Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tap Tap Tap

I hate waiting. I have things to do. Big lumpy things that take chunks of time and concentration. And oftentimes, I think of those things when I'm waiting... on hold... with the horrific chamber music playing on a loop... waiting. 

The 48 Laws of Power documents keeping people waiting as a real power struggle tool. Indeed, if I were waiting for a colleague or a subordinate, I'd have hung up at the 5 minute mark, and awaited an email for further instructions. But, as we all know, Professors get 15 minutes. And, as it turns out, so do bosses.

Last week, I called in at 3pm for a call, from my cell phone. An email was sent at 3:12 that the meeting would be moved to 3:15, which, of course, I couldn't get, since I was on my cell phone, and Priya hasn't solved that particular problem yet in telecommunications. So I hung up at 3:15 only to dial back in immediately. And continue listening to the loop of what I thought was a Telemann symphony, but which was actually Brandenburg Concerto #3 , played by a chamber music group. I know this song intimately, having played it ad nauseum in junior high school orchestra with half the folks on my facebook friend list (Shout out, Kim!). And so, I remembered and fingered every note of the second violin part, as I waited. Like a psycho on the cell phone in a Cosi in Boston. Tap tap tap, tap tap tap... up down up.. up up down... (violin.. bow.. up up.. down)

Then, naturally, I didn't get the email at 3:23 that the meeting time would now be moved to 3:30... and in a huff, I hung up. And called back... 

The meeting started around 3:31.. and lasted all of 10 minutes. You cannot imagine my level of anger and frustration. I hate being manipulated by such a power move. 

And for those of you who would caution me against ascribing this to fabricated power politics, I concede that the organizer clearly didn't delay simply as a sign of his strength and power. But, had he not been the one in power, he would have naturally assumed that he had missed his opportunity to meet, and scheduled another convenient alternative time, rather than keeping the entire crew on a tether for 30 minutes. Power gave him the right to handle it poorly, knowing there were no ramifications. 




7 comments:

SuperBunny said...

Sometimes they say that before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.

That way you will be a mile away and have their shoes.

Did your boss at least apologize for the delay?

Lilac - Like The Flower said...

yeah. well, I'm sure he's very very busy. But, I never understood why bosses didn't accept that and say "forget it, I have to cancel. let's meet tomorrow".

You always get a "sorry for the delay guys..." but that hardly makes up for it. And no change of behavior.. so...

Priya said...

er. i do what you described at least once every 2 days.

Priya said...

also, i can't agree more that it's time for some parallel processing so one can talk on the phone and check email at the same time.

Lilac - Like The Flower said...

Really, Pri? Not being late, but keeping a group on a tether waiting an indefinite amount of time?

Priya said...

yes, it happens all the time. i do it and other people do it to me.

Priya said...

though, i'm not saying it's right