Every Monday the managers from the various departments meet with our owner to discuss goings on and address any issues. You know, general pointless meeting stuff that could be handled via email. These meetings usually last anywhere from forty-five minutes to three hours, and are the absolute bane of my existence. I got into the golf business to not have to deal with office crap, yet here I am.
Besides one of our banquet salespeople and the assistant superintendent, I’m the youngest department head in these meetings by at least twenty years. Pull the three of us out and the average age is somewhere in the neighborhood of about 50-55 years old. So maybe it’s the generation gap that has created such a resentment for these circular monstrosities. It’s that or communication differences between people that grew up during different time periods just became accustomed to different procedures.
Whatever the case, nobody but myself seems to so thoroughly despise giving up half my Monday afternoon to listen to a group of people tiptoe around one another’s feelings. Everyone sits in a room throwing passive aggressive insults under the guise of sincerity and teamwork. Our owner comes the closest at failing as badly as I do to conceal his disdain for this weekly obligation, but he always tolerates my coworkers’ long-windedness the same way one would patiently listen to their child tell a story, no matter how ridiculous it may be.
This past Monday was no different. Our owner sat down and cracked a half-hearted joke, to which everyone around me responded so vigorously you would have thought they were trying to get laid by the guy. After about two rounds of follow-up quips and exaggerated insincere laughter, we were off. For this meeting the winner of the longest amount of time taken to say absolutely nothing was a close battle between our Comptroller and our Superintendent, both of whom seem to harbor a rather terrifying hatred of silence in any form.
Our Comptroller burst out of the gate, following up roughly five minutes of repetition from the banquet salespersons by selecting two or three points and really hammering them into the deepest cavities of my inattentive brain. Her insistence on insinuating a point over a dozen times was unfortunately no match for our superintendent’s ace in the hole, his Eeyore-like defeatism.
I genuinely like our Superintendent. He’s been working at the course longer than I’ve been alive, he’s always polite, and I’ve seen him do more with a tight budget than I could have done with Donald Trump’s billions and billions of yuge dollars. However, what he possesses in cordiality and friendliness he absolutely misses in succinctness and confidence. During this meeting he was asking our owner to buy some small equipment that had already been budgeted for, and the way he went about it was like somebody trying to deliver bad news to Pablo Escobar or Kim Jong Un. One would assume the conversation necessary to purchase equipment would go something like this:
“We need two chainsaws.”
“Because we need to do ___ and that requires two chainsaws.”
“Okay great, go buy two chainsaws.”
Not with this guy. This guy feels the need to explain that either the chainsaws they currently own are several years past their prime, but they’ve been making due patching them for the past ten years, or that it would be nice to have two chainsaws because then they could stop cutting Live Oaks down with their pocket knives. He’ll start telling us about how he called every chainsaw salesman in the Western World and got this deal on two chainsaws and that they are really good. Or his go-to explanation that usually takes the longest: mentioning that they had been looking at a couple chainsaws, and then waiting in silence for a response where he inevitably launches into one of the follow up explanations above.
It’s groveling at its finest, coming from someone with years of practice at it and no shame whatsoever in being a grown man and having to beg another grown man for job equipment like it’s ice cream money. It is physically torturous, because I know our owner toys with him, and I know he knows he could spare us this fifteen minutes of hell. But for whatever sadistic reason, he doesn’t. He lets him ramble, lets him sweat in nervousness, vomiting whatever repeated selling point he has memorized for the fourth time until finally when he’s had his fun he acquiesces to his pleas, perpetuating the notion that these are acceptable and successful methods for getting things in the workplace. Then the process repeats by no less than five as each person in the meeting attempts to beat everyone else into conveying that they’re the hardest working ant in the colony while I study my phone like Jesus just sent me a DM.
For someone whose resting pace is about 2-5 mph faster than everybody else, watching precious minutes get wasted like they’re nothing is physically painful. As soon as one of these speech givers starts talking, I begin daydreaming about how much more productive my life could be if I didn’t have to donate these hours. I know I’m hurtling towards an ugly meltdown that will probably hurt everyone’s feelings because I’ll probably insult the entire room, and I just hope it doesn’t cost me my job..