Sunday, January 13, 2008

Twenty-Five Per Cent of All Meetings are Useless

I know what you’re thinking: “What an idiot. Everybody knows that all meetings are useless.” And actually, if you’re not an administrator of a business or institution, you’re probably right. We all know the truism: Meetings – the best way to avoid actually doing work. If, on the other hand, you are an administrator, this fact is lost on you. After all, your entire reason for existence is holding meetings. You naturally assume the rest of the world holds the same love for this decidedly unsatisfying semi-masturbatory event. Having been forced, as the token non-administrator, to attend a number of these meetings, I can state with all confidence that twenty-five per cent of all meetings are useless. During these meetings, the main goal of the ueber-administrator is to manipulate his toadies. They dance and cavort around fawning and seeking his pleasure. They prove that the only difference between an ass-kisser and a brown-noser is depth perception – what a bunch of idiots. In addition to ingratiating themselves with the alpha administrator, they spend the rest of the time stabbing people in the back who aren’t there. Finally, there were always two or three snarky remarks about my colleagues (who were doing the actual work) being overpaid and under worked. Since I was at a meeting instead of doing my job, I guess I was, in fact, one of the idiots being overpaid and under worked. Unfortunately, seventy-four per cent of all meetings are worse than useless. That’s because the second reason for an administrator to exist is to push paperwork. Besides meetings, nothing gives an administrator more spiritual, sexual, or emotional pleasure than pushing paper from one side of his desk to another. Nirvana is inventing new paperwork to fill their meaningless existence. A particularly involved series of cascading meaningless paperwork can keep an administrator climaxing for days. However, because, as they all know, the institution only exists because of them, and because they do all the real work, they feel worn out after developing all this new paperwork. They can’t be expected to do all that hard work themselves. Therefore, they hold meetings to introduce that new paperwork – and at that those meetings the idiots decide to pass it on to the rest of us. Yes, they pass on their work to those of us who are doing the real work. Paperwork isn’t hard to do, but it’s time consuming. And, unless you’re a complete idiot, it’s a colossal waste of time. So, in the end, we get paid to do our job and their jobs. And they get paid to do, well, nothing; at least, nothing productive. What about the remaining one per cent of meetings? I figure that about one percent of meetings are budget meetings where the ueber-administrator, from his Olympian heights, decides to give me a raise. That would be a good meeting. Of course, I could just be an idiot and all meetings are really worse than useless.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rich,
You are right but I would put it at higher than 50% of all meetings are useless.


Anonymous said...


You spend too much time up there on the third floor. Those of us who spent time on the second floor understand the importance of meetings, as well as the proper spelling of percent.


Spatula said...

Not to be pedantic (okay, to be pedantic) but the American Heritage Dictionary lists "per cent" as an alternative spelling.