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Old 09-28-10, 09:34 AM   #1
banerjek
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Situations you really wanted to extract yourself from

The nature of the culture of my profession is that a high percentage of meetings and conference calls I get stuck in are totally useless and should be done in 1/10th the time.


Recently, one of my colleagues languished for 2 hours in a meeting dedicated to determining what color cake to serve at a staff party. I think I'd blow my head off if I were stuck in such a situation.

I stick things on my calendar or tell people to snag/call me if I'm not done by a certain time to protect myself from such nonsense, but I was wondering what others here have had to endure? I'm not just thinking meetings, but dates, or any situation from hell.
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Old 09-28-10, 09:51 AM   #2
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That must have been one hell of a cake!!!
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Old 09-28-10, 09:59 AM   #3
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That must have been one hell of a cake!!!
In the case at hand, it had more to do with the culture of the organization. Thank god mine's not that bad.
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Old 09-28-10, 10:27 AM   #4
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A couple years ago my company flew me to Milwaukee in February. Wait...it gets worse.
It was for two days of face to face meetings with a very perturbed client. Eventually they were happy but the first day was very antagonistic.
When the meetings ended my cohorts and I got completely plastered (just about the only thing to do in Milwaukee in Feb).
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Old 09-28-10, 10:47 AM   #5
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Old 09-28-10, 10:49 AM   #6
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the chris... vs alleng thread comes to mind
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-28-10, 10:53 AM   #7
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tell people to snag/call me if I'm not done by a certain time to protect myself from such nonsense
no need to ask for outside help. i just look at my phone and say something like "oh my, i need to deal with this situation" and walk out with an anguished look on my face.

and if you know it is going to be a time-suck, just say at the beginning " i have another meeting in 20 minutes, can you quickly tell me what you need from me? thaaaaaanks"
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Old 09-28-10, 11:02 AM   #8
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the chris... vs alleng thread comes to mind


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Old 09-28-10, 11:04 AM   #9
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i kkkeeeeeddddd i yam a kkkkeeeeeddddder, no?!
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-28-10, 11:16 AM   #10
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Yep, every time my father-in-law wants to run an idea by me...it ends up being a series of 30-minute conversations spread out over a month or two when one 5-minute conversation is all that is needed.

No amount of obvious, direct cues will get him to stop, either; it just prolongs the process.
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Old 09-28-10, 11:33 AM   #11
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Oh yes.
Good beer, shots, and more beer.
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Old 09-28-10, 11:35 AM   #12
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I treated this IT guy once who fell asleep on his couch during an overseas conference call during the middle of the night. They never missed him, and I guess he didn't snore, but it sure seemed like a waste of time to me.

I've been changing some of the volunteer work I do since some of the groups spent more time meeting than actually doing anything.
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Old 09-28-10, 07:56 PM   #13
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I treated this IT guy once who fell asleep on his couch during an overseas conference call during the middle of the night. They never missed him, and I guess he didn't snore, but it sure seemed like a waste of time to me.
That is what the mute button is for. A lot of my friends swear by it.

Back to the OP. Banerjek, I would have just left the meeting and said something vague like "Excuse me, I have to attend to some urgent work." I don't lend any oxygen to that sort of BS.
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Old 09-28-10, 08:58 PM   #14
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Old 09-28-10, 09:06 PM   #15
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That is what the mute button is for. A lot of my friends swear by it.

Back to the OP. Banerjek, I would have just left the meeting and said something vague like "Excuse me, I have to attend to some urgent work." I don't lend any oxygen to that sort of BS.
Not always an option -- depends on who the meeting is with and what the repercussions could be.

If you feed enough kids to lions in a former lifetime like I apparently did, you will find yourself paying off that debt in very unexpected and unpleasant ways.
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Old 09-28-10, 09:31 PM   #16
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Not always an option -- depends on who the meeting is with and what the repercussions could be.

If you feed enough kids to lions in a former lifetime like I apparently did, you will find yourself paying off that debt in very unexpected and unpleasant ways.
Maybe I'm more senior where I am so it is easier.

I'm one of those people who calls a spade a effing shovel. I'd just tell the folks that as important as it is to ensure the event is great, spending two hours deciding on the colour of a cake is NOT an efficient use of everyone's time. Surely a working group of 3 can sort this out in 10 minutes. If you do it well, they are the ones looking a bit silly, no you.
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Old 09-28-10, 09:43 PM   #17
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If it's your meeting, have everybody stand up. If you need to remove the chairs from the room do so, it cuts the normal meeting chit chat down considerably. If it's not your meeting, you're on your own. I have yet to figure out a way to repeatedly extract myself from them gracefully.
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Old 09-28-10, 10:12 PM   #18
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Recently, one of my colleagues languished for 2 hours in a meeting dedicated to determining what color cake to serve at a staff party. I think I'd blow my head off if I were stuck in such a situation.
You can't just copy plots from The Office, purport it as an experience from your own life, and start a thread about it. Foo is not place for fiction.

The worst similar story I can come up with is meetings with our current customer, who is in a habit of getting into big long discussions to change the details of something we're designing for them. A couple of these have ended with us asking for permission to produce the system in question, only to be told, "No, we dropped the requirement for that system last month," leaving us exasperated and wondering:

(A) Why didn't you tell us that before we spent 90 minutes arguing the height of the handrails, number of electrical outlets, etc?

(B) Why didn't you tell us that back when you made the decision so we didn't waste the design effort?

