Yesterday, for reasons that will be forever questioned, one of the managers in our office called a last minute meeting with everyone that works for her. No mention was made of what the meeting was regarding, how long it would last, nor whether anyone should be concerned.
You can see, considering we’ve had two rounds of layoffs and the current economic climate, how this might be a bit of a problem. It was insensitive at best; irresponsible at worst.
Turns out that the manager was simply confirming what everyone already knew: No bonuses this year. Why she needed to keep it all a mystery and have everyone sweating out the two hours between when the meeting invite went out and when the actual meeting took place is anyone’s guess.
The way I see it, there are very few possible reasons to call such a meeting. Almost none of them are good.
Let’s run them down, shall we?
Layoffs: This was the first thought that ran through everyone’s head. That ‘Oh, shit. Not again!’ initial stomach clench that comes with every last second call into a manager’s office. In this case 7 people all had that same reaction.
You’re In Trouble: More likely the case if you’ve been called to your manager’s office all by your lonesome. Whenever the head of our office calls me and asks ‘Can you come to my office when you have a minute?’ I mentally scroll through all the people I’ve possibly pissed off or ignored during the past week. Fortunately for me, that’s a long list and I eventually abandon trying to figure out the who and start focusing on the why. The ‘why’ is most likely because the person I was dealing with is a total douche.
Someone Else Has Been Fired: Again this is bad news because if you’re being called in to your manager, it means you’ll be the one picking up the slack for the fired co-worker. Good luck with double the work load for no extra pay and no bonus.
Shit Has Hit The Fan: Often the case with some project you’ve been working on or a client has called to complain about something. We all know shit rolls down hill, so here’s hoping you have someone below you to pass along this putrid log.
Shit Nearly Hit The Fan: This is the best of all the ‘Fan Shitting’ scenarios. This is when your manager has found a flaw in your work before it’s gone out the door. It’s something that would have made you look very bad. Boss man is still angry you made such a stupid mistake, but glad it was caught before it went to the client. If you have a good relationship with boss, this is never that bad.
Shit Is About To Hit The Fan: Manager found the same mistake in above scenario, but it’s already been sent to the client or into the general public. This can either be good or bad depending on your manager. If he or she is great at damage control it may be possible to nip it in the bud before it becomes a full fledged shit storm.
Manager Is Leaving: This could be good news/bad news depending on the reason. If your boss is leaving on his own, it may be an opportunity for you to step in. If your boss is leaving by force, then start cleaning your desk. Because you’re either next or going to want to leave when they cram all your boss' work into your inbox.
Company Going Under: Not likely, though, as a general meeting involving everyone in the company will be held. Still, if you’re boss is a top gun and he/she trusts you enough it’s a possibility.
You Got A Raise/Bonus/Promotion: This is probably the one scenario that is a positive, although chances are you’ve already been aware of the possibility for a while beforehand.
Office Affair: I would put this in the positive category, but there are more than a few instances this could be bad news. I mean, have you seen some of the people in management? Yeesh!
Surprise Party in Your Honor: Yes, I’m grasping at straws here.
To sum things up, if there is an impromptu department meeting called there is a 2 in 11 chance it’s going to be good news. 3 in 11 if your boss is good looking.
Good luck and be careful out there.
Today’s distraction: Laugh through the recession.