Excuse me, do you have the time?

What ever happened to respecting people’s time? After all, time is a precious commodity.

On average I’m lucky to sleep for 6-7 hours. Bare minimum I’m likely at work for 9 hours including spending my theoretical lunch hour at my desk. Add to that the commute, doing email both before and after the “traditional” work hours and it’s likely closer to 12+ hours being “on the clock”. That leaves roughly 4-5 hours of free time (i.e. grocery shopping or shuttling the kids to/fro some practice, event) with the family.

So when people choose to not respect my time I get cranky. And, assuming your day is roughly the same, you should be as well.

Working at a company with over 500 people spread in offices around the world, supporting customers in far reaching outposts means that we have countless meetings. Add to that a challenging economy forcing companies to cut back, doing more with less in the name of ever increasing efficiency goals and asking us to “wear multiple hats” means I’m in more and more meetings.

Most meetings are colossal wastes of time in and of themselves. So why is it that we never have a meeting start on time (outside of the ones I run)? One meeting runs long and the cascade effect means the rest of the day goes down the crapper.

Exhibit 1: Yesterday I was asked to attend a meeting 15 minutes before the scheduled start. So like a good drone I said yes (i.e. I had a choice) and cleared my calendar for the next hour. As I am anal about starting on time, I showed up 2 full minutes early material in hand. The chair of the meeting, Tom, arrived on time (+1) and dialed into the bridge. Sally (my pet name for our hidden automated bridge babe) announces “I’m sorry you the bridge number you entered does not exist”. Hey stuff happens, so Tom enters it again. Sally announces that once again that bridge doesn’t exist.
Is it me or is Sally also getting more perturbed? (-1)

Third times a charm and we are in. Sally, “you are the only one on the bridge” please listen to this crappy music while you wait . (-1)

And with that tone, someone undoubtedly sitting at their desk a mere 100 or less feet from the room we are in so they can update their Facebook status, joins us. A few more roll in and we have a quorum. Time check: 10 minutes after the hour. (-2)

As I scan the agenda (+2 for having one) I notice that I, the last minute addition, am not surprisingly last on the agenda. Normally, I’d say ok whatever as clearly a meeting’s agenda items are related so I’ll get something out of the rest of the hour, but in this case no such luck.

Question: What kind of meeting has such a random assortment of topics?
Answer: This freaking one.

45 minutes later (note now 5 mins shy of the scheduled meeting end) its my turn. And, I have about 10 minutes worth of discussion. My topic requires input and commitment from Bob, a key manager. Sure enough, 5 minutes in Bob stands up and starts walking out muttering something about a lunch date. A plea for 5 more minutes of his time, and as the door closes mid-word I’m pretty sure he says “sorry”. And he’s gone. (-2)

Now here’s the kicker: Without Bob we do not resolve the issue I was asked to present. So, not only did I just waste over 1 hour of my day, I’ll have the joy of likely wasting yet another hour+ next week. (-1)

Grand total for this meeting: -6 on the meeting bullshit meter.

This is far from a unique situation and likely happens daily in the great polyester covered halls of corporate America. But that doesn’t make it acceptable.

Another thing Mom taught me: CV, if everyone jumps off a bridge does that mean you should?
Me: no Mom it doesn’t (unless of course we are going bungee jumping, but I digress).

Our time on this spinning blue and white sphere is limited. One thing I’ve heard time and again is that no one while on their death bed ever said, “I sure wish I worked more”. One of my philosophies is: Work is a means to an end. It enables me to do things I enjoy with my family and friends.

In all honesty I could care less what you do with your time and if you value it, but by all means value mine and stop wasting it.

On that note, I just got a text from Mrs. CV and I’m off to the store as we’re out of milk. Again.


About CubicleViews

Observations, thoughts & random bitching about cube life, food, beer, wine, whiskey and sometimes politics. Living the dream in a 6×8 doorless polyester walled cell.
This entry was posted in Etiquette and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Excuse me, do you have the time?

  1. Tricia says:

    I read this 10 minutes in to a meeting I am still waiting to start. So as I still alone in a conference room, I reiterate the mantra long been drummed into my psyche: “If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late!”

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