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I worked for a decade in a relatively corporate environment; it was a creative position, but man alive did that company like to have meetings and present reports and organize afternoons full of supposedly team-building foosball and trust falls. You can imagine how I felt about this.

“Now, DG,” they would say, “there’s no ‘I’ in team!” To which I once replied “Well, there’s no ‘U’ either, so I’ll be in my office.” After that, I was excused from any further team-building exercises in perpetuity.

Well, MDK World HQ had an all-hands-on-deck year-end, year-beginning, water-in-the-face planning meeting two weeks ago! <cue dramatic music> I drove to work that day steeling myself for whatever fresh Hell was coming my way, whatever ridiculous parlor game I was going to have to play to earn the free lunch. I will do a lot of things for Chicken Tikka Masala, but a trust fall isn’t one of them. After years of having to participate in a lot of silliness for a little lunch at that previous job, I was prepared for the worst.

But it was painless. I did have to talk a little bit and also listen to other people’s ideas (not my strong suit, but there was no nitwittery at all, so it was a breeze: Something something, nod. Something something else, nod again. Suddenly write a little note down that says something like “synergy!” and underline it aggressively, etc. etc.). I stuck up for the Shipping Department when I needed to and nodded my head when everyone else started talking about whatever it is they do around here (I really should pay attention more).

On the whole, I think I handled it as well as I could, having a full blown case of PCSD (Post Corporate Stress Disorder), though because there was already some talk about next year’s Holiday Shop, I almost fell to the ground in a faint … but I steadied myself with the edge of the craft table before any sort of fatal swoon. I don’t think anyone even noticed.

By the time lunch rolled around, my blood pressure—which spikes at the very sound of the word “meeting”—had returned to normal, though I’ll confess it started creeping up again every time my phone dinged to tell me another spreadsheet had been shared with me. Hot tip to management: I have no idea how to access any of those spreadsheets, so could y’all just talk a little louder on your Zoom calls? Thanks in advance.

A Giveaway

The prize? A Pull from the Tangle Print. Words to knit by and to make the best of every situation—even a meeting. Our first-ever collaboration with legendary Nashville letterpress studio Hatch Show Print.

How to enter?

Two steps:

Step 1: Sign up for our weekly newsletter, Snippets, right here. If you’re already subscribed, you’re set.

Step 2: What gets you through a schmeeting, a tangle, a blood pressure spiking situation? Share your wisdom in the comments.

Deadline for entries: Sunday, December 5, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.

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    • Doodling!! That way it looked like I was taking notes. I’m retired now so if I go to a meeting I try to take knitting. What are they going to do? Fire me?

      • I gently set down my “mess”, walk around the house, take a deep breath and then have at it. If it doesn’t work then, a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate helps!

  • I would zone out trying to look like I was paying attention (not sure it worked) and/or doodled.

  • volunteer to take the minutes of the meeting, write down EVERYTHING (even the really silly things) then send the draft out to everyone in the meeting for approval and possibly a few extra people in the organisation (by accident of course!).

    funnily enough, you’ll never be asked to take minutes again and, more than likely, will be uninvited to the meetings too!

  • What gets me through a meeting? Knitting

  • What gets me through meetings….Retirement!

    • Lol. My name is also Pamela and I could have provided the same response. Wish I’d thought if that “there’s also no U” comment back in the day! Brilliant

      • Another Pamela here! There’s no “U” in Retirement, so no meetings for this Pamela either! (Except for Aoom meetings, of course!)

  • must have paper and pencil in hand for doodling – or note taking – or list forming – or poetry writing – or anything to distract from said meeting…endless staff meetings are something I do not miss about teaching!

  • Wearing a red felt clown nose is very effective.
    But you have to pretend its part of your everyday face

  • Doodling snd breathing!

  • During the situation I just breathe deeply. In my mind I am saying to myself “In” as I inhale and “Out” as I exhale. Then after the meeting I do something fun to relax.

    • I remember those kinds of meetings! I don’t miss them! Retirement has benefits! Here I am free to speak my mind vs being a corporate puppet!

  • I take my dogs for a walk while listening to an Audible novel. Stress gone!

  • Hum Ride of the Valkyrie

    • Love this, especially if you can add all the sturm und drang Viking imagery!

  • I like zoom meetings where you can knit!

  • Breathing with purpose

  • Ferocious doodling

  • Knitting!

  • I’ve been through a few doozies. I tried to take notes. If overcome and numbness set in, I resorted to mints.

  • Being retired, I don’t have to fear those meetings anymore. I do remember keeping my head down, taking lots of “notes”, and telling myself “it’ll be over soon”.

  • I am retired and so can pick and choose my meetings. Mostly Zoom these days but still by choice—book discussion and knitting group, or tours of museums. I still knit or crochet. Maybe address and stamp Christmas cards.

  • I would draw pictures of people around me. Make lists. Play sudoku. Knit when I could get away with it.
    Now I’m thankful every day that I’m retired!

  • Knitting, it keeps me thinking straight and prevents violent thought or action.

  • Knitting!

  • Er, I’ve been known to trade snarky texts with a co-worker about the meeting who is also in the meeting. Call it digital eye rolling

  • I have mastered the art of knitting below the camera during Zoom meetings!

  • I would just watch the clock and wish it were all over.

  • Watching everyone else to try to ‘read’ what they may be thinking. The lunch!

  • When I was working most of our meetings were virtual as we had offices all over the world, this was before zoom and face to face online meetings, so I did what any good knitter would do, I knit!

  • I own a tiny printing company (4 of us) and we sit down for a formal “meeting” that doesn’t involve alcohol about once every 3 years, if that. My husband, however, would love the article and immediately become DG’s best friend when it comes to hating meetings. He gets to retire in about 12 work days so he will say farewell to the meetings and the new boss who ruined what was a very nice job.

