Two steps toward a more humane world

Two posts from two very different writers on two simple ways to make the world a better, happier, more humane place for us all.

“Life is too short to deal with a horrible user interface,” John Scalzi writes.

And so, he says, he has changed his voice mail message to the following:

Hi, this is John Scalzi. I will never ever ever ever listen to the voice mail you’re about to leave, because voice mail is a pain in the ass. So if you actually want to reach me, you can either send me a text at this number, or send me e-mail at “john [at] scalzi [dot] com.” Feel free to leave a voice message if you want, but remember, I will never ever listen to it. Have a nice day!


And a hearty amen, too, to Alan Jacobs’ call for a year without meetings:

Extraverts love meetings — any possible excuse for a meeting, they’ll seize on it. They might hear others complain about meetings, but the complaints never sink in: extraverts can’t seem to imagine that the people who say they hate meetings really mean it. “Maybe they hate other meetings, but I know they’ll enjoy mine, because I make them fun! Besides, we’ll get so much done!” (Let me pause here to acknowledge that the meeting-caller is only one brand of extravert: some of the most pronouncedly outgoing people I know hate meetings as much as I do.)

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  • Antigone10

    I’ve seen this a lot on the internet, and I don’t understand it.  Why does everyone hate on the extrovert?  My social circle is nothing BUT introverts, and it means that as one of the only extrovert, I can never have any committed plans*, it’s hard to find anyone to do anything with, and I’m left feeling drained ALL THE TIME.  Work is not a time that I gain energy being around anyone- they are coworkers and customers and therefore the most draining thing on the planet.  I get it- you lose energy being social.  But I lose energy being alone, and seems like people just assume that since I’m an extrovert, that means I am also blessed with an abundance of social poise, grace, and skill and just find people to hang out with at any random club.  Uh, wrong.

    *I have been cancelled on more times than I can count with a “I’m sorry, I just don’t feel up to it.  I’m feeling super drained.”  And that is completely their right, as is not wanting to hang out some random day.  I’m not owed their time.  But, doing it over and over again is frustrating as hell.

  • Meetings, Oh god. Meetings that should be over and done with in 15-20 minutes drag on and on and on because some people just can’t cut shit short. If I could wish for an alien encounter, it’d be during that frakkin’ meeting.

  • P J Evans

     Meetings run by people who have an agenda – literally; it’s printed and handed out – and have trouble keeping the routine stuff short so the rest of us don’t fall asleep (or play games on phones).

  • Antigone10

    And it sort of seems like a lot of meetings are completely superfluous in this day in age.  Like, if there is information that everyone needs, just send it in an email, and everyone can hit “Reply all”* if that information needs to be update.

    *Please, please, please only use “Reply All” if everyone in the group legitimately needs to be told.  Otherwise, just email the person you need to.

  • Dan Audy

    In general, I don’t think anyone hates extroverts as a class (I certainly don’t) but many of us introverts loathe the way that the world is structured to the extroverts preferences (because they go out and get people to do it) and treats our preferences and desires as wrong.  As long as I can chill out in my ‘troll cave’ (as my wife puts it) when I’m drained and tired, go out for movie by myself, or read a book along at a restaurant I’m pretty content with letting other people live their lives the way they are happiest.   In terms of being the only extrovert in a social group of introverts, that is a pretty rough situation.  I would suggest a regularly scheduled group activity so that even if some of your social group pumpkin on you that you will still typically have people show up.  I have a friend who hosts a Friday night board game evening for a predominantly introverted social group.  There are around 10-15 regular attendees of which 4-8 will show up any given week which allows multiple different games to be played.  Another one I’ve participated in is a weekly B-movie Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style evening where we heckle and mock the show which works from just a couple of people to having a dozen show up and pile on the floor when you run out of seating. Another thing that might work (depending on how you swing) is a social experience like a dance class where you get a chance to be around and mingle with people even if they aren’t your preferred bunch.

  • Isabel C.

    Yes! This!

