Friday, July 18, 2008

"Meeting" my Needs

A post in which Andrea rants. Don't faint ;)

I actually don't mind meetings. In my world, they are a good way of getting things done. Social work is..ummm... social. We're supposed to solve problems in circles. Academics occasionally lack social skills strictly speaking, but the "come let us reason together" idea is very available to them. So between one thing and another I spend a lot of time sitting around a table, trying to work things out.

But some meetings send me right over the edge into a snark fest. I hate meetings that could be replaced by e-mail, memo, text message, or even podcast. Meetings are for discussion points, not announcements. I have decreed ;) But really, doesn't that seem right, for most situations? If you want to be sure we saw it, ask us to respond to the message. If at that point there seem to be misunderstandings, then we do need a discussion.

Every meeting has a cost. Six people were in the snark-fest-resulting meeting yesterday. Multiply their salaries by an hour and a half, and then ask if there were that much benefit to the agency, the people we serve, or us. NO NO NO. It took half an hour for the announcement that the new director wants us to have house meetings for the residents. Got it. Move on. No wait... it needs to be said again. Could that dollar amount have been put to better use? Going way out on a limb here.... OH YEAH!

I hate meetings that feel like 8th grade student council. If I never sit in a circle and tell my life story again, I will be fine with that. Don't make me do activities. I do not want to play with trust walks, hula hoops, or oranges. Don't let people have (too many) side conversations. Facilitate the damn thing and let us go home. Again, it's a question of respect. Please at least pretend that you respect our time. Don't nag us to turn off the lights, and then be so flagrantly wasteful of your human resources.

I hate meetings with no agenda. I hate meetings where my presence is required but not important. If I'm really just warming a chair, you should at least be subtle about it. That's just good manners.

Now... I need to think of a polite way to bring this up where it matters.

1 comment:

Elisa said...

But was there Powerpoint? For a truly annoying meeting, you need a Powerpoint presentation, a thick packet of photocopies for each participant (to be tossed into the recycling bin immediately after the meeting), and lots of jargon. Also some talk of "action items" and "renewed focus on our core mission."

I really hate meetings.