I'm not a big fan of meetings.  At all.  In fact, I happen to think that one of the only things that ever comes out of meetings is the need to have another meeting down the road.  It's a vicous cycle.

With that in mind, I wasn't terribly disappointed when my ability to travel to a meeting today dissolved for reasons beyond my control.  Instead, I was forced to phone in.  While the convenience of participating, but not really 'being there' was appreciated...I was none too pleased when the conference call went WAY longer than it should have.

I also learned that at a certain point, one's mind begins to wander off to the dark side.  It becomes crystal clear that there is a problem when you are asked "MacLoosh, what's your take on this?" and you almost fall out of your chair trying to take your phone off mute to answer.  Stunned and off guard, you muster your way through an answer that you hope doesn't give away the fact that you weren't paying 100% attention to the conversation.

Being on speakerphone for too long is clearly unhealthy.  There needs to be a standard put in place.

So, somewhere on the agenda, between the Roll call and Motion to Adjourn, I came up the Seven Stages of Conference Calls (7SoCC).  I'm quite sure that someone, somewhere has already written something like this, but this is original to me...so BACK OFF MAN...I'm in no mood for criticism.

Yep.  The meeting went right through lunch.  
Stage 1:  Enthusiasm.  That feeling of "sweet", lets get this going and rip through the agenda.  I'm all in. Lots to discuss, but if everyone stays on task--we can wrap this up in a decent amount of time and still get something accomplished today.

Stage 2: The Fade.  This starts to happen in earnest somewhere around the 1 hour mark.  You begin to think "holy mother of god...I'm going to need more coffee".  But neither caffeine nor sugar can buzz you up enough to keep from entering a downward spiral.

Stage 3:  Disbelief and disgust.  Are you 'effing kidding me?!  Did we REALLY just completely throw the agenda out the window and start down another rabbit hole?  How can this be happening?  Does EVERYONE have the attention span of a toddler?

Stage 4:  Depression.  Your office has shrunk to the size of a laundry basket, the air conditioner isn't blowing enough cold air, and you can't leave to go to the bathroom (for fear of being asked a question).  You begin to consider wetting yourself as an act of rebellion.

Stage 5: Hallucinatory fantasy/Delusions of grandeur.  You begin to imagine that the phone has become a portal to hell, the voices inside it are not talking about agenda items.  Rather, they are telling you that flying monkeys have invaded Tokyo and only you can save the city and its inhabitants with your bionic fly rod, and a fly called "bellybutton lint".  Of course, you wear a cape.  Don't be silly.

Stage 6:  Hopelessness.  There is nothing you can do.  You are helplessly stuck here forever. Someone will miss you after a couple of days, you hope.  When they finally find you, they have to  pry the phone handset from your cold, dead hands.  You begin thinking of ways to gouge your eyes out with Post-It notes and taking outdated cold medicine--just to see if it numbs the pain.

Stage 7: Unbridled joy.  Followed closely by a feeling of emptiness.  Did it really just end?  Just like that? Hell Yeah! Wait...you mean I can get some work done now?  but I feel so.....so......so.....lost.  I'm not really sure how to handle myself, and my leg muscles have atrophied so I'm not even sure I can make it to the bathroom.

And finally, while not an actual stage of the conference call, there will be some sort of recovery that needs to take place.  Mine will come in the form of a long awaited fishing outing with a new friend tomorrow  On my favorite brookie water.

This one was caught and released in 2011 at tomorrow's destination.  Hoping for a repeat.
Come hell or high water...I had better catch some fish, or shits bout' to get ugly.

Til later,


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