Rainy Days and Meetings Always Get Me Down

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Today my students have the day off.
I do not. Why? Because I have meetings all day.

On one hand, I'm ready for a kid-free day. (And they're ready for a teacher-free day, so our offenses cancel each other out.)  On the other hand, meetings rank right up there with tetanus shots and all-soprano opera.

If you're like me and you have a two second attention span, plus a natural aversion to charts, graphs, and data disaggregation, then you might benefit from some of my Meeting Survival Tips, taken from my yet-to-be published book Meetings Can Be As Lame as Water Boarding and Fire Ants. These survival tips are good for meetings only. They will not work in class, for you students. Because we all know you WILL use that information someday. All of it. Somehow. Just like I use my geology and botany info every day. I can't tell you how many times I've had to identify a rock or leaf during the course of a day. Anyway…

Taken from the chapter titled, “Well, I WOULDN'T Be Growling If Someone Had Brought Some Starbucks.” Rules for surviving a meeting…

1. Attend meeting with mime face paint on. Permanent smile. And permanent creepiness. Nobody will bother you, look at you, or ask you to climb out of your imaginary glass box.

2. Bring enough binders and notebooks so you can build a Fort of Nap Time. It would be rude to peek into someone's Fort of Nap Time. You might want to email a memo with this instruction prior to the meeting, so you are insured uninterrupted sleep and relaxation. Plus it's a great excuse to finally use that Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper.

3. Bring your favorite magazines and get others to help you complete the quizzes. What's more important–learning new information that involves you keeping your job OR figuring out whether your relationship style is Team Edward, Jacob, or Jackson Stewart?

4. Bring the latest issue of People and have the twisted relationship of the Jolie-Pitts analyzed by the end of the meeting, complete with flow charts and illustrated diagrams to send to Dr. Phil. Or to fold into paper airplanes and send to Mr. I'm Too Cool To Turn Off My Cell Phone sitting five rows back.

5. Plan your lunch escape route. I usually start this within 30 seconds of being seated. I also like to create options A, B, and C, which gives me alternate routes and choices in case the meeting goes over or a chicken truck has turned over yet AGAIN in the center of the highway, blocking the way between me and a Value Meal.

6. Practice all those Sue Sylvester-isms you've been storing up. “My parents were famous Nazi hunters. So they weren't around a lot.” Or…”You think this hard? I'm passing a gallstone as we speak. That is hard!”

7. Bring a Michael Jackson face mask in case you sit by the Person Who Daily Mistakes Her Perfume For Raid Wasp and Hornet Killer.  (Item 7B, pray for companionship for these people, because obviously they don't have a best friend to let them know they have a certain air of stinky.)

8. Bring snacks. Not only does this keep you happy, but it gets you instant friends. And if you leave your peanut M&Ms out overnight, your stale chewing sounds will completely block out the speaker's voice. I like to use these during the presentation given by the person whose speech and PowerPoint are exact duplicates and match word-for-word. And when Mr. I'm Too Cool To Turn Off My Cell Phone asks questions over info we've already gone over, but he was too busy talking to Fantasy Football Buddy Number 3.

9. Do not write comments on those end-of-presentation “anonymous” surveys in the voice of Snooki or JWOWW . They know your handwriting. Trust me.

10. During the required, “Turn to the person on your left and tell them one thing you learned” time, always speak first. I usually like to begin with the words, “So…what did you think?”

Clearly that chapter is a work in progress. I'm grateful for my meeting tomorrow because I can do some more field research for my future release, Meetings Can Be As Lame as Water Boarding and Fire Ants. I haven't found a publisher for it yet, but my agent has had these two words to say about it already: Bidding. War.

Have a great Monday.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 9 comments
Ruth - October 18, 2010

I feel like I should print this post and tack it to the wall of my cubicle so I can constantly be reminded of these helpful hints.

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Carra - October 18, 2010

The Fort of Nap Time sounds amazing. I think that’s what I’m going to name my office. Also, for your awesome new book, you might want to have a section of real-life stories at the end of each chapter…you know, for solidarity’s sake: “Yes, I lived through this–and so can YOU!” 🙂

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Tracy - October 18, 2010

Fortunately our meetings are relatively interesting ~ but my golly my bottom gets sore after a full solid day of sitting. I’m used to being up and down and all around the classroom all day…none of this sitting around. All. Day. Long.

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Heather aka Dynamic Uno - October 18, 2010

I used the magazine idea at our last meeting but was busted because I was sharing the results with my co-workers. I’m all for the trapper-keeper Fort of Nap Time. I wonder if we get bonus points for using school colors?

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Abby Minard - October 18, 2010

I’ll definitely buy the book!! Omg, do they still make trapper keepers?

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Mattie - October 18, 2010

Could you come up with a list for students like that? But only forthe super boring down times after a really big test when only one person is still working on it and taking forever! Even though I’m usually that person:) Those ideas you have are so funny and clever!

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ashley - October 19, 2010

While you were at your meeting, I got checked out of school because my dad is coming home from Afghanistan for 2 weeks today, but some to find out, it’s after school hours anyway and my ride from school didn’t show up, as I stood outside of school for an hour, finally got dropped off at home, and then had to crawl in a window. sigh. . .a meeting sounds nice.

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Jenny B Jones - October 19, 2010

Ashley, congrats on your dad coming home! And crawling through a window will be something you laugh about later. Years later. Trust me. My brother and I still have “locked out of the house again” memories.

So glad the list was helpful to some of you! Feel free to make your own variations.

Yes, Trapper Keepers still exist! Isn’t that wild?

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ashley - October 20, 2010

i am surprised that i still have a job due to my obvious and over the top phobia to all things meeting related.

everyone knows i hate them and will do ANYTHING to get out of them. is it my fault that your voice and the low lighting in here magically makes my eyelids half close? no, no it’s not.

i have to draw on all meeting agendas to stay awake. one time becky leaned over to me and goes “good job! minimal drawing today!”

it was a proud proud moment.

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