VIDEO CALLS: YAY OR NAY?

It’s been over a year of working from home, wearing masks, and upping our loungewear game. So much time for a new normal to set in and make it hard to remember what life was like pre the ‘vid. Things that now seem so strange and truly horrible. Like having to appear at the office in person every single day of the week … the mental energy alone to plan actual outfits that don’t involve stretchy waistbands is exhausting. Who has the time now? Honestly, if I appear somewhere in jeans and t-shirt today it’s a win. And that’s only a very small margin of victory over a hoodie and sweats.

Then there’s the whole fashion industry of masks. I’m going to come out and say it – I don’t hate wearing the mask. It’s not always ideal. For example, if you ate something delicious that didn’t agree with your breath and is making you an actual dragon you have to suffer with that for the entire length of the mask experience. On the flip side, though, what if something gets stuck in your teeth? No one, but you, will know. You don’t ever have to smile in pictures. Because no one can tell. You also don’t ever have to smile at strangers after making awkward eye contact with them. You can mutter sweet, angry, nothings to the person who thought they could cut in line. There are pros for sure.

There are also cons – have you ever been to the gym and been required to wear a mask to workout in? Why make that process more horrible than it already is? I struggle enough to breathe sans mask during an exercise routine, so there is no way that adding in a breathing inhibitor is going to enhance my fun. The ability to get fresh air is basically impossible. I would rather lay on the pavement during the height of summer than continue that requirement. On that note, if you need the mask for more than about 30 minutes at any given time, it may be best to rethink where you’re going. Flights, doctor’s visits, the DMV … maybe not the best time for those.

Mask assessment aside, any professional, student, or job candidate is probably way too familiar with video meetings. The conference room. The Zoom link. The Microsoft Teams setup. A Webex interface. Hanging out on Google. Whichever platform you prefer, or your company dictates that you will prefer, video calls are deeply ingrained in our work culture now. In person meetings feel like an outlier. Why meet face to face when you can only put clothes on one half of your body and have HULU up on the second monitor?

Some of us are all about virtual meeting culture. Some of us go back and forth depending on the day. And some of us would be happy if virtual meetings died with COVID. Where do you fall on the love / hate spectrum? Yay or nay? I would like to play devil’s advocate and argue for both sides of the equation. Then you, as the reader, are free to decide. You may have your own opinions already. You may be set in stone one direction or the other. But, regardless, I would like to hash out my current dilemma between yes or let it burn so you’re welcome.

YAY / IN-PERSON IS OVERRATEDNAY / LET IT BURN
1. Pants are optional1. Work / life balance is questionable
2. Virtual backgrounds2.   Need to hide your actual background
3. Camera on is optional … sometimes3.   Camera on is required … sometimes
4. Multi-task like a pro4.   Easier to miss important information
5. No commute time to a meeting room5.   No time to debrief between meetings
6.   Screen sharing and collaboration6. Less interaction
7.   Give presentations and not be the center of attention7. When giving presentations there are so many awkward silences
8.   Work from anywhere8. Sense of disconnection from team
9.   Eat at anytime regardless of if you’re actually hungry9. Eat at anytime and not when you’re actually hungry
10. Your cup could have anything in it10. Less attentiveness as the day goes on

And there we have it. The top 10 things that came to mind for both the yay and nay side. In retrospect, and after re-reading both columns of the table, I think I’m torn on which is more ideal. As much as I love connecting with my coworkers, though, my heart loves the in-person is overrated side of this table. It gives me the freedom to travel and work from anywhere in the world. It minimizes my need for a diverse wardrobe. I have freedom to be creative in what professional background I will have each day. My stage fright has disappeared. And my stomach / liver have never been more well-fed. Yay for video calls!

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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MOST INCREDIBLE COVID HIGHWAY SIGNS: A COLLECTION

What’s the best part of driving down the highway? Not the traffic signs, that’s for sure. They’re usually just so bleh. Exit 386 towards city one, via route 19 towards city two, passing through city three, who wishes they were bigger like city 4, but they aren’t, isn’t it sad, and making a brief passing under an I40 bridge that leads to city 5. Mmkay, first of all there should never be more than 2 city options on a highway interchange. Frankly, two is usually one too many. Because my map lady is not a fast reader and she always comes on during my favorite song which is a major vibe killer. My carpool karaoke skills are obviously top notch but my voice rarely meshes with the non-existent beat of an automated map robot.

If it’s not just a standard, “where am I” sign, they’re announcing bad news and no one needs that when you’re on a straight road where the speed limit is 70 MPH, but you’re currently STOPPED. If there’s congestion for the next 20 miles, just throw a pixelated rendition of the poop emoji up. Feels more humane than knowing how far I have to go before I can begin using my gas pedal again. My least favorite highway signs are the exit food signs with zero options. Zero?! Why even make the blue sign? What is the purpose? Who are you helping by doing this? Not my emotions, that’s very clear. I guess that’s just one of the road crews OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOKS for the development of said rural exit.

Despite some ‘smack my head against the wall’ type of signs that have been the norm for pretty much ever, COVID has brought out all the clowns. And I’m here for it! A (very, very small) silver lining from the current worldly chaos. Let’s break down a few of the absolute gems, and also examine some non-COVID related, but general WUT signs for fun:

Drive Like Your Mother is Watching. Wear a Mask Like Your Mother is Watching

Let’s start strong! Attack every momma’s boy where it hurts, while his mother is watching. Yikes – clearly zero cares given here about feelings. Do it for mom!

Seat Belts Save Lives, So Do Masks

This one is fun, because it’s factual. Who doesn’t love a good fact smack as they’re driving at high speeds? Follow the k-nowledge of this one.

Outside With No Mask? Fuhgeddaboutit

Clearly a New England sign, but still a classic nonetheless. Anything that incorporates the phrase fuhgeddaboudit, and does so in a way that is both humorous and makes sense, will convince me. That’s why I don’t do drugs – once saw a sign that said ‘Thinking about trying crystal meth? Fuhgeddaboutit!

Honk If You’re Wearing a Mask

Here we take an interesting turn in the signage. This feels dumb. Why honk? Why wear a mask inside the car, first of all? It’s your car – what are you doing in it? Also, the last thing we need is more HONKERS. They’re the worst.

Less Is More, Avoid Gatherings

Hmmm, what gatherings are happening on the highway? A traffic jam? Don’t mind if I do! Does this give us legal right to report traffic jams as a crime? A lot of different interpretations of what to avoid here.

Stay Safe, Stay Home

Well, it’s clearly a little late for that considering I’m on the road. Thank you, from future me?

Feel Sick? Stay Home

Another fun stay home sign that feels better suited for a television commercial than a roadway, but clearly I’m not in charge.

COVID-19 Testing

Who? What? When? Where? Why? This provides no details and we all know what happens when you let humans make their own decisions with zero guidance? Yep, you guessed it, COVID.

State Law: No Driving While Impaired

I love this sign so much because an impaired person probably isn’t able to read said sign. Also, this is like the basic law of driving – who is unaware?

You’re Not a Firework, Don’t Drive Lit

Lulz, what savages! I was told I could grow up to be anything I wanted, how dare you crush my dream of being an explosive. But on a more serious note, lit people are looking at the sky and interpreting cosmic signs in the form of clouds, not at this sign.

Don’t Be a Knucklehead

What more is there to say here? Straight to the point – don’t be a knucklehead!

Baby Yoda Uses a Car Seat. Stay Safe, He Will

Well, you had me at Baby Yoda! What if I don’t fit in a car seat? Who is this targeted to? Children? Who can’t really read? Because they’re in a car seat? So many questions, but fun nonetheless!

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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