    Why are you having a meeting to tell us the numbers for this quarter? They’re numbers. You can put them in a spreadsheet and send them to us. Likewise letting us know about whatever other departments are doing, who’s gotten promoted/retiring/having kids,* and so on, and so on. It’s especially egregious when they provide the slides as a file, because JESUS FUCKING CHRIST JUST SEND THE DAMN SLIDES.

    Some people won’t read them, it’s true. But those people? Not paying attention in the meetings either, I promise you.

    *Which: wish everyone the best, don’t actually care unless it affects my department, which it probably doesn’t. It’s work. I’m here eight hours a day to do my job and get a paycheck–my friends and family are elsewhere.

    Granted, my proudest moment in high school PE was looking sniffily at my teacher during a “trust building exercise” (and why are we teaching our teenagers to fall blindly backwards? This seems like entirely the wrong life lesson) and telling her that I do not “bond”, thank you. So I’m very much on one end of a spectrum here.

  • Antigone10

    I think I’m going to have to try the “Just invite everyone and odds say SOMEONE has to show up” idea.  Surely couldn’t hurt anything :)

  • The worst part of most of the meetings I have to attend is that the people running them are terrible at running meetings.

    They can’t keep participants on task, they don’t actually understand what the meeting is about, they’re willing to let latecomers completely disrupt things (by insisting on being given a recap of everything that just happened in the past 15 minutes)…the list goes on.

    What really kills me is when there’s also a conference bridge for the meeting for remote participants, and the facilitator makes the mistake of thinking that he or she can multitask and tries talking to people while dialing into the bridge.  This invariably leads to incorrectly-entered codes resulting in the rest of us having to listen to the menu prompts over and over and over again.

    And then when the bridge is opened we’re treated to 5+ minutes of people tripping over each other to announce themselves.

    And so many meetings are just pointless status updates.  What the hell for?

    Unfortunately, there are a significant number of people who believe that their primary function is to facilitate meetings, and that the mere act of scheduling a meeting means that they’re being productive.

  • Amaryllis


    I repeat here what I said there: some of us can’t text or send email during working hours. And when I say some of us, I mean literally tens of thousands of us at my place of employment alone.

    Voice mail is awkward. Not being able to get a message to someone when you need to, is worse.

  •  For my own part, I’ve generally found that teams I’ve worked in that meet regularly to share updates, concerns, status, and interesting tidbits tended to have a much more cohesive feel, which made it easier to share information, back each other up, and help each other out. Which in turn made working on that team a lot more fun, and generally made us more productive as well.

    But, sure, if the meetings are unilateral (e.g., the only purpose is for the team lead to give the team members information and receive status), then I agree that the meeting is probably a waste of time and the information can be conveyed more easily in other ways. (Especially if I don’t really care if people attend to it as long as they’ve received it.)

  • Wingedwyrm

    I think it has to do with a stereotype or an extreme of extroversion rather than, well a person who could be described as extroverted.  We all have our moments of needing some human interaction and our moments of needing some quiet.

    But, a stereotypical extrovert is something like Archchancelor Ridcully of the Unseen University.  And, the extreme introvert is not unlike the Bursor.  For those who have not read the Discworld series, Ridcully is constantly trying to bring the Bursor out of himself, through exercise, through frightening him, through just plain yelling at him as though the Bursor just needs to learn how to relax.  Really, the Bursor just wants to do his job and work his numbers and have a peaceful day, which shouldn’t be too much to ask.

    This seems like it’s an exageration, but actually it’s a fairly accurate representation of the dealings of two extremes.  For instance, while I worked inbound telemarketing (that is, customer service for the phone company), no fewer than four seperate supervisors believed that yelling at the top of one’s lungs was not only not a problematic means of communicating across a center full of people on the phone, but also an effective means of motivating people to make sales.  Any attempt made by those of us on the phones to inform them otherwise were met with joking excuses (like “that’s just me”) that indicated that they just did not comprehend that there could be a problem with what they did.

    The extroverts (in the stereotypical extreme, but some actual people) viewed the introverts failure to be extroverts as the problem, and one that could be solved with applications of more pressure.

