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Friday, August 29, 2014


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.


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.


“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?”



“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?”


“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?”


“Excellent! Have a great week, everyone!”



Shelly said...

Now that I'm retired, I do really miss some things, but meetings are never one of them. Ugh. I'd forgotten how much I detested them. My sympathies...

Anonymous said...

Meetings....the optimal time for doodling, finishing that shopping list, daydreaming about how to get out of work early, wondering where Shelley got those shoes....

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
OMG it has been 15 years since I last faced one of these... and it still brings me out in hives. Thanks for nothing...(Well, actually, thanks for the laugh &*>) YAM xx

Indigo Roth said...

Spooky stuff, and many good laughs.

joeh said...

Brilliant! Loved it.

vanilla said...

So I see that teleconferencing produces the same sort of drivel that eyeball-to-eyeball meetings do.

jenny_o said...

The scary part is how close this is to the actual language used to "get things done" in many workplaces. Note the apostrophes, indeed. Hope you have a great weekend, Pearl!

fmcgmccllc said...

The only thing I hate worse than meetings are conference calls. Whoa Nelly.

Elephant's Child said...

The good thing about conference calls is that there was no video attached.
I would have hated to be seen, both because of what I was wearing and what I was doing, and I most definitely would have hated seeing some of the other participants. It would probably have put me off lunch. Sometimes for days.

River said...

The price of a packet of smokes here in Australia is quite high now, that would be a pretty good raise.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Oh the joy of silence makes one want to ask a weird question just to see if anyone is paying attention

Linda O'Connell said...

You should have mentioned the bus people. :)

sage said...

Conference calls without video are times to put the phone on speaker and to clean off my desk

Catalyst/Taylor said...

Back when I worked for a living I used to hate meetings. Never did one of these but it would be infinitely worse.

Daisy said...

I definitely would have been one of the silent ones. :D