Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pushing the envelope*

I had a meeting this morning. I have this meeting every week. It goes on for three hours, and achieves precisely nothing. The same people attend every week and mouth the same platitudes. The marketing department say of course, they'll get right on it. The field team say yup, scheduled that in for next week. The sales team (office based) suggest some figures. Everyone agrees, yet nothing ever actually happens. I say nothing, as has become my method of choice over the last two years. That way, I end up with a maximum of two action points to hedge about and pretend to have followed up the following week.

The sheer futility of it all has sent me scurrying for the calculator (it's that sort of a day). With annual leave and bank holidays, plus the odd sick day I reckon I work an average of forty-seven weeks a year. With the meeting lasting three hours a week, and 34.8 years left until I retire (assuming the pension age is raised to sixty-seven, as has been mooted this week), and factoring in the 423 hours I've already wasted over the last two years, I estimate that I've got another seven and a half months to get through in the boardroom; pushing my agenda around, chewing my nails and thinking about shoes, before I retire.

Frankly I'd rather do it all at once. We wouldn't achieve any more, but at least we could all cross it off our task lists and do something constructive.

Carry on.

* I detest this phrase. Along with "thinking outside the box", "singing from the same hymn sheet" and "touching base". Fucking management speak.


Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Don't forget the classic "window in your diary" !!!

23 November, 2005 15:38  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

damn, OH beat me to it

but this envelope: is this the one on the back of which one does sums?

and are they the very hard sums (possibly involving long division)?

23 November, 2005 15:40  
Blogger Tabby Rabbit chimed in with...

Trying to think who it was (much slagged off Vogue editor Anna Wintour? Not sure) - she would only have meetings where everyone stood up and that lasted a maximum of 15 minutes...

It's strange but some people I have worked with who are based in the US have been genuinely confused when I've said 'I just rang you for a chat' but seem to understand 'I thought we could touch base'. Sad but true.

23 November, 2005 15:55  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

My ex used to do 'management speak' to me. He was always so fucking reasonable. I wanted to fight. And swear. Lots.

23 November, 2005 16:09  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

Duck always says "going forward" instead of "in the future" or "next year".

Upon hearing that I hadn't been well recently, one of his friends asked Duck how I was. Duck told him that I have problems at month end. He's such an accountant.

Trade you all your Wednesday meetings for my quarterly meetings with the old codgers? Not only do you have to take minutes, but you have to restrain them from fighting as well.

23 November, 2005 16:21  
Blogger frobisher chimed in with...

Agreed "touching base" is a horrible bit of management speak. Other ones that annoy me are "at the end of the day" & "win win situation". Bring on the revolution!

23 November, 2005 16:45  
Blogger Whinger chimed in with...

Partner actually loves this phrase as it has something to do with airplanes and breaking the sound barrier, which she finds fascinating.

My least favorite management word is "synergy." I wish people would just stop using it as of right now.

And I also hate weekly meetings. At my last company, one of the engineers spent a meeting calculating the amount of money wasted in said meeting, based on his estimations of everyone's salary. We went to monthly meetings after that.

23 November, 2005 17:36  
Blogger LC chimed in with...

Next time somebody says "We need to push the envelope!" reply with: "OK, but only if I get to lick the sticky bit."

23 November, 2005 18:04  
Blogger Homer chimed in with...

"Blue sky thinking" is my bete noire.

Or "Suck it and see", which my penultimate manager used to say with alarming regularity and complete disregard for the double entendre. Her successor (who I fancied rotten) never used the phrase, fortunately/unfortunately.

23 November, 2005 18:17  
Blogger bedshaped chimed in with...

surly, sounds to me like you need to attend the 'Embracing change' training course I've just come back from.
Here's some tips...take some pipecleaners, don't try to cheat with the 'egg' experiment and try to keep a straight face when the classic "I'm not here to teach you to suck eggs" line comes out during the introduction.

23 November, 2005 19:58  
Blogger garfer chimed in with...

"lets run a few bullet points up the falgpole viz a viz the cultural diversity initiative".
Meetings: total wank.

23 November, 2005 20:36  
Anonymous Piggy and Tazzy chimed in with...

"Squaring the circle" is the one I hate the most.

23 November, 2005 20:37  
Blogger S.I.D. chimed in with...

In my NHS world its "attractive packages of care".


23 November, 2005 21:11  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i'd suggest they mean nurses, but after my visit to the hospital this morning i can verify that there is nothing attractive about nurses, unless you like moustaches and pigeon-toes.

putting something to bed and "progressing" something also piss me off. as does "no, you don't deserve a pay rise". i mean, does surfing the internet eight hours a day not count for anything??

whinger - please elaborate on "touching base". in a plane sense - i don't want any dirty talk.

23 November, 2005 21:16  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

Oh, I live in the world of management speak, and acronyms. Acronyms for everything

Here are a few I've hated over the years:
you have to think out of the box,
you don't have to work harder you have to work smarter,
you need to embrace change,
have a paradigm shift
fill in the white spaces,
seek a path forward,
get on the same page,
and go fuck yourself, oops, did I say that?

23 November, 2005 21:43  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

ohhhh, paradigm shift, forgot that....

l, you're naughty.

23 November, 2005 22:07  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

I used to have a wanky manager who was about 10 years younger than me and got there by sleeping with the boss.

She used to talk bollocks at me at every opportunity, which I used to make a point of ignoring.

My favourite trick was to wait until she was mid-self-important-arse-bollocksy-wank, then I would say (with sincerity) "Can I just stop you there....?".

She would wait for my oh-so-important interruption, with which I would about-turn and disappear off in the general vicinty of nowhere near her.

Heh heh.

23 November, 2005 22:24  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

We had a monthly meting once. that was about 3 months ago. I like my job for other reasons too.
Meanwhile I'm going to save up all these wonderful expressions I've learnt today and trot them all out at our next monthly meeting. I may even work them all into a presentation of something or other.

23 November, 2005 23:20  
Blogger Lippy chimed in with...

And what about the weirdness factor of middle-aged 3-piece Suits following every sentence with "Cool!" or "Sweet as!" I keep sneaking peeks to see if they're wearing jandals. Or if their pupils are dilated...

24 November, 2005 00:12  
Blogger patroclus chimed in with...

Oo, many thanks everyone - this is really helping with thing that we do.

I was copied on an email last night in which the sender informed us that something we'd asked him to do was "materially impossible in this timeframe". Which made me laugh a lot.

24 November, 2005 08:35  
Blogger Juggling Mother chimed in with...

Surly, you've missed the point! meeting aren't there to achieve anything. the achievement is having attended the meeting!

you can put it on your annual targets "attend weekly meetings" At your annual appraisal you get to tick the box & ask for a pay rise.

You're confusing going to work with working/achieving anything, you silly thing:-)

24 November, 2005 17:03  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

mrs.aginoth is wise. thanks for the reminder. I think I lost site of the goal as well.

24 November, 2005 17:31  

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