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“meeting vortex” April 17, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Definition.
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meeting vortex
MEET-ing VOAR-tecks

There are places in your office or your building that you instinctively avoid. You stay away from the candy machines. If you’re on a diet, you try (and usually fail) to stay away from the community food table. You tend not to use the smokers’ exit because you don’t want to walk through a noxious cloud on your way to your car. And everyone stays as far away from the Big Boss’s office as possible.

I sometimes wonder if part of my office was built over a vortex like this. (CC-licensed photo by Selene Nera.)

I sometimes wonder if part of my office was built over a vortex like this. (CC-licensed photo by Selene Nera.)

But there’s one place people always forget to avoid: the meeting vortex.

Perhaps it’s a table where everyone holds their regular departmental meetings. Perhaps it’s a larger-than-normal cubicle with four desks in it. Perhaps it’s just the little waiting area outside the department head’s office — or, worse, the two-year-old’s office. But even more annoying than that is when the meeting vortex is right next to your cubicle; our early-morning team always meets at their team leads’ desks, which are just on the other side of my cubicle wall. I manage to avoid that meeting vortex because I’m not part of that team, but they really distract me when they congregate there.

Anyway.

You always have work to do in the vicinity of the meeting vortex, so you really can’t avoid it, but there are certain people you look for before you head that way. You watch for the Big Boss, and you watch for the two-year-olds, and you watch for your own boss and any department heads that are generally known for making other people’s jobs more difficult. You get in and out as fast as possible, but it’s inevitable that twice a week (at least) you’ll get sucked into a meeting you can’t get out of.

I got sucked into one last Wednesday; I wasn’t planning to attend the meeting, even though I’m technically part of the group (the group leader personally excused me permanently because he knows I have too much to do to take on another project). But someone was working on one of the servers in my area, and the only other place I could get to that part of the network was to sit just outside the meeting vortex. The two-year-old saw me coming, said, “you’re coming to this meeting, right?” I protested that I had to finish something for Thomas, and she shrugged and waved me over anyway.

Thomas’s project eventually got done — it’s not due until tomorrow mid-day anyway, so we had time — but not before I wasted 45 minutes of my day in the meeting vortex. I did manage to come up with a good idea that made the two-year-old chortle like… well, like a two-year-old, and the group leader thought it was a great idea too (and I actually like him), and I’m pretty sure my idea will actually see the light of day, but that was 45 minutes I spent checking e-mail on my phone and three minutes actually being a productive member of the team.

Had I been invited to the meeting, and had the opportunity to schedule it, prepare for it, and wrap my head around the idea that I had to block out an hour of my day to deal with this group, I might have been less inclined to be anti-social, but when you get sucked into the meeting vortex, all you can think about is getting out of there with the smallest amount of extra work possible.

Good luck.

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Comments»

1. turning right into wrong, one project at a time « corporatespeak - May 28, 2009

[…] over in the meeting vortex, I found out that the client’s legal department was having issues with some of the subject […]

2. OUR COMPANY’S FUCKING AWESOME WEBSITE!!! « corporatespeak - July 28, 2009

[…] I was sitting at my desk, working on our sharepoint site when I heard, from over in the meeting vortex, the sound of the Two-Year-Old saying, “that’s so awesome, I love […]


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