Sunday, May 12, 2024

a talent to annoy

Compilations of annoying things that people do never include this one, but it's happened to me more than once.

A group of people (not co-workers in an office, but e.g. a committee of volunteers, with other things in their lives) needs to hold a meeting. Careful planning is done to ensure it's an acceptable and feasible date: either it's discussed extensively at a previous meeting, or through one of those online apps that enable people to say what times they're available.

Then somebody complains that they can't make that date. Either they weren't part of the previous discussion, or their plans have changed, or something.

So the organizer makes a unilateral decision to change the date of the meeting, without checking with anybody else as to whether it suits them. And this after the elaborate procedure to try and establish a good date the first time!

Well, guess what: I have a conflicting engagement. Do I register my own objections? In this case, my conflict is unimportant: I can just cancel it, though I wouldn't have said I was available on this date if I'd been asked the first time. So I don't object: I can't feel arrogant enough to put the group through another date-setting hassle for a trivial reason.

In another case, I then went to great lengths to change my engagement on the new meeting date to the only other possibility, the old meeting date; and I only complained when the organizer then changed the date back again for equally arbitrary reasons. I said I cannot remain part of this committee if it's going to be run in this manner.

It's not just that a carefully-planned process can be overturned if it doesn't work for one person; it's not that the date couldn't be changed again if necessary; it's that the organizer made a unilateral decision, suddenly dropping the previous principle of being generally consultative.

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