  • I hide a crossword puzzle in my notebook and do that when the meeting starts going over my head!

  • Retired now, but when I did have to meet (ugh), made sure to sit next to another smart ass so we could snicker and pass notes.

  • Doodling.

  • I would attempt to remember these meetings have purpose? Then was happy when I was dismissed and could enjoy the rest of the day!

  • I spent 35 years as a lawyer knitting or needlepointing through meetings and conference calls. In retirement, with so many fewer meetings, doodling seems to suffice.

  • I confess that I was one of ‘those’ people who enjoyed the teambuilding meetings and occasionally, was singled out to plan them!

  • My first job teaching at a college. All day meeting. I knew I wouldn’t make it through, so I discretely knitted a baby sweater. At the end of the day, a venerable old professor came up to me and said I was the only one who accomplished anything that day.

    • Ah…I remember faculty meetings with little pleasure. The only worse meetings are council meetings of very small communities — same nitpickery with actual, occasional real life consequences. Mostly I remember a lot of eye-rolling with fellow peons, followed by libations at the closest bar.

    • Just think how many of those meetings he had been through in his life! He was speaking from deep experience.

  • An extra large almond mocha, extra hot, extra shot; and my ability to look like I am engaged and paying attention when, in fact, I am a million miles away on a beach somewhere knitting away!

  • Keep a list of every cliche uttered, and then keep a running tally. It’s excellent: you look like you’re paying attention to what is being said, and it looks like you’re taking notes. The only problem is that sometimes you start laughing hysterically.

    • On the same line, a colleague & I would play Meeting Bingo. We made our own bingo cards-the spaces were filled with the boss’s favorite cliches (“we have to blue sky this” and “we should all be thinking outside the box” generally apeared twice), along with a few behavior-related ones (“so-and-so male colleague will interrupt and talk over a woman within 4 words of her trying to say anything” is one I remember). Whichever one of us got bingo first was treated to an adult beverage by the other after work. We also had some unobtrusive hand jestures (hand under chin cupped like a C for “clueless” or framing the face shaped like an L for “loser”; an extended forefinger into the cheek for “boring”, and a 3-finger salute held as if one was resting one’s head on one’s hand, for “read between the lines” when our fearless leader said something egregiously insane). The meetings were still useless and god-awful, but focusing on winning the bingo competition instead of the soul-sucking process got us through them. I personally enjoyed collecting hand gestures from friends, comedians, tv shows, and any source possible. That boss forbade knitting, so my favorite ploy for meeting survival was unavailable.

      • Similarly, I used to play ‘The Meeting Game’. Players predicted who would talk the most in the meeting and then we counted each instance during the meeting. It made the seemingly endless comments a little more bearable when they came from our pick of the week. Fabulous prizes (usually a candy bar) we’re awarded to the winner.

      • Brilliant!!! Should be in an underground handbook for meeting survival!!

    • I am going to start doing this. The corporate world is cliche heavy.

      • Ah, corporate speak bingo! 😉

  • Doodle, update my to do list or Soduko puzzles!

  • Having a pen in my hand, taking notes if I needed to, drawing and doodling if not. Meetings, especially planning meetings, are excruciating.

  • I tend to use my calendar and a notepad to make lists, and update the “to-do’s” during meetings. Or text someone on the other side of the room to see if their ringer is on 🙂 lol

  • Retire early !!!

  • knitting and doodling

  • Lots of smiling and nodding and a bit of knitting if you can manage it.

  • This is sort of a reverse comment, but Julia Child said that a party without a cake is just a meeting! So maybe bringing a cake to a meeting can make it a party?

  • Survival for me? Multitasking! If I didn’t need to be on video for our conference calls, I could actually get some urgent work done while listening to the call (and hoping that no one said “Kim, what do you think?”).

    Amazing how spectacular you can appear of you get all of your day’s deadlines dealt with while attending a weekly call about a project. Especially as I was managing a portfolio that included over 50 projects!

    Oh, and you can also find some time for playing Mahjong on your alternate computer screen if the meeting was making you doze off!

  • Prayer

  • I knit. Decades ago when I was a summer intern at a very specialized law firm a senior partner would bring her needlepoint to depositions. She said it helped her to focus and stay calm. So when I hatched into a professional for whom meetings were part of the deal I brought my knitting.

  • Any knitting of course! I’ve been retired almost ten years, but when I worked in education, any meeting schmeeting included a craft for me,

  • Well, I’m retired, but prior to that, I became an expert doodler

  • Gotta keep those hands busy. The longer and more boring the meeting the more elaborate the doodles.

  • Labor/management team building meetings are just bullshit! Just let me get back to my job, taking care of patients. That’s what I’m here for! Good thing I retired. My mouth got me in trouble more than once;)

  • Humans have been meeting by the campfire for thousands of years to trade information/make plans, share a meal (“free lunch”) and build alliances (teams). What started out in the corporate world as simple and effective “Ice Breaking” exercises turned into breaking down an iceberg and an industry that has taken leaders overboard.

    In my experience one simple, brief and creative exercise helps align the participants in a fresh way, open to the work of the meeting. And it is always important to remember that for safety’s sake (both physical and emotional) we should ask our members to participate to the best of their ability…even if that means they need to sit out the exercise. We understand!! and welcome them back as we move the meeting forward.

    I’ve just retired and am realizing that I will actually miss these opportunities to learn something new about my peers (or how they think, prioritize, operate) that I have worked alongside for decades.

  • Those organization-wide meetings were the worst! My meeting mantra…”this too shall pass”. Retirement is the answer!

