In this midst of this world-wide pandemic we are currently facing, many jobs have turned to virtual meetings in lieu of face-to-face to enable us to #stayhome. If your industry is anything like mine, we are Level Expert in meetings where we are all in the same room (and likely sitting less than 6 feet apart from each other- gasp!) but still a little on the newborn-baby-giraffe-trying-to-learn-how-to-walk level when it comes to meetings online. As we are finding our place and our skill set in participating in virtual meetings, I have met a few characters along the way that actually make for a much more enjoyable and entertaining form of “sit and get.” (*Disclaimer: No one in my meetings are quite this way, but it sure makes for a good chuckle when you imagine them as these “characters”. Just sit back, picture it, and enjoy. Now that we are in day 3,512 of Quarantine 2020, we all need a little laughter in our lives.)
The Tiger King
Yep, I went there. And notice I went there first, as he is a royal of sorts. As your social media is flooded with the “King,” so is your meeting when he shows up. Like, dude, I get it. You own a cat, but we are in a meeting here. Can you play catch with her in like 10 minutes when the meeting is done? Tiger King loves to have his animals on the screen every second of every single meeting. I’m pretty sure about 70% of the time he’s posing with his animal love for a picture that no one is taking, and the other 30%, he is engaging in something with his furball that is too close to making-out for my level of comfort. What has Boss Lady even been talking about? I have no idea. I am too distracted by the cute and cuddly ball of fur in Tiger King’s box to even be paying attention! Wait, did she just call me a “cool cat or kitten?” I’m shook.
The Movie Star
This chick just took being “live” to a whole new level. She is using this time to practice her audition for America’s Next Top Model while also proving that she has been watching waaaay too many YouTube videos on hair and make-up to try to pass her time in quarantine. A good, professionalish upper-half is a solid A+ during a virtual meeting, but I’m pretty sure she’s wearing a prom dress and air-brushed her make-up on for this hour of online updates. I should give her credit though; here I sit with three-quarters of my fake eye lashes calling it quits, a messy bun that no one knows is four days old, and PJ pants with a marshmallow stain I got at breakfast two days ago. You flutter those thick mascara lashes, Movie Star. Your red Too-Hot-to-Trot lipstick is on point!
Y’all. I can’t with this guy. I was very understanding on the first day of virtual meetings. We were all newbies on that painful initiation day of hearing EVERYONE’S background noise, but now, Non-Muter, now you have no excuse. I am trying so hard to stay on task and learn from Mr. Boss Guy, but I cannot hear him because it sounds like you have a team of construction workers tearing up the floor behind you while you yell at them to finish their lunch. You would hear everyone in the meeting telling you to press mute, but you can’t hear us because WE ARE MUTED (AS WE SHOULD BE. Sorry, still yelling.) I can actually feel my sanity slipping away from me each moment I can see up your nostrils as you search way too close to the screen for the elusive microphone button everyone keeps talking about. Please, for the love of all Tiger King’s furry friends and Movie Star’s perfect contouring, just press MUTE! *Takes another shot of espresso to calm the nerves.*
I’ll be honest, this one has my heart. My four greatest loves are God, my family, my friends, and efficiency, so The Multitasker fills my Joy Bucket big time (you know, the bucket that has a big, gaping hole in it from The Non-Muter.) The problem with Multitasker is the face he makes while he’s in the midst of accomplishing/ doing/ wasting time on other things during the meeting. Imagine what you look like when you are working hard, writing blogs, researching how to make lunch for your children when you have no bread, milk, eggs, cheese, vegetables of any form, and the selection of frozen foods at the grocery store was lower than the water level in Death Valley. Yeah, that face. It’s a hard working face. A hard working face that other people can see during that meeting you are not really participating in. See you have your other tab pulled up oh, so slyly, but what you look like is a stone cold statue of a man trying to decide which one of us is your next victim. Every time I look at your box, it feels like you are actually sizing me up and giving me a survival rating should this quarantine turn into more of a Mad Max scenario. Let me help you out- I’d die, ok. I’m not a survivor, and I would really appreciate it if you would not look upon your “side work” with such intensity. It’s really making me uncomfortable. Oh, and you’re also missing Tiger Kings make-out sesh, so go ahead and close out that extra window and get back to the meeting. Thanks.
