It’s Monday again and while they don’t seem so bad when you’re not shuffling off to work in the dark hours of the morning, it’s still the kind of thing that turns your mind to thoughts of the office. Inevitably, that means I’m thinking about meetings, because, in a “professional work environment” apparently meetings are just about the only thing people do.
It’s been my experience that on any given day there are more meetings than people available to go sit in them. That problem compounds because everyone inevitably thinks their meeting is the most important of the day and demand that the most senior person available attend them in order to reinforce the perception of importance. And you see, that’s where things start coming off the rails, because some meetings get stuck with guys like me showing up. When I show up unescorted by someone of senior grade, there’s a good chance your meeting isn’t nearly as important as you think it is.
It’s not that I’m in any way incapable of expressing official thoughts or ideas, it’s just that I have no standing to actually make or enforce decisions on behalf of my large bureaucratic organization. Those activities are reserved to pay grades far higher than mine (and I’m OK with that). The other thing that you really should be concerned about when I show up alone is that there’s always a chance that my filter will slip off and I might accidentally open my mouth and let my actual opinion fly out. While there’s always a price to pay for telling truth to power, I generally don’t think about that until the cat’s well out of its bag.
As it is, I’m amazed on a weekly basis how many times I’m left alone with an open mic and a naive optimism that I won’t say something stupid directly into the ear of someone at echelons higher than reality. Also, and I’ll give you this one for free, if the only time you can schedule your meeting is after lunch on a Friday, go ahead and kill your project because that’s a sure sign there isn’t a single person anywhere on the planet who actually cares about what you’re doing.
So, yeah, on this Monday morning, I’m reaching out to meeting organizers everywhere and giving them an opportunity to reevaluate their actions, how many gaggles they schedule, when they’re held, and where they stand in the grand scheme of things.