The Big Pad

You might encounter this if your boss has asks you to attend a meeting you normally attend together. Unless this is the 1980s or 1990s and you are the rising star in a computer company or you are in possession of compromising evidence of one or more meeting attendees, then probably people at the meeting do not care what you have to say.

When you attend the meeting, other attendees might try running roughshod over you to force the acceptance of decisions under duress, but there is something even worse. You decide to present a way to fix a problem. Fixing the problem would mutually benefit everyone, but despite your best cooperative efforts, the other meeting attendees give you the Big Pad treatment.

Now, this is how Big Pad works. The whole time you are speaking, meeting attendees are busy writing on paper. Some even hold up a big pad or notebook in plain view to lull you into a sense that they are taking you very seriously. The larger the paper size and writing implement, the more you can remain certain you are getting the Big Pad treatment.

Years ago, I went to speak to a QC director about how to test wireless technology being rolled out by our company. Out came a really big pad, and I seem to remember a prominent pen or pencil about the size Curly Howard used to “look important” at Carnation Pictures.

For a moment, you might even be lulled into believing that your words are being recorded for history. But the attendees are not stupid. One or two yawn, and someone might even fall asleep. They do not want you to think there is a conspiracy.

Even worse, someone could be signing a stack of papers and make it look like he was writing on a Big Pad. That is what I thought was going on recently. Except I noticed that someone was writing on a new page, after only one line had been written on the previous page. I figured out this person was signing a stack of papers.

Please do not give up. It is good to cover your boss, and if you get the Big Pad treatment, it only means you were worth ignoring.

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