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The staff meeting anatomized

Good afternoon. I realize that we are starting this scheduled meeting 15 minutes late, but I was doing something else, and being your boss entitles me to waste your time.

Let me go over what we will accomplish today.

We’ll lead off with 10 minutes or so of chitchat about some sporting event or television show, during which the two or three people who care about it will share their superficial opinions and attempts at humor.

Then Drudge will proceed to paraphrase, word for word, the memo that went out before the meeting, which nearly all of you did not read. The follow-up will be a reminder circulated after the meeting, which you will also ignore.

I will launch into an anecdote of no particular relevance.

After that, Roundabout will take about 15 minutes to convey five minutes’ worth of information to you, digressing, repeating sentences, losing his train of thought, regaining it and retracing his previous steps, losing the thread again, and finally trailing off as you grip the table to keep yourselves from screaming.

Iconoclast will speak up, showing his bold originality by making a point completely at variance with everything that has gone before. Once he has established his individuality afresh, he will subside.

Hack will update with details of the new project. They will be pretty much the same as the details described at the previous meeting, and it will be difficult to determine what, if any, progress has been made, but several minutes will be consumed.

I will offer a reminiscence from my youth, tying it in to the sporting event or television series mentioned previously.

Sycophant will offer the latest pronouncements from Corporate. Nod appreciatively.

Now that we are several minutes over and nothing has actually been decided, I will close the meeting. You will have to determine, in murmured conversations with your colleagues, whether actual decisions have been made without your knowledge, or whether pending decisions will be made without notifying you.

Have a good day.



Posted by John McIntyre at 11:43 AM | | Comments (8)


You don't have food at your staff meeting?

On my way to a staff meeting right now, Prof. Thanks for the pep talk.

Good analysis. I certainly don't miss staff meetings being down here. Corporate never seems to include us when they meet, and that's okay with me.

"We’ll lead of..."

"paraphrase, word for word"! Hilarious!

And don't forget that "going forward we will assess the situation and take appropriate measures"

"Going forward" and "end of the day" make me want to bang my head on the table.

How did I miss seeing you when you were in our last staff meeting?!

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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