December 13, 2007

Anyone? Anyone?

Long office meetings. Daunting work seminars.

Has anyone ever experienced them? If not, you've been hiding under your desk for the year.

Some of these never ending seminars remind me of the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off when the pesky teacher, played by Ben Stein, notices half the class asleep and decides to ask a question. When nobody answers, he says, "Anyone, Anyone?" in a monotone voice and the camera pans the classroom where most of the students are either chewing their gum, sleeping or looking out the window.

Today, I had to go downtown for a work seminar. Right now, my job is typically working with seniors and setting up community based services.
For the first seminar (lasting three hours), it was all about baselines, probabilities, statistics, formulas and ratios. After the fifth chart regarding statistical evidence and formulas of whether Adult Day Service leads to precursory nursing home placement, I decided to peruse the room a bit with my eyes.

My attention first came to a woman who was chewing her nail tips off and then looking at them (which didn't hold my attention long), then I decided to write down the supposed work out schedule for my upcoming New Year's resolution of joining a gym and working out every morning (which was quite overblown when I put that I would wake up at 5:00 in the morning and go exercise for two hours along with walking the dog, then doing ab exercises at night and so on and so forth), then I looked at my neighbor who was trying to figure out how many words she could come up with from the word Marriott (Hotel).

Finally, a break for lunch.

The later half of the day and the second session (of three hours again) was the Disaster Relief seminar. Everything you need to know and then some of how to prepare your Adult Day Center for an upcoming natural disaster or threat. First of all, I don't own or work at an Adult Day Center and second, three hours of listening to how we have to be prepared for any kind of threat and what to stock our Emergency kits with started to get to be a little too much.

The first half of the afternoon session was interesting but after the break, it slowly went to "Is it over yet?" Toward the last hour, I again decided to peruse my eyes around to see what people were doing. But it's more like I heard what someone was doing.

Down at the end of our row, a woman had fallen asleep and was snoring outright like a grizzly bear inhaling deep breaths and then spewing out a loud, "Argh!" The woman even had her head tilted back with her mouth wide open. Several people noticed, especially when she was exhaling her loud snore. I don't know if the speakers heard her or not, but I don't see how they couldn't have noticed. But they went on, never missing a beat which I guess is a mark of a true meeting presenter.
In all fairness to myself, I tried to listen to what they had to say. But not only was it not relevant to what I do but it was long. Really, really long.
Meetings. Seminars. They are an American right of passage into the business world. Great things can come from them: detailed to do lists from the organizers, doodles and portraits from the creative thinkers and daydreaming for those who are neither.
So the next time you go to one of "those" seminars or meetings, do what I do. Look around at the people and what they do when they are bored. And perhaps a smile will come across your face because we are all more alike than you think.

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