    Again, what I’m talking about is an extreme to a stereotypical (but, unfortunately not completely unreal) degree.  Far shy of that degree, but still extroverted, are the people who get their energy from being around people, who can enjoy a busy party all night, who really just feed off of that.  Nothing dislikeable there, I just envy them.

  • I don’t really have an issue with voicemail on my landline (I only have a landline because it’s part of my bundle), and I actually find the visual voicemail on my cell kind of entertaining.

    It’s the voicemail on my work phone that kills me.  I get angry every time I see that little red light lit up because of the hurdles I’ll have to go through.

    1.  Push the “Message” button.
    2.  Get asked for my password.
    3.  Realize that it’s been months since I got a voicemail and I don’t remember my password.
    4.  Find my password.  Enter it.
    5.  Get informed that I have to change my password because it’s been over three months since I last logged in, apparently.
    6.  Change my password.
    7.  Get informed that my password has been successfully changed.
    8.  Press “2” to review my messages.
    9.  Get presented with information about the message – when the call came in, what number the call came from (or if it’s internal, the name of the person who called), and how long it is.
    10.  Press “0” to finally hear the damn thing.
    11.  Get greeted with dead air and background noise because it was a wrong number or some robodialer.
    12.  Swear.

  • You should be doing Step 12 after Steps 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10 as well.

  • Joshua

    As much as I still loathe voicemails in general, I have to say that Google Voice solves probably 90% of the problems with voice mail. Mainly by converting your voice mails into an e-mail-like format (or actual e-mails, if you choose that setting). Simply being able to see all your voicemails at once and select which one to listen to makes a marvelous difference.

  • Arresi

    As an introvert the things that tended to work best: a) group outings to movies, shows, museums, or special parties – birthdays, holidays, mystery party (combines being difficult to reschedule with something I’m interested in and go to infrequently), b) spontaneous invites to lunch or to see something cool right then (quick and no chance to talk myself out of it), or c) extremely regular, low-key, one-on-one hang-outs (weekly meeting at a bookstore or coffee shop, for instance). Firmly established end-times helped, preferably allowing a bit of down time before I had to sleep or be somewhere else.

    The worst social interactions I’ve had have been ones that I couldn’t leave until someone else said we were done. Meetings, sure, but also events where my ride/host ignored my desire to leave, or (worse) the pre-set end-time. Anything that involves someone who will not shut up and let me leave when I start backing towards the door will be among the first things canceled when I’m feeling out-of-sorts.

    Don’t know if any of that applies to your friends or would work for you, but I figure it probably wouldn’t hurt. (You might especially try emphasizing the end-time, if you don’t normally. Not knowing when I’ll next get time to myself is probably one of the main reasons I cancel on people.)

  • Dan Audy

    So much truth with end times!

    Things that I’ll get pressured to stay past the end or that turn into a subsequent outing (like going to the bar or whatever afterwards) that I will get pressured on are events I am much more likely to cancel or avoid.  I have to meter out my tolerance of being in a group before I go and I’m generally happy (and able) to spend 2 or 3 hours with friends before I need to retreat for alone time.  If I can’t trust that I can get out after that time without getting hassled (which is exhausting and unpleasant) then I’m forced to decide if I’ve got 5 or 6 hours in me before hand and cancel if I’m not confident that I do.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m an introvert & there’s no way I’d cancel on someone or fail to commit to an event until the last minute because I value being reliable. I find cancelling or refusing to commit rude and inconsiderate to the other person. I deal with needing lots of own time by going to bed very late, so I have a few hours after a social event to recharge.

  • You know the meeting problem exists in an organisation when they start talking about how to get the people who just sit there in meetings to interact and gel with the rest of the group. I’m quite chatty for an introvert but I don’t care to be forced to speak up.


  • Trust me, I am, even though I didn’t call it out.  It’s actually Step 0, then it get integrated into the whole process. 

  • Yeah, I’m much  the same way.  Introverts flaking on commitments strikes me as odd.

    Given my lack of interest in most social interaction, when I agree to do something or attend some event, I do so because it’s important to me.  Or rather, because the person(s) inviting me is important to me.

  • Isabel C.

