People Who Brag About Being in Back-to-Back Meetings Deeply Misunderstand Productivity
The Buddha’s empty calendar explains an alternate reality.
Looking back at corporate life, it becomes apparent: I don’t miss meetings.
One recruiter I encountered left me with a moment I will never forget. They reached out to me on LinkedIn. They wanted to catch up for coffee to talk about how I could help them with their business. They knew many of my closest friends, so I decided to say yes.
What followed is bizarre.
They introduced their personal assistant (the ultimate sign of privilege). We went back and forth trying to find a time. It became exhausting.
“He can’t do all of next week. Actually he’s booked the week after too. Let’s try for four weeks.”
I scheduled and prayed for the meeting to go ahead like a good little productivity nerd. The day came. One hour before I get a phone call. “He’s had something come up and has to reschedule.”
We do the dance again to find more time. We get another slot. The time comes … and guess what? Emergency board meeting. I scheduled the meeting with his PA one last time (three’s a charm). It got to the day. I was nervous. I had to travel on a packed train to his office. I got there. The walls were pretentiously mahogany. The waiting room furniture was trying to make a loud statement. My Ikea programmed brain didn’t see the big deal.
The man in the penguin suit finally arrives, fashionably late of course (to show status). We walk to his office. It’s not an office. It’s a room larger than my entire apartment that overlooks the city.
“I work in finance and like writing,” I said.
What came next was a lecture about how big his house was, the new Porsche he bought, and how he spends a lot of late nights in the office. Thankfully, he says, he “married the right one” who lets him remain endlessly busy.
He wears busyness as a badge. He’s insanely proud of living a life in back-to-back meetings.
“People really struggle to get meetings with me. That’s when you know your time is valuable.”