I learnt early on in life that admin work probably wasn’t for me, after I came off the loser in a fight with a stapler, aged 17. However, following various career disasters, I am optimistically attempting admin work again, in the hope that my years of experience as a woman will have taught me some organisational skills:
Here is how to organise a meeting. I hope that my experience will be of benefit to all the other hopelessly impractical people out there. I’m sure there have to be some (if that’s you, please leave a comment so I have evidence that it’s not just me)..
1) First of all, decide who is going to be invited to the meeting. Spend a long time composing an email to the group. When you have finished the email, which includes a complicated system of voting for the meeting date using voting buttons (which you have spent an hour working out how to set up, and an entire paragraph of your email explaining how to use), press ‘Send’.
2) Read reply email wondering why the voting buttons aren’t showing. Send cheerful email back stating ‘that’s because I forgot to attach them, oops!’ and send another email to everyone entitled ‘Voting buttons attached this time’.
3) Come up with a random date for the meeting as most people have been too confused by the voting system to express a preference, and none of the 3 people who did vote for their preferred date have voted for the same date. Send another email telling everyone the date of the meeting.
4) Read reply email asking where the meeting is going to take place. Ring around various meeting rooms in organisation trying to find an available room. Realise there is no available room.
5) Ignore all further emails and questions about this meeting for a fortnight while deciding whether it would be more embarrassing to a) admit to having failed to book a room and arrange another date (maybe another ‘oops’ email and they will all see the funny side?) b) tell manager and hope she can sort it out c) say nothing, let people turn up and try to blame whole not-having-a-room fiasco on receptionist or d) call in sick and wait for letter of dismissal.
6) Tell manager.
7) Attend meeting (manager having come up with another venue to try) ready to read out a report. Wait an interminably long time for other people to read out their reports, preparing to read own report. Become slowly aware of an increasing level of noise outside the room, and realise that it would have been wise to book the room for 2 hours rather than 1 and a half (‘who starts at meeting at 11.30am? we’ll definitely have it until 12’ I had erroneously thought). Ignore the noise, hope everyone hurries up and plan to read report in speeded-up squeaky voice.
8) Look insouciant as member of meeting goes outside to see what the noise is, and comes back in saying ‘this room is only booked until 11.30!’
9) Pull ‘oops’ face as every member of the meeting turns to look at you.
10) Carry on regardless.
For all disorganised people, everywhere.