Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Time Is On My Side

In my final year of high school, a guidance councillor told me that I should enrol in a business degree; so, I did.

Fast-forward three years, to the final year of that business degree.

I was working on a group-project with two friends, Kristy and Dave. We had to work with a "real-world" client for this project, and so, attend "real-world" client briefings with "real-world" middle-managers.

Along came the day of our first client meeting, and I was handed the job of taking the minutes.

The meeting ran its course without much to speak of. It lasted close to an hour, and, though I didn't contribute much more than nodding, I felt justified in my role as minute-taker.

As we left the meeting room, Kristy turned to me: "What the hell were you doing in there?"


"You were supposed to be taking the minutes. You were just sitting there!"

Such pointed questioning now gave me pause to consider: what value did timing a meeting actually add? I had asked myself the question more than once during the meeting, and had come up with only one scenario:

Person A: "But I discussed the Thompson Report with you in last Thursday's meeting."

Person B: "No, you did NOT! The Thompson Report would require well over an hour to discuss, and here the minutes of the meeting state we only talked for 45 minutes!"

Person A: "Well, I guess I can't argue with the Minutes of the Meeting." 

Perhaps I was on the wrong side of this.

The only thing left to do was to admit the inadmissible: I did not know what "minutes" were.

The only thing more awkward than my admission was Kristy and Dave's disbelief. There was not much they could say.

Anyway, kudos to you, Guidance Counsellor, wherever you are--three years is a long time to wait for a punchline, but you had the vision and tenacity to stick it out. I wonder what cosmic jokes you've played on other people since.


Helen said...

Because it's always best to admit you don't know what you're doing AFTER you've failed to do it. Strategy winner.

Rod said...

Sitting here in said "Kristy's" kitchen and laughing at the situation, I have to confess that had you have done an Engineering degree, you might have known more about minutes but not in the context of meetings.