  • I doodle and design. If I can get away with it, I knit

  • When I had to sit through those types of meetings, my friend and colleague would pass notes. Rather childish but we worked at a school. At my new job, thankfully, meetings are restricted to one hour max, once a month. It’s brilliant!

    • Teachers are the worse meeting attendees, hands down. We used to sit at the back, pass notes, whisper to each other, read, doodle, doze off, etc. We were letting off steam by applying everything we’d learned from the kids!

  • Doodled, a lot.

  • Career change! Which I decided on one day in a meeting at my corporate job, when I realized if I had to sit through any more long pointless meetings I would end up ax-murdering someone. Went to work for myself, so no team building!

    • Wanted to add – If you want a good read, try ‘Bellwether’ by Connie Willis. Her descriptions of corporate meetings and bureaucratic office life are hysterical. Oh, and it has sheep in it!

      • Just ordered it from my library. Can’t wait to read it.

  • Doodling. Knitting is kind of obvious to the Person In Charge but doodling and note taking look an awful lot alike. Especially when your doodling includes lists of things like future knitting projects.

  • Notes and doodles.

  • My meeting survival strategy: the movement of my pen to look as if I was taking notes but was actually doodling and sitting next to a fellow like minded person to exchange snarky comments.

  • Knitting of course! Some days I have meetings from sun up to sun down. I started taking my knitting to meetings. I got sideways glances at first but after people realized I was still engaged in the convo, the daggers stopped. Knitting actually helped my focus more on the meeting. I wasn’t on my computer or phone constantly. Knitting is my fidget spinner.

  • Knitting!

  • Texting with co-workers in the same meeting.

  • Knitting, of course! In early summer, when my team was vaccinated and before the delta variant started to spread, my team replaced our weekly Zoom call with an in-person meeting. We were all so happy to see each other and joking around, and after I’d been teasing my boss a bit, she came back with, “Kate, we took a vote before you arrived. No more knitting during meetings.” To which I smiled and held up my project bag, which read “If Eleanor can knit at the United Nations, I can knit anywhere I want.” Mic drop!

  • I knit, always. Or I really would kill somebody when something I got the first time is being explained for the third time. And I DO NOT participate in team building exercises. I hate that touchy-feely crap. All of my coworkers and bosses know this and allow me to ignore them when they do that stuff. You build teams by working together to accomplish a goal, not by playing silly games. I’m a home care nurse. Just let me go take care of my patients, which is my ACTUAL JOB, and leave me alone!

  • If live, note taking and doodling. If virtual knitting and or texting the other likeminded people about the craziness

  • Taking slow, deep breaths while counting to 10 in a language other than English.

  • Well, I was hired to my current job at the very beginning of the pandemic. All of my meetings have been the virtual variety, so occasionally I can switch off my video and keep listening (depending on what the meeting is for). But usually a large cup of coffee and a notepad for doodling/making lists gets me through.

  • After I got tenure, I was free to knit! The only problem was when I moved on up and sometimes had to lead meetings—-THAT was excruciating! An si could not I it. Happily retired for 6 blissful years!

  • In person meetings: doodle, doodle, doodle.

  • We had an all-hands meeting every week – Legal Dept. in federal gov’t banking agency. You can just imagine how exciting that was! Everyone was expected to speak. As an admin I didn’t have much that changed from week-to-week so I had five pat responses written down and used one each week. And more importantly, made out my menu and grocery list for the week 🙂

    BTW – Love Hatch Show Print! We always visit when in Nashville.

  • Knitting for me too! Otherwise I’m likely to pop off and tell somebody to go to hell or to loss all control and call them a liar in an embarrassingly loud voice. People refuse sit by me if I forget my knitting.

  • A few minutes into the meeting, jiggle the camera a few times and then set it on a page with the old NBC Peacock (1950’s test patterns work well too). Make noises that something is wrong with your connection, then walk away and do whatever is more fun- washing dishes, taking out trash, pay bills. Occasionally jiggle the camera as you walk by, like you are trying so hard to get back online.

  • I have a desk job which I really enjoy for the most part. For the days that I’d rather not go to work, I tell myself, “All you have to do is sit in a chair. You can do this.” Then by the time I get to my desk, I’m motivated to sit in my chair and actually do the work too!

  • I knit my way through 20 years of faculty meetings to teach us the “new” way things were to be done. My principal nicknamed Madama Defarge.

  • As yourself: “is this life or death?” If yes, dial 911; if no, chill and do your best.

    • *ask

  • My knitting helps me focus (& keeps me awake) during continuing education courses.

  • Doodling (with my legal pad discreetly tilted on my lap for none of the world to see) & singing show tunes in my head.

  • Thinking about being in a forest: the smells, sights, sounds, smells

  • . . sly slight roll of the eyes, twist of the mouth, deep inhale, quiet sigh through nose . . . pause, drink coffee . . . .
    . . . . pause.
    Probably repeat several times.

  • I work as an office manager for a psychotherapist. While I am not privy to sessions, I do know that deep breathing is part of the work. Hence a deep breath before any calls to health insurance companies. And trying to remember that the person on the line is a low-level employee not paid nearly enough.

  • I’ve worked from home for 16 years now, so it is easy to knit or walk around my office during meetings (video off for the walking). My favorite team-building meeting was a cooking class, and I have never, ever had to do a trust fall.

  • Once upon a very long time ago I was a corporate facilitator. (Ducking. Please only through balls of yarn.) I found two things to be essential for meetings. One was to keep a clock and make sure that we stick to the schedule. The other was to have the meeting participants make the agenda. There was no free falling or trust exercising. There was a lot that worked with my meetings. There was a lot that could have been better but that usually had to do with people who did not want to be there. I tried to encourage those people to go home but that was frowned upon. In the end we saved the company a lot of money. When the company was taken over over by corporate raiders I quit by email. It was very dramatic in a 1990’s kind of way. I am happily retired now and the only meeting s I go to now usually involve food or the making of something creative. No clocks or crabby type A managers. Well this turned into a trip down memory boulevard.

