Hope some of these work for you and you start getting relief – and respect. I'll tell you my experience first and how I made the best of it, and then I have a game plan for you to do first thing tomorrow.
TL;DR: Skip to the Last Section - Game Plan
My Very Similar Situation: 5-Minutes in Stand-Up Hell
My last company was amazing, I joined a small startup of 12 always going for the newest proven agile process. So of course when I started (about 5 years ago), stand-ups were IN.
Same thing as you – once I hit 5 minutes exactly, I cannot physically stand anymore. Those 5 minutes ruin my entire day, making any position, even seated at my desk (for the next 12 hours) unbearable.
The actions I took to get through the stand-up (and improve my quality of life in general) were:
1. Taking care of myself and getting proper back treatment: I see an amazing group of doctors for physical therapy, pain management, injections, etc.
2. On my first day, I told my supervisor (and then all my colleagues) the facts:
Just a heads-up for stand-up meetings so that I don't come off as
unprofessional or uninterested in our morning brainstorm and update
sessions: I have a back problem that prevents me from standing for
more than 5 minutes.
(People rarely think that's a real thing, so sometimes we both laugh and I say, "no, really though."
I do a, b, and c to manage my pain and stay healthy. In order to
maintain the progress I make, I won't be standing in stand-up
meetings, but I will DEFINITELY be a top participator. Just wanted you
to know why. Thanks for your understanding!
3. In the meetings themselves: I made it a point to do everything I could to be:
- Prepared and On-Time: Obviously everyone should be. But being in an outsider-type position already, this is key. Up-to-date on all current releases and major issues, and prepared with concise and pertinent updates to give.
- Present and Respectful: Made sure to be an active listener and participator, whether or not I had had coffee yet.
- Positive and Source to Pump up Team: Humor and sarcasm are my go-to defense mechanisms anyway, so I let those fly when appropriate, but mostly do my best to bring in positive energy.
- Physical Positive Energy Source: Along with that note, I always say up straight, right in the middle of things. It's very important not to be outside the circle, sitting 3 feet behind everyone. You can't be shy about loudly pulling a chair across the room. Plus, once you do it a few times and everyone understands, everyone joins in including you in one way or another. Switching up the location, offering me a stool, or saving me the window ledge. I'd also bounce on my yoga ball or balance on a desk.
As a team everyone worked to make the stand-ups more efficient and fun.
- We were always tweaking them – constantly making process and content changes, often switched up the location. We also introduced a sort of "pass the totem" exercise with toys and awards around the office. (And yes, the awards were also toys).
I know I was lucky to work for such a great start-up that kept its culture as it grew exponentially. It sounds like one of two things is happening with you.
- Your team is not so great, and you are not so lucky. Time to make a change.
- You haven't been extremely direct, honest, and demanding of the working conditions you NEED to function.
If there's a chance you maybe mumbled, or said "I have trouble standing for 10 or 20 minutes," or (the most likely) you keep letting them tell you to stand, then this is on you.
And that sucks. Especially since you probably did none of those things, yet you are being treated this way. And it sucks more for women, and you need to speak twice as loud with not even a trace of what could be construed as "emotion" or "bossiness" or the ever-loved "bitchiness."
So here's my game plan for you
- Avoid the daggers and social pressure and bullshit that occur when you hit your limit and desperately search for a chair.
Get to stand-up 5 minutes early tomorrow. Find a chair and place it right in the normal area. Happily greet people as they roll in.
- Have a one-on-one with your supervisor telling him your version of what I said in my #2 above. You physically cannot stand, it's no reflection on how you feel about your team or your level of involvement. Tell him being pressured to stand doesn't just make you feel disrespected and less likely to get involved during the meeting, but the pain literally ruins your entire day and therefore productivity decreases for the whole work day. Describe all the ways that you will bring a, b, c (akin to my #3 list) to every meeting.
- If after conversations with him and your other colleagues, you don't find yourself in a haven like I described, it's time to update that résumé. (And possibly sue HR, although I have no knowledge on how that process would go).
Good luck and I wish you as much pain relief as possible!
P.S.: Do they not get that Agile and Scrum are all about constantly making changes to become more efficient – and NEVER sticking to hard and fast rules for the sake of "that's how it's always been"? A tad ironic that they really have a problem with body position for 5 minutes of all things.
Agile and Rigidity do not work.