. And to make matters worse, you think that because you are 15 minutes late, we will run the meeting an extra 15 minutes. Um, no. I think not.

So today I am laying down the law. The Sizzle Law. I am cracking the whip. We'll see how it goes. . .

It is 9:10. Our meeting was scheduled for 9am. She is not here yet. See?!

16 comments:

Charlie said...

I feel your pain. The only way I make it through meetings is by doodling in my notebook. If I position the notebook in a manner that no one else can see, they think I'm intently taking notes. Some of my best doodles have been the result of ennui from school or work.

Anonymous said...

i have to vouch for the fact that she DOES call you incessantly and WOE to he who suggests that her Precious Sizzle might be "unavailable".

Shall I interrupt your meeting every three minutes just to ask a silly question which could obviously wait?

jules

Neil said...

You'd think in these days of email and such, there would be a better use of time than boring meetings. Do they at least give you donuts?

sue said...

I'm having a vision of you...and a whip...black leather...

Oops. I digress.

Yes, I too, hate meetings. Thank God I now work at a place where the only meeting I have to go to is the one I choose to go to where there is beer. Food. Friends. Maybe that's not a meeting...hmmm...maybe that's just getting together for a beer. Huh. How about that?

Hate people like that. Sorry.

Sizzle said...

charlie: your doodles are great so maybe i am kind of glad you get stuck in meetings? ;)

jules: please save me whenever the opportunity arises!

neil: there are NO donuts! just the mention of the lack of donuts makes me more sad. :(

sue: beer?! lucky bitch. :)

Anonymous said...

i need to have a meeting with you. let me know when you are available.

ew

Sizzle said...

i am confused...

are your initials "ew" or are you saying "ew" as in having a meeting with me would be icky?

just wondering.

kim e said...

Good for you! She obviously has no respect for anyone else's time and that's just rude. As Dr Phil says: people will only treat you as poorly as you allow them. So, if you don't take her shit, she won't be able to dish it out.

In all honesty, she's probably not even aware that she does it and laying down some expectations will likely correct things. Good luck with The Sizzle Law!

Mr_Rodacre said...

TEAM

T-E-A-M

Together
Everyone
Achieves
More

MEETING

M-E-E-T-I-N-G

Most
Everyone
Either
Talks
Incessantly or
Never
Gets anything done

... and you can take that to the bank!

Jenny said...

she sounds like a crazy person!

i'm sooooooooo glad there are not enough of us in my office to have meetings.

however, i could go on and on about how annoying conference calls are though

Paul said...

I like creating origami out of Sweet n' Low packets. They're always usually on the table with the coffee.

gorillabuns said...

just never answer the phone, leave it to voice mail to get her point across. i'm all for the passive aggressive way out and be 15 minutes late as give some lame ass excuse that your shower broke or your battery died in your car.

gorillabuns said...

okay, my english sucks!

whoorl said...

i am in full agreement about meetings...

how about this for a mini-panic attack? my meetings consist of someone videotaping my sales presentation, only to have it picked apart by 12 self-serving assholes afterwards.

i have got to get a new job.

Brad said...

Ha. Lemme guess.... she's socially awkward as well. Yeah, I think those people are just not big thinkers. They do, but they don't think about doing. Alas.

As for the meeting... I like to meet for 15 or 30 minutes because we email and IM way too much around here, but when a meeting has gone an hour and nothing has been resolved... try again another day.

CN said...

I have seen the Sizzle Law in action. Brutal.