# The Unit Of Annoyance

Yesterday I mentioned the need to travel for 3 hours to a meeting. After deciding to rate the meeting, I presented you, dear readers, with a value of 6.5 out of 10. However, after I published yesterday’s post I realized that I did not put this value into context. I simply stated:

The meeting went as expected. That is to say, our agenda was longer than could be tackled in one meeting, but we did manage to cross off several crucial items.

Note that I offered no justification for the rating, nor an idea as to whether this was typical, good, bad, or other. All I wrote was that the meeting went as expected.

This is clearly unacceptable. If, for example, my meetings are always fantastically awesome1, then as expected is pretty freaking fantastic. If, on the other hand, my meetings always involve long-winded presentations riddled with execu-speak2, as expected could represent a soul-sucking experience that leaves an otherwise lively fellow (such as myself) a brainless zombie. In short, as expected is far too relative.

Anyway, I am going to attempt to rectify these oversights today.

Let’s begin with the scale. In this case, the scale runs from 0 to 10, where higher values represent the worst meetings possible. To get to a 10, you really need to imagine the worst meeting you’ve ever experienced, mix in a swarm of violent and angry wasps, a locked door, a case of poison ivy, a broken air conditioner (assuming a sweltering summer heat wave), food poisoning, and perhaps, just for fun, cheesy Christmas music on repeat. Once you’ve imagined that, realize that a 10 would be worse.

But what about the unit? Temperature has Celsius (or Fahrenheit, or Kelvin), distance has metres, volume has litres, force has Newtons. Surely a unit for which to measure meetings must exist. But what of its properties?

I’ve decided that the unit should reflect some level of discomfort and annoyance, because I’m not sure that anyone actually enjoys meetings. Truthfully, who wouldn’t rather be lounging on a beach, or sipping a beverage, or simply just working away in one’s office without being disturbed? To determine the appropriate unit, I had to identify something that everyone could relate to, but also could immediately identify as the unit of annoyance.

And then it struck me – A Nickelback4! The unit of annoyance should be a Nickelback. Of course, it’s almost too obvious.

So now when I write that a meeting has a rating of 6.5 out of 10 on the annoyance scale, I mean it has a rating of 6.5 Nickelbacks (Nb). Meetings with a rating of 0 Nb are rare – so rare, they might be non-existent. Meetings with a rating between 1 and 3 Nb are good in comparison to those rated 4 through 7 Nb. That is, a meeting rated from 4 to 7 Nb is one which is too long, fails to accomplish enough of the agenda, and sucks just enough energy out of your system to make you want to curl up into a ball when it’s over.

Anything above a 7 is deadly, and you should run as fast as you can lest you turn into a soulless zombie.

1 That is, they involve any or all of a beach, a cottage, a perfectly good plane for which to jump out of, a CN Tower to lean over, a beer, a scotch, or no pants.

2 Execu-speak: for example, see the following YouTube clip3

3 Hmm, I’m trying to determine if I’ve ever used a YouTube clip as an actual footnote.

4 Apologies to any Nickelback fans.