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Yep, every time my father-in-law wants to run an idea by me...it ends up being a series of 30-minute conversations spread out over a month or two when one 5-minute conversation is all that is needed.
Gah! Future mother-in-law is the same way. 5 minutes is a short voicemail for her.

She'll start on one topic, bounce around through 3-30 more, returning 2-3 times to the original topic, then often ignore the advice she took so long to ask for in the first place. Then a couple days later, she'll bring the conversation up again to tell me how she changed her mind based on another person's advice that was the same I already gave her.

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I've been changing some of the volunteer work I do since some of the groups spent more time meeting than actually doing anything.
I help out at a museum based aboard a historic sternwheeler. I work on the maintenance and restoration. It's a lot of fun. We BS a lot, but we get real work done. As do the curators, the volunteer coordinator, and the librarian.

The board of trustees, however, doesn't seem to do much. They mainly have monthly board meetings where they talk about plans to do all the things (fundraisers, educational events, lectures, grant applications, etc) they talked about planning to do last month. Then they pat each other on the back for all the great plans they've "made" and disappear until the next meeting.

Somehow though, they do attract enough private donations to keep the place running. I don't know how that works.
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Old 09-28-10, 10:31 PM   #19
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Gah! Future mother-in-law is the same way. 5 minutes is a short voicemail for her.
Some people don't know how to leave voicemail. At my previous place of employment, if a certain person left a voicemail, I'd hang up as soon as I heard her voice since I knew it was much faster to walk to her desk on another floor. I came damn close to changing my own out of office message to something along the lines of "Please leave your name and number after the tone. If you wish to leave a short message and don't know what to say, please hang up, think of a message, and then call back...."
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Old 09-28-10, 10:47 PM   #20
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Some people don't know how to leave voicemail. At my previous place of employment, if a certain person left a voicemail, I'd hang up as soon as I heard her voice since I knew it was much faster to walk to her desk on another floor. I came damn close to changing my own out of office message to something along the lines of "Please leave your name and number after the tone. If you wish to leave a short message and don't know what to say, please hang up, think of a message, and then call back...."
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Old 09-28-10, 11:13 PM   #21
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You can't just copy plots from The Office, purport it as an experience from your own life, and start a thread about it. Foo is not place for fiction.
The Office is reality TV rather than comedy for some people. I have worked in places that bad, and for years that show totally traumatized me because it was too close to my actual workday. It's like watching someone's house get blown up in the movies -- it's only funny if it's happening to someone else and you've never experienced it directly.

I would have rather had Michael for a boss than the one I had at the time even though he was basically a nice guy. Had my boss been fired 2 or 3 weeks later than he was, I probably would have already been gone myself. I was at the end of my rope and couldn't take any more even though I had no other prospects.
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Old 09-29-10, 08:29 AM   #22
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Some people don't know how to leave voicemail [snip].
I deal with the opposite, too: People who leave too SHORT of a voicemail.

Example, my sister-in-law: The other day, she left a casual-sounding voicemail that said, "Hey, guys, it's [sister]. Call me." That was it. We were super busy, so we didn't call back for a while, as she usually calls casually and leaves casual, short messages, so why would this be any different? Why did she call this time? My wife's dad was in the hospital for [issue] and he barely made it!!!

I try to do the best I can when I call people: Say who I am (even if it's my wife who I am calling); breifly state why I am wasting their time. That is all. No ambiguity and no rambling.
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Old 09-29-10, 08:33 AM   #23
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I help out at a museum based aboard a historic sternwheeler. I work on the maintenance and restoration. It's a lot of fun. We BS a lot, but we get real work done. As do the curators, the volunteer coordinator, and the librarian.

The board of trustees, however, doesn't seem to do much. They mainly have monthly board meetings where they talk about plans to do all the things (fundraisers, educational events, lectures, grant applications, etc) they talked about planning to do last month. Then they pat each other on the back for all the great plans they've "made" and disappear until the next meeting.

Somehow though, they do attract enough private donations to keep the place running. I don't know how that works.
Lol, I've been one of the trustees for the local historical society for about 9 years. In addition to the fundraising and meetings, I've also got to help move the archives (big and heavy seemed to be the main requirement for acquisition), remove flood damaged drywall, helped put together a few programs, opened and closed the museum a few Sundays a year, cooked a zillion brats on the 4th of July - and I still don't know much about running a historical museum.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:37 AM   #24
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I deal with the opposite, too: People who leave too SHORT of a voicemail.
One thing that has been a godsend for me is Google Voice. I have that pick up my work voicemail, and the program automatically converts the messages to text.

Aside from being able to see at a glance who called, when they called, and the exact length of their messages, I can see the transcription. While speech to text can give comical results, most of the time it is plenty adequate to figure out what's going on without ever listening to the message.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:14 AM   #25
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The nature of the culture of my profession is that a high percentage of meetings and conference calls I get stuck in are totally useless and should be done in 1/10th the time.


Recently, one of my colleagues languished for 2 hours in a meeting dedicated to determining what color cake to serve at a staff party. I think I'd blow my head off if I were stuck in such a situation.

I stick things on my calendar or tell people to snag/call me if I'm not done by a certain time to protect myself from such nonsense, but I was wondering what others here have had to endure? I'm not just thinking meetings, but dates, or any situation from hell.
you should have smashed a piece of that cake in dudes face and yelled,"Thats for wasting two hours of my ****ing life!"
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