    I second the group-function thing: generally if one person can’t make it, someone else will.
    I’m a mild introvert–I enjoy hanging out with people I know, but need some alone time, and almost never enjoy meetings of strangers/mostly strangers/co-workers/etc*,  because…nothing in common, hate small talk, would rather be reading or watching something or hanging out with people whose company I know I enjoy. There can be exceptions there.
    And so I don’t mind extroverts in a social setting at all. Yay parties! Organize ’em myself from time to time, and so forth. I mind…I don’t know if what I mind at work  is extroverts, extroverts who have no friends outside work despite being extroverts, or extroverts who have decided to follow the spiritual path of the fifth grade room mother.  Either way, the quasi-mandatory at-work-socializing and/or “here’s what totally unconnected parts of the company are doing” meetings kind of makes me want to slay people, and I’m glad my current job isn’t so big on those.
    I mean, at least in fifth grade we got cupcakes for pretending to give a damn that it was Bobby’s birthday–plus, any break from long division was good back then.

    *Although I can become more enthusiastic if there are attractive men there. I’m a mild introvert who’s heavily influenced by my pants. ;)

  • With all due respect to John Scalzi, not everyone can send text messages. Nto everyone has a smart phone.  My mother-in-law, for example,  has an old dumb phone that she old uses for “emergencies”. I’m pretty sure that she has no idea how to send a text message with it.  If she wanted to send me an e-mail, she’d need to go into the back room, turn on the PC, wait for it to boot up and launch Live Mail.  

    Moreover, a lot of people who call you aren’t going to do anything but leave you a voicemail. The doctor, the vet, the bank, your kid’s school, and on and on.

  • Ursula L

    I’ve seen this a lot on the internet, and I don’t understand it.  Why does everyone hate on the extrovert?  My social circle is nothing BUT introverts, and it means that as one of the only extrovert, I can never have any committed plans*, it’s hard to find anyone to do anything with, and I’m left feeling drained ALL THE TIME.  

    Because the extroverts won’t go off and be extroverted by themselves but rather insist on dragging the rest of us into their extroverted activities.  

  • Meetings:  if you’re lucky, one person states a problem and everyone else spends the next 90 minutes trying to avoid becoming responsible for solving it.

    If you’re not lucky, everyone spends a full two hours trying to avoid being responsible for stating the problem.

  • And with more due respect, not everyone wants to pay for texting.  I pay for every text I send on my phone, so I don’t text.  Easy answer. 

    My family has “phone code” anyway.  My parents and I don’t mind voicemail, so we use it, even though it’s usually as simple as “call me back.”  My brother hates voicemail, so if he doesn’t answer, I just assume that he’ll see the record of the call and get back to me.  For all of us, if there is an actual emergency and no one answers, you simply call again immediately.  If the person was just busy, s/he knows to drop it and answer NOW.  If the person was away from the phone or at work or whatever, s/he’ll see the record of two back-to-back calls and know to call back NOW, not just “eh, when I’ve got some time to sit and chat.”

  • Is there something wrong with me?  I’ve had nothing but jobs that paid only a fraction of my living costs (the most I have ever made was in the mid $20s) and have been nothing but keeping my nose to the grindstone.

    I think that I would love a $50,000 a year job that requires me to sit in time-wasting meetings all day.

    Also, what is up with “extravert”?  I always think that it looks like one has at least one more vert than necessary.

  • AnonymousSam

    It’s even worse when the group insists on having a meeting and is almost constantly available to contact through group messenger protocols, such as IRC and Skype.

    “What shall we cover tonight?”
    “The exact same thing we’ve been talking about for weeks, but now it’s official: We’re going to talk about it.”

  • AnonymousSam

    For bonus points, you can’t use any password you’ve previously used in the last ten sets of passwords!

    I figure I’ve got about one more year’s worth of access to my account before I set the password to something that I’ll have forgotten before I hang up.

  • Antigone10

    They don’t mean to.  Most of the time they feel bad about it, because they actually wanted to see Movie X, or go to Museum Y, or go do activity Z.  But, they work jobs that they can’t always predict when they are going to be completely drained, and I respect that.  Like I said, I’m not owed their time.  

