So You’ve been Called to a Meeting

It happens to all of us. Your day is going swimmingly, you don’t loathe your job, things are humming along, and then you make the mistake of opening an email. And there it is, right there in an email: meeting.

No other word in the white-ish collar-ish world induces such dread as the word meeting. At the very very least, you now have to meet another person in person. And we all know that’s not where it ends.

Oh, the horror.   

But what now?

OK, first of all, come to terms with the fact that you need to go to the meeting. Calling out only means conspicuously drawing attention to yourself and probably being forced to a one on one recap, which is the equivalent of fibbing to stay home from school and getting stuck going to the doctor’s office.

More Meetings

Sometimes a meeting gives birth to a bunch of other meetings. There’s the meeting to prepare for the original meeting, an informal meeting to go over the talking points of the primary meeting as well as the minutes of the first prep meeting. Meetings are like murders in the bible – they beget another.

Meetings: An Overview

Every meeting in the history of workers aggregated near a water cooler has been negative. Every. Single. One. No meeting has ever been held to distribute cupcakes and spontaneously tell employees how great and appreciated they are.

Additionally, meetings are notorious for the off the cuff doling out of pain in the ass tasks, the willy nilly blaming of things, and the asking of questions that virtually nobody wants to answer. For these reasons, I suggest sitting as far from the head of the meeting as possible.


A lot can be deduced from the refreshments at a meeting. First, are there perishables on the table like donuts, cookies, and cakes? If so, then this meeting either features a heavy hitter who the administration wants to impress or someone is getting fired (you never want bad rumors about your company’s meeting refreshments traveling to another company).

If the refreshments are packaged cookies and wafers then you are at a run of the mill meeting and none of you are cared about in any way, but none of you are getting fired either. Take a cookie and make it last.

Now, you might notice that the refreshments at the meeting have declined in quality. Say in June and July you had perishables and then in August and September there perishables, but they were stale and there were fewer than usual. In October six coffee pots became four and then in November two. And in the autumn months the perishables are routinely switched out for packaged goods. Well, then you are the victim of a gaslighting campaign.

Good luck.

Red Flags

Charts, visual aids, or projector use is trouble. It’s all pictorial evidence to support just how fucked you are. The words “demographics,” “accreditation,” “enrollment,” or the phrases “Make some changes” and “next year” should be heeded with terrible caution.

Most administrators have been well schooled in how not to answer direct questions in a meeting, so if you are in a meeting where an administrator is about to answer a direct question. Plunge a hazelnut wafer into your eye and run screaming from the meeting.

As long as a meeting is vaguely discussing how bad you and your department is at doing the work you do at your company, then you are free to sit back and relax and think about being a welder.

Passing the Time

If you’re lucky and there’s a lot of time to hear about how bad you are at your job, then you have to come up with ways to pass the time or you might end up fired or in jail.

I suggest games. How many times can you hold your breath for one minute? I play this one until I get dizzy and almost pass out. Still, if I had fallen to the floor with a blue face it probably would have at least halted the meeting for a few minutes. Maybe. A similar game can be done with the number of erections one is able to gain and lose, one part of which gets easier and one part of which gets harder as you age. I hear.  

You might also develop your creative skills. Draw houses, birds, and piles of pancakes. It’s more fun if these things are somehow injuring the meeting head. You can also write out recipes and short fiction.

Composing limericks about the people in the meeting are a great way to pass the time. If you can work an anapestic meter with a strict rhyme scheme of AABBA and some asshole in the room getting gutted by a honey badger, then was the meeting a total waste?


If someone asks a question they should be cheered inwardly for having the guts to ask a tough question at a meeting. If that question is a waste of time and somehow extended the meeting’s length, then that colleague should be glared at so hard that they die. If you are the colleague who has asked the question and if it becomes clear to you that the question was a time waster and a meeting extender, then as soon as the boss’ eyes are off of you, you should start writing a list of justifications for your question. And they had better be good.

The Immediate Aftereffects

Before you have left the meeting, reconfigure your face back into one that belongs to a human capable of human emotion. This will be more difficult than you know, what after 60-90 (let’s be honest) minutes of frowning, feigning interest, practicing a poker face, and inner-eye rolling (like frogs who have three sets of eye-lids, those trapped in white-ish collar-ish jobs have inner eyes which aren’t directly visible, but are rather a mood that eyes take on when they can’t actually be rolled themselves for fear of being fired by the person they are rolling at).

Keep your poker face at close hand in preparation for the inevitable post-meeting approach from a higher up who will ask you to do more work or the announcement of another meeting to discuss the issues that will arise in your department in the wake of this meeting’s repercussions.   

If you get out of the room unscathed, run, run, you lucky son of a bitch, just run and don’t look back.

Post Meeting Coping Mechanism


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