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|Meeting to Death|
Aug. 20th, 2007 at 10:35 am
You would think that a lifelong member of the Church would be accustomed to long meetings. After all, each week we endure a three-hour meeting, and if weâ€™re â€œluckyâ€ enough to have certain leadership responsibilities, that cranks up to anywhere from four to six hours. In fact, Iâ€™ve been enjoying a six-hour meeting schedule each Sunday for the past couple of years. Talk about a rowdy, good time.
So when my current job at a state agency assigned me to a committee that meets each week for two to four hours, I didnâ€™t think much of it. Iâ€™m a meeting veteran. A two-hour meeting? Please. The equivalent of skipping sacrament meeting and showing up for Sunday School and Eldersâ€™ Quorum would be a Mormon vacation of sorts.
But there was a catch. This was the Workforce Development Committee. I know nothing about workforce development. I make no pretense about having any academic or professional experience whatsoever in workforce development. This didnâ€™t stop them. Everyone knows weâ€™re all better off if thereâ€™s a lawyer on the committee, even if he knows nothing about the subject matter.
I started out with the best of intentions. This would be a great opportunity to learn about a new subject. And you never know when it might come in handy. I mean, who wouldnâ€™t want to develop a workforce every now and again? I tried to pay attention and show interest. I really tried. And I made it almost an hour. Mercifully, the first meeting was only two hours, and I made it without slipping into a stage of REM.
Subsequent meetings often stretched three, sometimes four hours. Each meeting I waged an all-out war against the soporific, mind-numbing tedium. At the height of my boredom, I stumbled across a brilliant idea. I began making â€œTop Fiveâ€ lists of things I like. It began with relatively mundane topics: top five movies, top five bands, top five cities. But as the meetings continued, I had to branch out: top five breakfast cereals, top five people Iâ€™d like to have lunch with, top five ethnicities Iâ€™d want to have as neighbors in my cul-de-sac.
My meeting demeanor underwent a dramatic change. Little did committee members know that my pensiveness stemmed not from the intricacies of creating an appropriate credentialing system, but from trying to round out my â€œTop Five Restaurant Dessertsâ€ list. It was a true win-win scenario. Committee members slept better at night thinking they had an attentive, thoughtful lawyer on their committee, and I had a fascinating series of lists that could come in handy on any number of occasions.
Alas, all good things come to an end, and the Workforce Development Committee finally completed its mission. I canâ€™t tell you what that mission was, but if youâ€™re looking for five good juices, five great books on Africa, or five excellent breakfast restaurants, just let me know.