Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Meetings to Plan Meetings

I'm excited to be back here, but not so much excited to be back in school (today was our first day of classes). Not much has changed since I last posted on AWC and on here, except that I have been pulled in to a spin-cycle of committee meetings that baffle me (to use a Hiram-ism). On the committee meeting schedule, I noticed that we were set to meet every other week, and on the non-meeting weeks, we had something called "planning meetings." So it was as follows:

Week 1: planning meeting
Week 2: meeting
Week 3: planning meeting
Week 4: meeting... etc.

When I asked the chair of the committee what this meant, he informed me that we meet every other week to plan what we need to discuss in our next meeting. So essentially, we are meeting to talk about what we'll be meeting to talk about. Then we will talk about it a week later. Then we'll meet to talk about what we'll be meeting to talk about. Then we will talk about it a week later... and the bear will continue to climb over the mountain...

So I'm going to meetings to plan meetings. Got it. This is the best example of a committee that I have ever had the misfortune to be sucked into. My sole goal in this committee has changed from wanting to die before our next planning meeting to wanting to become the chair of such a brilliant vehicle for academic inefficiency. Imagine the havoc we can NOT wreak in our planning meetings. Viva la vortex!

13 comments:

  1. Several years later, I worked at a certain military facility. My section chief often often had meetings with government officials, though he often didn't see the point as to why they were held.

    He summed up the reason with this comment: "I meet, therefore I am."

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    1. That seems to be the consensus of this group, as well. I'm OK with meeting if it's for a purpose. To plan the next meeting, not so much!

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  2. Meeting on meeting! CC for the win!

    Often these days, as I am on my way to a meeting, I recall this passage:

    'I don't think they play at all fairly,' Alice began, in rather a complaining tone, 'and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can't hear oneself speak — and they don't seem to have any rules in particular; at least, if there are, nobody attends to them.'

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    1. I think maybe one of my rules needs to be "Stop going to meetings."

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  3. When I was an undergraduate, one of my friends graduated and got himself a job as a chemical engineer. I asked him, "What does a chemical engineer do?" He said, "He writes reports and goes to meetings."

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    1. I suppose I grade essays and go to meetings. :)

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  4. At my college, we have a committee that discusses committees.

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    1. I was on that committee. It was the only committee I've been a part of that actually accomplished anything:
      We proposed an end to 80% of all standing committees, including ours, and it actually happened! The remaining 20%, a single-digit amount, are fundamental to the college and really do get things done.

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    2. Ours is called - so beautifully - the committee on committees. I got asked to be on it, but happily had my quota already.

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    3. We have that "committee on committees" at my institution, whose annual job it is to shuffle the deadwood and chest-thumpers to where they do least damage. Like much in this aspect of academia, it's a shell game.

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  5. I tea partyin' hate committee work at my college. I am on five committees (or is it six? seven? hard to keep track) and the amount of busywork is staggering. The planning to plan is ridiculous. The worst are the joint faculty-staff committees, the ones that meet when I'm, like, you know, teaching. Then I'm chastised for not attending the meetings. The lunch meetings? I'm like, well, you know, teaching. Faculty tend to do that during the day on a campus where classes are offered through the traditional lunch hour. The committees that are only faculty are often challenging for different reasons. Lots of power issues and a ton of "homework" that is little more than the aforementioned busywork.

    And, yes, I've had meetings to determine when to meet.

    What a tea partyin' ridiculous system.

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