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Meetings

Last week there was a meeting that included some managers, programmers and people in other departments. My manager did not tell me to go, and later I realized that another guy in my group went.
This meeting will be held every week and is for discussing the plans for the intranet and extranet, which I'm very interested in. And my manager had said some of my projects might be related to it, so I can't figure out why he didn't ask me. I thought this week I'd tell him I want to go, and see what he says.
Unlike a lot of programmers, I happen to like meetings, and I really want to hear what everyone says about the intranet plans.
Is it a good idea to invite myself? If he doesn't want me to go at least he might explain why not.

PC
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

PC,

YES. You should definitely just go to the meeting.

With your level of interest and the fact you'll likely ben involved in dealing with the results of the meetings means you definitely should be there whether your boss sees that or not.

And inviting yourself, as you suggested, is an excellant way to force feedback as to whether or not your boss has a problem with you being there. If he does have a problem, it tells you a lot.

More likely he'll say 'oh glad to see you here, I forgot to invite you but this involves you and you should be here!'

I've been in similar situations and invited myself and have never regreted it.

If they don't want you being there, that's something you want to know as soon as possible!

I don't advise you specrifically ask your boss for permission to be there - just go.

Sarain H.
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

PC, if you're interested, then probably you are skilled at communication and analysis and can contribute well. Users and other managers typically notice and value this.

So, yes, get yourself to the meetings and be useful.

Been there
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

You should certainly ask about the meeting and express your interest.  It's good to be there when important things are disussed.  You may learn as much from your conversation with the boss than from the meetintgs.

On the other hand my best bosses could smell hopeless causes (and hopeless meetings) a mile away and would protect their people from the muck.  The best know when to send their sharpest person and when not to.

tk
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I find Sarains advice kind of interesting as it totally goes against my personal working philosophy. If you think you should be at this meeting and want to attend, then talk to your boss, that is what he is there for. If he doesn't want you at the meeting, he can tell you why. If he had a perfectly good reason for you not to attend, just showing up can make both of you look bad.

Maybe I'm old school, but I believe in trying to make my boss look good, not stupid. If my boss doesn't deserve to look good, I'll find a new job not stab him in the back by doing an end run.

Gerald
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Best to ask him how the meeting went and when he tells you X was discussed and Y was the descision tell him you would have brought up something else and how a different and better decision would have been reached. If he doesn't invite you at that point then you can ask him and demonstrate exactly why you should be there.

You could also talk to some other people who were at the meeting and tell your boss that these other people think you should be there.

Trust me. As a very junior level engineer I managed to get myself into lots of high level meetings a variety of ways and it was a very good way to improve my reputation throughout engineering. The more people at large, not just your boss who may try to shield you from those meetings, get to know you and get to know that you have good ideas the better off you will be in the long run.

dmooney
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Gerald,

Your way is cool too.
The way I do it, no boss need be embarrassed -- I don't call attention to it publically or anything, I just show up. The point is not to upstage him or make him look bad but take the initiative and do my own thing rather than waiting to be asked to join in. If someone has an issue with it, they can talk to me privately if they wish, but so far that hasn't happened. It depends on what you feel comfortable with. If you feel like you belong at the meeting then just go.

I guess the principle behind all this is that 'it is easier to ask forgiveness than seek permission'.

Sarain H.
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I think I should ask permission. I had emailed the manager who organizes the meeting and he said it's fine with him if I go but I have to check with my boss.
I'm hoping my boss just forgot. I don't understand why he asked the other guy (who was hired one week ago) and not me.
I have never done anything wrong or said the wrong thing to anyone. Also my boss probably knows I am unlikely to say anything at a meeting, especially this one.
I agree that I have to know why he didn't ask me last week. Maybe he thinks I hate meetings.
I'm not doing anything so important that I can't stop for an hour.

PC
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

"The way I do it, no boss need be embarrassed -- I don't call attention to it publically or anything, I just show up. The point is not to upstage him or make him look bad but take the initiative and do my own thing rather than waiting to be asked to join in."

It could make the boss look bad if he's already explained to the team in the meeting, or some members of it, that you won't be there because of <reason goes here>. You might not intend to cause a problem but you could do so by mistake.

I think whether this is likely to be an actual problem or not depends on the culture of your workplace; and it may be that this is an acid test of whether one is being marginalised away from important work and therefore should think of moving on from the job or not.

Robert Moir
Wednesday, November 20, 2002


"
Best to ask him how the meeting went and when he tells you X was discussed and Y was the descision tell him you would have brought up something else and how a different and better decision would have been reached
"

Be very careful.  In a bad corporate culture, this could be taken as critical (it is), and the boss could get defensive, abrasive, abusive, or just start acting irrational.  That's when you realize he isn't really listening - he's just coping ... acting in a way that will get you to back down.

Then again, if your corporate culture is this bad, you have bigger problems, and the steps to fix it or move on aren't easy.  Of course, it's always better to find out where you really stand than bury your head in the sand ... if youget a good response, you're worrying for nothing.  If you get a bad one, at least you -know-.


I've known lots of bosses that "got it" just enough to know most developers hate meetings.  Those bosses often had real problems dealing with the exceptions (like myself, I hope) that find meetings very beneficial when the company needs to make a decision, spead information, or add business value through more than two people.

just my $0.02 ...

Matt H.
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

If you're not in the meeting, you're not on the core project team. If you want to be, try to become part and you will be in those meetings.
Why are you not on the team? Could be all sorts of things. Maybe you are already doing very valuable work, and they do not want to retarget you. Maybe they do not know about your true interests in this area. Maybe they see this as a side project and give it to the junior to get worked in on something not too critical. Maybe they think you are just not good enough for this super important mission critical task and they managed to attract this very hotshot developer just for kicking butt on this thing ...
Who knows. Seems to me you can't do much harm in expressing your interest for this development. Maybe you'll be added, maybe not, but at least you will find out.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

He said ok, I can go to the meetings.
I'm glad I asked. Thanks to all who replied.

PC
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Any explaination as to why you weren't invited in the first place?

Ichabod Crane
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I didn't ask because I didn't want to seem paranoid, even though I am.
Possibly because I'm finishing a project that's kind of a rush right now.

PC
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

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