- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2017 Corey Brown

A Meeting of the Minds

My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I’m a tech, I wear an ID badge and I’m a consultant. I don’t do this job for the glory. I don’t do it for the pay. I do it for…uh… come to think of it, why do I have this lousy job? I mean, based on a recently published salary guide, I could make more money being unemployed.

 

To my chagrin, I am not unemployed. Worse, I am not even gainfully employed. That situation, however, might be related to a personal cash flow problem stemming from last week’s experience at the horse track. But I digress. The fact is, at the moment, my un-gainful employment has me seated at a large oval table, in a large and not so oval conference room. I am, as they say, in a meeting.

Just the thought of such a thing makes me want to end it all by jamming a Twinkie into my left temple. Me, in a meeting for crying out loud. What did I do to deserve this?

 

But this isn’t just any meeting. Oh no, this is a Change Management meeting. For the uninitiated, Change Management meetings are akin to the Biblical account of how God tested Job. You know the story: God lets the devil make Job miserable, giving him puss-filled sores, stuff like that, in order to test his faith. The difference is, in a Change Management meeting, God has not only vacated the building but Satan is the now landlord, and he is looking for rent money. Faith cannot compete with the corporate management of change.

Put another way, a Change Management meeting is the business equivalent of a man hitting his thumb with a hammer. He does so because it feels so good when he stops.

 

“So,” the meeting leader was saying. “Based on this new information, can we assume negligible liability?”

When no one answered I realized he was talking to me. I roused myself from the edge of a nap in order to appear, well, not asleep.

“That depends,” I said. “When this software update is sent to every computer in the company, all fifty thousand of them, something might go wrong.”

“Like what?”

I sighed. “Well, since I’m a hardware tech and not a software engineer, I can’t even guess. As I have noted at every one of these meetings, my job has nothing to do with managing the potential problems because changes in software. You’ve invited a head-banger to the ballet.”

“Understood,” he said. “But what if we don’t roll out this software change?”

 

I was certain this guy was starting to grow horns on his head. I swear I could see them, two little goat-like knobs poking through his hair. I pondered his question and then, as I have done in so many previous meetings, I lied.

“It seems to me,” I said. “The real question is what happens if we don’t roll out this software change and discover global warming is responsible? Or worse, that global warming doesn’t even exist. Does that sound like negligible liability to you?”

 

A nervous silence came over the room as everyone digested the full import of my observation. Or maybe they were like a deer caught in the headlights of an on-coming car, their minds suddenly paralyzed by the insanity of this meeting. Either way, their collective pause gave me an opportunity to go back to sleep.

But my nap was cut short when the woman to my right spoke up. “Exactly,” she said. “That concerns me, too. Global warming is a big thing. I mean, it’s all over the planet, right?”

Another guy looked around the table, grim-faced, and said, “So, should we send a communication indicating our opposition to the rebel cause or just email the Prime Minister with the test results?”

 

The meeting leader nodded thoughtfully. “I agree. Let’s document the process, identify our action items and implement a project plan based on some kind of business requirement.”

I felt good. Everyone was getting into the spirit. At this rate, we’d be launching the nukes before quitting time.

 

“Great,” I said, thinking how much I loved to stir the pot. “Now, about that software upgrade….what kind of changes can we expect when you install it on everyone’s computer?”

The meeting leader shook his head. “That’s beyond the scope of this meeting, there’s no need to discuss it here.”

Still stirring, I said, “But isn’t this a Change Management meeting? Shouldn’t we at least consult the janitor?”

He grinned and jabbed a finger at me. “I like the way you think, Spinner.” Then he stood and said, “Meeting to reconvene in the cleaning supply closet. Let’s go people.”

 

“I’ll stay behind, Sir,” I said. “In case anyone wants to know what changed your mind about managing this meeting.”