Telecommuting, phone conferencing, hallway buttonholing, and the growing importance of "snack time" to digital industry employees have made it increasingly difficult to tell the difference between meetings and actual productive periods in the work day. As with most things, we can probably blame Scott Adams for this sorry state of affairs, as the popularity of Dilbert books among even the thickest heads means that meetings-qua-meetings have gotten such a bad rap that many people don't really schedule them anymore. Instead, there's a myriad of desk-side knots, bathroom huddles, and lunchtime handshakes. People tend to grab time where they can get it, and schedule meetings only when they desperately need to avoid talking to someone.
Even The Wall Street Journal has noted the confusion this state of affairs besets upon your average employee: Is a promise wrought out of a boss while he's on the can more or less meaningful than what else he produced at that particular "meeting"?
That's probably a bad example.
Still, the question of whether or not the work-related gathering you're in is actually a meeting is a troublesome one.
As usual, Suck only wants to help. As Part I in an occasional series designed to help you sleepwalk your way to the top, we've designed a simple test to help you determine where you are, even if you don't know what you're doing.