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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Making sense of the data

BY Sonny Orr Jun 7, 2022

For many of us in the professional world, there is nothing like attending annual meetings, regional conferences and other (earthly) events that take place in the world of business. It’s the need to meet-and-greet, schmooze-and-booze and then snooze the following morning during the most important meeting of your life. 

Yes, travel bans are over, and things are getting “back-to-normal” for the travel agencies. There doesn’t seem to be a need to say “No” to our long-awaited groggy wakeup call from all this Covid hibernation.

Now, we can see people in their normal form, with real faces and even stand within their three-foot security zone. Watch out people, you can still be kicked in the shins by a small-statured mall cop at the nearest shopping plaza – everyone is short staffed due to Covid and there’s no one else to fire.

I’m back at work and the practice of in-person meetings is back at corporations worldwide. Yes, Quebec Inc. has pulled the strings off the mask in public places but if you feel the need to keep wearing a mask, go right ahead – nothing wrong with being safety conscious during the highest spread of Covid in our territory in the last two and half years. Now that most people have some contact and probably have caught Covid, it’s harder to maintain that negative outlook from your last test. What’s wrong with me, I wail, as my test comes back negative again and again.

So, back to work and the need to travel and converse with people in meetings again might take some getting used to. I’ve been to some meetings where coherence wasn’t mandatory, and expressiveness was limited in scope. 

At one meeting, the chairperson was asked to respond to a presentation and stated very clearly, “You know, like I was saying, there’s a lot of things that need to be said about what is going on. The people need to know what it is that troubles them and it’s like, you know, the way things were handled back in the past, the days when we didn’t have much to talk about, until now, more recently, it seems that there’s a lot more to talk about at these meetings. I also want to share of a story I heard, and it was about something like this, at this meeting, where there was a lot to talk about. The people need to know what is going on, and you know what that guy just said before I said this, that’s what I was going to say and that explains everything.” 

I admire the need not to hear what the last guy just said all over again and agree that we shouldn’t be tortured in this fashion by other “professionals”. Retaliation can become a nasty habit in the boardroom. The next thing you know, your conflicts of interest might pop up and slap that smirk right off your face. 

Meanwhile, the backstreet texters and social media mongrels are barking up your alley of urban corporate warfare zones. The next thing you know, it’s thumbs down for you in the virtual world. Then the mongrels get back on track and smooth things out with their damage control, showing the world that there are a lot of nasty people around. Thankfully, there are after-meeting galas that smooth out the rough bumps in corporate life and in the real world where everyone’s face is still recognizable, even with a mask on. 

Thus, the slow steadiness of live meetings may be moving at a snail’s pace for many today, but it is a vacation from the high-speed madness of trying to make virtual deadlines and completing those PDF fillable forms. 

Take a break, make that verbal phone call and slow the world down a bit.Making sense of the data

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.