I'm currently in a job that I love (small startup doing extreme programming in perl) but I've been at places exactly like what you describe. I recently finished reading a book that I wish someone had pointed out to me back then -- The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World, by Christopher Duncan. It gives a ton of helpful advice for programmers that are stuck in the frustrating world of Corporate America. The author got the book deal after writing an online weekly column on similar topics.
in reply to OT: Advice on escaping Corporate America / Starting own consultancy outfit?
Here is a snippet from "Optimize your Meetings" which shows his style and point of view.
I'm sure there are very few of us in this business who haven't grumbled on occasion that it seems like all we ever do is sit in endless, pointless and unproductive meetings, with little being resolved beyond when the next meeting is and who buys the donuts. Even so, it is impossible to bring software to life and to market without them. There are many stages in software development including requirements gathering, design, implementation, testing and even the occasional food fight. All of them require meetings.
I think I can help get you in and out in time to actually get some coding done. Who knows, you might even finish up in time to catch a ball game after work.
So my advice is to either find a place that works better for you (thats what I wound up doing) or read the book and make your current situation better. Good luck.
Shameless Plug: If anyone wants out of the rat race and is living in Silicon Valley, drop me a line. We are hiring and its an incredibly fun place for a programmer to work.