For the love of all that’s holy, get control of your compulsion for sustained, ineffectual, soul-draining meetings, people.
Let’s be perfectly honest – meetings are a necessity. Well planned and executed meetings can get people on the same page, infuse groups with energy & purpose or share important messages.
But I’m not talking about purposeful meetings here. I’m talking about the wicked stepmother of the well-executed meeting:
The pointless, drawn-out, life-draining soul-crusher.
I know you know what I’m talking about. I can sense the look on your face as you’re reading. Be careful with that fierce head nod. You’ll strain your neck.
For the sake of clarity, let me list a handful of things I’d rather endure than a multi-hour meeting with no discernable point:
- Barbed wire floss
- Rabid baboon wrestling
- Piping-hot cheese grater back massage
- Carolina Reaper-infused neti pot nasal irrigation solution (straight, no chaser)
I’ve made passing reference to my disdain for pointless meetings in social media posts and blogs for a long time, and if you know me, you’ve also heard me lay into them over the years with creative strings of technicolor expletives that only begin to fully express the true depths of my loathing.
Do you happen to love long, rambling meetings? Sorry, this blog is not intended for you. I’m sure one of those wretched things is going on somewhere, and it’s likely no one involved would even notice if you were to join it. So, click on out and head that way.
Still with me, fellow meeting loather? Let’s do this.
Why must we insist on these hours-long Bataan death marches into the conference room? Meetings that feature excruciatingly long diatribes that only tangentially involve you in any feasible way, festooned with maddening one-on-one confabs that stretch on until your extremities fade into paralysis.
I’ve dragged myself upright, zombie-like, slobbering and monosyllabic at the end of these things in desperate need of physical therapy. Or a defibrillator.
Pray that you have a cell phone. Or a fertile imagination. Or a window with a view. Anything to mentally escape this fortress of lethargy from which there seems to be no extrication, if even for a fleeting moment.
Is this the part of the blog where I bring my silliness back to a place of reason to impart a valuable and lasting lesson that you can tuck under your arm and take with you?
This ain’t that blog, people. Pointless meetings have robbed me of approximately 27% of my lifetime supply of sanity. I’m here to strike back!
I’ve been pushed beyond my limits and absconded to the woods to wield my special forces skills to exact revenge on unsympathetic townsfolk.
Wait, that was the plot of the first Rambo movie – sorry, I tend toward confusion when I’m feisty.
Recalculating . . .
This is the “Pointless Meeting Revenge Blog.”
This is a blog of pure catharsis. A time for me to, perhaps selfishly, unload all the years of forced acquiescence during meetings for which there was no defendable purpose . . . or viable getaway.
Are you running meetings where you are? Look at the faces around you! Do you not sense the barely suppressed internal shrieks? The soulless stares into the abyss? The colossal yawns that unhinge the jaws of your coworkers like anacondas preparing to swallow a deer whole?
I’m reminded of being told over the years that, when it comes to the elements of our jobs that test us, that “it wouldn’t be called ‘work’ if it was supposed to be fun all the time!”
Sure. But meetings like the ones I’m describing feel cruelly self-inflicted and ever repeating.
Further, they seem like the kinds of things that even little kids only need to be told once to avoid doing a second time. Things like:
- “Honey, don’t put your finger in the light socket!”
- “Don’t drink the toilet water, sweetie!”
- “No no, baby, that’s the dog’s food!”
And yet, we keep holding these tortuous, meaningless meetings. Week after week. Year after year. Decade after decade.
Eon after eon.
I believe that if you live your life on nefarious terms, you are doomed to an afterlife of insignificant meetings. In a cinderblock room with no doors. And with nothing to divert your attention.
For all of eternity.
So, what have my ramblings accomplished here? How are you any better off having spent the time necessary to wade through all this?
To the first question, I must say that I personally feel liberated and full of newfound purpose. I have unleashed and unburdened myself. My sanity and clarity have come back into focus.
As to the second question?
Know that you are not alone.
Many have suffered as you have.
You WILL survive, somewhat intact.
So, the next time the conference room beckons, and the pointless, drawn-out, life-draining soul-crusher ominously awaits . . .
Grab the seat with the window view.
About Kris Inman:
Kris Inman is the Director of Program Development for The Healthy Dispatcher. A 28-year veteran of 9-1-1, Kris retired in July 2023 as Director of Springfield Greene County 9-1-1 in Springfield, MO. An awarded speaker and instructor, Kris has delivered standout educational sessions, keynotes, motivational talks and yoga instruction to dispatchers across the country. He is also a long-time college adjunct instructor, teaching courses in communication and public safety leadership. Kris holds a Master of Arts in Communication and a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Media from Missouri State University. He is also a registered yoga instructor.