The Time Killer
Oohh, if you thought Non-Muter was bad, Time Killer will really get your blood boiling. Nothing throws my crew into a whirlwind of fear and panic than when I text them a warning that I’m going to morph into Time Killer during our final minutes of the meeting. *Cue evil laugh.* I joke of course. Nobody wants to be “that girl.” Well, no one except THAT GIRL. Wow. Time Killer has wasting everyone’s glorious quarantine life of boredom down to an art. I mean, I know I don’t really have much else to do, besides keeping all the tiny humans in my house alive and not getting on everyone’s (my) nerves, but still, her desire to continue in this digital meeting while every possible shard of a question has been answered in at least 4 different forms matches my desire to eat a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream during the Today Show. Please keep your mute button on, don’t raise your cute little hand to signal you have more to say, and for heaven’s sake, do not add anything to the chat feature when we are all literally hovering our mouse over the little “x” in the corner that is mere seconds away from setting us all free. Hoda, here I come! Oh, you have another question? *Cries silent tears.*
The Invisible Man
I have to admit, Invisible Man doesn’t really frustrate me much. If I’m really honest, I am more envious than anything. I mean, who else in the meeting gets away with just being a letter among a sea of hardworking, professionalish faces? I could say I am just a highly visual person and want to see you when you’re speaking, but in all actuality, imagining you getting to sit in your PJs, scarffing down left-over spaghetti for breakfast, and sipping coffee from the straws of a Red Guzzling Drinking Helmet sends a surge of jealousy right through me. Maybe milkless Lucky Charms is more my breakfast style, but other than that, I long to be you. Here I sit with a face that is making Movie Star send me private chats offering to give me a virtual make-over (Thanks. It’s called a filter. Back off, Movie Star) and collared shirt over my sports bra because I thought this was a “fancy meeting,” while you get to get up and go to the bathroom whenever you want because no one would notice anyway. The only time you get “called out” is when you actually get called out, and you don’t answer because you are in the middle of your work out jam session and don’t hear the question. Good news, you still get away with it because everyone just blames your “spotty internet connection.” Yeah, I know your secret, and I love-hate you every second of the meeting for it.
And last, but certainly not least…
Now don’t be fooled with the title oh, so lovingly bestowed upon this gent. What we have here is NOT an older person who is tech-savvy. What we have here is a caveman, and the only thing “techie” about him is the ancient computer he is on. No, he doesn’t know where the power button is, but he doesn’t need to- he never turns the magic box off, so it’s all good. What isn’t good is how many directions this guy needs just to get logged onto the meeting in the first place. We are 15 minutes into opening remarks when Caveman pops up with a look of sheer surprise meets sadness, as he’s finally in the meeting but also just figured out his monitor is in fact NOT a touch screen. You thought Non-Muter was bad (and she is, do not take that away from her), but Techie Caveman has more issues than simply clicking on the tiny microphone. This guy is spending the entire meeting clicking around the screen activating unnecessary features. Gallery view you say? Yeah, if you bring that up, you’re automatically calling dibs to a private tutorial that will eventually lead to your anxiety induced death. So instead, just sit back and watch as Techie Caveman aimless wanders the tools of the virtual meeting platform and ignore the 7 times he accidentally exits and reenters the meeting. I mean, it’s not like he’s the Invisible Man. He’s at least here, well, kind of.
The Who’s Who of Virtual Meetings is an awards show of sort. You likely don’t have every character attending your meetings at the same time. That would just be too many Greats all in one place. You know, kind of like those movies that have seventeen Hollywood celebs in them and still turn out to be TERRIBLE! If all the Who’s Who showed up at once, your poor attention deficit dudes, like me, might actually explode from all the external stimuli. Instead, enjoy the fact that some of your beloved peeps who never seemed to get your attention during pre-quarantine meetings, suddenly help make your virtual discussion a little more entertaining.