  • Sit strategically behind a broad person so that any movement (or lack thereof when dozing off) cannot be seen.

    DG—you need to have your bio at the end updated! I happy to know there is a new pup in your sister’s life.

  • I pray silently and then ask for grace. Then, I breathe in and out very slowly

  • Buzzword Bingo! Always a fun way to get through a meeting. It’s even fun to make the bingo cards ahead of the meeting. It can be difficult to control your laughter, however, as the squares start to fill in. At a former job, when things really bogged down in a meeting, work friends would catch each other’s eyes across the room and give a silent, exaggerated chewing signal that indicated “I’m biting down on the cyanide tablet now”. Try not laughing after that!

  • Prayer and knitting.

  • My son’s work has virtual activities… they tie dyed, carved pumpkins …baked, cooked. I never worked in that kind of environment!

    • My new company does that and I love it. Funny thing, the owner doesn’t believe in multi-tasking, so I can’t knit during zoom meetings when my camera is on. I plead the 5th on what happens when it’s off…

  • Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I used to examine everyone’s shoes.
  • Knitting always knitting!!

  • Knitting!!

  • Most of the time surviving meetings is coming prepared and having a really, really simple knit in my lap.

  • If I have enough notice, I’ll book a doctor/dentist appointment. If not, call in sick. If I truly can’t avoid it, I will knit and if I can’t knit, I will spend the entire meeting fantasizing about freak accidents that could befall the meeting organizer.

  • I retired….Now I don’t have to lead or attend those mind numbing meetings

  • I doodle…always flowers….all over everything. I also work on my grocery list in my head.

    Best meeting ever was with a group of school administrators. The man beside me asked for a pen. I grubbed around in my purse without looking and handed him a tampon. I was too focused on adding sour cream to my mental grocery list and had not noticed. That act shut things down for a bit!

  • Knitting, of course, if I cpissibly can.

    Otherwise I doodle.

    I also find a good dose of anti-anxiety meds before the meeting to be a prudent precaution..

  • Always knitting to keep my focus.

  • I’m in with all of you who knit in meetings. When I went into practice for myself and had few to no meetings my yarn stash continued to grow but knitting output decreased

  • DG, may I please adopt you?

  • A small knitting project or surfing ravelry in the background!

  • I knit of course. Keeps my hands busy

  • Several retired librarians (including me) were together and discussed the meetings we no longer had to attend. The only good memories we had were the lunches which were often catered. Another benefit of retirement, no meetings!

  • I’m currently recovering from PCSD ( love that) since I retired 88 days ago!

  • I would knit during conference calls and doodle during in person meetings. This past year while zooming, I would play with my cat!

  • Love the phrase from Dorothy Parker “What Fresh hell is this?” I always people watch during meetings.

  • After a year and a half of sheltering in place I have perfected the art of knitting during zoom meetings. Actually, I was pretty good at the outset and have been quite productive with 50% of my time in meetings.

  • Retirement! Yay! In the years of interminable faculty meetings, knitting and the kind of deep breathing you learn in Lamaze classes

  • DG you are “too” funny! I had to share your response (there’s no u either) with hubby and we both laughed. Loved that! Thanks for such excellent and entertaining writings.

  • I make notes in a foreign language, and everyone wonders if my notes are about them.

  • By knitting. It took a few meetings for my coworkers to accept that I was as much, or more “on,” when I was knitting.

  • Toward the middle of my corporate career, I actually started knitting in meetings unless I was the one who is running it. It’s amazing how much easier it was to pay attention to the goings-on when I was knitting.

  • Ha! Be prepared. While fiddling with my phone, I would be asked what I was doing. I paid just enough attention to know what the latest jargon was that was being discussed. Oh, I’m just googling that totally incomprehensible term which y’all seem to think everybody already knows…

  • My team gets me thru . . . The ones who sigh I relief back at their cubicles and say “Wow! I’m so glad you said that , we’re behind you all the way ” when I’ve shot myself in the foot calling out the elephant in the room.

  • Knitting of course!

  • Knitting in meetings was always helpful.

  • Believe it or not I actually try to appreciate the exchange & glean what I can from the meeting & from my colleagues. I’m grateful for my job that allows me to afford to purchase high quality MDK yarn!

  • Long ago I realized that I did not do well in meetings. I can’t control the eye-rolling, snorting, and general disgust that my body displays while listening to others pontificate. I am a hard worker. Tell me what you want done and I’ll do it. Don’t make me listen to you prattle on about it.

  • Knit knit knit

  • Watch birds at the feeder through the window just beyond the computer. Deep breaths.

  • I retired. Do I miss any of it? Nope. Towards the end, I was a willing bystander nodding in agreement at the appropriate times. Done. Finito. Knowing that the fruit, bagel, and scone trays were waiting at the end, made it doable. When I think about it though, I do miss those wonderful fresh blueberry scones…

  • Knitting

  • I love Zoom meetings, because I knit through them.

  • I would write letters, thank you notes or thinking of you cards. Using a legal pad to slip my card stock between it looked like I was taking notes. Friends and family always thanked me for taking the time to write them. They never knew it was to save my sanity during long, long meetings. Win for both of us.

  • Blood pressure going up…..I go and browse yarn 🙂

  • Luckily, my job rarely has meetings. Unfortunately, we occasionally have blood pressure spiking situations that then lead to a meeting. When that happens, I take deep breaths, and remember that the meeting won’t be too long. If I could knit while in these meetings, I would.

