I organize a lot of meetings, events, what have you. I also attend a lot of meetings, events, what have you. When I am planning one of these gatherings, I’m planning until the last minute. Ordering lunches, planning the program, printing out reports, gathering information and so on. I mean, I’m planning up until the very last minute. As in, right before I open my mouth to kick off the meeting/event/what have you. This is a stressful time in my life. I’m not an event planner. I’m not a good organizer. I can develop an idea, create an engaging topic, and spin it in a way that is beneficial for the folks that attend. But, I stress.
It is because of this stress that I write this post. It is not meant to “come down” on anyone in particular (although those of you who read more, may recognize some things.) It is not meant to demean anyone (although, if you choose to be demeaned, I plead the ignorance.) It is also not meant to start a lively debate about what is right and what is wrong. This is simply a forum for me to vent. To facilitate, in my own disgruntled way, a chance to get this annoyance off of my back.
This is my point. When you sign up for a meeting that starts at 12:00 p.m….do not, under any circumstances, show up at 11:00 a.m. I get it. You’re early. You are so deathly afraid of being late, that you over compensate and show up an ENTIRE HOUR EARLY. Seriously? For what? Are you scared that the croutons will be all gone from the salad buffet? Are you frightened that there might be some lively conversation beforehand? Is there a chance that the event will fill up and if you show up on time, you’ll have to stand in the back? Trust me. None of these things will happen if you show up at Noon for a noon meeting. I will see to it personally.
There is no more nerve-racking thing, while I’m hustling and bustling about, trying to do this and that, than to have you sitting there, with no food (because it won’t arrive for another 45 minutes), no form of entertainment (except me sweating my baguettes off running around), and no comprehension of how to exist in a society that runs on a clock. If we used a sundial, I can understand being to early. But we don’t. We have cell phones, we have watches, hell we have cell phone watches.
I can feel the steely glare from you on the back of my head as I set up lunch. I can sense you watching me scramble to get things ready while you silently judge me. “If you were better at your job, this would have been done by the time I arrived,” I can hear you say to yourself. But, you just sit there. Occasionally, you may ask to help, and I grin and politely say “Oh no, I’m just getting things ready for this meeting that starts at NOON,” as if I thought you were in the wrong room. But, I know you aren’t. You’re there for me. For MY meeting. An hour early.
But, time passes and I get things worked out. You are still there when folks being to arrive, ON TIME, for the meeting. You get your food. You sit back down. You talk to no one. You just sit there. I begin the meeting, and 15 minutes in, you stand up and pronounce, “I’m sorry, I have a meeting at 12:30. I wanted to get as much as I could before I left.” You don’t even stay for the whole thing. And, I die a little on the inside.
Brock Koonce – Program Director at Greenville Forward