Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Via The Upshot, a useful comment on meetings from former Treasury secretary Tim Geithner:
“Meetings are life in Washington. Often they’re just for show, a way to suggest motion or commitment to an issue. Sometimes their main purpose is to make people feel included. But occasionally they’re the real thing, a forum for actual policy making. I got into the habit of walking into crowded meetings in Larry’s office and joking: ‘Is this a real meeting or a fake meeting?’ In other words, are we talking about a policy that requires a decision, or just talking? When it was a real meeting, I’d usually suggest that we skip the throat-clearing and fast-forward to the end of the PowerPoint deck so we could get to the debate about options. I wore my impatience too openly.”
I attend so many fake meetings, it's not even funny.  


  1. A day without a meeting is like ballroom without women.

  2. Unstable IsotopeMay 13, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    I try to avoid fake meetings. I'm way too busy.

  3. I attend many meetings each week and I am fairly certain they are all real (otherwise I am suffering from significant quantities of lost time).
    Questions about their purpose and efficacy are a different matter all together.

  4. Have you proposed a meeting-reduction meeting?

  5. At my work we just got a mandatory departmental meeting called for next week with no explanation as to the topic. So of course everyone assumed the worst was possible (if somewhat unlikely in giving everyone a week to fret about it). About two hours later they finally realized that not giving any information about the meeting was a really bad idea and put out the agenda that shows it's just a boring update meeting for the quarter. So it's probably mostly for show but still a terrible way to call a meeting.

  6. Oh, stop whining.

    What would you prefer-- a high salary and the requirement that you attend a lot of meetings, or a low salary when you do experiments at the bench all day and don't have to go to many meetings?

    Im 50 and in the later category.

    1. I suspect that if your company likes doing lots of meetings, enough so that people can't actually do work, then your company won't be making money for long, and then you won't, either. If such companies do survive for long enough, then our society won't be surviving for long, either.

    2. Sometimes I think I would prefer a medium salary and medium work commitments - what's the point of working to the bone to make money if you're too tired to enjoy outside of work. Especially when it seems unlikely that even with that sacrifice you'll be able to retire before your dotage. If I can't enjoy it now or later what am I doing?

    3. Bring the MoviesMay 14, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      When considering this possibility for work/life balance, recall these lyrics from a great 80's pop song:

      "You got no money, and got no car. Then you got no woman, and there you are...."