It’s not all that at the top. In her latest Secret Diary of a Board Babe, our woman on the board is highly bored and irate by a 10-hour financial results meeting.Some meetings are painful, boring and needless, and my working life seems to have morphed into an endless array of them.
At a recent board meeting in which the company’s half-year results were shared, I tried every trick I could think of just to keep my mind in the room, and my eyes from falling shut.
We had no less than 10 straight hours of reports – yes, 10 – and updates on the state of the nation, coupled with the good and the bad trade results, consequences for budget 2013 and the Quarter 4 reforecast.
As my mind wavered between the financials, the graphs and the lull of nods and hums, I found my thoughts turning to my escape. I wondered what dramatic excuse I could conjure up that would be enough to bring death-by-presentations to an end.
I and other colleagues were later in stitches as we shared our thoughts of how we had all considered varying ways of escaping; shouting ‘there’s something in my eye’, whispering, ‘I’m not feeling well,’ while running precariously in the direction of the door or walking out of the room with an-I’m-going-to-be-sick look. We spent dinner together comforted by several glasses of red and creatively thinking up our future exit strategies should we ever need a shock exit for another time.
That evening I found myself getting quite angry and agitated. In a room of such senior personnel, and as a woman on a board, no one valued our time enough to wrap up this horrendous session hours earlier.
I get it; the financials are of critical importance, and from the cold, hard numbers we understand what actions and strategies will avoid us failing our budgets. The reality of course is this; say it once and it sticks, we’re not on track, we need a plan, but that’s crystal clear.
I don’t think anyone in that room was too thick to get that message, nor did they have to sit through death-by-presentations to get the picture. When I thought of the hourly rate of each attendee in the room collectively over the 10 hours; this was resource wastage at its best. Not what I would expect of those who hold our purse strings.
I’m angry too that I had to give up my evening gym session due to the severe over running of a meeting which was due to finish by 4pm. To console myself, I succumbed to more wine and ate a carbohydrate-filled dinner, waddling home in shame at the day that had been.
Nonetheless, I have come to a decision. If I have to be the gatekeeper – that person everyone wants to whack over the head when they keep referring to the time – then so be it. I am happy to be hated if only to regain my precious time.
That way my poor feet get a break, and I don’t look like someone who’s about to fall face over heels. Instead, I can be in the gym next door working on getting fit, and mentally more able to challenge any other meetings that threaten to literally kill me of boredom.
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