  • Every Friday morning a sales meeting was held at the newspaper. I had long hair, a pair of earbuds and a a small ipod. With chin on one fist, attentive expression applied to face, I enjoyed the company of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young or whoever showed up on shuffle.
    Phone meetings on speaker were easier. On one occasion, I just plain fell asleep with my chin in my hands.
    Now I have a job where I work on my own. No meetings.

  • Knitting and meetings, pre-Zoom I found it distracting if someone in the group was knitting. For Zoom I think it’s great if folks are quietly doing something else, their faces look more relaxed. At one job the Team Leader was the one who knitted (little sweaters, often Fair Isle, for her grandchildren).

  • I, too, am allergic to meetings. Since the pandemic, this seems to have extended to any conversation that involves more than three people.

    Dg, would you please publish something…like more than your blogs (which seem to have languished anyway)? You only contribute on here once a week, which is mere subsistence level if one is a full-on fan of your writing.

  • I would kill to be able to knit during meetings at work! As it is I have to spend the entire thing with my eyes down so people can’t see me roll them. I do have to listen though because once when I drifted off I was asked a question and had no idea what was being discussed. Moral of the story, eyes down but occasionally look up and nod knowingly so everyone thinks you are on board while in reality you are thinking about ordering more yarn and wondering if you should risk a caffeinated cup of coffee to get through the afternoon.

  • I bring a knitting project so I don’t explode!

  • What gets me through a meeting? Knitting, very calming.

  • Taking notes & doodling

  • Below camera I knit a pretty mindless project or check my email on my phone.

  • While zooming, I turn off the video and speaker and look at bird cams or headlines. Knitting sometimes. Depends on the type of meeting. In person- note taking, doodling/ scribbling

    • Again, while zooming and with camera & microphone off, I may birdwatch, squirrel watch, light chores, fix tea &/or snack, stretch.

  • Also a PCSD victim… fortunately I’m retired now. Work meetings? The big ones would find me texting friends at the meeting about how stupid it was. Venting helped. As did Negronis after! Now, deep slow breathing, knitting, and listening to audio books. Highly recommend the Beryl and Edwina mystery series by Jessica Ellicott.

  • Knitting, obviously!

  • I would knit!

  • Knitting and retirement! I never realized how stressful my job was until I didn’t have it anymore.

  • Most of my meetings are one to one, so my favorites (knitting, daydreaming, making up stories about the lives of people in the room with me) aren’t available. So I take mediocre notes.

  • Update my WIPs on Ravelrey!

    • Typo. Ravelry!

  • Yep, Knitting! Especially now, trying to get the gifty projects done!

  • What gets me through a meeting? Do you know what sort of audience you have here, DG? 🙂 Knitting, of course!

  • It depends: sipping a giant latte, knitting surreptitiously in my lap under the table, knowing that “This, too, is only temporary” (the schmeeting, I mean, not LIFE. Although that also . .) Sometimes all three.

  • If I’m zooming, I make a list of things I need to get done for the upcoming week, which kinda looks like note taking. I have been known to test out my mini watercolors looking for new marls to contrast.

  • Why knitting of course! At least on zoom. In person? Being present and knowing that I am here with people I respect and that most other people would also rather be having dental surgery!

  • take a stroll , breathe deeply, maybe knit a bit

  • Some years ago, my right leg femoral nerve broke while I was walking down the street. A great deal of pain followed, along with doctor appointments that culminated in my G.P. saying that nerves take a year to heal. I rode in cabs everywhere (NYC insists that you must be able to walk three blocks minimum to live here, whether you can or do). After a year, I was “healed.” However, for a long time, whenever I was in the conference room, whether I had called the meeting or someone else had, above the table I was a sober participant, speaking and answering with intelligence and wit (sometimes the same thing). But under the table, that healed femoral nerve would grab my leg and dance it around violently and at will. The ability to reconcile irreconcilable differences during meetings served me well during that time.

  • Before I retired, a big stack of papers that needed checking and grading. The entire math department used the same method.

  • If it is a new hire orientation meeting hosted by me, I do not let latecomers into the meeting. Then they hear it from HR that they must attend the next session and not begin at their new job until they do.

  • Knitting. I take my knitting literally everywhere except the grocery store – well, I did take it grocery shopping at the start of the pandemic when there were spaced out lines just to get inside. Twenty minute car ride? Knitting. Meeting? Knitting. Video chat with family? Knitting. Waiting for water to boil in the stove? Knitting.
    This is why I always have at least two projects going. One for those quiet times and one for the pick it up and put it down times. I really need to finish the brim of a hat (it’s detailed) so I can get to the stockinette and garter stitch head and crown before the Christmas visits. Or I just need to cast on a sock….

    • I should specify that I will knit during in-person staff meetings. Fortunately nobody in my department has said anything. I take notes and knit – just like I did when I was a college student. As others have said, it helps me pay better attention, calms my mind, is my version of a fidget spinner. If I start browsing my phone I will totally block out the meeting. Before I learned to knit I was a doodler – most gorgeous titles ever! Now my note page might look boring but my knitting project is making good progress.

  • Chocolate.

  • Deep yoga breathing….it got me through Child birth, clueless clients, obnoxious ex-husband, Dr and dentist appts and long pointless meetings.

  • DEEP BREATHS – inhale slowly, exhale slowly….. REPEAT

  • taking notes, counting filler words () and doodling!

  • I take a few really deep breaths, remind myself that it won’t last forever, and think of knitting

  • I jot down my to-do lists for home, work and knitting. I look engaged. In a way I am!

  • Doodling or daydreaming.

