Thursday, October 16, 2008

Combustible Committees

Ever notice how ideas or projects die and fall apart the minute they are sent to a "committee"? It's like, "Hey Boss, I've got a great idea!" "Okay, let's send it to a committee to review it." And that was the last the great idea was ever heard of.

One of my favorite stories about committees deals with the Utah State Legislature. The Legislature was worried a while back about the fact that Utah teachers are among the lowest paid teachers in the nation. So, they were wondering how to fix this horrible problem. DUH! Apparently the obvious answer (pay them more) didn't occur to them. Nope, they had to form a committee to review the problem of low-paid teachers, and they formed a task-force (another one of those dead-end places) to create a plan to get Utah teachers more money. So the committee and task-force got together, researched, and did some mondo planning, and here's the brilliant-beyond-brilliant idea that they came up with: If Utah teachers work more, they will earn more! So let's stretch the school year longer, so that Utah teachers can be paid more! Of course, they failed to realize that doing so would make Utah teachers work more than other teachers across the nation, and we still wouldn't actually be getting paid more for our work. We would still be some of the lowest paid (and now over-worked) teachers in the nation. So, as you can guess, nothing much has come from this brilliant-beyond-brilliant idea.

In my experience, this is just one example of what is typical whenever a committee gets together to "fix" anything. I mean, half of the time the committee is getting together to "fix" a problem that doesn't even really exist. Or if the problem does exist, it can be solved easily, but we Americans have to make everything harder than it is, so we form a committee!

Here's my idea: let's stop using the euphamism "committee", and just call them what they are--Giant-wastes-of-time-and-money-so-that-we-can-look-like-we're-doing-something-productive!

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