Dealing with meetings

Most people--most people with jobs, that is--say they hate meetings. The waste of time, the boredom, etc.

They are lying. Almost every employed person secretly likes meetings. Why? Because, bar the odd one where you have to do some tedious presentation or other, you don't have to work at a meeting. And, since you have to be at work all day, an hour or two sitting on a conference room is a chance to relax. All you really need to do is look alert. And make intelligent-seeming comments that have no work consequence for you.

Imagine that. All you need to do is sound smart. It's a great deal. People say they don't like them because if they admit they do, they fear someone will do something about it. Like cancel the meeting. Which just adds another hour of sitting in your cube staring at a screen.

When you're a freelancer, it's different. They pay you for product, but when you aren't working, it's entirely your business. Meeting filler is less valuable, because the alternative is not the grim cube, but the couch, or leaving the house altogether, or working on some other project. I have several regular meetings during the week with my main client, and they are nowhere near entertaining. Not terrible, just not something I would pick if it weren't part of the job. They just move me an hour closer to whatever deadline I have without allowing me to get anything actually done on what I'm supposed to deliver. They are a source of stress.

I do try. The meetings where they make me use a webcam are complete loss, plus I have to put on a nice shirt, adjust the lighting, and not slouch. But even the other ones, where I can put the Mute button on and type or something, I feel obliged to pay attention to what people are saying. It's just distracting. And sometimes they mix real content in with the announcements about events I won't be able to attend, staffing changes of no possible relevance to me, and bonus programs I don't qualify for. It's a cruel trick.

So, you, office worker: stop complaining about your meetings. They are a relatively painless way to abrade your day.