August 26, 2008

I Hate Meetings

"They say that time
Heals a broken heart
But time has stood still
Since we've been apart"
I can't Stop Loving You- Ray Charles
Tonight I was the lucky recipient of a seat inside the Bat out of hell tour bus. Had I more common sense I would have recognized that a bat out of hell is no different than you or I, they just want to go home. But preoccupied as I was I didn't think of this and as a consequence I got on the bus and ended up in a four hour meeting.

Four hours. The damn meeting was interminably long and as Mr. Charles said above, time stood still. Inside that room I sat patiently and tried to achieve that peaceful, easy feeling the Eagles used to sing about. I listened and waited and watched.

It was the watching that got me into trouble. It was the watching that made me realize that the clock appeared to be broken. Or maybe it was the listening and the realization that I wasn't gaining any new information that got me into trouble. Or maybe it was the combination of the watching and listening.

Perhaps I shouldn't have tried to look, listen and learn. Certainly the bruised tailbone and the sore back didn't make it any easier to sit, but neither did the old wooden chairs. Instead I spent hours squirming in my seat trying to get comfortable.

But the longer it went the harder it became to sit still so I began to think about how I could have used that time for myself. Inside my mind I considered how far a four hour plane ride would take me.

The last couple of trips to Dallas were all of three hours. My last trip to Chicago was 3.5. So as I sat there I figured that the meeting was long enough to send me a little more than halfway across the country. Of course that places me in godforsaken lands like Ohio, so I decided to shift my attention.

Or at least I tried to. Instead I found myself cursing under my breath. Irked, irritated and agitated that the organizers of this meeting couldn't push it along faster. Angry that their effort to save time turned into a colossal waste of my time.

I suppose that I should comment on the title of the post. I don't hate meetings. I hate poorly run and poorly organized meetings. Meetings shouldn't be based upon endurance. They shouldn't be held just to be held.

A meeting should have a clear purpose and if you are going to violate that purpose or deviate you better be smart about it. I hate listening to people talk for the sake of hearing them talk. I am far too busy. Say something meaningful, don't just spout off.

I hate meetings.

1 comment:

Shoshana said...

I have a theory that if there were 50% less meetings in the world, everyone would be 100% more productive, at least. Meetings are evil.