Me time!

I’m getting my shoes on, I’m going into the lab, I cleared my schedule and the whole morning is MINE. I’m going to go hang out with the spiders.

Unfortunately, the afternoon is not me time thanks to #$!#% committee meetings.


  1. stroppy says

    Aren’t there studies showing that staff meetings tend to run the gamut from useless to counterproductive?

    I’ve attended some good ones, but wow, I’ve certainly been to my share of truly awful meetings.

  2. Tethys says

    Wonderful! It always feels good to complete all the little chores that pile up while one is busy completing the big chores.

    This lovely spring weather is also welcome. I’m not so excited for the allergy season, but the warming temps, current lack of pollen, and sunshine are glorious.

  3. blf says

    Ah, yes the infamous # (twice), $, !, and % committees. True to form, the most useless of the lot needs two meetings to decide nothing, even whether or a not there is something to decidesome reason to meet. At least two of the other ones will have a scheduling conflict, with the last one of the day in the furthest away location, and will either drag on, or have been rescheduled (according to a note stuck on the door) for an hour later at whereever one just came from (and will drag on and on). And both the water kettle and coffee machine have malfunctioned, the nearest toilet is out-of-commission, and the room is too small (doesn’t matter which committee or how well the meeting is “planned”, the room is too small (a considerable problem in these days of social distancing). None of the meetings will have an agenda, and at least two of them have been called without explaining why it was called. Another one happens on a regular schedule, and no-one knows why…

    Each meeting will have at least two discussions going on at once — three if a conference call is involved — and the (often sole) woman will be ignored. Occasionally one meeting will start on time, and even more rarely one will finish as “planned”, but the chairs of such meeting are usually never seen again, presumably shot as bad examples of pointless inefficiency.

  4. robro says

    As a work friend says, “Meetings will continue until productivity improves.” Self-fulfilling prophecy. Actually, WAH (work-at-home) has improved my productivity considerably because I spend a lot less time in impromptu meetings…standing around the desks and halls talking about things, only some of which is work.

  5. billseymour says

    I’ve attended some good meetings and some bad ones.  It seems to depend a lot on how well the leader…uh…leads.

    I serve on the ISO standards committee for the C++ programming language.  Face-to-face meetings (which, sadly, we haven’t had for over a year because of COVID) go very smoothly.  Folks raise their hands when they have something to say and get put in a queue.  Everybody gets to speak, and chairs will interrupt persons who just want to hear themselves talk or who are simply restating points that have already been made.  We get a lot of work done.  Since 2011, we’ve published a new standard every three years (about half of the time taken up by formal votes by member national bodies).  We’re working on C++23 now.

    Meetings at my day job are more like the awful ones described in other comments.  The same points get made over and over, and the biggest mouth wins, typically because the “leader” of the meeting is some boss who’s a “people person” who doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (as was drilled into them in pseudo-scientific pop psychology classes at the American Management Association).

  6. says

    Everything in moderation, including abstinence. A little bit of social contact is probably healthy in the long run.Still, I can do this standing on my head. We just reached “lockdown level”, but I have been on 80% lockdown since this started anyway so what do I care? But then again I have a brand new 3D printer and a closet full of weed, that might factor in.

  7. stroppy says

    Just from my personal experience, specific project/task oriented meetings seem to go better than staff meetings.

    However I do recall one doozy of a series of project meetings, replete with hidden agendas and lab rat tests, designed largely by a MBA grad student — a Republican who thought, for instance, that school lunch programs should be abolished and that vending machines and McDonalds restaurants should be opened in public schools instead… because “freedom”…

  8. nomdeplume says

    No one ever reached the end of their life thinking “oh, I wish I had spent more time in committee meetings”.

  9. PaulBC says

    I’m getting my shoes on, I’m going into the lab, I cleared my schedule and the whole morning is MINE. I’m going to go hang out with the spiders.

    I’m not exactly sure why, but when I read this, I picture PZ with top hat and tails, cane in hand performing “Putting on the Ritz” with a chorus line of spiders.