As another weekend draws to an untimely end, 35 hours of soul destroying tedium circles through your conscious like a corporate feathered vulture. Sunday's television schedule does little to distract you from the thoughts of a job that you once donned your finest suit to secure, and here, in a moment of depressing clarity is the realisation that, "this is your life." Instead of a red book filled with your greatest feats and wittiest one-liners, the best that you can achieve is two pages of Arial 11 point detailing your employment history and one or two hobbies that you added in a desperate attempt to make it sound as though you were a true team player and not the mis-anthropic, work-hating malcontent that you actually are.

If this sounds familiar then fear not, you are not alone. The Daily Grindstone is here to help you through the perils of employment and give weight to your long held belief that, despite the hype, work just isn't that great. So... make another cup of tea (remember that a full kettle takes longer to boil and can add minutes to your break), get comfortable, and prepare to adjust the scales of the work-life balance a little more in your favour.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The horrors of 9am meetings

Having dragging yourself into work, there is little more depressing than finding a meeting invite ensconced in the comfort of your email account. With a time set for 9am there is little that can be done to excuse yourself from this hour of droning monotone. With no time to dream up excuses, you must accept this gloomy summons and look on as another hour of your life fades into history.

The 9am meeting is a stealth tactic designed by Office Dwellers to catch fellow employees unawares. In the confusion of the morning rush, the 9am meeting pops up like a mud covered Commando and strikes its victim with a short sharp blow to the conscious. With no time for premonitions, even the most experienced loafer will be forced to succumb to its ungodly demands.

In order to effectively bypass the excuses of its targets, the 9am meeting must be sent in the darkest depths of night. With the midnight oil running low, Charles, the diligent and self-proclaimed worker drone, will slave over a spreadsheet that has consumed his time and thoughts for the past two weeks. When he triumphantly completes his labours, he must broadcast this victory to the company by sending a 9am meeting request. With a well rehearsed, “Sorry to be sending this so late,” the email draws attention to the time at which it was sent whilst simultaneously reminding his colleagues that there should be no challenges to his crown of “Employee of the Month.” Since few workers will be in early enough to deflect this Machiavellian blow, Charles will ensure an ample audience for his unreserved crowing.

Everything about the 9am meeting is designed to inflict massive disruption on your day. The carefully crafted morning regime that you have followed for the past 18 months will be blown into the weeds, and with no solid foundations on which to build your day, the remaining hours will crumble like the walls of Jericho. For the Jobsworth there is no greater delight than watching his fellow workers wilt under a lack of caffeine and personal emails. As his colleagues wail like love sick banshees, the perpetrator of the 9am meeting is unchallenged in his attempt to secure a promotion from the boss. Employers know that, like the man ready to push the button on nuclear apocalypse, the organiser of a 9am meeting will stop at nothing to appease his overlords. The more the hatred for this brute swells and bloats, the more his employers see the potential for a role in middle management.

Since there is no escaping the 9am meeting, there is no emergency procedure that can save you from the horrors you will encounter. Like the captain of the Titanic, the best that you can hope for is the courage to hold your head up high as you and the rest of your day plunge into the abyss.

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