I have a confession to make that will shock anyone who knows me even slightly: I like research meetings. Why is this shocking? Because meetings are the thing I hate most about my job, even above grading. In the vast majority of cases having a meeting feels like punishment to me: I have to come sit in a small room with a bunch of people who are typically there because they are trying to get me to do some work. As a result I lose one or more hours of my life (plus commute time) at the same time as I gain yet more work.
So what’s different about research meetings? To start with, a large portion of the people I’m having the meeting with are usually in a location (southern Illinois, New York, Finland) that makes an in-person meeting difficult, so typically everyone is pleased with the idea of a virtual meeting. This automatically means I can not commute, wear yesterday’s clothes, not shower, etc. without offending anyone (other than my cats). Being a research meeting, we are also talking about one of my favorite aspects of my job which moderates the whole having-a-meeting thing. But, most importantly, the people I’ve been lucky enough to work on research projects with are just loads of fun. They’re silly, funny, and irreverent, sometimes all at the same time. If we did live closer (or for those who are local, if we had more time), I would want to have dinner with them or hang out at a bar and have a beer or glass of wine. Having a meeting means I get to spend some time with them, and that’s a reward not a punishment.