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Corporate Etiquette 111 . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, November 10, 2008

{The workplace is a jungle filled with jackals, wineheads and bosses with mouths like a crocodile. There are also decent people, but I'm starting to question the percentages. This is the 11th in a series of corporate encounters which offer no easy resolutions.}

Anatomy of a Corporate Meeting Escape

Meeting Scheduled: Friday at 2 p.m.
Weather Outside: 78 degrees and sunny.

1:57 p.m. - Arrive a few minutes early with colleagues, and scout seating arrangement. This past Friday, it had changed from standard rows to a semi-circle that made it seem like a campfire meeting, although luckily we did not sign Kumbaya (sp?) yet I wouldn't have minded roasting a few S'mores.

2:00 p.m. - Mingle a little bit with co-workers from other departments making your presence know, but not too obvious.

2:04 p.m. - Take a seat near the back with access to an aisle that allows you to avoid stepping over too many people. In this case, there are two large pillars in the room and I took a seat to the left of the one closest to the door, thus obscuring the view of those sitting on the right-hand side of the circle.

2:12 p.m. - Meeting is called to order by CEO. This bullshit meeting is already 12 minutes behind.

2:28 p.m. - Walk casually over to your boss, and congratulate him on his 5-year anniversary at the company (which was just recognized by CEO). Then, return to your seat. This establishes that you can stand up, move around to do something and yet still return to the meeting to give it your undivided attention.

2:43 p.m. - CEO places miniscule representation PowerPoint slide of company finances seen through accounting standards dating back from the previous 18 months. Day-dream about escaping downtown to meet for drinks while alternately looking concerned as you check your Blackberry.

2:58 p.m. - Leave your seat and stand near the back next to the pillar, grabbing at your back is optional to explain without words that sitting that long has irritated your body.

3:09 p.m. - Executive Council asks for questions. Ask one early question that you know someone on the staff wants to answer as it shows your company interest as well as the fact that you're still in attendance. Inch closer to the pillar.

3:21 p.m. - Questions are winding down yet the invitation to stand around and have some beers will be coming soon.

3:27 p.m. - CEO thanks everyone for taking time from their days to attend, and turns it over to the HR department. It's time to make a break for it.

As the Executive team goes back to their seats and the HR team moves forward, walk confidently towards the door - fast, but not too fast - and don't look back because only guilty bastards look back.

Grasp the door handle firmly and once on the opposite side of it, do NOT let it slam shut and instead, bring it to a gentle closing and then run for the closest exit, down the stairs to the your car and then drive towards a downtown patio bar secure in the knowledge that you are living the best of both worlds.



  1. Heff Says:
  2. A PowerPoint presentation is NEVER a good sign. Glad you survived !

  3. JLee Says:
  4. Good exit strategy. I don't know if I would have made it that long into the meeting. There's always the "dr's appointment" card, but they probably wouldn't buy it. I'm lucky they usually have station meetings at 1:30, which is an hour before my shift starts. ha

  5. A.B. Says:
  6. ahahah - well played. Do you remember anything that was said at the meeting? Exactly, that's why they are a big ol'waste of time. I don't have to worry about meetings but I have customers who won't leave on a Friday afternoon and many times I've gone out to the shop to ask an employee to call from the shop phone... then my annoying customer can hear me say "I'll be right there" and they make a quick exit.

  7. Heff - You 100% right about that . . . they are never a good thing. Thanks on the survival as I had visions of ice-cold beer in my head.

    Jlee - You are lucky indeed as company meetings are ugly under the best of circumstances & on Fridays, they are downright cruel. I think I played it fairly well, and I might have used the Dr.'s card earlier in teh week, but not too many people would buy it on a Friday afternoon. Ha.

    A.B. - I only recall enough to know that we can keep the doors open into next year, which is not a given these days. Selah. But you have a similar problem and I like that strategy as a well-placed phone call can help out in so many ways. They should invent robots or services to provide that call for any occassion.

  8. BostonPobble Says:
  9. Well done. I'm also a fan of having a compatriot (but make sure it's someone who really must stay until the end or else you find yourself in a quid pro quo situation and that sucks). At a certain moment, look at your watch. Appear concerned. Go back to meeting. Let time elapse. Look back at your watch. Appear more concerned. Whisper something to compatriot. Pay attention to meeting. Look at watch. Whisper to compatriot while pointing at watch and appearing disappointed. Gather belongings and whisper once more to compatriot. Have compatriot nod understandingly. Make escape in manner described in your original post. Just another option, should you ever need it. It's gotten me out of some painful meetings and no one has ever questioned me or my compatriot. (touch cyber-wood)

  10. slopmaster Says:
  11. yes, always have an exit strategy. that's finance 101.

    WHen given the choice, do not drink with superiors AT work. Unless its a dinner date, then you can order a sam adams like on that commercial.


  12. TROLL Says:
  13. Interestingly, you spelled "Kumbaya" correctly but spelled "sing" incorrectly.

    The HR walk-out was good strategery.

    Who did Texas play this week? San Antonio Jr. College? Or someone weaker? Like Baylor.


  14. Bostonpobble - That's a hell of a good one too. Thanks. THe only downside is that you MUST have a trustworthy person at your side, and so it might be occasionally limiting. But it again reinforces the need to have strong allies around you at all times. Ha.

    Slopmaster - The only good thing about drinking with superiors from work is that they can slap down the corporate card and buy the booze. That being said, I'd rather pay for my own drinks 9 out of 10 times unless I can get the VP drunk enough to divulge company secrets. Selah.

    TheTroll - That is a bit odd. I guess I was so focused on Kumbaya that I took sing for granted. Now, back to football . . . If that Alabama - LSU "Game" is the best the SEC has to offer, then I'm not biting (or chomping). Alabama was unimpressive and LSU's quarterback couldn't commander a middle school team with his skills. Ugly - just ugly. Florida is looking good, however, Vanderbilt is only a half-step above Baylor this year (and yes, I consider several of 'Bilts' early wins suspect).

  15. Miss Ash Says:
  16. I thought for sure you were going to make your exit around the 2:04 timeline haha! Make an appearance and then vamoose!

  17. Never ever look back!

  18. Miss Ash - I probably should have, but I wanted to make sure we weren't hemmoraging (sp?) money before I left for greener pastures. Ha.

    Native Minnow - Good advice for leaving meetings and many other things I suppose.

  19. TROLL Says:
  20. Football and poker Troll Poll today! I enjoy seeing teams with high academic standards succeed. At this point, Vandy probably isn't much better than Baylor, you're right.

    Brainiac teams never have depth.

  21. Anonymous Says:
  22. Well there's 90 minutes of your life you'll never get back. At least three strong beverages post meeting should make up for it though by my reckoning. Thanks for making me feel damn good about being unemployed. There's always a silver lining if you look hard enough to find it.

  23. Troll - I agree about the lack of depth, although I was kind of pulling for Vandy & Northwestern this year. They're still doing OK as a whole.

    Romany Angel - There's always a silver lining. Ha. And your previous gig should have been fine for skipping meetings since it sounded like you were traveling around alone and meeting with individuals versus having to be corralled into corporate get-togethers. That must have been nice.


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