Monday, December 10, 2007

To attend, or not to attend (it's really NOT a question)

We all must attend meetings from time to time, during which we can hope to pass the time doing something constructive, be it increasing our vocabulary doing a crossword, escaping the monotony of an insipid PowerPoint through the reading of a good book, or dodging the didactically drab drivel via a concealed ear bud connected to an .mp3 player.

But there are meetings that we MUST attend (during our contract day) and meetings where our attendance is only encouraged, whereby our absence should somehow indicate our lack of group concern, lack of dedication to the advancement of our profession, or our eschewing of attempts to reach company goals. The "guilt trip" defense only works when would-be attendees feel like something of real substance will be accomplished at the meeting. Only then is it worth the hassle of reshuffling routine, after-work schedules to accommodate the symposium. Meetings have been "crying wolf" for so long, it is impossible to decide which, if any, meetings are of genuine importance--especially if they are voluntary and after-hours!

Here is one such possible attempt of informing employees of one such meeting.

Memo 1:

There will be a mandatory meeting this week after work. Attendance is optional but strongly encouraged. Attendees will be held in high esteem, and will receive a handsome Styrofoam cup which can be used during the meeting and at home as well. Note: do not heat liquids in your cup in a microwave. Other similar information will be disseminated at the meeting. The minutes will be posted on the computer server for you to access them at any time.

Memo 2:
The meeting from last week has been rescheduled for next week, because of poor turnout. Remember that this meeting is REQUIRED for employees to attend on an optional basis. Styrofoam cups will NOT be given to those NOT in attendance. The purpose of this meeting has now been extended to disparage those employees NOT in attendance and to spit in their Styrofoam cups. The minutes will be posted on the computer server. Degrading remarks will be written in all CAPS.

Memo 3:
The meeting that was rescheduled for last week has again been rescheduled for next week, due to . . . well, because nobody came. The third attempt will be scheduled for next week, in the evening, during your dinner with your family. Please be advised that this meeting is compulsory for all employees who elect to attend. The implications of this meeting will affect all employees, so please plan on being in attendance. We will be keeping the tone of the meeting very positive, discussing possibly important issues including when to reschedule the meeting. We will have a colorful array of permanent markers so you can decorate you Styrofoam cup.

Memo 4:
It was decided at the last meeting, by executive decision, that green looks the prettiest on Styrofoam cups. Thanks to me for attending. The Big Boss was also in attendance and took down names of all who were not in attendance. If you are on this list, you will be held in very low esteem and in contempt of progress. The Big Boss has now decided to remove all perks from future required meetings that are optional held at inconvenient times in inconvenient locations. Sadly, this means no more complementary Styrofoam cups. This meeting has now officially been canceled because of lack of motivated, dedicated volunteer meeting attenderers. You can access the contents of what the meeting was originally to cover on the computer server.

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