Meeting macabre

My job requires me to attend a variety of long, dull and ultimately pointless meetings. One of the first things you learn as a corporate drone is how to develop coping mechanisms to get you safely through these things. In today’s edition of ‘How To Slow The Inexorable Slide Towards The Edge Of Sanity’, I’ve come up a new game that I call Humbling Experience (TM).

It works like this: Imagine you’ve been hit by a bus and you’re busy perusing the owner’s manual for your new harp / pitchfork (delete where not applicable). Now make a list* of all the people you know well, dividing them into those who would probably attend your funeral and those who wouldn’t be bothered to make the effort. After you finish cursing the ones who wouldn’t show up, try and identify the ones at the service who might actually shed tears. Burn a few synapses in the process. Reflect sadly that you may just be a complete bastard after all.

Too morose? Well okay, you choose the sodding game then.

* this makes it look like you’re paying attention and taking notes and the section head will beam beneficently at you from time to time.

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26 thoughts on “Meeting macabre

  1. So what happens when you realize that you’re said complete bastard… do you start crying in shame?
    In which case, how do you explain the tears to your boss?
    You know he’ll ask – and chances are he won’t swallow the “I just realized how closely knit our team was and the emotion was just… overwhelming” line.

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  2. You could play ‘Buzzword Bingo’. Think of all the important-sounding-but-nonsensical phrases/acronyms loved by politicians and managers alike who use them to cover the fact that they don’t really know what the f* is going on around them, and every time someone uses one in the meeting, cross it off your list. When the last one is crossed off, you have Bingo!

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  3. I used to make grocery shopping lists during meetings. Your funeral list is just too sad especially when you realize just how few would show up at your funeral kyknoord. Since I have evaded a couple funerals I should have been in attendance at, I know my karma on this one isn’t good. πŸ˜‰

    3T

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  4. I’ll come and I’ll cry. But it’ll be tears of joy knowing you’ll now never have to attend another mind-numbing meeting. It was during one of those that I decided to quit my last job. It was almost impossible to not leave on the spot once I made that decision.

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  5. tripeak: Ah. So that’s why they don’t want me to have a laptop. s

    anne: Part of the magic of being a complete bastard is not having to deal with stuff like ‘shame’. Still, “I just realized how closely knit our team was and the emotion was just… overwhelming” is too good NOT to use.

    Terri: Buzzword Bingo can be fun, but ends too quickly in my organisation.

    whatalotoffun: Ja, they’re one of the biggest barriers to efficient communication.

    forgottenmachine: I’ll do what I can. First Thursday in May okay for you?

    3T: As long as nobody shows up with the specific intention of dancing on my grave, I can probably deal with the rest.

    andrea: Excellent. You can take charge of the music while you’re about it.

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  6. Can’t you tell whether you are a complete bastard or not by whether your new manual is for a harp or not…

    I used to draw doodle portraits of everyone in such meetings… or design sweaters I’d never knit…

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  7. i tahe my breakfast (muesli and yogurt) 2 morning meetings. its subversive but not so that anyone will take any real offence. and it gives me something to do – chew each bite ten times SLOWLY. works for me!

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  8. I’ve already selected my pitchfork; it comes with a bonus set of those nifty little poison blow darts. I tend to think of that on a regular basis, not just during meetings. I figure it keeps it fresh in my mind so I won’t have to refer to my list.

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  9. absolutely brilliant kn! i wish i’d been reading you back when i still worked in a corporate type environment… doesn’t it get a little tricky if you get asked a question though?

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  10. Bryan: But half the fun is improvising with the props you have readily at hand.

    Caroline But I crossed out the relevant option right here on my monitor with a magic marker. Can’t you see it?

    Anon: As you say, subversive πŸ™‚ Only works for early-morning meetings, though.ymous

    Anduin: For advanced players, you can re-do the list according to whose funeral you would attend, shed tears etc.

    Spookie: Then you have my deepest sympathies.

    LiVEwiRe: Very popular model. There’s a serious order backlog, so the delivery time is upwards of three months.

    angel: That’s the easy part. All I have to do is say, “Oh, I agree with [fill in name of senior staff member]“. Shifts the focus immediately.

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  11. There’s another variant you could play. You make lists of your fellow attendees and wonder when and how they are going to die. Then you try to work out the words you’d use to sum them up if you were invited to their funeral and asked to say a few words.

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  12. Your game is a tad depressing but you can jazz it up by fantasising about how you are going to haunt the non-attenders and non-cryers. Just don’t get carried away because you might start laughing at an inappropriate time.

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  13. I play the “Thought Bubble game”. I basically pretend that I know what ppl really think of one another and their ideas/comments, and also what other things are on their minds (sex, murder, revenge, etc) while the meeting is in progress.
    Be careful, it can be hilarious. I have been known to start laughing for no apparent reason.

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  14. Reluctant Nomad: I like your variation very much, maestro.

    ShutterJane: To do: 1. Figure out how to get out of this meeting. 2. See (1).

    Katt: Haunt ALL of them? That’ll take a looooong time. Not sure I’ll have the stamina – especially once I’m dead.

    Bosbefok: Good luck & try not to snore.

    Chitty: Your meetings sound like fun. I’m pretty sure that if I could tap into most of the minds around the table in our meeting room, I’d just hear white noise.

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  15. That is a bit miserable – how about which 2 people would most likely get togther and have sex just after my funeral?

    Oh fuck! That’s my wife and my best friend! You’re right – your version is better.

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  16. I would definitely be focussed on who was there and what the hell they were going to bury me in. Who made a speech, a few people hanging onto the coffin would be a nice try – and could we stop en-route so we can load the coffin up with all the food I have had to deprive myself of in real life???

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  17. I would have to have an additional list of who was there, with beer. ‘Cause I’ve got some kooky friends.

    Thank you for this passtime. I really think it’ll do the trick.

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  18. RuKsaK: Oh man, now that’s depressing. Hilarious, but depressing.

    Tammy: Sort of like an ancient Egyption burial?

    Zube Girl: I would have to add ‘Twitchy people dying to rush outside for a smoke’ to my list then.

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