All Hands Attrition

Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX
Published in
6 min readOct 27, 2023

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Who’s first into the lifeboats from the sinking ship of mandatory all hands meetings? Senior management of course!

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels

We’ve all been there¹, called into some dire office or other to attend what are bizarrely termed “all hands” or “town hall” meetings at the behest of the usual “gentle reminder” from the head of HR.

Meetings whose titles suggest some kind of co-operative structure, a kind of corporate communism where the proletariat actually has a voice in company operations — but, you all know how it really is.

These meetings are the modern day equivalent of arming a medieval town crier with a submachine gun and having a carefully hidden HR observer with a set of powerful binoculars hidden in a tall building noting down who’s present and, more pertinently, who is not.

If anything, these gatherings are now even more insidious as we emerge from the other side of the recent pandemic as many employees now thankfully work from home, gaining a fair degree of their own sanity, time, and money back in the process — much to the chagrin of middle-management.

Thusly, when summoned by the chief HR droid via their Outlook generated ChatGPT pseudo-prose² everyone scrambles to see if they’ve got any get out of jail free cards left in order to avoid the whole dreadful experience³.

But, hope is in sight, as these meetings have gradually become easier and easier to avoid for the progressive developer and therefore we no longer have to continually invent elaborate excuses, feign serious illness, or deliberately arrange key system failures at just the right time to avoid them.

This is primarily because of what I like to call “meeting attrition”, the gradual realisation from the management classes that these meetings have become somewhat counter productive and they themselves have come to absolutely abhor them as much as us progressive software engineers do.

The result is a kind of domino effect. It’s hard to notice at first, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, as it’s just one, maybe two or three people, who’re not quite as regular in attendance as they should be.

But, over time, rooms become gradually more empty, presentations get longer and more elaborate to fill the now vacant “social time” as there…

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Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.