Friday, November 02, 2007

Corporate Flo

(Disclaimer - any blogs that mention work-related stuff have to be awfully vague, so sorry about that)

Corporate America is an important place where serious things happen and important, serious people have serious meetings about important things that will have serious impacts that eventually will become important to others who are serious about Corporate America being an important place. By which I mean, there's a reason that Dilbert and The Office are so popular. The Corporate-World is laugh out loud hilarious, and that's all because of the people in it.

Example - I recently attended a meeting where there were 5 of us in a large conference room. In addition there were 20 or so people conferenced in on the telephone. Well, 15 minutes after the meeting started this lady blasts into the room. (I will refer to this woman as Flo - for no particular reason) Flo was clearly hurried and stressed. She's texting and apologizing simultaneously, without noting that she totally just interrupted the conversation of 25 people. A simple "sorry" would've sufficed. As she takes her seat she continues to apologize and repeatedly (I stress that word) send to the uninterested audience the following messages with her words and actions:

- First and foremost, Flo is important, and that clearly, is why she is late
- Flo had "back to back meetings" (translation: "I am very important")
- Flo was several buildings away in her last meeting (translation: "I am very important even in other buildings"), and that's another reason she should be excused for being late
- Flo would like to start the meeting over now. (Translation: Flo is so important that the combined importance of the rest of us is way less than her importance alone)

Something to know about Flo - as corporate ladders go, she's at or below the rung that the rest of us hang on to. So it's not like the CEO just waltzed in.

After several minutes of this the moderator graciously (by which is mean she's way too nice) begins getting Flo up to speed. While the moderator is talking across the table to Flo, she pulls our her PDA and starts texting/emailing. Yes, she's that important. The moderator pretended to be blind and just kept on talking. At the end of the monologue, she asks Flo if that all made sense. Without making eye contact Flo's response was, "not really, but I'll catch up." At this point I wisely covered up my laughter with a fake coughing fit.

There were several other comments from Flo as the meeting when on where she again made sure that we understood that she was sorry for being late because she had back to back meetings in another building. Apparently, she feared that after a couple of minutes our child-like minds would forget how important she was. The absolute kicker though was when the meeting was opened up for questions. Now, I'm pretty forgiving on dumb questions. Heck, I ask lots of 'em. But Flo uttered one (which I can't repeat for fear of the corporate blog hounds) that was so bizarre my jaw hit the table. It was akin to you asking the woman who gave birth to you (Mom) if she's ever been pregnant. Have you ever heard something that was so funny that you couldn't even laugh at it? After the initial shock wore off and the meeting ended I was able to get my hearty chuckle.

Long post here, but the lesson is that we corporate citizens probably aren't quite as important as we think ourselves to be. I suspect that several of you know Flo-like people. If so, will you please invite me to a meeting with them some time? I haven't laughed that hard at work in a long time. Meanwhile, I'm guessing that our friend Flo is at this very moment in another serious back-to-back meeting in another building. So if you see her . . . don't open the floor for questions. (If you do though, can I just call in and listen?)



Anonymous said...

I dunno but I bet the off-duty stewardess and Flo are related or at least neighbors. As Hogan would say, high Prudence, Power, Ambition and negative IS.

Great blog!

Anonymous said...

Scott - This might be your best one yet! I can only imagine Flo and all her mannerisms. Can't wait to hear the whole story. Hope all is well. - Michelle

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