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“Let’s sit down and discuss your schedule.” September 5, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Did I Hear That Right?.

Dramatis Personae:

That Guy: The writer of this blog.
The Boss: That Guy’s boss (direct manager).

The Facts Are These:

As you may or may not know, That Guy has spent the week being lent out to another department, and has therefore had very little time to work on his own tasks. But those tasks don’t stop for staffing problems, and they certainly don’t get lighter as large projects loom.

That Guy keeps a small list of things that need doing — some written down, some in his head. Earlier in the week, That Guy said he wouldn’t be able to make a certain conference call because he had too many things to do, and also his computer was completely crashed and he needed to talk to IT*.

Plus, That Guy put his foot in his mouth and said, “besides, I don’t think they’ll say anything I don’t already know.”

That, by the way, was true.

Anyway, the Boss said, “I didn’t call you on that for [previous huge project] because you were right, and most of it was about sales. But this is [gigantic corporate initiative that doesn’t at all benefit That Guy’s group of offices], and [our local big boss] expects everyone to be present.”

So That Guy said he would attend. And did. But shortly before that, the Boss said, “if you have all this stuff to do, let’s sit down and discuss your schedule.”

That’s right. The Boss wanted to take out a chunk of time to have a meeting to discuss how little time he has available to complete the tasks of two different people.

Now, let’s ask the rest of the class: what would be the most time-efficient way to address this problem?

1. Have a meeting to discuss time-management.
2. Request the employee attend time-management classes.
3. Tell the employee “these are the most important projects we have, so please adjust your to-do list accordingly.”
4. Ask the employee to e-mail his to-do list so the Boss can order it via relative priority.

That Guy would have been happy with 3 or 4. It turned out to be 3, and That Guy managed to sidestep the meeting and get everything done as a result, but the fact that the Boss asked That Guy to hold one, just to waste time and talk about time management?

That Guy used to have a standing appointment with the Boss every Tuesday at 11am, where they would spend an hour discussing projects in progress and other relevant materials. But with the Boss being called into more and more meetings, and That Guy being given more and more projects, and the staffing of the department dropping by 40% since the last time That Guy and the Boss had one of these 11am meetings, they’ve just fallen by the wayside. As it should be.

No need to sit down and discuss the schedule.

* That Guy wishes to note that the IT staff at CorporateSpeak Headquarters, though extremely put-upon, were still willing to work on his computer four separate times today without complaining. It is much appreciated.



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