Meetings are one thing I hate more than almost anything. In graduate school, we would have our weekly meetings as a group then weekly individual meetings. The group one was just stupid. I understand the point, but weekly progress on everyone else was not something I cared about then. The individual ones were quite helpful for focusing the research and overcoming any hurdles. These were pretty much the only meetings other than faculty committee meetings for which I was frequently the student representative on. Industry has a whole other level of meetings. I kid you not-meetings to schedule other meetings. Some people just wouldn’t have much to do so they’d want to have meetings to try to solve nonexistent problems. And then ‘Town hall’ type meetings, and planning meetings. And no one knew how to arrange for a meeting that gets to the point where afterward I can look back and say that was time well spent. I would arrange a group meeting then the occasional brainstorming meeting and these often had useful outcomes, but the number of useless meetings were boggling. I learned at this point how much corporate waste there was, and it always left me wondering how some people were employed.
This brings me to the meetings I have now. I have my typical students meetings. These are beneficial to my research, though they could be smoother. The faculty meetings are my problem. I’d say 20% of what is said is useful, and there are a lot of people that just like the sound of their voice. In faculty planning meetings we discuss changes in policies, lab space, etc for the first 15 minutes then the last 45 minutes is information we already know or complaints that we can’t do anything about. In faculty recruitment meetings, it’s me trying to get the other members on board with recruiting a little outside of the box, and then no one listening to me. In staff meetings….don’t get me started. Now, these meetings are far better than the average meeting I had in industry, but they could be way more efficient. And what I’ve realized is this: In general, the more someone hates meetings, the better run the meetings are and the better the meeting is. It’s weird to think about it this way, but I’m 100% sure I’m correct.