Meetings about meetings

By an ironic twist of fate, or possibly someone’s bad sense of humour, I find myself on the re-organised Latin Link Argentina team exec. I’m not exactly first choice material for execs. My list of pet hates starts with meetings, admin, and paperwork, so the prospect of the coming year being punctuated by meetings, meetings about meetings, meetings about meetings about meetings, and discussions about why no-one has actioned the minutes since the last meeting, is not one that I am looking forward to with any joy. (Apart from the deep and lasting sort that is able to sustain all who have accepted the salvation of Christ, which if we are honest, is sometimes so deep that I’m not quite sure where I last saw it….)
Apart from lacking in anything resembling leadership skills, I also have some major failings in the area of dealing with paper. My brain works on a strictly need to know basis. If my brain thinks it needs this information which is about 5% of documents received, it remembers what it said, what it looked like, and where I put it. If my brain can’t think of an immediate use for this information, i.e. the other 95% of the time, then I have to try and house it in my patented PLD filing system. PLD is a simple system, consisting of three categories: the Pile on the desk category, the Lost without trace category, or the Direct to Dustbin category. The major advantage to this system is that anything that has managed to spend 6 months or more in the P or L categories, when it resurfaces, can usually be consigned direct to D. And in any case, I won’t have any recollection of having received the paper, what it said, or what I did with it, if it wasn’t immediately recognised by the “need to know” filter.

Producing documents if anything, is even worse, because it also contains an element of stress. Even after only one meeting, we have made ourselves a little list of documents to produce or revise, none of which will be remotely relevant to anyone’s life, and therein lies the element of stress. Even though I know that few people will read it, and that those who do will wonder why they did, I know with the same amount of knowing, that I will spend hours and hours of my life producing the things, going mad at my computer when it doesn’t do exactly what I want it to, getting the wording right, the layout, the format, the spacing, because I am totally unable to act as though what I am doing wasn’t important. The ratio of time and emotional energy in the production to the time and emotional energy in the reading will be impossibly lopsided, and with good reason…. because by and large this stuff doesn’t matter. And yet I will want the recipients to read, digest and care, not because one word of the content is remotely relevant to them, but because of what it has cost me to produce it, even though I know with all of my heart that if the same thing had landed in my inbox, I would have sent it Direct to D.

Taking all this into account, it makes one wonder why a compassionate God couldn’t come up with a job that I actually have some of the skills for, like cleaning toilets, looking after kids, or roller-skating to Siberia against a headwind…. (“Do everything without arguing or complaining….” Oh yeah alright then, but there had better be good biscuits….)

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