The other day I went to a “required” parent meeting at my kid’s school. I walked in and sat down at 5:58 pm. At 6:00 pm, the person leading the meeting announced that we would wait to start the meeting at 6:10 pm to accommodate those running late. I had rushed to get there and made it a point to be early to the meeting, but he was rewarding people for running late. I was not happy.
The meeting started and went exactly as you might expect. The presenter talked through slides with information I didn’t need to know or could have read in a simple email. As the meeting went on, my sense that my time was being wasted grew from irritation to agitation to annoyance.
Finally, at 7:15 pm, an hour and fifteen minutes after the meeting should have started, and an hour and five minutes after the meeting had started, I left. Was the meeting over? No. Did I have to stand in front of a bunch of people, make my way down a row, and then walk from the front of the auditorium to the back exit? Yes. Was leaving early like that a little rude? Maybe. But, I would argue that wasting my time is much worse.
During that meeting, I realized I didn’t have to be there. I didn’t have to let this person waste my time. So, I went home to be with my family.
Time is something we don’t get back. When someone isn’t using their time well, that’s their choice. But, when someone isn’t using our time well, we can choose if we let that continue or not.
I left the meeting early, and I hope you will too.