Confession #10: Virtual meetings are (sometimes) exhausting

In 2020 I started working from home on March 18. Here it is, June 2021. Fifteen months in and I’m still working from home. Over one year of not going into the office five days a week.

Over a year of not being in face-to-face meetings. What’s that been like?

I have to say, I had no idea that virtual meetings could become so . . . what’s the word I’m looking for? Draining? Time-consuming?

I’m not knocking virtual meetings. I’m just . . . okay, I’ll confess: attending virtual meetings throughout the weeks, months, and this past year while teleworking has been somewhat draining. Have you felt like that? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one to feel like that.

I think the reason I’m feeling that way is because I have three different groups expecting me to attend virtual meetings. And some of those groups like to hold their virtual meetings during what would be my lunch hour. You know, lunch hours where you get to enjoy a break from work and do what you want, whether you eat or not.

I think that’s what’s been so exhausting. Not being able to break away for a full hour during the work day.

Do I have to attend during my lunch hour? Well no, but if I (sometimes) choose not to attend . . . I wonder, will I sometimes be seen by others as a non-team player?

Am I the only one feeling a bit drained by all the virtual meetings?

Confession #9: Another hard decision to make

And here I am again. But it’s not October 2017 (this post). It’s June 2021. Actually I think it was May 2021 when I sent a note to my supervisor, telling him I had to let go of something.

My husband died in April this year. When I was finally ready to return to work, I knew I needed to reassess me, and what I felt I was capable of doing.

I don’t know if any of you have lost your spouse. I didn’t know the impact that loss would have on me. The motivation that I no longer felt.

Something had to give. I thought long and hard about it. So in my note to my supervisor, I tried to explain this: I can no longer supervise my two direct reports. I don’t have it in me anymore to be a champion for them. To encourage them to continue to grow their career. To be a role model for them. To sit with them and do their annual performance appraisals. To approve their timesheets. I just don’t have it in me anymore to be a good supervisor.

And of course, my supervisor called me and during that conversation, he mentioned how it might be better after a while. It felt like he was trying to tell me to hang in there, that I’ll get over my feelings at some point and I could continue to serve as a supervisor.

I stood my ground and said no, it won’t. It won’t get better. I don’t want to supervise anyone any longer. I told him again how it’s not fair to those two admins to have a supervisor who can no longer be their champion.

He finally understood (thank you supervisor!). And he helped push my decision up the chain of command.

And when things were finally put in place, my supervisor let me know that those two admins now have a new supervisor.

Which helped me breathe a little bit better.

Knowing that I don’t have to “care” for someone else at work. That no one is dependent on me for encouragement, advice, or resources with respect to their job.

It’s not that I don’t care. I do. But at this point with my major lifestyle change . . . I don’t have it in me to take care of other adults.

I just don’t.



I don’t know about you, but turning on the Conversations feature in Outlook can get me in trouble, if not just really embarrassed.

After I updated a meeting invite today with last week’s agenda and materials (aack!), I knew I had to disable that Conversations feature.

I was glad when Conversations came about. It let me see the subject email thread all in one place. No having to search or filter by someone’s name . . . the thread showed all the messages on that subject. In one place. Loved that!

But . . . it’s easy to not pay too close attention to the date of the conversations. Like today: Someone forwarded today’s meeting invite this morning, so that notice popped up in my Outlook. Right above that, however, was a message asking if I’d attach the meeting materials to today’s calendar invite (the request was in the same thread because I enabled Conversations). Except: That message right above there wasn’t new, today. It was from Jan. 20. I didn’t pay attention to the date of that message . . . all I saw was the request to attach the meeting materials to “today’s” meeting.

Which I did. Which was the wrong thing to do. Because, today is Jan. 27 and the materials in that message were for the Jan. 20 meeting – oof!

So, after I fixed the correction, I turned off Conversations.

Let’s see how long it takes me until I go back to using the Conversations feature (because I really do like that feature overall).

If you don’t like the Conversations feature for your inbox, it’s easy to deactivate.

Open View. Uncheck Show as Conversations. Then click This folder.