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Long meetings

(81 Posts)
Mosschopz Sun 03-Mar-13 20:58:17

I'm an assistant head in large secondary school. Senior Leadership meetings are Tuesday nights 3-5pm usually, but often go on til 5.30-5.45. If I leave at 5pm I can get to nursery to collect DS (2yo) before closing time but that means missing the end of the meeting so I usually ask DH to leave work early that night and get him. He usually has to make up the flexitime by working later the rest of the week (and often Saturdays) OR swap with others (if possible) so it's not great but it's what we feel we have to do, like other working parents. I don't want others on the team at work to see me as not pulling my weight as they all stay until the bitter end even though at least three of them have kids under the age of 5 (BUT they have wives who do the pick-ups!).

AIBU to tell the head staying after 5pm has to be the exception rather than the rule for us as it's really awkward to do it every week? He seems ok with it so far, he hasn't said anything to me, but does have a good old 'general' moan about the staff being slack every week at that meeting!

Incidentally, I bust a gut for the place and work every evening of the week after putting DS to bed.

theodorakisses Mon 04-Mar-13 08:01:23

Long meetings are rarely productive. I try to set a timescale and stick to the agenda and always ask if anyone has to leave at a certain time by email before the meeting. I also have coffee and biscuits and make sure the room is clean and comfortable, I find that meetings are a lot quicker and more productive when people are not anxious and looking at the clock. Unless it is a crisis meeting, I would never let it run on, it's not fair.

StroppyPoppy Mon 04-Mar-13 08:14:56

What are they talking about that can't be covered in the original two hour meeting every single week?

We used to have a boss that never wanted to go home and everyone hated it, even those without kids.

I know local council meetings always have an agenda and an 'any other business' section for stuff that crops up after the agenda is set BUT they also have a time limit, say two hours.

If they get to that point they will either wrap things to ASAP or all go home.

Maybe bring up how effective meetings are at the next meeting (call it best practice for extra points) and offer to chair.

Everyone will be silently cheering you on!

theodorakisses Mon 04-Mar-13 08:39:01

I think things slide after 30 minutes personally. My old boss used to make the meetings last for up to 5 hours and refused people permission to go to the toilet. If we go on longer, we break every half hour for toilets or just fresh air.

theodorakisses Mon 04-Mar-13 10:12:57

My husband is a head of a 4-18 school. he has split the SLT meetings, both in school time, the pastoral at the beginning of the week and the other towards the end. this arose because they dicussed it (at a lengthy meeting) and concluded that the time after school is important for pupils and teachers to offload and have time to sort things out before they went home and the do not disturb notice on the door was not what they wanted to project. His other reason was to stop the meeting officially ending and half the people leaving with a few hardcores still standing around and discussing things.

grovel Mon 04-Mar-13 10:55:17

My DH insisted that no-one sat down in meetings at one company he joined. Just for a week. Meeting discipline improved hugely!

theodorakisses Mon 04-Mar-13 11:01:12

It's like those champagne glasses that have a pointed end at galleries and private views, you never quite get used to putting a glass on a table again!

Feelingood Mon 04-Mar-13 11:03:42

There was an AHead at my old school, who made it clear to the head that she could not arrive to work before 815 and stay past 530. She was very hard working and diligent but was adamant about being fair and reasonable to collecting her own children from nursery and balancing the needs of the job.

atthewelles Mon 04-Mar-13 11:06:33

YANBU. Most meetings could take up half the time that they actually do if people would stop waffling, bullshitting, attention seeking, showing off, arguing for the sake of it etc etc etc.

Quenelle Mon 04-Mar-13 11:15:27

YANBU I can't stand meetings that go on interminably because they're not chaired properly or some people can't stop rambling on. If this happens at work I start shuffling my papers and sitting on the edge of my seat twitching until the boss notices and ends the meeting.

Our Preschool Committee meetings are held in the evenings from 8pm to 10pm. Some people get comfy with snacks and glasses of wine and will go on until midnight if allowed. It can drive me to distraction, especially if all they're doing is bickering about whether to charge staff 22p or 23p per cup of tea.

I know you wouldn't be able to do this but one woman hates the late night even more than I do and now she up and leaves at 10pm whether we've reached the end of the agenda or not.

Phineyj Mon 04-Mar-13 11:22:42

OP, bribe the caretaker to set the fire alarm off 'accidentally' at ten to five... especially if he's hanging around waiting for the meeting to finish so he can lock up!

limitedperiodonly Mon 04-Mar-13 11:33:20

Most people are crap at holding meetings.

I'm an ex local reporter <scarred>

I was once shopped to my editor by a parish council chairman for catching the last bus at 10.33pm rather than staying for the end of a debate about vandalism of the public loos.

He stood up for me and told them if they had any burning issues they wanted to see in the paper they should discuss them at the beginning, not tantalise me by leaving a discussion about big hairy cocks scribbled in the bogs until last.

itsallyourownfault Mon 04-Mar-13 12:00:58

Only a teacher would moan about not finishing work until after 5. If you don't want to miss time with your son, don't work. If you want to work, stop moaning about not being able to leave until after 5. For normal working people, that's just life.

