There are few things in life that I despise. Really slow highway drivers, a crappy meal at a fine restaurant, texted apologies, dental work, lazy bosses, and the idea of a 40 hour work week. All of these things royally suck. Yet at the pinnacle, the grand champion, the bane of my existence, the king corroder of my heart and soul, the suckiest of the sucky is…….the staff meeting.
Holy hell. If there was ever an exercise introduced to the office world capable of reminding us just how much shit is shoveled to make our work appear important, it surely appears once a month, in the form of a pretentious show-and-tell.
90% of the problem is the way information is shared. There’s this totally weird staff-meeting-speak that happens. As we cross the threshold into the board room something changes the pattern of our behaviour. An invisible force permeates our persons. Penises start getting whipped out on the table by the competing men. Women sit up a bit higher in their seats with chests plumped, backs straight, sparkly rings being spun with a thumb. Whoever has the floor fancy-foots their way through their dialogue, filling it with words and phrases like: augment; breadth of knowledge; branding; cross-section; onerous; established activities; boiler plate; points of recognition; tailoring our message; fertile ground; culture of collaboration.
I don’t get it. Last time I spoke with a co-worker by the photocopier it went something like this:
Man, I’ve got to get a signature on this consent and this ass keeps dicking me around and his secretary is a useless piece of crap. My boss is breathing down my neck, and I want to tell her to go fuck herself.
That, I get. It’s human. I feel for you sister. I share your pain. Sounds like you’re dealing with assholes all around. However, consider this same scenario delivered in staff-meeting-speak and see if you follow:
When collaborating with outside associates, it is imperative that we display professional tolerance by working with the associate’s schedule, yet without losing sight of timelines and continuing to push forward to effectuate the desired outcome, regardless of any obstacles. A senior staff’s position is to support and instruct their subordinate in a way that nurtures proliferation and perspicacity, as opposed to a relationship of inferiority and disrespect.
Huh? You mean Charlton Heston is not only not dead, but on our staff?
To what do we owe the inflation of this situation into epic, cerebral proportions of overacting? What is the situation? I’m still held up at “professional tolerance” and slowly working through demystifying the rest of the message. Has my IQ just gone up or down? Is someone still going to be fucking themselves? Am I inferior? I’m now stonewalled at “perspicacity.” Meanwhile, pervy Jerry in accounting is starting to unzip his pants to deliver his update. Great.
The other 10% of the problem? The “ohs” and “ahs” that follow the air-bag pronouncements and the fake smiles like we all received, appreciated and understood the messages loud and clear. Now, as we are all apparently dutifully inspired and wearing our renewed attitudes, we are ready to return to our stifling cubicles, do our jobs that much better, and procreate (Jerry will be frickin’ ecstatic), or was that proliferate? Perspicacitate(sp)? Pontificate? Would someone other than Jerry please meet me at the fucking photocopier?