Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Committee Driven Life

It occurred to me yesterday while watching presentations throughout a half-day board meeting that one could spend all of one's energy preparing for and attending meetings. I have already written about The Secret Life of Committees and the jinxed number of eight members, but we can go further. We might think of committee work as like a peat bog, where one could sink in, become immobilized, and slowly mummify, perhaps to be found perfectly preserved a thousand years from now. The future archaeologists would marvel at the perfectly bulleted agenda and still-legible inked initials of the committee secretary on the peaty minutes.

I propose the following principles to achieve this aim, this committee-driven life.
  • The committee needs you. Never turn down a chance to serve on the most obscure ad hocity that crosses your path. To do so is to counter your purpose.

  • The committee is infallible. Without this tenent comes doubt. Not only must you believe, but you must also proselytize to your colleagues. Burning heretics at the stake should only done if no one is there to put it on Youtube.

  • Minutes are inspired by the committee. There are those who will doubt that the minutes are the true word of the committee, and will seek to modify them, even translate them into other languages. This must not be tolerated.

  • The committee has no purpose other than to be the committee. This may be the hardest tenet to absorb, since committees are often given names that give rise to the implication that they have a purpose external to themselves. For example, the uninformed or unbelieving may think that the Curriculum Committee has a purpose that relates to maintaining the curriculum. This is false. The committee may speak to and make reference to the profane world outside its walls, but its one true purpose is to be. The committee is that it is.
By following these guidelines, you too can have an inspired and purposeful life. That is, if your purpose is to be discovered in a millennium, raised from the strata of bureaucracies past to give glory to the one goal worthy of a life's dedication: sitting around a table with a bunch of bored people over a sheaf of handouts no one read, complaining about the parking situation.

1 comment:

  1. If this was not so true and depressing, it would be very funny.