    But I’d just like a little sympathy on the fact that being an extrovert makes my life sunshine and roses.  I’d LOVE to be an introvert.  That would mean that I could generate energy doing things I enjoy doing (reading, sewing, writing) instead of it being something that slowly saps my energy.  Gaining energy being around people doesn’t make your life all sunshine and roses- it means I’m stuck relying on a lot on people more than I really would ever like to be.   Not to mention, I’m an extrovert that doesn’t really like “extrovert” activities.  I don’t like sports games, rock concerts, and things where there are five million people.  I like low key-events with a couple of friends.

    And then on top of that, I get called a bully, abusive, and selfish* just because I’m an extrovert.  (AND someone who likes meetings, which I think is just cruel.) I don’t think introverts are broken people, at all.  But I also don’t think I’m broken, either.

    *Although, really on the internet not in meat space, which I guess should be a sign.

  • Antigone10

    Oh, I have a worse one-

    I work at a daycare/ Montessori school, and instead of just sending us an email with all the relevant information that we need, my boss like to do impromptu meetings with all of the teachers at once, while we are ALSO supposed to be doing our jobs of watching the kids, and have it be a good 20 minutes for 3 minutes of information.  Or, shall take one or two of us, give us some rushed information, and then expect it to percolate through the school.  

    It is so frustrating because she knows we all have email addresses.   If she would just send us an email, or print up a piece of paper with all the information in it it and give it to us, or at least for herself so she isn’t forgetting half the information in the first place.  If she insists on doing these meetings, we could get them done in 3 minutes, tops, if she had the information readily at hand.

    The biggest joy about not being in college anymore is the lack of group projects. Every once in a blue moon, I’d get a group where we all had our tasks, we went at them, came together and integrated them, and the project was better because we combined skills.  Most of the time, however, they were giant wastes of time that made me nervous about my grade.

  • I acknowledge that being an extrovert doesn’t make your life sunshine and roses, and I acknowledge that there are some advantages of being an introvert that you would value having. 

    Do you actually mean to say that on balance you get fewer advantages from extroversion than you would from introversion?

    That would surprise me, if it were true.

  • P J Evans

     At least the phone-mail password where I worked WASN’T changing every three months. And one of the ones that did never reminded you, so I was in the habit of changing it at the same time as the network password. Which is also why, like most of the other people, some of the less-important passwords were left on their default setting.

  • SusannaFraser

    Ugh, meetings. Even if I only have to spend an hour or two in a meeting, it feels like it wrecks my productivity for the whole day by chopping up my schedule and ruining my focus. That said, I’m always happy to set aside time for my publisher’s quarterly conference calls. So I guess in my world meetings are OK when they’re about my passion as opposed to the stuff I do more or less contentedly day in and day out because Bills Must Be Paid.

    The other area where it strikes me that the work world increasingly favors extroverts is in how space is managed. Aside from a 2-year break when my daughter was born, I’ve been in the same large organization since 1999, with increases in pay and responsibility along the way. But despite the fact I’m in a significantly more prestigious position than I was when I started, I have LESS space and LESS privacy than I did in ’99. We’ve gone from a culture of private offices for almost everyone to cubicles to, in my current office, almost entirely open plan where even the managers don’t get so much as the semi-privacy of cubicle walls. They actually remodeled the space, tearing down every wall that wasn’t load-bearing. Some days I feel like I’m working in a zoo exhibit, there for all the world to see. I swear, I hope I’m a successful enough writer to quit my day job someday not just because I’d get to do what I really love full-time but also because it’s so exhausting to spend my days with so little peace and privacy.

  • P J Evans

     I hate group lunches and parties,where it’s going out to a restaurant. Noisy environment, made worse by having twenty people talking loudly at a long table (or two), even if it’s in a back room. I’d rather eat at my desk. (Which was sometimes handy: things would come up while everyone else was out.)


    I’ve seen this a lot on the internet, and I don’t understand it.  Why does everyone hate on the extrovert?

    Because extroverts run the Real World, and we’ll be damned if we let them take over the Internets too.

