‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’
John Lennon wrote these words in his song ‘Beautiful Boy’ and of course, he’s absolutely right.
I’ve got myself a bit of a new job. Just getting into it, so can’t yet comment on whether it is completely tedious, wonderful, or just meh. What is, however, immediately apparent, is that I will be expected to attend some meetings.
Meetings are a fact of working life these days. In my experience most meetings consist of people talking the talk, usually in circles, for hours on end, making a few wishy washy decisions, going home in gungho mood, and then forgetting the whole thing. In reality nothing much gets achieved apart from a bit of back slapping, bit of naval gazing, bit of ‘thinking outside the box’, and perhaps a bit of ‘horizon scanning’. Could all be done by email or telephone conference, would save me the two hour trek to London on the smelly train and then back again on the even smellier, rush hour, train.
Of course, there is the lunch. Usually some curly sandwiches with unidentifiable fillings. Sometimes there is fresh fruit. Which would be great if I were not such a messy eater who always, always, gets juice down her chin, on her top, on her papers. Worse still… sticky fingers on my ipad. So no, I don’t bother with the fruit.
While I’m on the subject of lunches at meetings, I should mention the horror that is the ‘standing up buffet’ that you get at conferences.
So it’s a hot lunch, usually ‘coronation chicken’ (or ‘sicky gloop’ which is my far more accurate name for it), rice, and a bit of limp salad. You are left holding a plate, your knife and fork, and a glass of cheap wine. There is nowhere, nowhere, to sit, and you are supposed to be ‘networking’ with what might be important contacts. How the hell are you supposed to eat without spilling something. Beats me. Sauce drips down your chin, you chase individual bits of rice around the plate until they fall over the edge on to the floor, the wine slops out of the glass, and It really is quite amazing how far a cherry tomato can travel when its mis-forked.
So anyway, back to my original beef. Meetings. How much more could we get done if we didn’t have meetings to attend. Half the time, we are all so busy meeting up that there is no time to do the real work. We end up ploughing through emails in the evening, and catching up on paperwork at the weekends, leaving us no time for living our real lives. You know, the one that we go to work to pay for.
So John if you’re listening, these days perhaps the words to your song should be – Life is what happens to you while you’re busy being stuck in meetings. That’s very sad don’t you think?