Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Attendance Is Tentative

During the last several years at work, I've gradually developed a nifty habit. When I receive meeting requests via email, those Microsoft Outlook invitations that list me as a required attendee and ask me to accept, I always -- always -- respond with a "Tentative", even when the person organizing the meeting could fire me himself or have any number of others fire me.

Most people have shrugged it off, though, dismissing my responses as quirks of mine, or at least they did so at first. I'd still go to most of the meetings for those first couple of years, despite my tentativeness. But slowly I began missing meetings, or calling into them. Or finding reasons to work from home. And nowadays I rarely attend meetings at all, except for the ones that I've organized myself or that I know I'll get something out of.

I treasure this habit, and I've even been asked how I'm able to get away with it.

I know this is terrible by most standards and that I've probably ticked off many coworkers. On the other hand, I've become much more productive and incalculably happier at work. It's a relief to skip meetings, especially since they end up being filled with small talk and repetitive discussions that won't contribute to my productivity at all. Wasting my time just so that I can be seen as a participant is irksome. I'd rather not be seen at all. Just let me get my job done!

I worry that I may be missing too many meetings lately, though. My habit might be getting dangerously out of hand.

Today, for instance, I received an email saying:

"Hey Zeri,

Hope you are enjoying the alone time ;)

Could you please join the [very important company] call next week? They were all wondering today what we are up to..."

Sigh. I guess I'm in trouble. But if people want answers from me, I don't understand why they don't simply ask. Conference calls and meetings seem entirely unnecessary.

In any case, I'm thinking of attending the meeting next week. Tentatively, at least.


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