Every Staff Meeting, A Stage Play

by robinhardwick

A follow up to my rant about presentations.

[SCENE: a large conference room with a white board and dry erase pens that never work.

MARYANNE, the boss, enters with a comically large cup of coffee.]

JOSH: I need that to get through the day I am having! In fact, give me ten cups! Haha!

SASHA: I brought carrot cake that I made! Pass it around. [Some people take a piece, others are tired of eating her shitty food.]

CHRIS: Okay, I guess I’ll be bad today. There goes my daily points allowance! I’ll just have to run circles around my desk to work this off![Stuffs cake into his mouth.]

MARYANNE: (looking at the clock) I guess we’ll wait just a few more minutes.

[Some of the staff scream internally, because why the fuck did they get here so early if the boss going to keep enabling those grown adults who can’t ever be somewhere on time.]

[KAREN saunters in the room, carrying an iced latte from Starbucks that she was obviously was out buying which was why she was late. KAREN offers no apology and has no shame for being late while buying coffee, because she a fucking rude human who doesn’t care about others.]

MARYANNE: Okay, let’s get started. I sent out the agenda over email, but I brought copies in case you need them.

[Silent fuming resumes, especially since there was no point in sending it out to begin with, and no one ever fucking reads emails.]

MARYANNE: We’ll start with a quick-check in from everyone. Let’s go in a circle!

CHRIS: I had a fabulous weekend. I ended up laying around all day and got nothing done. Oh well, it happens, right?

KAREN: I’m fine. I’m angry that my sports team didn’t win. [She is really upset, which is odd, especially since she had nothing to do with the performance of her team at all.]

SASHA: Oh my god, I am so stressed. I just have so much to do. I was here til 10pm last night. [Nodding from the others show sympathy, although most people don’t know what the fuck SASHA does that makes her stay that late. Some surmise that she spends a lot of time complaining about her work which takes actual time away from her work.]

[The check-ins continue, and nothing about them gives anyone any hint of personality or humanity, nor does it bring people closer together. Fifteen minutes of the meeting have already been used up.]

MARYANNE: Okay, let’s go around and give kudos.

BORIS: Thanks so much to Sasha who helped me through a hard time yesterday. She knows what I mean. [The others don’t know or care what he means, because he obviously meant this as a private message to Sasha, or as a passive-aggressive jibe at someone in the room.]

SASHA: Thanks, B. I want to give Kudos to Chris for helping me order all those supplies yesterday! It was such a big task. [Again, others are confused because Chris is the office manager and therefore that it his job, so he was getting a kudos for something he is supposed to be doing anyway? ]

[The kudos-ing goes on for another fifteen minutes. ]

MARYANNE: Okay, let’s get to the first item. How’s the Malloy project coming along?

BORIS: Fine, fine. What do you all think of blue for the folder cover? Green?

KAREN: You should make it orange.

BORIS: Why orange?

KAREN: Because I like it. (She offers no data or other reasons to change it, as all that matters to KAREN is her particular thought at this moment. Actually had this been asked over email, she wouldn’t have answered because she only gives feedback when she has time to flap her gums at someone.)

BORIS: Okay. How do I change the order? [Some people are scowling, because this is a very specific fucking conversation that doesn’t need to be had in a large meeting and could be figured out by someone else on their own. Not everyone needs to fucking hold Boris’ hand through this.]

[The group talks about the folder covers for another twenty minutes.]

CINDY: [who has been silent up until this point and just texting on her phone.] We don’t all need to hear this..

BORIS: Cindy! I’m really triggered by what you just said. I can’t believe you could be so mean. [Eyes rolled dramatically, as this is not the first time BORIS has taken things so personal because he is unable to act like a fucking adult with adult emotional reactions, and doesn’t understand that work and personal are different, no matter how many fucking times this happens.]

MARYANNE: Okay, okay. Let’s take a moment and talk about how that affected Boris and the team.

[Another twenty minutes go by where BORIS and KAREN talk about how they are feeling, and how this affected them, and what their emotional needs are. Tensions are high because many people don’t give a shit what is going on with these two and just want to get their work done and not attend fucking group therapy.]

MARYANNE: Unfortunately, we are out of time. We’ll have to save these items for the next meeting.

SASHA: Someone take this carrot cake away from me! I’ll just eat it all myself! Heh, heh.


Also posted on Medium.