  • I really hate text messaging myself. Though I also hate voicemail.

    (Also, I don’t have text messaging included with my cell phone account so a big chunk of my experience of text messaging is my ex girlfriend passive-aggressiving me out of a buck fifty in a little fit once every six months.  I don’t know if it’s still true, but I saw it reported once that text messaging was literally the most expensive form of communication in history, and that includes when “Write it on parchment and give it to a guy who then goes off on a galleon” was on the table)

  • Antigone10

    Me, personally?  Yes.  Because my interests are mismatched with extroversion, and I am a mild extrovert, so it has to be people I actually care to be around, rather than just “people” in general.  I don’t understand people that going to work where they deal with the public is ENERGIZING though I’ve worked with them so I know they exist.

    In general?  No.  There is a clear social preference for people who just gain and gain energy being around people insomuch as it makes them easier to gain social skills*, most jobs require you to be around people in some form or another, and there is a clear benefit when it comes to networking.   I hate meetings, and find them draining and a waste of time.  If just being around people slow saps your strength, I realize that everything that’s terrible about time-wasting meetings also goes up to “might kill my ability to get any work done for the rest of the day”.  And I also understand that most of our social interactions have a script that benefits introvert- the “let’s go to the bar and hang out for an indefinite period of time” is annoying to me, but again, it’s even worse for people who are getting more and more drained.**  Or the “if a person doesn’t talk to me, it must mean that they secretly hate you or something” that was the fodder for about five million sitcoms and half the advice column fodder. I really liked this comic, because I felt that it was a clear, concise way of re-writing social scripts to respect introverts-

     But, that doesn’t mean I still like being marred for being who I am.  Even the hamster ball comic had to get it’s swipe in about being an obnoxious predator.  I support the whole “internalize that I am different than you”.  The Ted talk about the Power of Introvert was nice, and I support greater understanding.  But I think it’s mean to be constantly telling me that I am wrong, bad person for something I didn’t really have a choice in being is not increasing understanding.  It’s being mean.

    *In the same way that if you get energy exercising means you’ll probably be in better shape.  There is no reason that this will necessarily be the case, and I most definitely don’t want anyone to think that all extrovert are socially graced, and all introverts aren’t.  **How does anyone do this?  How do you get anything done if there’s just a big block of time that has question marks at ending time?   I mean, I’ll go to the bar after a movie or something, but it’s normally “Sure, but only for an hour, I have to sleep” or “Sure, let’s catch dinner, but let’s get fast food because I have XYZ to do”.  I’m envious of people that just seem to be able to do stuff.

  • Well, for whatever it’s worth, I don’t think you’re a bad person. And I’m not a fan of insulting people, and I endorse the stuff you endorse here. And I’ll take your word for it that the benefits you get from your mild extroversion don’t offset the costs, since it seems rude to do otherwise when I don’t know you.

  • fredgiblet

    One of the few joys of working in a call center is that we aren’t making money if we aren’t talking to customers.  That means the meetings are few and far between and when they do happen they’re short.

  • AnonymousSam

    Mine struggles for weeks at a time just determining the time of meeting, and yet 90% of the people who attend the meetings are within each others’ presence at least 10 hours every day. The few exceptions to this rule? They don’t bother attending meetings either.

  • Lori


    Is there something wrong with me?  I’ve had nothing but jobs that
    paid only a fraction of my living costs (the most I have ever made was
    in the mid $20s) and have been nothing but keeping my nose to the

    I think that I would love a $50,000 a year job that requires me to sit in time-wasting meetings all day.   

    There is nothing wrong with you. I’ve had jobs where we literally had meetings about meetings. I’m currently working at a job where I attend no meetings of any kind, ever. It pays less than half what I used to make, I have no benefits, I’m on my feet 7 1/2 hours a day and it was a good day if I leave work with none of my fingers bleeding. 

    If you told me that I could have my old salary and my old duties and just generally my old life back, but every week from now until retirement I would have to attend a 3 hour meeting about why our meetings aren’t more productive I would take that deal in a heartbeat. I’d show up to that meeting with a smile on my face and probably a box of donuts in my hand. Meetings suck, no doubt about it, but the kinds of jobs most likely to not involve meetings suck a lot more.