  • I used to be a licensed social worker. I think social workers invented meetings. I don’t think I was a person who hated meetings until after I became a licensed social worker. We had too many meetings when we could’ve been doing all the social worker things. I still despise meetings. I’m trying to be better at them because I have a job that I really love. To make the most of meetings I bring a list of questions and info that needs to be discussed. I try to actively listen because I really like and respect my coworkers. I also really hate ice breaker/team building stuff. I avoid that type of thing at all costs.

  • Seriously? KNITTING!!!

  • Knitting. Doodling if knitting is not allowed.

  • As a contract employee at 2 different school districts, I’m lucky to be assigned to one district that has staff meetings on Fridays when I’m there Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and the other district has staff meetings on Wednesdays when I’m there Tuesdays and Fridays 🙂

  • In person meeting survival = doodling like crazy.

  • … complaining with my coworkers who also don’t want to be in the meeting

  • My career was in academia, so it was loaded with meetings. I started knitting in meetings when I had to attend an all-day retreat for department chairs. I knew I would die without something to do all day, so I brought a simple sweater I was working on. I never stopped knitting in meetings after that.

  • I am with so many others. I knit in meetings, zoom meetings, church ( a special meeting) etc. I find knitting to be relaxing (most of the time) I do try not to say anything out loud if i find a dropped stitch or end with one too many but other then that great. Oh occasionally I write something down. I am sure they think it is work related but it is usually r/t what row I am on.

  • Coffee always coffee. And sometimes a side of cookie.

  • Haha, this cracked me up. Very relatable. I work for a multinational company, and hey, they’re Canadian. It’s true, they’re really nice. It’s still weird to be American and not be the center of the known universe. I’m an immigrant from a s***hole country (so glad we’re past that eye roll administration) so I have no delusions of grandeur and I’m ok with it. Meetings are usually camera off so I’m KNITTING furiously.

  • Endless faculty meetings = a tremendous amount of finished knitting. I’m so grateful!

  • In a previous life, I used to have to run those meetings and sometimes I had to lead those team building events. NOT MY FAULT!!!! (I was hired to teach ESL to low level employees, but I did it too well, so when they could all communicate with their supervisors, I was reassigned.).

    I couldn’t knit or doodle or write grocery lists……. I had to try very hard to make things interesting and useful, as that was my job and it was paying for things my children needed, like college tuition. Retirement is definitely bliss….no one will ever be able to make me run a meeting again!

  • Knitting!

  • The best part of COVID life is I knit in meetings I would never knit in in “real life”. (Yes, I know this life is all too real, but you know what I mean.) Otherwise, I just doodle and do my best to get through – I don’t mind productive meetings.

  • I am now working from home and I kinda love our zoom meetings! It’s relaxed, I have my fake background, and a cat within arm’s reach, usually at least one in my lap. My company loves pets (we have a pet slack channel) and my Crash has become a regular on our team meetings. So much the regular that if she doesn’t make an appearance, someone will usually ask if she’s okay. (the other two make less regular appearances but all three are well loved….)

    My previous job was management in a Big Box Store, and the meetings were dreadful.. I used to play Alien Anthropologist, narrating the proceedings in my mind, usually with David Attenborough’s voice. Ruth Goodman sometimes guest narrated the proceedings. Problem: a game of Alien Anthropologist may cause inappropriate giggling and facial expressions. It’s best to find a spot NOT directly facing your store manager (or equivalent person in your organization) when playing.

  • In meetings, I take notes to keep focused… sometimes the note might be to someone else, with a critical thought about what someone else just said, which makes it all more bearable. In retirement, I knit, especially (but not only) when the meeting is on zoom. And in stressful situations, knitting is my best ever pressure valve – it has helped me keep my cool on numerous occasions.

  • Coffee

  • Getting thru meetings w/Zoom my webcam doesn’t seem to work 🙂 – face to face meetings I sit in the back and doodle on the agenda

  • I would think to myself “This too shall pass”!

  • Taking notes—not real notes of course. Looking busy allows one to daydream extensively.

  • Knitting. I carry some with me always.

  • Knitting! Thanks to 100% remote work, it’s possible to knit during most meetings. This is the thing that allows me to stay in the corporate world.

  • No meetings for me. I never had that kind of job, thank goodness.

  • I introduced myself to the new head of HR as the anti-participant. And I don’t play games (well maybe a few mind games…)

  • Look down! No eye contact!

  • As the person who takes the minutes for meetings my revenge is to take down exactly what they say, word for word, and unfinished idea carefully recorded. Meetings are a laugh riot.

  • I take notes. Makes me look interested, helps me focus on what dies apply to me . Saves me from having to make excessive eye contact, jerks me awake. My writing is bad, do I can sneak in the occasional snarky comment.

  • Snacks. Back in the day, one didn’t schedule a meeting without ordering snacks from catering. Then budget cuts and carb free diets and now, there are NEVER any snacks at meetings. Just bottles of water, which, honestly, I can get from the water and ice machines that taste better than the bottled water anyway. Ah – the good old days………. Someone even coined the term “muffin stumps” to describe the last half a muffin left on the tray that was the bottom part because someone had eaten the delicious crispy “muffin top” but left the “stump”. (I’m guessing I don’t have to say it – but to leave a muffin stump is a severe breach of office snack etiquette.)

  • I get through zoom meetings by drinking wine from a coffee cup!

  • the typical answer from this group…knitting is what gets me through meetings!!!

  • I sing to myself from Daniel Tiger’s song, “Take a deep breath, and count to 4”. It works every time. Sometimes I have to hide my smile.

  • Oh.My.God.
    After 201 comments, am I really the only one who is going to say that I seriously pay total attention to all the shit that happens and is said in the meeting and thinks about it all? Like, really focusing and analysing and problem solving and all that? And then ends up with my head spinning all the time or promoted to stuff I totally don’t want to do because I figured that by inviting me in to the meeting they, like, wanted me to worry about it?
    The answer for me, obviously, as it is the answer to everything when I come here, is more knitting. More knitting.

