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Monday, November 7, 2011

Impactful!

I have a conference call to dial into and I’m already late. Shoot.

This is no way to start the work week.

Beep. Beep-beep-beep. Beep-beep-beep boop boop bee boop.

“…and thank you for carving out this time for this meeting. Who just joined?”

“Hey, everyone. Sorry I’m late. This is Pearl.”

“Good morning, Pearl. We were just playing a little catch-up on what we were doing before we called in, what we’ll be doing once we can get back to our jobs, and what we’ll be doing in the meantime while pretending to participate in this call. Who wants to go next?”

Dead silence.

“Anyone?”

Profound and utter silence.

“OK, I’ll go next then. This last week, I’ve been executing a number of strategic moves. I am also looking at orchestrating the need for you all to take a nose-deep dive into how well you think I’m doing and how this will affect your future here at Acme Napkins and Grommets. This will involve several hours’ worth of pre-work created by renowned thought leaders on the subject of obedience, conformity, and group-think.

Any questions?”

Dead silence.

“Excellent. So does anyone want to update us on what you’ve been working on this week?”

More silence.

“Anyone?”

“I guess I’ll go.” It is Celia, working from home out of our Boston office. “Um, this week I’ve been logging in on time but have been unavailable on e-mail, taking two-hour lunches, and leaving early for various “appointments”. I’d encourage everyone to leave messages on my voice-mail if you need me and I’ll get back to you when I can.”

“Excellent. Thank you, Celia. Did everyone catch that? Did everyone catch the apostrophes around the word “appointments”?”

Various static-y sounds of assent are heard.

“Good. Thank you. Anyone else?”

Silence.

“Please?”

“Hi, this is Mark from the Tucson office, working from home. And I just want to say what a great idea these meetings are. My multitasking during meetings is up dramatically, frankly; and I’m procrastinating well into the next fiscal year. I owe it all to this bunch.”

The ether comes alive with the sound of agreement and the working-from-home people finishing their dishes and letting their dogs in from the patio.

“It’s a great time to be alive. Anyone else?”

Silence.

“OK. That’s it then. Everyone have a – oh, one other thing. Remember when we talked about raises and how they would be limited to the monetary equivalent of a pack of smokes a week? Well you’ll find that pack of smokes in your mail slot later this week.”

Nothingness crackles across the phone lines as various people silently consider taking up smoking.

“Anything else? Everyone good?”

Silence.

“Excellent! Have a great week, everyone!”

Bee-boop!

36 comments:

King of New York Hacks said...

Thank goodness for the thought leaders !!! LOL

Simply Suthern said...

Always love the dogs barking and unbridled snoring in the background on these conference calls. Makes one wish they were at home.

I dont smoke. Can I get some of those bubble gum cigarettes?

Esther Montgomery said...

Another world - a good glimpse. (?)

Camille said...

I want to work from home - long lunches, multi-tasking, daytime talk shows, appointments galore...gosh, I just know I'd be darling at it. Anyone out there hiring?...anyone?...hello?

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Looks like you didn't miss much by being late. Apparently your "at home" attendees haven't yet learned how to muffle their phones so they can't be heard on the other end. A little masking tape and cotton batten works wonders.

SherilinR said...

i might be willing to work for cigarettes. depends on the day and how badly i need that "paycheck."

Leenie said...

Hehe. Reminds me of all the unfairness of being a non-smoker. Nothing to do during smoke breaks and no monetary rewards or insurance upgrades for quitting.

Belle said...

I now see why my daughter used to tell me conference calls were a waste of time!

Shelly said...

Even worse are the teleconferences where they can see your face and you have to look like you are intelligent/halfway interested. I'll never forget the time I was fiddling with my notes and raised my eyes to see an extreme closeup of my face being beamed all over Texas. Still break out in cold sweats over it.

savannah said...

i'm so glad i work from home, sugar! xoxooxox


(that's right, 11:13AM and i'm still in pj's!)

Glen said...

generally I find having the TV on with subtitles is the way ahead during WFH conference calls

Eva Gallant said...

I worked from home most of the time during my last 3 years of employment. And I always sat in my pjs eating breakfast during those conference calls!

LOLA said...

I assigned my underlings to handle conference calls as often as I could get away with it.

Love,
Lola

Wow, that was awkward said...

I've been in meetings that were to discuss meeting about upcoming meetings.

I stole this from an old Boffo comic strip. Next time you are late to a meeting say this: "I'd like to shift the focus of this meeting from why I'm late as to why I'm leaving early."

