Monday, August 14, 2006

The First Day Back

Today was the first official day back to work, and we had the obligatory first day back to work staff meeting. This is where we meet new staff, get reacquainted with returning staff after being apart for a summer, go over rules and regulations, and have a little training thrown in. This year's staff meeting was a little sad for me because we have had quite a turnover in staff, and some of my closest friends through work were not there today. However, the staff meeting was true to form, and I don't know if my mind is working a little differently since I've been blogging or what, but I can't help but post on this topic, even though I hadn't anticipated posting tonight. In staff meetings across the country, rather it is in a school system, a business setting, or a church, certain staff meeting personalities become apparent during the meeting. I thought I would share a few tonight that I have observed over the many staff meetings I have attended.

The Gabber. This person talks incessantly to the person sitting beside them while the boss/speaker is talking. This person isn't just interjecting thoughts here and there; the gabber is carrying on a one-sided conversation with the person sitting next to them. The worst seat to be sitting in in a staff meeting...the seat beside the gabber. Do you pay attention to your boss/speaker and appear rude to the gabber, or do you pay attention to the gabber and risk getting in trouble with your boss? Luckily I was not in that seat today, but I sure have been before.

The Annoying Question Asker. I've heard it said that there is no such thing as a dumb question. Whoever said that has not sat in a staff meeting. The annoying question asker may be asking a question about something that has already been covered. They may ask a question about a different topic than the one that is being discussed. The question they ask may have such an obvious answer that you can't believe the question was even asked. And the most annoying question...the one where the speaker asks if there is any more questions, everyone is ready for a break or to be dismissed because they have been sitting in the same spot for 3 hours, and the annoying question asker actually asks a question (one that is totally irrelevant, of course. A relevant question that would impart knowledge to us all is always welcomed.)

The Complainer. This person is complaining because we even have to have a staff meeting. They have a pile of work back in their classroom/office to take care of. They don't have time to be sitting in this meeting hearing information they already know. The room is too cold - or maybe too hot. There wasn't any sugar free candy for them to snack on. The speaker isn't relevant to them. You get the picture.

The Conversationalists. This group of friends purposefully sits together during the meeting and then carries on their own conversation while the meeting is going on. They whisper and giggle in their own little party. Usually they are in the back, and when they aren't talking, they're writing notes to each other on their agendas.

The Daydreamer. This person has colored in all of the o's and pictures on their agenda. They aren't paying attention; they're thinking about what they are having for dinner tonight or who's going to get voted off Survivor.

The Multitasker. This person isn't just listening to the speaker. The multitasker is also working on lesson plans, writing a grocery list, or doing other work related to the job.

The Brown Noser. This person is fervently taking notes. They are asking all the right questions, interjecting the appropriate comments, and affirming everything the boss is saying. They offer to go make extra copies, hand out the handouts, and get the boss something to drink. The brown noser also gives dirty looks to the above personalities.

The Confronter. This person isn't shy about bringing up anything that is bothering them regarding the job, even if the time is not appropriate. This is when they voice concern about salary, schedule, or job description, in front of the whole group. The confronter usually puts the boss on the spot, and tension is felt over the room.

The Passive/Aggresive Employee. This person obviously disagrees with what the boss is saying, but they don't openly say so. You can tell it in their body language, the way they refuse to make eye contact with the boss, and by their lack of input on topics they should be sharing information on. This person figures by sitting in the meeting and saying nothing, the boss won't be able to "get" them on an insubordinate attitutude, but they are still able to show their protest about the situation.

The Stick Your Foot In Your Mouth Employee. This person is guaranteed to say something inappropriate. Maybe they share too much personal information. Maybe they make jokes that they think are funny but not appropriate in a work place. Maybe they implicate themselves or other people when it comes to lack of job performance. Again, this person can cause a wave of tension or an uncomfortable feeling in the room. And finally...

The Obsessive Blogger. I... I mean this person is listening to the boss/speaker, I... I mean he/she really is. It's just that I... I mean he/she can get a little distracted when a blog topic comes to mind. Before blogging, I... I mean he/she would have tended to be the brown noser, always doing just what was expected. But what can I... I mean he/she say? When the mood strikes, I...I mean he/she has to go with it.

In all seriousness, I do love my job and my coworkers, and I do actually really like my boss, too. I get amused at the different personalities that can come out in a staff meeting setting, especially when topics come up that are very personal to us. And just in case any of my coworkers happen to be reading this...I was not referring to any of you. I was going on knowledge of past staff that are no longer with us :).