  • My most recent meeting strategies are folding paper cranes or sock knitting. The paper cranes seem to be easier to throw down if it is a meeting where a lot of notes need to be written.

  • Knitting, of course.

  • I like to imagine every windbag’s significant other and give thanks I don’t have to listen to them morning noon and night and all weekends. It often gives me a chuckle.

  • Remember: 1. to pick some times to go to the beach and 2. you can’t catch every ball.

  • I know this is probably not unusual on this site, but I knit during meetings. It is calming and focusing.

  • Totally knitting! it helps that I started in the middle of project where I knew they couldn’t fire me, and by the time it was over they were all trained to accept…

  • Knitting below the angle of the camera

  • I have a “smart” picture frame and looking at pictures of my family keep me focused on what’s really important during a meeting. The tension caused by the meeting dissipates as I look at my grandchildren’s smiles.

  • I retired a couple years ago but for the last several years at my job, I just stopped going to meetings unless they actually would help some aspect of my work or the work of my colleagues. That was less than 10% of them, and missing the other 90% let me get a lot more work done. There are people who are invigorated by getting together in a group for an hour, and more power to them, but I rarely seemed to have missed a darn thing!

  • I honed my skills at avoiding meetings throughout my career. Until I was on faculty & had to show up. We stress-ate chocolate like mad after those weekly meetings —you know, the ones where you add fifteen more things To Do, plus a new committee you’re on…Just No

  • Knitting! I can keep my mouth shut with needles in hand.

  • Knitting, when I got told my knitting wasn’t appropriate, origami paper. If I had to take minutes, keying them into an iPhone kept me busy. I’m so thankful I’m retired and done with involuntary meeting attendance.

  • I have a tendency to embarrass myself by nodding off during after lunch meetings/presentations

  • I once had a small seizure during a meeting. I was permanently excused from all future meetings. Not planned of course but I took the out anyway!

  • The shift to mostly virtual meetings has been great so I can knit if I’m not leading the meeting. Still not sure about doing it if in-person meetings come back, but it does make me focus better as others have said and prevents me from trying to multi-task work. At that point I shouldn’t even be in the meeting.

  • I generally have a stockinette / in-the-round project by the computer for those stressful Zoom meetings… bringing to mind the t-shirt aphorism, “I knit so I don’t kill people.“

  • A cup of tea.

  • Laughter

  • I very much appreciate the question because now being retired I get invited to attend even MORE MEETINGS!
    I knit and I try to look attentive. I bring a really good cup of something that’s either a treat or really delicious tea. I bring several projects so I have changes of knitting. I mend during meetings. Nowadays over zoom, I can read something else or color…
    but still attending meetings is … not exactly boring …. but not enjoyable, that’s for sure!

  • Taking a step aside; breathing and trying to put everything in perspective. Thanks for the generosity. Happy Holidays!

  • Doodling. And making sure my camera is off so they don’t see my very loud rolling eyes.

  • It’s been said that Stalin doodled images of wolves. People knew not to mess with him. If I can, I knit. It keeps me awake, and I have pointy objects to stab people with. Just kidding. Maybe.

  • Knitting! Below the camera view, of course.

  • When it’s a Zoom or MS Teams meeting, I will knit out of camera view. I’ve also been known to color a picture of two in Happy Color on my iPad, again out of sight of the camera.

  • A large cup (or glass, if it’s the season/weather for cold drinks) of tea. Also, if it’s a meeting where I can, knitting on one of my ongoing projects which doesn’t require a lot of thought so I can move my hands to help me focus better.

  • Knitting something simple but with a happy yarn is my fist choice, but if I can’t bring a project to the meeting, I like daydreaming about being in a yarn shop, or looking over my yarns at home, or thinking about what I want to knit next.

  • Best thing about Zoom meetings is the ability to knit under the table! But real life I just suffered through them and spouted numbers until their eyes glazed over

  • I used to be a teacher and we had MANY staff meetings and department meetings, etc…Never had the nerve to bring knitting, but it would have made it easier to pay attention and think creatively about the meeting topic.

  • Playing BS Bingo with a few friends – each square contains a word of corporate double-speak. The difficult part was not shouting “Bingo!” Some meeting required more than one Bingo card/

  • Evidently, there are a lot of retired Pamelas out here. The last 2 1/2 years I worked I switched to a weekend schedule. The suits don’t come in for weekend meetings. Wish I had thought of it sooner.

  • A well hidden ear bud to create my own background…and deep breathing (but trying intensely to not have the breathing sound like sighs).

  • Knitting and breathing

  • George Jones. If I’m in a meeting, I’ll think of a song and try to remember every detail – lyrics, phrasing, instrumentation, arrangement – all while keeping a neutral, positive facial expression. If I’m not in a meeting, I’ll just put on an album. All better!

  • Preventative/post-breakdown method: take a walk until you’ve forgotten why you stepped out. Of course that’s not always possible. When in the stressful situation, take deep breaths. Count yourself in and out to control a rhythm.

  • Doodling saves me during in person meetings, a good vanilla sock knit is on stand by for the long virtual ones!

  • What would get me through PTO meetings in the past was knitting a simple hat. I needed something to do with my hands and being creative also kept me from being snarky.

  • What got me through college classes, work meetings and now retirement: mindless stockinette….

  • I had to own my own business, so I could keep meetings as short as possible. And there’s nothing atas good at building trust as hiring only trustworthy people.

  • Thanks to remote work, (a silver lining to the pandemic) I pass the time knitting, writing GOTV postcards to other states or folding clothes.

  • Zoom meetings have transformed my knitting. Have knit sweater after sweater. Knitting keeps me calm, cook and mostly collected…unless I drop a stitch.

