Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I can't answer that
It seems like lately, corporate meetings has been on my blogging agenda (mixed up with some homeless guys and sweatpants) but my lovely company is currently in a pretty intense process trying to settle organization, budget etc. before the start of 2009.
Since this involves a lot of negotiations and discussions with our regional overlords I end up involved quite often even if it is not directly related to my marketing related tasks. This means a lot of meetings, and the worst type of them; teleconferences... I probably should dedicate another post to the horrors of telecons, but let's just say that talking over the phone is not made easier by language and cultural barriers between our office and our overlords.
The other day I participated in such a meeting, supporting my colleagues in the Quality Assurance department in which the objective was to negotiate more resources for the coming year. A highly important subject and something that also directly relates to my job since it will impact sales and marketing if they cannot do their job properly. In the beginning things were going pretty well and I felt that the negotiations were going our way. Then a question that neither me nor Mr. Shachou could answer came and we needed the QA Manager "Captain Awkward" to answer for us. The conversation went something like this:
Overlord: Ok, that sounds fine, but do you really need this particular thing since you just said that you will be doing something something instead?
Mr. Salaryman: (Silently motioning to Captain Awkward that he should answer)
Cpt. Awkward: (Silently starting at the telecon device in front of him)
Cpt. Awkward: (Silently starting at the telecon device in front of him, scratching his nose)
Mr. Shachou: We're here, we're just gonna translate the question so our QA manager can answer (translates to Cpt. Awkward)
Cpt. Awkward: (takes a breath and looks like he's gonna speak but ends up giving a deep sigh instead)
Mr. Shachou: (Stirring in his chair and looking around the room in desperation knowing that the time for giving a decisive impression to his direct overlords has passed)
Cpt. Awkward: (half muttering to himself in Japanese) It's not like we're just sitting around...
Mr. Salaryman: (Realizing that the farce needs to end) I think we might have some language problems here, but we got the question and will get back to you by e-mail later
I felt slightly uncomfortable sitting in on the scolding that Cpt. Awkward got after the meeting from Mr. Shachou, there's something disturbing about watching a man in his late '50s on the verge of tears due to work... The take-home message here is; whatever you do, try to give clear and decisive answers to your overlords and if you don't know the answer divert the attention quickly!