Zooming Away To Another Meeting

James Proclaims (4)

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I’m in a meeting as I write this. It is, as most meetings are these days, a ‘virtual’ meeting. I’m currently using Zoom. I have also used Teams quite a lot. I don’t like either very much.

I’ve never written a blog post in a meeting before, however, as there are 42 people in this meeting and no-one can see or hear me, due to the fact that my camera and microphone are switched off,  I thought it would be a better way of spending the time, rather than actually listening.

I’ve also ‘left’ the meeting to make multiple hot beverages, while still, as far as anyone knew, remaining ‘in the room’.

The meeting has been going on for 45 minutes and is showing no signs of ending any time soon, certainly not within the advertised time span. Hardly any of the agenda items pertain to me. In fact none of them directly pertain to me, but there were a couple of bits that were vaguely useful for me to know about in an abstract way. Those agenda items have long since passed. However, in that respect, this is no different to how these meetings tend to work in ‘real life’.

I can’t write a blog post in the real meetings though.

But I can in this.

I’ve certainly found writing it more diverting than listening to the various people who have been permitted to have their microphones on during the meeting.

Except for the bit when one of the more senior members of staff was struggling with a poor internet connection and sounded a bit like a broken robot. Mainly because people were telling him they couldn’t hear him properly but he also couldn’t hear them so he kept going on and on and people were clearly getting quite vexed by the whole thing.

I enjoy the vexation of others as long as the source of their vexation is not vexing to me. Which this wasn’t.

But in general I do find meetings to be vexing, and virtual meetings are possibly more vexatious than real life meetings.

Some virtual meetings require me to be an active and engaged participant. They are the worst.

This one didn’t though, so I can hardly be blamed for not giving it my full attention.

 

Que Sera Sera

James Proclaims (4)

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Having been largely dormant for much of 2019, my blog has enjoyed something of a resurgence of late.

This may be a natural consequence of all that is going on in the world.

Then again, although it is abundantly clear, even to an introvert like me, that social norms appear to have changed for most of us (or at least those of us who don’t work as special advisors to the prime minister) aside from having to queue to get into supermarkets, not much has really changed for me.

Because I am the father of a very small person. A toddler if you will. So I never got to see anyone or do anything anyway.

Obviously I’m being slightly glib. I think. I’m not actually sure what ‘glib’ means, but it seems appropriate to use it here.

Yep, I’ve just looked it up and it was the right word.

I’m being as glib as a politician who tells you that they are being guided by the science.

Obviously life has changed for me in the last few months, but not as profoundly, I don’t think, as it probably has for people who like spending time with, y’know, other people. And who don’t have an adorable yet demanding small person in their lives.

But, even though I have mostly still been at work (and yes, I actually have been ‘at work’ rather than working from home, for quite a few weeks now, since I established that, as no-one else was there, it was as easy to social distance in my office as at home and far far easier to pretend to be working hard there), my job has changed quite a lot. Because I work in a secondary school, not strictly speaking as a teacher (though I could if I wanted to, I have the relevant pieces of paper that permit me to teach children how to not fail exams, which has, essentially been the main focus of the British education system for many a year now, not least since, fairly early in the decade just gone, when Mr Gove and his special advisor, a certain Mr Cummings, decided that anything resembling a holistic education for children was a massive waste of time), but as someone who attends lots of meetings in which many things are discussed but nothing is ever resolved. And though I have had to attend a lot of the same meetings ‘virtually’ and complete lots of unnecessary paperwork that no-one will ever read, the absence of any actual children in school has been different to say the least.

I’ve still been busy, but there have been fewer distractions and so I may have had a little more time to blog. On the other hand, for the last two months I’ve been blogging predominantly about music and Star Wars, and I’d been planning on doing that regardless of ‘you know what’. The birth of my daughter in August 2018 resulted in the latter part of 2018 and most of 2019 being quite unproductive in blogging terms. Because it turns out that being a new parent is both time-consuming and exhausting. Who knew? Roughly 65% of the posts I wrote between June 2018 and March 2020 were the Christmas-Adjacent movie reviews I write in the build-up to Christmas. And no-one ever reads those. So I’d pretty much decided that I needed to have a couple of ‘blog projects’ that didn’t rely on me writing about movies that may have a tenuous link to Christmas. And I’d planned my April ‘A-Z of albums’  some time in advance of writing the posts. I planned the Star Wars thing a little less well, but notionally I thought it might be fun to do a long time before May arrived. And I was right, it was fun to do.

There’s no doubt that having slightly more time, due to world events, has helped my blog stumble back into existence, but I like to think I would have written most of what I have written without the need for a global pandemic.

But now we’re in June.

And I haven’t planned anything for June.

Except to write the same sort of stuff as I was writing before my extended paternity leave from the blogosphere.

And I can’t quite remember what that was.

I have vague recollections of writing something about soup once.

And I’m pretty certain there was something about the etiquette of waving on a boat.

And I expect I moaned about Brexit a few times.

And there was definitely a lot of bad poetry.

And some stuff was just plain weird.

Anyway, the point, if indeed there is a point, is that I’ve definitely re-discovered my love of blogging, which should mean that there will be a fair amount of content on these pages in the coming months.

But I offer no guarantees as to the quality of that content.

 

 

 

Quality Of Life

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Neville rubbed his eyes wearily. It had been a long day of meetings. Meetings about progress, meetings about strategy, meetings about personnel, meetings about finance, meetings about data and at one point, Neville was fairly certain, there had been a meeting about meetings.

The majority of these gatherings had followed a similar format. They began with a review of the objectives set at the last meeting. Next came the acknowledgement that none of those objectives had been met. This was followed by a minor witch-hunt as individuals tried to pin the failure to meet their assigned objectives onto other people. This, in turn, led to some robust ‘conversations’ as the accused refuted the blame and tried to apportion the liability elsewhere. Ultimately there was a consensus that most of the failings were probably the fault of those reckless souls who hadn’t bothered to turn up to the meeting. Each conclave would end with a new set of objectives (or more accurately the re-stating of the last set of objectives) despite the near-certainty that none of these targets would be met by the time the next meeting rolled around.

But now the working day was finally over and Neville had a few hours of reprieve. He knew he probably should do some preparatory work for tomorrow’s meetings, but, as he was more than certain that no-one else would do so, he felt that any endeavours on his part to make the  following day’s assemblies anything more than a complete waste of time, would be an additional waste of his own time.

Neville had better things to do with his evening. There little enough of it, once his arduous commute home was taken into account, so he was certainly not inclined to spend it reading through the interminably dull, and predominantly out-of-date, reports that would be erroneously quoted by equally ill-informed colleagues in the various discussions he was due to partake in during the following day.

No, Neville’s time was his own and he planned to spend it, as he did every other night.

This entailed settling down on his sofa, sticking on a boxset, and consuming a moderately-priced Pinot Noir until he could see the bottom of the bottle or he passed out.

Whichever came first.