Okay, so Normal Happenings challenged us to a thing.
"Write an uncomfortably lengthy spiel about a topic the majority of people would consider uninteresting."
That sentence kind of summarises Professional Moron as a whole, really, but on this occasion we got to thinking about our real career.
If you must know, we function as a copywriter, content writer, and SEO. Plus, occasional journalist. The former three require a lot of meetings in offices. Many of them are completely stupid and irrelevant. And that’s why we’re doing this prolixity heavy thing today.
The thing with office meetings is the build-up. One is usually pencilled in a few days before it’s held. You know it’s coming.
Heck, one of them may even be a weekly occurrence. That relentless duty tucked away in your skull as a friendly reminder you… can… never… just… relax. Heck, your borderline poverty wage depends upon that thing! You better not turn up looking like you’re goddamn exhausted and just thinking about getting home and binge watching YouTube channels.
A meeting is like a sandwich. Early in your career, it’ll be freshly baked rye bread with omega 3 happy seeds dazzled atop. Houmous on the inside, with crisp iceberg lettuce within and some freshly sliced tomatoes oozing with excellence. Indeed, your first few months of meetings herald your step into adulthood – you’ve made it! You can handle this crap! You can wait your turn to speak, interject, dominate proceedings, or nod knowingly to showcase you’re definitely not hungover.
Several years on and that sandwich is bargain basement white bread made from questionable ingredients. The crusts are lopped off. Inside it’s cheap margarine and a slab of spam. Just looking at it makes you want to puke. That is the meeting – and that’s just the thinking about it part.
Because the moment will arrive when everyone has to politely shuffle on into some random meeting room. Usually about 20ft by 20ft, everyone gathers around and makes polite conversation – how is everyone doing? Is anyone hungover? If you have to vomit, please leave the room.
Then it’s time to spout the box ticking generic rambling that marks out corporate life:
- More polite small talk. How was my weekend? Well, exactly the same as the last 17,982 weekends, as I’ve reached that age where all I do is, sort of, mope about across Saturday and Sundays fussing about whether my bedding is dry and comfy enough for the week ahead.
- Yes, I’ve met my KPIs. If I didn’t, it’s probably because I was only functioning at about 60% last week due to chronic boredom, existential dismay, general nihilism, or the overriding sense that what I’m doing is utterly superfluous and you really don’t care about my activities, so why should I? All that matters is I complete my tasks so you can justify your role and managerial skills to some c-suite egomaniac on a ridiculously inflated wage.
- Do I have any concerns? Yes, plenty. But I’m going to shake my head and go professional with the following, “Juxtaposing ideation alongside blue sky delineation within the frameworks of amalgamated propagation, the pipeline of productivity has facilitated a qualitative result that pertains to quantitative pipeline manifestations of core competency empowering the corporate values that are scalable.” No one has any clue what that means, so it’s time to move on to the next speaker.
- Oh, okay… someone just had to interject as we’re all leaving with an addendum about something that doesn’t relate to anyone else except him and the managing director. Okay, I’m sure the latter will let us leave to get on with… no, okay, we’re all going to have to sit politely and wait for these two to prolixity it out.
- Jesus cripes, it’s taking a while… 42 minutes? Why are they still talking?! I need to pee. Would the others judge me if I just go in my pants? No. Must be strong. I’m a big boy now. But it does sting a lot. Maybe I should just march out of the room. But I know the tacit rules. I have to sit her looking interested whilst nodding my head. Indeed. I’ll keep doing that.
- An hour. One hour dedicated to an interjection! And one that doesn’t remotely involve the rest of us. Are these two raging narcissists? Why are they holding the business to ransom?! Lunch was supposed to be 15 minutes ago, too. If some fucker has stolen my rye bread housmous sandwich there will be hell to pay for! But I have to go pee first. Oh hang on, looks like they’re wrapping this up now.
- Oh Jesus fucking Christ, then HR had to chip in with their thoughts and feelings on the matter. Was she really sitting there for 60 minutes paying attention and waiting to add her opinion to that crap?
- The discussion drags on for an additional 10 minutes to accommodate for her viewpoint. You can survey the other faces around you and the professional glare is there – a glazed over look you can only develop through experience; jabbing a ballpoint pen into your leg to help you from stifling a yawn (and to curb the red heat emanating from your bursting bladder).
And then, suddenly, it’s all over. You’re booted out in a sweat (meeting rooms are always too warm – English law states that it’s mandatory) and shuffle off to your desk. Plus, finally, the lavatory break.
But, cripes, what was the bloody need for any of that?
Meetings are generally loathed by people in the business world. Except for egomaniacs and higher management sorts who feel like they have to justify their roles – holding a meeting is a good way to exert that power. Because, shock horror, sometimes a meeting actually has to happen.
That’s a rare occurence in itself – perhaps reserved to several times each quarter – where everyone gathers to discuss something that needs to be discussed.
Other than that, the meeting is a rotten sandwich that you’d normally discard into a bin and think nothing else of it. Except in modern business life, you have to eat the damn thing, get ill, spew, and then stumble on back into the breach once again, dear colleagues. Oh my giddy bollocks.