Saturday, November 04, 2006

Town Hall

At my new work, we had one of those town hall meetings yesterday. You know the ones when they get the whole company in one auditorium, then show slides and give motivational speeches for several hours? I'm not going to write about yesterday's, though, for I have an irrational fear of being dooced. Let me just say the food was good.

It did however, bring back the memories of my old job, which I guess I am now allowed to write about.

I hated town hall meetings. I used to bring a large binder with a notepad inside, and sit in the back. I'd sit through the whole meeting with my trusty binder open, pretending to take notes, chewing on my pen periodically as if in deep thought about the company's present and future. Inside my binder was a magazine. "Wired" works well. Or, my personal favorite, "Fantasy & SciFi".

Other times, I pretended to get paged out of the meeting. Yet other times, I actually did get paged out of the meeting. I never forgot to say thank you to the thoughtful user who had rescued me from the town hall by paging me with a high priority issue.

"But it isn't high priority. It can wait", my user would protest.

"Oh no, it can't! It is far too important", and I would leave the town hall, run to the office and work on the user's problem while simultaneously reading your guys' blogs.

In my six years at the old job, I've been through three or four CEOs. One of them comes to mind when I think of the whole town hall business. He had them down to an art. This CEO had come to our LARGE corporation from another, VERY LARGE corporation, which I cannot name to you, except that its name starts with "Gen" and ends with "lectric". Apparently the VERY LARGE corporation had a very different way of conducting town hall meetings.

At his first town hall, the man ruined my scheduled Fantasy & SciFi reading by saying,

"Now everyone who's sitting in the back three rows, move to the front".

I forgave the CEO after he started feeding us continental breakfasts at our next gathering. Our meetings, however, got wilder and wilder.

At one of them, the nifty CEO had our entire upper management do a Star Wars skit, with Darth Vader representing our chief competitor, and Luke Skywalker, of course, representing us. Wake me up it did. We were all told to stand up and do a special, Star Wars-inspired, company cheer. It contained our company's name and the words "Oi, oi, oi!", and we had to repeat it until we got it right.

At the last town hall meeting I went to, I got paged about a user having problems. Closing my Fantasy & SciFi, I got up, walked into the hallway, and quietly called the user, explaining that I wasn't at my desk, but would soon be on my way. I don't remember why I walked back into the meeting, but, when I did, everyone was standing up, their right hand on their heart. The CEO led the pledge.

"I pledge allegiance to..."

Followed by our company name.

When it was over, I had trouble getting out of the parking lot, so many people had decided to sneak out because they'd had enough.

I stopped going to town hall meetings after that. By the time the hyper-creative CEO was let go, I had attained enough clout that I was able to say, "Sorry guys, seems like I cannot make it to the town hall again. Too much work."

It'll take me another five years to get back to that point in my new job.

Meantime, I am going to relax and enjoy the free grub.

The Goldie has spoken at 8:33 PM

Technorati search

Powered by FeedBurner

Graphic Design by alla_v