@MeetingBoy, Working from Home, And Guzzling Laxatives

Recently, the Meeting Boy (Or, @MeetingBoy, as you’ll find him on Twitter) took a moment from his busy meeting schedule to answer some questions for me. Why would he do such a thing? Well, it’s because I’m a little bit awesome – and I may have bribed him with cookies. That I never sent. Whoops. Sorry, Meeting Boy. Still friends?
Anyway, he sent me one of his awesome calendars – and knowing as he does that I work from home, the inscription reads: Remember: working from home just makes home awful too!
Well, not quite. But I have flashbacks of my office bound days occasionally when I read @MeetingBoy tweets – and am grateful that most of the meetings I have now can be conducted via Skype while I’m wearing fuzzy slippers and eating crackers.
1. What do you do if you don’t have “the perfect boss”? I was following #theidealboss and noticing I don’t have an ideal boss.
MeetingBoy: #theidealboss doesn’t call you after hours because he knows that it can wait until morning. Everything can wait until morning.

#theidealboss doesn’t hold you accountable for the actions of people who don’t report to you.

#theidealboss doesn’t forget the project plan and agree to anything every time another big shot walks by.

#theidealboss buys everyone a 2011 Meeting Boy calendar for their cube: http://MeetingBoy.com/calendar

The best thing is to use Jedi mind tricks to get them to do what you want. However, most bosses can figure out when you are backseat driving them. Leading them to the way you want things done, all the while making them think it’s their idea.

MeetingBoy: If I’d known that all it takes to sell you a good idea is for you to take all the credit, we could’ve been at lunch an hour ago. Separately.

I’ve had some success with this personally though. The trick is to find the things they want to do, their bad habits, etc. and then press. When my boss first showed up, he was hard to predict, and I ended up working long hours to avoid looking bad. But I realized he doesn’t work very hard and doesn’t like to come in early. So I convinced him that meetings before 10 AM should not be accepted, as there’s always some urgent matter that shows up in email or comes from top management. By leaving his calendar open, he’d be able to respond and not be unnecessarily rushed. Of course the net effect of this was that he would just check his Blackberry at home and then come in late if there was nothing pressing. He now strolls in between 10 and 10:30 on non-crisis days. Getting him to go home early didn’t take any work– he hasn’t missed a happy hour since his divorce. Now I can work regular hours but still be in first and leave last.

Of course failing that, I’d recommend poisoning him at the department potluck and just take your chances with the next boss. Sure, you might be questioned by the police, but if you use a common household poison and your boss is truly awful, then there should be too many suspects for the police to ever solve the crime.

MeetingBoy: Apparently “do whatever it takes” doesn’t include poisoning the difficult account director. Maybe there will be fewer meetings in prison.

2. What are your favorite strategies for cutting a meeting short? (My favorite idea has always been to have everyone guzzle a bottle of water before the meeting starts.)

MeetingBoy: That meeting threatened to drag on for 3 hours. Drinking the bottle of laxative was my only way out. I regret nothing.

I know you think you have good ideas, and you do, but first lesson, rookie, is no one calls a meeting to hear someone else talk.

That’s a good one. In theory. However, in practice, it usually turns out to just have everyone being really uncomfortable, but the meeting still dragging on. This is because unless the boss has to go more than they like to hear themselves talk, they will just keep going.

Though on further reflection, maybe it would work with a small enhancement: force all bosses to get bladder reduction surgery. In the same way that obese people get surgery to reduce their stomach size which then forces them to eat smaller portions, if we gave bosses smaller bladders, then they would be forced to hold shorter meetings. This could work!

Another strategy would be to only hold meetings on a log headed into a lumber saw. Or on a railroad track as a train approaches. Though once the group has escaped danger, the boss will probably just convene a “follow-up and touch-base” meeting. And those can be the worst meetings because they only appear to have an agenda.

MeetingBoy: Just got an email “Group Touchbase – 2:00”. I checked with the sender and, yes, that is a euphemism for group masturbation.

3. What makes your calendar so great?

The calendar has 12 illustrated tweets, and a tweet on every workday so there’s no room to write in meetings. You can always look up and say, “Can I make your planning meeting for another meeting about a project that has no budget or scope? Nope, I’ve got something that day.” Click this link to buy one now or download a sample HERE.

#theidealboss can deflect blame away from the department: “these are not the scapegoats you are looking for…”

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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