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Meetings are often innocuous enough. A break from the monotony of alt-tabbing between Excel spreadsheets and Reddit, it’s a nice chance to sit and listen to someone else drone on about a subject you frankly couldn’t care less about. Heck, there might even be some free coffee or bagels to sweeten the deal. But sometimes, when you see that Outlook notification pop up, you groan and want to strangle the person who sent the invite. Not because the subject is boring, but because they scheduled this meeting for the worst possible time. You might very well be “that guy” in the office, whose invitations cause physical anguish to his colleagues. Here are some guidelines to help you find out.
Before 10 a.m. (any day)
You’re in the office every morning at 8:30, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Unlike the rest of us mere mortals, you don’t view that first half-hour to an hour of the workday as wake-up time. An opportunity to get reacquainted with your workstation like you’ve been stranded in the Sahara desert for ten years. You don’t need coffee and you’re never hungover, but you’ve always got a little quip when you notice I’ve walked in ten minutes late with bloodshot eyes. Like “rough night last night?” or “look what the cat dragged in” or “Josh this is an intervention.”
You’re an office superhero, a pinnacle of productivity. While you’re not trying to brown-nose to the boss and show off, as the task manager you just can’t understand why everyone else is so exhausted and unattentive at this 9 AM meeting. We don’t dislike you personally; we just wish you would ease up and stop trying to make us care as much as you do. Maybe you’ll be the nice guy and bring in coffee and bagels for everyone, hoping the caffeine and carbs will guilt us into paying attention. You couldn’t be more wrong. Unless Karlie Kloss is naked and explaining these pivot tables for you, I am in a coma for that first hour of the workday.
Monday Morning (after 10 a.m.)
In all likelihood, you’re the boss, so none of us can really begrudge you for having the meeting. If you’re a cool boss, this is probably a kick-off meeting for the week, where all of us can sit silently and get an idea of what’s expected of us for this week. Deep down, though, you know that most of us are still recovering from the weekend. You’re giving us a cushion, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.
However, you could also be a dick boss who schedules an early Monday meeting to actually accomplish something. By God, if you’re doing this, the subject matter better be goddamn important. I can muster the will to care about a big project that has to get done this week, but if you’re trying to talk to me about formatting meeting notes on Monday morning I am tuning out.
You’re a hard worker, maybe even upper management, but you still have the spirit of us young rapscallions. You’ve got to show that you’re committed to the job, and you are with a meeting on the first day of the week. It’s probably not that important, but your higher-ups will see that you’re still doing something, which I respect. At least you had the damn decency to wait until after lunch to give us time to get reacclimated. You’re not shoving us straight into the pool and demanding we start swimming, you’re giving us a chance to dip our toes into the water first. You’re probably the type to suggest we all cut out at 4:30 when the meeting is over and start happy hour. The hero we need, but not the one we deserve.
You’re a fellow office drone, like me. You know none of us want to be here. Frankly, you don’t really want to be here either. But we need to have this meeting, so by God, you are going to get this over with. These meetings are the best, no frills, no color, no interactive elements. You’re just going to get up there, run through this Powerpoint presentation, take questions at the end, and get us all out of here in a tight thirty. And you know better than to do this right after lunch when everyone will be full and riding that afternoon down-swing. After all, it is important that we all pay attention and learn about these new quarterly addendums to the industry regulations.
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday Lunchtime to Early Afternoon
When I say you’re like Michael Scott, you take that as a compliment. You want to be the fun boss, and your meetings are a party–in your own mind. For the rest of us, this is an hour of our lives that we will never get back. Whereas the office drone powers through the important points, you feel the need to add flair to even the dullest of subjects. Or, this might literally be a meeting about nothing (like a recognition ceremony for last quarter sales). Just give me my damn bonus check and leave me the hell alone.
And we all know this meeting is going to run late. You never keep an hour meeting to an hour, you always go an hour fifteen or twenty. As the rest of us gaze up at the clock, racking our brains to think up a different meeting we can lie and say we have to attend, you just keep prattling on about this murder mystery that you’ve come up with as a weak metaphor for troubleshooting IT problems. Fuck off Caleb Crawdad, I have work to pretend to do as I run out the clock on the rest of the day.
You’re the office screw-off/fuck-up. You always schedule your meetings late so you can spend the morning and lunch doing all your prep work at the last second. Unlike the office drone, who doesn’t want to be there but keeps everything tight, you clearly want to be at this meeting less than the attendees. Worst, though, is that your lack of preparation and bumbling is going to cause you to go over time as that one office know-it-all peppers you with questions that you clearly don’t have the slightest clue how to answer.
I actually like and respect the Friday morning meeting. Unlike every other morning, people are pumped to be there, since they’re almost done with the work week, but they haven’t mentally checked out like on Friday afternoon. If you need to have sit downs for the end of the week, to plan out a strategy for the following week or whatever, I have no issue with the Friday morning meeting. It’s a damn professional move, and kudos to you for pulling it off.
You’re…you’re joking right? Everyone in this building is gone, either mentally or physically. And you have the fucking gall to schedule a meeting for Friday afternoon?
You were probably that one kid in school who always reminded the teacher to assign reading for the night, or asked if there was homework after she forgot to assign it. You’re worse than the Monday morning meeting guy. You’re a brown-noser and you want everyone to know it. You’re the guy who’s responsible for us taking meeting minutes on our weekly kick-off/screw around and get back into the work week meeting. You’re the one who suggested we get rid of free soda in the kitchen because water is healthier. You’re the one who got the boss to start the “leave for lunch only between noon and one so our clients will know they can get a hold of us even though the lines at every sandwich place will be long as hell” initiative.
You’re the Minkus of my life. I despise you and everything you are.
After 4 p.m. (any day)
You’re married and your marriage is on the rocks or you have kids and you’re doing everything in your power to avoid going home to see them. Even if it means holding the rest of us hostage while you bore us with a run-down of your client interactions and areas to improve. Just start going to the gym for two hours after work like a normal, unhappy, middle-aged man. Maybe if you get ripped your wife will annoy you less. Or you can have an affair with that hot secretary you’re always inappropriately ogling.
After 4 p.m. (Friday)
Die. Die in a fire. You’re an actual monster, a sadist who loves to watch others suffer. Not content with monitoring your co-worker’s Internet usage (even though that’s in no way part of your job) and dropping projects on people at the last possible minute, you’ve decided to kill any possibility that I can get my weekend started even sixty minutes early. You’re an office terrorist, and you deserve no sympathy. .