  • Knitting. How else?

  • Of course I’m going to say o knit through meetings, which is absolutely true, but since all of my meetings are on zoom now, I also enjoy blocking my video and muting so I can do voices for everyone. It makes the meetings immensely more enjoyable.

  • Knitting (or crochet or spinning, depending on how bad the meeting is and/or my narcolepsy is) is my go-to for meetings. I’ve got balls of kitchen cotton and needles stored all over my office and I have trained my co-workers, customers, etc. Of course, the pandemic has meant a significant number of meetings I now get to attend from home, so the options are endless!

  • I worked remotely from my team for the last 5 years before I retired, so early versions of Zoom meetings were the norm for me. At my desk, they could only see from my shoulders up, so adult coloring books (popular then) came into play. Looked like I was taking a bunch of notes. I also had two screens, so other work, internet searching, etc was happening on the right monitor. A thoughtful nod every once and awhile and paying attention for my name made it look like I was participating.

  • I knit through meetings – when people judge I tell them it’s just 3 D doodling

  • I’m retired now, but I used to amuse myself with adding up all of the dollars spent in the room for red bottom shoes. Of course they all said the shoes were soooo comfortable. Give me a break.

  • Smiling and nodding.

  • I’m still in the thick of corporate style meetings. But I have found a few tricks to make them more tolerable. With my team, we start with a round of connected somethingorother (favorite idiom, song of day, moment of gratitude, roses and thorns). No trust falls, though.

    With others and where meetings can’t always be so controlled, I try to remember things I love that are also processes, journeys. Knitting, for example, has its moments of drudgery. Running can be downright painful. And gardening can often feel like an exercise in experiencing futility. But I love many parts of these activities, and I often also love the outcome. So it is with most of the schmeetings in my life.

  • In a rising blood pressure situation there’s only a couple of options: Breathe or Leave. In a Zoom meeting you can always plead away for a minute with a “someone’s at the door” or “something’s on the stove” excuse.

  • Drawing pictures all over the agenda.

  • I’m a nurse, and over the last 18 months, I’ve been in countless high pressure meetings. My go-to trick for lowering my BP during a meeting is to excuse myself to go to the bathroom! It may sound silly, but it helps me to just leave for a few minutes, and the minor disruption seems to distract the rest of the folks and calm everyone down. The equivalent of saying “squirrel!”

  • This one is easy. I do and always have, knitted through meetings!

  • Take your knitting to the meeting!

  • I work from home. If I am not chairing the meeting, nor taking near-verbatim notes (can’t rely on my memory these days) I will be knitting—a sock, a shawl—doesn’t matter, as long as it is mindless knitting. Keeps my blood pressure in check and is oh so satisfying to have a few more rounds or rows complete at the end of the hour.

  • deep breathing

  • Knitting & retirement!

  • Work somewhere where meetings are purposeful. We also set a time limit, 30 min. or 1 hour.

  • I try to think about my next knitting project and take my dogs for a walk.

  • Knitting. Got special dispensation from the boss to knit during staff meetings. I have to pick a very simple project that requires minimal looking at or thinking about. Plain socks are good. Anyway, I swear it improves my focus. Way fewer of the presenters sound like Charlie Brown adults when I’m knitting…

  • Schmeetings? Zoomathons? All handled with doodling. I’ve got years of experience, from way back when I was annually scolded by my exasperated mother for graffiti-ing her new, clean phone book (remember the heft of those?), as I doodled away while talking endlessly on the kitchen phone line (remember phone conversations?) And my meeting notes? Try to find the salvagable goods among the flotsam and jetsam of doodled phrases. Enough of this watery flotsam/jetsam metaphor — I need to go learn how to doodle in these comment boxes.

  • a glass of wine when appropriate

  • Knitting is the only way I can get through a meeting these days!

  • Duh, that would be knitting.

  • Breathe! In through the nose…1..2..3 Out through the mouth..1..2..3..4..5..belly blow all out.

  • If the meeting is on Zoom, I like a good side chat. In person? Feigning interest while plotting my retirement.

  • Many meetings I’ve been able to knit.

  • If I don’t knit, I have a tendency to fall asleep, so no one objects to my knitting, especially after I give them eye contact while knitting!

  • Wine!

  • As a child, I perfected the art of zoning out in order to tune out my mom. She always accused me of walking around “unconscious “. This trait served me well in the work environment. I would just go to my special internal space.

  • Coffee and a notebook for doodles. If on Zoom – cozy pants and slippers.

  • Listening!

  • thinking about my next knitting adventure gets me through anything

  • Sleeping with eyes open!

  • Knitting on IRS Webinars

  • Writing my food shopping list while looking interested in all that is being said!

  • The magic of Zoom meetings, which are the only kind I’ve attended lo these many months: turn off your video (and your microphone as often as possible). Then you can relax, eat, drink, read in another window, whatever it takes to distract from whatever is otherwise spiking your blood pressure. See also private messages within the Zoom session (or phone text messages otherwise) if you have a friend in the meeting, to giggle or commiserate with behind the scenes.

  • Knitting, or crocheting, as long as it’s the mindless kind and I don’t have to keep looking down to twiddle cables or bobbles or something of that ilk. It’s to the point where sometimes people in the know ask to see what I’m about. I point out it prevents the multitasking that can be so distracting.

  • I always took my grid notebook with me so that I could theoretically take notes but most of the time I was filling in the squares and creating patterns, also making to-do lists while half listening helped.

  • Repeating “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” (Julian of Norwich)

  • Getting home stressed from traffic or dealing with rude holiday shoppers, a glass of wine and knitting/crocheting my latest project helps to calm me right down….might even put a smile on my face.

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