Monday, September 19, 2011

My Crappy Meetings

I'm pretty good at meetings.  At least, I'm pretty good at the types of meetings I like to have, which are quick and efficient.  (I've noticed that all these things rise together: position in a company, self importance, enjoyment of one's own voice, and length of meetings.... which seems uncoincidental.)

In the meetings that I run with people who are approximately my level, no one talks more or less than they need to, everything is completely sorted out in about 15 minutes, and everyone leaves with a clear idea of what they need to do.

In order to give the appearance of preparedness, I like to show up with a messenger bag full of stuff.  It's like no matter what question they ask me, I could - at any moment - whip out a reference manual, a scale, and a calculator and MATH1 right there on the table.

In truth, all I have actually brought to the meeting is a set of plans printed out on 11x17 paper and the writing utensil that was closest to my hand when I left.  I do not put these plans in my bag because my bag is full of unrelated crap, and I am afraid that when I pull the plans out, things will go flying (see previous entries on losing stuff and lack of organization).

Things actually in the bag: planner, journal, unsent postcards, tampons, keys, sunglasses, somewhere between 2 and 73 gum wrappers, gum, sometimes a broken watch (I like to think of it as Schrödinger's watch in that it is both there an not there at any given time), business cards, and receipts.

That's right, I take a full bag, which I do not open, and a separate pile of papers, which I often drop.  All so I can look like I am prepared.

1In lieu of actually MATHing, I say things like "It's all very complicated, I'll send you the spreadsheet" and then wait for the look of panic followed by a polite refusal of said spreadsheet.  It doesn't even have to be a spreadsheet, sometimes I say "code section" or "email from the city" or "shnarfle2" and it elicits the same response.  People like to know you did the work, but they don't want to know the dirty, boring details.
2I made this word up.  Right at this minute.  You never what's going to happen here; it's craziness.


  1. Based on the photographic evidence, you bring: bag, paper (plans), writing utensil, and your left boob (maybe a hint of the right one, too).

    I know someone (can't name names, but she was my boss at the time) who accidentally pulled one of her bras out of her bag during a meeting with the director.

    Crazy shit happens in libraries.

  2. I do try to bring at least one boob to all my meetings so that I can have it take notes. Often I leave the other one at the office to field phone calls.

    That's hilarious about the bra. I could see something like that happening to me, although I think people who work in libraries might be better equipped to handle it than engineers who are awkward around lady things.

  3. I dunno, you'd be surprised at how socially awkward librarians can be.

    You make very wise boob decisions.

  4. Wow, your blogspot RSS is so slow! This post just now showed up in my google reader.