about meetings

október 7, 2008 § Hozzászólás


“Here’s my theory about meetings and life: the three things you can’t fake are erections, competence and creativity. That’s way meetings become toxic –  they put uncreative people in a situation in which they have to be something they can never be. And the more effort they put into concealing their inabilities, the more toxic the meeting becomes. One of the most common creativity-faking tactics is when someone puts their hands in the prayer position and conceals their mouth while they nod at you and say, “Hmmmm. Interesting.” If pressed, they’ll have to get back to you on that.” Then they don’t say anything else.
The uncreative people who run a meeting say such a things as, Does anybody here have something to say about Ethan’s idea? The ensuing silence makes even a good idea look stupid.
Or  they’ll say, That’s an interesting idea, but let’s focus on matters at hand.
Many people think that the best way to make meetings tolerable is to walk into the room and fire away with lots of ideas to get juices flowing. Such ideas goad uncreative colleagues into building more elaborate strategies to conceal their lack of creativity. You think you’re giving away all this great material, but all you’re really doing is generating fear and envy.
In a way, the best meetings are the ones where nobody is creative and nobody has any ideas about anything. People sit around, stare at their notepads, and then, after a plausible amount of time has passed, everyone leaves. Everybody’s happy because nothing was demanded of them, and nobody was made to look bad in front of the others.
Knowing all of this doesn’t make meetings any less numbing, but at least now you know why they’re numbing.
In general, if you have been stupid enough to venture a new and possibly good idea during a meeting, you may as well kiss it goodbye. On the other hand, you might as well enjoy the behaviour of your co-workers as they try to attach their names to your idea, while at the same time distancing themselves from it. Co-workers will generate an email trail of bland musings that can function as good evidence or bad evidence.”

*

“Bree was at her desk and briefly forgot to mute her audio, so we all heard a few seconds of that old Morrissey song, “Everyday Is Like Sunday.” This set Kaitlin off. “That song always put me in a crappy mood because Sundays are actually the worst day of the week. Nobody’s answering the phones or dressed properly or doing anything productive. If I ruled the world, every day would be a Thursday.
“Huh?”
“Look at it this way: Mondays suck because you’re resentful that you can’t sleep in, and it’s also the day on which sixty percent of life-sucking meetings occur. Tuesdays suck because the week has four more workdays left; you hate yourself and the world because you’re trapped in this wage-slave hamster wheel called life. Wednesday are bad because you realize around nood that the work week is half over, but the fact that you’re viewing your life in this manner means that you’re nothing more or less than the third panel of that old, unfunny comic strip
Cathy, where she realizes she’s a fat lonely spinster and her hair flies out and she makes the augghhhhhh! noise. Fridays are bad because you feel like a rat waiting for a food pellet to come down the chute, the food pellet being the weekend. Saturdays are okay, but only barely. And Sundays, as mentioned before, are like the day that time forgot, when nothing happens and when, perversely, you start wishing for Monday again. So give me a week of Thursdays any time. Everyone’s in a good mood, people actually get stuff done, and a glint of Saturday puts a sparkle in your step.”
/Douglas Coupland – jPod/

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