They should have gotten on their knees and thanked the Lord above, assuming for a moment such a divine being exists.
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the world so sweet.
Thank you for the birds that sing.
Thank you God for everything, especially for getting me out of that goddamned meeting.
(While they were down on those knees, they should've also thanked the aforementioned Lord for not making them Byron Oshiro, but that's a different subject.)
Canadian fiction writer and cultural commentator Douglas Coupland had this to say about meetings:
Here's my theory about meetings and life; the three things you can't fake are erections, competence and creativity. That's why meetings become toxic they put uncreative people in a situation in which they have to be something they can never be. And the more effort they put into concealing their inabilities, the more toxic the meeting becomes. One of the most common creativity-faking tactics is when someone puts their hands in prayer position and conceals their mouth while they nod at you and say, 'Mmmmmm. Interesting.' If pressed, they'll add, 'I'll have to get back to you on that.' Then they don't say anything else.
In other words, meetings suck.
Yes, they are a necessary evil for information.
But, by all means but:
Keep them few and far between.
Keep them brief.
Keep them informative.
And, unless you have some useful information to share, keep your mouth shut.
Meetings are a breeding ground for laziness and cowardness. Nobody ever gets fired for going to too many meetings.
My alleged work is all bastardization; therefore, I will bastardize the 1957 Yale Baccalaureate Address, which, ironically, hails from the year of my entrance into the world.
Could a committee in a meeting have written Hamlet or the Mona Lisa been painted by a club? Could the New Testament been composed in a meeting?
Creative ideas do not spring from meetings. They spring from individuals.
The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam, whether it takes ultimate shape in a law of physics or the law of the land, a poem, a policy, a sonata, a steak or a catchy jingle.
Make God look good.
Assuming, of course, he exists.