diamond geezer

 Friday, April 20, 2007

I'm here to take the minutes. I've got my spiral-bound notebook, a big one from the office store cupboard, and I've got my corporate issue blue biro. I'm sat here ready for the meeting to start, a fresh page opened up in front of me, waiting to write down anything you might say. Because I'm taking the minutes.

I'm fresh out of college, I am, but I'm hoping you won't notice. I'm trying to look important, like I know what I'm doing, even though I don't really. I'm wearing my designer glasses, the chunky plastic ones that make me look both stylish and intelligent. I bought them from my first pay packet, although I'm saving up the rest for a deposit on that flatshare in Zone 4. I'm really looking forward to having half a place of my own. Sorry, I should be paying attention, shouldn't I? Because I'm taking the minutes.

I'll kick off by trying to jot down the names of everyone round the table, even though I've never seen half of you before. Never mind, I can ask Kelly who you all are after the meeting. She'll know everyone because she's been with the company for nearly six months now, so she's an expert. Me and Kelly, we spend all our coffee breaks sat in the breakout area by the drinks machine, and she's telling me all the gossip. I wish I was out there now, discussing who's really fit, and who's shagging who. But I'm supposed to be taking the minutes.

I'm not entirely sure what you're all talking about. It's something 100% technical, and it's going right over my head. I'm trying to keep up with the conversation by scribbling down the odd phrase that people are saying, but I don't expect it'll make any sense later. My degree's in business studies, you see, which means I know everything about generic project management but nothing whatsoever about the specialist stuff you lot are discussing. This job's just a first foot on the career ladder while I search for something more relevant. And that's why I'm only taking the minutes.

Oh dear, now you want me to jot stuff down on the flipchart to "summarise the key points of the discussion". Now I'm going to have to expose my inexperience in public. Now you'll spot that I don't actually have a clue about what I'm writing down. Hopefully I can try getting away without writing very much. I'll just stand here, dumb and mute like a game show assistant, and hope that nobody notices. I'd much rather be sitting down pretending to take the minutes.

How much longer has this meeting got to go? I'm just doodling on my notepad now. I hope you're not watching me shading in this geometric pattern, or adding the finishing touches to a cartoon of the woman sat opposite. In fact I'm no longer listening to the rest of you waffling on any more, because you're all talking gibberish. I stopped writing things down about half an hour ago. I've given up all pretence of taking the minutes.

I know my place. I'm only in the room because somebody at this meeting has to write the minutes, and all the rest of you think you're too important to waste your time on such a demeaning task. But that's OK. Because I'm not actually intending to copy up these notes afterwards anyway. You don't care what they say, and you won't miss them in three weeks time when I've failed to circulate them. I may be new here, but I've learnt one important lesson already. Nobody ever reads the bloody minutes.


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