I use that baby as often as possible.

R. Jacob said...

I do know the silence was verbatim!

Tom G. said...

I LOATHE after hours conference calls. I avoid teleconferences like the plague if at all possible. I have the attention span of a gnat if there is nothing to look at. Sadly, the ceiling fan over my bed fails to interest me longer than 5 minutes. So I set the phone on mute, and surf the internet.

They say technology has made us more productive. I say it has just increased our ability to goof off on company time.

Suldog said...

I have got to get an internet hook-up at home. It's not like me to be missing out on such great goldbricking opportunities.

Pat Tillett said...

Some idiots have nothing better to do than to take up the time of those who actually do the work, with stupid and nonsensical conference calls... This was funny!

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Ahh...slacking, er, working from home. How I miss the 90s.

Macy said...

Only management are allowed to work from home at our work.
I think this highlights how, erm, vital they are...

Amber Star said...

I worked from home from time to time, but when I started checking my email at work before going to sleep and before actually going in to the office...well, I just didn't know where to draw the line. Also, people from time to time would call me at home when the office just gave them my phone number. Ah well, it was a pretty fun time all in all.

Susan in the Boonies said...

My sister just got a job that pays very well, working from home. Not only can she multi-task, but think of the savings on fuel as well as appropriate work attire. You really don't want to know what she's scratching, either.

mrwriteon said...

I never got an offer of cigarettes on any of my conference calls in the days when I had to tolerate such balderdash. Nice bonus.

The Elephant's Child said...

Conference calls, meetings more generally, aaaargh. Excellent summation of this level of hell.

NYEMT said...

Teleconferences are (thank God) far above my pay grade. I'm at enough of a disadvantage just coping with the daily call from my immediate boss, which invariably interrupts my Internet-surfing or my reading near the end of my shift and at the beginning of his. He must think I'm a complete idiot; I always scramble blindly for answers to whatever he asks me, despite the fact that my day is nearly over by then, and all crises have been dealt with hours earlier.

@Tom G.: "They say technology has made us more productive. I say it has just increased our ability to goof off on company time."

I reflexively looked for the "Like" button for that one. Does that mean I'm spending too much time goofing off?

ipenka said...

They started the work from home option a few days a week at our office.

The caveat is you have to live at least an hour away. Not sure if I'm happy or sad that I don't qualify (live 5 minutes away). But this just gave me a reason to move further away...

Douglas said...

Pearl, you had the conference call down pat, right down to the sound effects. I guess that comes from your stellar career as an, ahem, "executive assistant"... we used to call that job "lackey"...

Conference calls were one of the main reasons I worked the graveyard shift.

jenny_o said...

Sad & frustrating for those who must endure the endless meetings whether in person or via technology; yet somehow you manage to find the humour in the crap :)

nixabn said...

I thought "Acme" was from Looney Tunes. Are you Bugs Bunny???? If so I love bunnies, do you have stilletos? ;)

Crystal Pistol said...

Hey! I think I KNOW Mark from the Tucson office... Small world, ain't it. ;)

Jocelyn said...

So effective it makes me shudder with recognition.

For everyone on a conference call: so, in your moment of death, will you feel gratified for all that time you sat in uncomfortable silence, wishing it were over?

Symdaddy said...

I had a pay rise once.

It was so long ago, though.

Ever since then I've effectively have pay "reductions".

As the minimum legal wage rises, so my pay rises shrink.

It's a cruel world ... I wish I'd been born an alien!

The Jules said...

I like it when my friends work from home because they're always available for a chat on Facebook.

Busy bees.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ummmm.... I think I was on that call. I dozed off for a few minutes so thanks for filling in the blank spots for me.

Linda O'Connell said...

Teleconferencing sounds better than sitting in school board meetings that bore one to sleep until someone shouts, "I second that!" (I might have been nodding off when I blurted)

looby said...

We were supposed to do a conference call on Skype on Sunday night (Sunday night! And people think it's a doss in the world of academe). Despite having seven PhDs and a Nobel Prize between us (I exaggerate slightly), we couldn't work out how to add people to Skype.

It was quite funny actually, listening to the long silences of the incompetence of people who know all there is to know about the semiotics of loganberry production in Alsace-Lorraine, yet struggle a bit with something that your average 5-year-old can reverse engineer and recode in C++.

["Doss" (Brit.), n. An easy state of affairs; a position or task require little or no effort, sometimes derog.]