Triathlon Training Update - Strength Day today. Yesterday we had to run 45 minutes - I did 4 miles in just under 43. My training partner, however, is the woman...she did hers in around 41. I'd better step up my pace! :)


Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

I LOL so much reading this post that I woke up Madelyn (who was trying to go to sleep in my arms.)

You have captured each personality so perfectly, and what makes it even funnier is that we all have "met" each of these people at one time or another.

BTW: I, too, would tend to be the brown noser, mainly because I know what it is like to be in charge of a meeting, and I want the leader to feel supported and like they are doing a good job. :)

August 14, 2006 10:59 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

I am Kelly's cousin Carolyn and here I sit at almost 1 in the morning reading your blog, thinking she must have been in my last staff meeting, your descriptions were wonderful. I had to chuckle as I thought of the person on my staff that matches each one. Of course, I feel I am the professional meeting attendee, I don't quite fit brown noser but I believe close. I find nodding my head frequently keeps me awake and the smile that is not quite the smile is because I am afraid to look disgruntled and bored. I have practiced various poses to assure I look excited to be hearing the same stuff and attempt to not be surprise that the information that I can repeat word for word says to me that we have not made progress in our thinking. So I said all of that to say this I am printing your blog to take to my staff meeting this week to pass out and have them identify which one describes them best. Then as I talk I am taking notes for future evaluations.
Carolyn (kelly's cousin, just in case you wondered who in the world is she)

August 15, 2006 1:02 AM  
Blogger Hummel Family said...

This post made me laugh! It brings back memories of the staff meetings we'd have at the Health Dept. I could put a name and face to each description. ;)

I can tell you are off "Summer" are posting a whole lot earlier. and you can probably tell I am still on "vacation" mode, its now 1:04 am...we are leaving for a 3 day vacation to Penn tomorrow! It'll be fun ahving Caislyn with us on this trip.

Hope you have a great 1st week back to work!

August 15, 2006 1:10 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

I meant to add this at the end of the post but forgot - I was in a panic because it was way past my 10:00 p.m. bedtime. Though I tend to fit the brown noser stereotype most consistently (or the professional meeting attendee - I love how you put that, Carolyn) I must admit I have at one time or another probably fit the other stereotypes at different points depending on the subject matter and leader of the meeting.

August 15, 2006 6:31 AM  
Blogger Marcia said...

The Annoying Question Asker reminds me of a quote I read recently:

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."

August 15, 2006 7:01 AM  
Blogger Bekah said...

I laughed so hard!!! I'm the daydreamer/multi-tasker/passive-agressive all rolled into one. This is such a perfect summary!!! I think I'll sit through our staff meeting and make notes about who does what - since i need something to multi-task anyway!

August 15, 2006 7:48 AM  
Blogger Marcia said...

I think you forgot a category—the Sarcastic Humor Commentator.The Commentator whispers frequent, snide (but funny) remarks about the speaker's appearance, speaking style, etc., to the people sitting nearby. The person who sits beside them is in constant danger of disrupting the meeting with a sudden snort of stifled laughter,

August 15, 2006 8:50 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Deb- this was hillarious! SO TRUE! I could picture our staff and each person that fit the description. Also, Sue had her first day yesterday (we know how much she loves her job) and they ended the day with an hour and a half long staff meeting. So, when Sue called on her way home and I asked how her first day was, She ranted for the next 20 minutes about the meeting and I believe discussed someone who fit each description. I would say she fits the passive/aggressive description, but she's getting more vocal all the time. I was listening to her rant thinking..."Someday my staff will be feeling this way about me....I'm glad Sue won't be on my staff....I need to make sure I have short, worthwhile meetings...etc."

August 15, 2006 8:56 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

This post scares me a little-at the moment there are only 3 of us on staff here at YFC so that means we all hold more than one position. I am afraid that I may hold the ones that I laughed the hardest at!

August 15, 2006 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

remind me never to get a job because for some reason i was all the "coworkers" you mentioned...

August 15, 2006 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops... don't want to start a controversy... anonymous was Shannon White, 123435 N. Spencer Avenue; ss# 23039009090 ; drivers lis. # 12o9u4098; height 5.7; weight 120 (it is too.... without the water)

August 15, 2006 11:03 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Marcia - good one! Actually, when I'm not being the brown noser, I am being the sarcastic humor commentator - but only if I am sitting next to someone I know really well.

August 15, 2006 4:39 PM  
Blogger Marcia said...

Deb - I tend to be the commentator, too! If we ever sat together in a meeting things could really get out of control!

August 15, 2006 11:24 PM  

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