Less than helpful behaviour

[Committee member expresses discontent and calls meeting to discuss issues of disgruntlement.]

Overworked, yet gorgeous, Staff Liaison (i.e. me):  Are you on the line?

Disgruntled One:  I’m here.

Committee Chair:  I’m here, too.


Me:  Disgruntled One, I think you and Committee Chair had some issues that you discussed yesterday and you asked to have this call.  Perhaps you could fill me in on the details?

Disgruntled One:  Oh.  Well.  I just think that I shouldn’t have to share my work with the group unless everyone else at the committee table is also prepared to share. 

Me:  Okay.

Disgruntled One:  In particular, I saw Bob’s notes at the last meeting.  He had notes.  And he has not shared.

Me:  Okaaaay.

Disgruntled One:  And, I don’t think the right people are at the table to discuss this issue.  They don’t have notes because they’re not the right people.

Me:  Okaaay.  Who are the right people?


Committee Chair:  I think having more people at the table will just expose how dysfunctional we are. 

Me:  Oooookay.  So, we don’t have the right people, but you don’t want to invite any others to join.

Committee Chair:  Correct.

Disgruntled One:  We can’t ask other people to join until we do the analysis of the issues.  Which requires the right people.  Oh, I’ll just have to do it all again, all by myself.

Me:  Hmmmmmmmooookaaaay.  You’ve done a lot of work, and clearly you’re fatigued.  What can we do to support you?  Can we collaborate with some of these other committees on which you’ve been working?  Reduce the duplication?

Disgruntled One:  No, we can’t do that.

Committee Chair:  Perhaps you would like to sit on that other committee, and focus solely on that work?

Disgruntled One:  No.

Me:  Mmmmmmmmooooookkkkaaaay.  Maybe we put this at the top of the meeting agenda tomorrow for discussion with the whole group?


Me:  I don’t see this problem getting any better without discussion with the whole group.


Disgruntled One:  I just don’t see how it’s going to work if people don’t come prepared.  Bob had notes.  He didn’t share.  And he sits at the meeting and types on his Blackberry.  I wanted to rip it out of his hand at the last meeting.

Me:  Ahhhmmmmmoookaaaaay.  Well, I don’t know why the rest of the group isn’t sharing…

Disgruntled One:  I know why I’m not sharing.

Me:  Yaaahhmmmmoookaaay.  So, let’s put this discussion on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.

Disgruntled One:  That meeting isn’t in my calendar.  When is it?

Me:  1:00 p.m.  Does that work for you?

Disgruntled One:  Fine.

Committee Chair:  Fine.

Me:  Great.  I’m really looking forward to it.



Me:  Mmmmm….ooookkkaaay.  ‘Bye now!


7 Responses to “Less than helpful behaviour”

  1. March 2, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Just reading that makes my soul weep for you. Wow.

  2. March 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Yikes…it almost sounds like mediation training I went through…in high school. You’d think people would eventually grow up.

    • 4 shoeboxdweller
      March 2, 2010 at 8:02 pm

      It kind of reminds me of my residence advisor days…roommate conflict mediation. Less hair pulling.

      Then again, I am pulling out my own hair, but I don’t think that counts.

  3. March 2, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    If the person bringing the problem can’t bring a solution, I gotta say: WTF? If they just want to whine, fine.

  4. March 3, 2010 at 12:00 am

    This read like one of those moments in the back seat of a car when one child begs mom to make the other child stop touching her with her elbow or something. Or, rather, one won’t let the other play with his blocks/Legos/etc.

  5. April 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm


    So, what? You’re done? Or have you moved again?

    Is it me? I bathed this morning, I swear. Applied deodorant and everything.

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