  • Lori


    it’s so exhausting to spend my days with so little peace and privacy.   

    Open Plan is just evil. IME even most extroverts hate it and outside a few highly collaborative jobs it does not have the benefits that that its advocates claim and in most jobs it’s an active hindrance to productivity.

  • Alt-11: Get 5 minutes of a technical description of a problem, none of which sinks in at all because you’re the sort of person who relates better to things you read or see than things you only hear.

    Though I never get to that stage because I have no idea how my work phone works. I’m a UI expert, I refuse to deal with bad UI. There’s a dozen extra buttons; none of them do what you’d think.

    My iPhone is dead easy, and I have an ancient answering machine at home – two buttons, dead simple.

  • The thing is, though, that once you’re in a situation where some of the larger problems such as lousy pay, physical exhaustion, and so forth, go away (or are at least reduced) as you move into a better job, all of the little irritations in your new situation become sort of magnified.

    However, as much as I hate most of the meetings I have to attend (and the million other frustrations that come with my job), I still prefer it over some of the crappier jobs I’ve had – I would never willingly go back to working in a call center or grocery store, for example – and I am grateful for what I have.  But honestly, that can only take me so far.

    That is, it’ll make me go in there and do it day-in and day-out, but it’s not enough to get me to do it cheerfully and without complaint.

  • I don’t object to meetings in general. If my employer wants to pay me to waste time, that’s their call. They do kick my agoraphobia into high gear, though.

    I always listen to my voice mail. I can’t understand 2/3 of it, but I do listen to it.

  • Now that she’s gone I don’t run into this one anymore, but it used to be that 11 was frequently my boss saying, “Hey, swing by when you have a chance.”

  • Lori

    The thing is, though, that once you’re in a situation where some of the larger problems such as lousy pay, physical exhaustion, and so forth, go away (or are at least reduced) as you move into a better job, all of
    the little irritations in your new situation become sort of magnified.   

    Oh believe me, I know. I complained plenty about meetings when I had to go to them.

    That is, it’ll make me go in there and do it day-in and day-out, but it’s not enough to get me to do it cheerfully and without complaint. 

    I totally get that and honestly, until this job I felt the same way. The bleeding fingers, the nagging fear that I’m getting arthritis in my hands and that my bad knee is getting worse and most of all the fact that I can’t afford to get my own apartment have changed my personal calculations a fair bit though.

    I have no doubt that after a few months back in meeting land I’d start complaining again. Because time-wasting meetings with idiots suck right out loud.  However, I’m pretty sure that a few minutes review of the current job and a brief, but stern talking to about it would be all that I’d need to fortify myself to just suck it up. At least for me, having had crappy jobs in the past is not at all the same thing as having had crappy jobs, getting out of them and into better jobs and then falling back into the crap.

  • Dana

    Your friends are rude to you. :-(

    If they agreed to go with you to something, they DO owe you not to cancel without a fairly serious reason (illness, emergency). I’m an introvert, and I get tired and want to avoid socializing, but even I know that. I guess I’ve still done it a couple times, but it IS rude, and being an introvert doesn’t excuse it.

    I mean, that doesn’t necessarily help you though. You can’t just trade them all in for new friends who won’t stand you up.

    But maybe they’ve picked up on your opinion that “they don’t owe me their time” and figure they can get away with it because you don’t really mind if they cancel on you–when the truth is that you do mind, but they don’t realize that. You could try gently mentioning that it makes you sad when you’d planned to spend time with them and they cancel. Or ask if there’d be a time when they’re able to really *commit* to coming, not just that they’re pretty sure they’ll be up for it then.

  • P J Evans

     My manager tried to schedule his big meetings for the Friday afternoons when the software had to be shut down for an hour or so while stuff was being done to the database. His were never boring, anyway.

  • P J Evans

     The office I was in was open-plan, but it was also library-quiet most of the time. (Only a few people tended to be loud and annoying.) We also had a kitchenette where people could go to talk.