Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Let's dispense with the formalities


You might not see it, but this picture illustrates the post perfectly

Earlier in the week I was in a quite late meeting in the company with Cpt. Awkward and his peons to discuss the result of an inspection from the authorities and how to handle some of the follow up actions we had been given to show how we adhered to the environmental regulations of the Tokyo City. As our little situation was a bit special with no clear precedence, we came to the conclusion that we needed to talk with the authorities to get some better guidance on how to do this.

Now, me, late in the evening and a meeting with Cpt. Awkward and his peons is generally not a very good combination since my tolerance for confusion, discussing around topics and their changing opinions just when we seem to be getting close to a conclusion, can make my mask of sanity temporarily come off... At this point, I was so tired of the whole discussion that I decided to try to see if I could up the confusion to levels beyond Cpt. Awkward.The discussion went something like this.

Cpt. Awkward: So we should request an informal meeting with the authorities since having a formal meeting takes too long to set up...
Salaryman: (Still holding on to sanity) Ok, sounds good, can you book that informal meeting quickly?
Cpt. Awkward: (thinking) Yes... We probably should book it informally...
Salaryman: (starting to come loose a little in the seams) Yeah, ok, so you don't want to book the informal meeting formally?
Cpt. Awkward: (confident) Yes, we should do it informally, that's best (stopping to think) ... but they might come back to us and ask us to do it formally...
Salaryman: (starting to break down inside) Ok, but then we just have to book the informal meeting formally then, won't we?
Cpt. Awkward: (thinking hard for a few seconds) Yes, but then they might also ask us to have a formal meeting instead of an informal one...
Salaryman: (facade is cracking and decides to throw fuel on the fire) Ok, then why don't you try to ask informally if it's ok to informally book the informal meeting?
Cpt. Awkward: (like it's the most natural thing) Yes, I think that's the best way
Salaryman: (decides to throw some more gasoline on the fire just for the hell of it) Otherwise I guess you can formally ask if it's ok to ask informally for an informal meeting, and then if they want to have it formally we can informally follow up on that, through formal channels if needed?
Peon of Cpt. Awkward: (looks confused and seem to be catching on, looks at cpt. Awkward but seem to decide to keep her mouth shut so the meeting can end)
Cpt. Awkward: (silent, thinking hard, opens his mouth as to talk a few times after finally making up his mind) Yes... I think so...
Salaryman: (had enough) Ok, then we have a plan, if we need to discuss more internally we can have a formal meeting to follow up, but we can also talk informally too, (just to be mean) you guys will make the minutes of this meeting right, best to have the decisions down formally
Cpt. Awkward: (relieved that it's over) Yes, Peon, please do the minutes
Peon: (looks like she's just been handed a death sentence) Yes...

On the way out of the meeting room I do my good deed of the day and tell her to ignore the last part and just make it simple. Sometimes I feel that the only way to keep my sanity is to just let it go for a bit...

1 comment:

Mr. S. said...

"Sometimes I feel that the only way to keep my sanity is to just let it go for a bit..."

Ford Prefect said much the same about spending a year hopping in and out of the ocean as an olive in a martini (Hitchikers' Guide Series).

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