Feelingood Mon 04-Mar-13 12:08:56

That's out of order itsall teachers have a contracted number of hours actuall that they are required to

Do duty
Use as directed time
Attend meetings

So when these are extended it is fairly unreasonable seen as you are already expected to do planning and preparation in own time 'the hidden hours' to actually do the fucking job.

It still amazes me that parents do not forge more supportive relationships with teachers and have better attitude towards them in general, as legally they must send their children to school and are stuck with them, only makes it more difficult for the child to rage against the system.

So etimes I just want to say fuck off then home ed.

theodorakisses Mon 04-Mar-13 12:16:06

My husband has experienced another type of teacher in the expat world, the "my child was in hospital for a week and we didn't take any time off" boast, followed by a raised eyebrow at anyone who wants to take more than a weeks maternity leave or take their sick child home. . He is constantly struggling against this and has actually had to remind some people that they can, whilst at parents evening, go and speak to their child's teacher!

limitedperiodonly Mon 04-Mar-13 12:17:10

Any teachers here want to write: 'must try harder' on itsallyourownfault's attempts to wind people up?

Mosschopz Mon 04-Mar-13 12:21:29

I arrive at 8, leave at 5, then usually work 8-10pm as well. It's not a short day itsall.

FierceBadIggi Mon 04-Mar-13 13:49:24

Really, itsallyourownfault? All the childminders near to me finish work at five thirty, which rather suggests a lot of people need to be out the door close to five.

itsallyourownfault Mon 04-Mar-13 14:08:11

Not one of my friends could dream of being out the door at 5pm but then they're all real professionals and don't expect special treatment for having children. I'm an employer and although my employees are contracted to work 9 to 5, they recognise as professionals it is likely they will frequently work longer than 50 hour weeks. If any one of them left a meeting that ran past 5pm, it would be career limiting.

Feelingood Mon 04-Mar-13 14:17:57

That's sounds like discrimination against parents.

My DH works for a top Rated UK employer and frequently does above 50 hours per week, and it is expected that you do go that bit extra a peak times.

However if someone needs to leave they can at 430 or the official time at 530. Theybare professional enought to understand and not take the POV 'got to be seen to be there' culture as a measure of commitment and hard work.

They have adopted flexible start times to accommodate school run, working from home and 'sunshine days' where you can take leave at short notice. They also have five days free emergency paid child are per year.

There is nothing unprofessional or limiting about working there and using these practices, they are world leaders in their field. Neither has he encountered such discrimminatory attitudes towards parents.

itsallyourownfault Mon 04-Mar-13 14:21:06

Yes but to leave a meeting because it runs past 5pm isn't covered by your scenarios. If you're a professional and you're in a meeting, then you're in it until it is over.

My boss went through a phase of scheduling meetings at 5pm (with 5 minute's notice) for me, him and another manager. I was the only woman, and the only parent.
These meetings frequently went on till after 7.

After 3 or 4 times, I realised these weren't going to be one-off's, and made sure he heard me rescheduling childcare when he asked for a meeting, and announced at the start of each that I would have to leave at 6.30 at latest. He needed my input for each meeting - suddenly, they were all scheduled during normal work hours!

Also the other manager did not care at the time about staying late (he used to go off and meet his wife and mates in the pub afterwards) but they've since had a baby and he's out the door at 4pm on the dot every day since (flexitime). Our boss still has a tendency to run meetings over the alloted time - I always make sure I book a room that has someone coming in after us at the end time of our meeting. I'm dying for him to have children - it will be a big wake up call - I know his wife and she won't stand for him working late all the time.

Also, guidelines for effective meetings have been gradually introduced in the department - agenda, with time allocated for each item, a section at the end for AOB (with a time limit on that) and an understanding that if a large issue raises it's head in a meeting, it MUST be rescheduled for a proper discussion at a later date. The guidelines haven't made it to his meetings yet - not formally - but every other meeting he goes to is run like this, and it seems to be rubbing off - end times are being adhered to a LOT better in the last few months.

FierceBadIggi Mon 04-Mar-13 14:35:30

I love the fact that ALL your friends are in similar, 'real' professional jobs - go on, admit it, you only have one friend and they work with you!
I have seen people leave meetings to catch a train, go to the dentist, and quite possibly go to the pub. I'm not sure if any of these are unprofessional if the meeting has already over ran. I'm more bothered by the people who dander in late, or take phone calls during meetings.

itsall maybe in your company, but not in mine.

If a meeting is run professionally it does NOT run over unless all are asked and agree to it (and it runs over for a max of 15 mins -if it looks like it's going to be more then it needs a separate meeting)

Long meetings with overruns have the risk that people agree to anything just to get out the door. Better to meet again with fresh minds and a decent amt of time to discuss the issues.

limitedperiodonly Mon 04-Mar-13 14:38:33

I understand the concept of staying until the job is over. I'm also familiar with the concept of people faffing about in pointless meetings.

itsallyourownfault Mon 04-Mar-13 14:38:43

Agree that lateness or taking phone calls are also unprofessional. I guess my social circle is mostly a result of people I went to university with who have done well and people I have worked with. Their work ethic appeals to me. I would find it hard to be friends with slackers.

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