I haven’t been employed in Sweden all that long but there is one thing I’ve found to be consistently true about the Swedish workplace: Swedes LOVE meetings. In fact, I was actually in a meeting (my 2nd of the day, 7th of the week) while I wrote the bulk of this entry on my trusty Palm Zire 72.
When I worked in the U.S., I had regular meetings, too, but nothing on the scale or frequency that I have here. In the States, whenever I tried to reach someone during business hours and was told they were “in a meeting”, I knew that there was at least a 50% chance that they were actually available but just didn’t want to talk to me. Here in Sweden there’s a better than 95% chance that whoever I’m trying to reach actually IS in a meeting.
This afternoon’s meeting involved the entire office, so my presence was required by virtue of the fact that I work here. This morning’s meeting was departmental so my participation was not only required but also what I would classify as “productive”.
But somewhere along the line my boss has gotten the idea that my input is valuable in pretty much all manner of internal and external communications issues, so I’m finding myself pulled into lots of meetings (often at the last minute) for which I have no background nor done any preparation.
Add to this that 95% (I like that figure today) of these sessions are IN SWEDISH and well…you get the picture. It’s not just that I can’t contribute, but that my brain has to work overtime to even understand how much I can’t contribute!