Sciencewomen

My new goal…

i-f875c0b07d9b3cb6229668554781b35a-alice.jpg… is to avoid vampire meetings. Which are any meetings which suck out your soul. And perhaps damn it to eternity. Post your horror stories here if you think it will help exorcise the effects.

Hat tip to 43folders.com.

Comments

  1. #1 Fargo
    February 4, 2009

    Oh, man, that’s just about every meeting I’ve ever been to. One of my clients loves to have meetings (I’m a freelance computer tech) where she essentially takes 45 minutes to tell me some things that could be written up in a short email. My feedback is asked for, but summarily rejected if it isn’t immediately understood. Since she doesn’t know much about computers it can be a real hassle to try and get things done in the proper fashion. I wish I had a better story, but really they all just blur together for me. Gather people into a room, watch at least one person whip out bald faced ignorance as a solid virtue, instead of being shot they’re tolerated or argued with until the head of the meeting spews out whatever it is that could have been released in a memo, brain cells do the only humane thing which is to try and kill each other, then finally you’re released.

    I think the worst part is that it conditions people that attend to react in such a way that by the time they get to a senior position they’re so afraid of being overrun by a loudmouth who can’t stand to be wrong that they end up picking up that torch themselves. Not true of everyone, of course, but it only takes one.

    If you can find one truly insane person it can be a hoot to get them going. Wind them up and watch ‘em go. There was this guy at an ISP I worked for who was either in some military or mercenary armed forces group, and if you could get him on the subject he’d basically run roughshod over whatever pointless task list the meeting was supposed to be about. Sadly, my meetings these days are usually just me and one or two other people, which precludes any serious social engineering.

  2. #2 Mrs. CH
    February 4, 2009

    I was under the impression that meetings were meant to be time suckers – no?

    I have found the International Year of Astronomy planning meetings to be particularly brutal. Basically a bunch of tenured profs sit around discussing what should be done – but don’t want to do any of it themselves. Then, when grad students (with far more outreach experience than the faculty combined) give ideas, they are poo-pooed. So, everyone leaves with even less of an idea about what needs to be done.

    It’s also a case of too many cooks in the kitchen – no one wants to head up the planning, so we end up with 30 people trying to decide things as a group. It just doesn’t work.

  3. #3 JuliaL
    February 4, 2009

    My ex-husband returned early to teaching after hip surgery. He stayed at home in bed each Wednesday because he had no classes then.

    However, there was a faculty meeting every Wednesday. For years, he had been saying that those idiotic meetings would be the death of him, so he was glad for a medical reason not to go.

    Then the school vice-president phoned him and said that he absolutely had to attend the next day’s meeting. “I believe I’d die if I had to drive over to campus and sit through that lengthy meeting while I’m still recovering from surgery,” he told her. “Then we might just not renew your contract next year, meaning you wouldn’t be eligible for the retirement benefits you’re expecting in a couple of years,” was the reply. (It was a small school with no tenure.)

    So he went to the meeting the next day, and halfway through it, he died. A heart attack.

    The school held a huge memorial service, with many tributes on its website. But they never mentioned having forced a sick man to attend a meeting. Knowing him as I did, I think if he could have known he would die that morning, he would have struggled to make it to the meeting in time to die there, just so he could show them what he thought of them.

  4. #4 ScienceWoman
    February 5, 2009

    Wow Julia. That’s quite a story. I’m sorry for your loss.

  5. #5 Alice
    February 7, 2009

    OMG Julia. I don’t know what to say. :-S

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