I am shocked at myself that I have yet to vent my bile-filled spleen about this subject, notably since I dove into the vat of Hateorade when I critiqued PowerPoint and meetings in general. However, yesterday I had the opportunity to suffer through the unvarnished terror of one thing I hate dearly – the teleconference.

As you can imagine, this is basically a meeting conducted over the phone instead of in person. This adds a level of endurance to the participants, who from the comfort of their own offices can eat, continue to type and work – and I suspect – piss in empty soda bottles while peppering the virtual group with pointless questions that merely cause dissention. Essentially, they can elevate their game in being an askhole. Figure that one out.

Sometimes we take a teleconference to a new level and throw in a live video feed, making the event (in the spirit of The Amazing Letter Man)(Electric Company) a VTC, or video teleconference. This doesn’t make anything any quicker, easier, or more tolerable just by having fuzzy, pixellated images to look at. Indeed, it merely provides a veneer of unwarranted importance to something that could be accomplished on Skype or MSNMessenger equally well and far more cheaply.

My mental damage increased yesterday afternoon – well, during my lunch hour actually – while I endured a VTC. I won’t go into detail, but this event involved some important, high-ranking Army dudes and dudettes who may or may not work in a very large building near Washington, DC. Several other locations all over the US tied in with us as well. I can’t really relate the subject of the three discussion topics other than to say they dealt with Army shit. The event was classified, so I was sans phone, and could not self-distract with sudoku.

What was epic about this VTC was watching a discussion among senior Army leaders start out engaged in a deep and purposeful discussion about important decisions that will impact the direction of the Army, and then observe it take a turn for the surreal. Ultimately it devolved into the equivalent of two Spandex-wearing fat women with fried-chicken-greasy hands have a slap-fight in the parking lot of Wal-Mart.

I lost an hour and forty minutes of my life. I will never, ever get those minutes back. Even my rapacious cell provider will roll over wasted minutes, but sadly life does not. In the end, many words were uttered. Some in no apparent order. I still don’t fully understand what the fuck went on or what was decided, and I’ve been doing this shit now for about 20 years and understand the lingo. I was twenty seconds from actually starting to saw into my wrist with the point of my pen when the meeting broke.

Did I mention that I do about one of these every week?

Fuck you Hotspur, I’m stealing your search engine hits.


18 Responses to “TeleRant”

  1. ugh.. a week? and on your lunch hour? Sounds like your commanders need some old fashioned manners..

  2. Yeah, meetings suck especially ones that begin with ‘video’ and end with ‘conference’. Even in teleconferences you can sneak reading a blog or two while someone rambles on about something mind-numbingly dull like numbers, stats and shit… ugh…I share your pain.

  3. Askhole is all kinds of classic.

  4. Mostly, I like them as excuses to sleep with my eyes open.
    Usually it’s the snoring that gets me in trouble…

  5. in my job as a virtual teacher, we do EVERYTHING over the phone. Every single meeting is a teleconference. And 75% of the people can’t seem to figure out that you dial a number AND a code. That code thing seems to throw them every time. Were the hackers in on your phone call?

  6. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    Oh yeah…askhole is a good one!

  7. John Erickson Says:

    Oh, man, we used to do these quite a bit at my former work (having Ops Centers in Tennessee and South Dakota, and a computer center in Dallas), and we used to have GREAT fun trying to crack each other up. (We were too technologically backward to have video.) The goal was to get somebody to actually laugh out loud while the line was open. Needless to say, I was quickly banned from saying anything, though I could occasionally succeed with written notes. Great fun! 😀
    I think “askhole” kinda overlaps with my “Peter principle” example, no? But I gotta award you the win, just for the title! 😉

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