Have you heard of the magic unmute button?
My house was absolute chaos the other day. I was sitting on a video call and could only hear the very loud screams of both my children. My husband frantically tried to get them to calm down so they didn’t disrupt my meeting, but it was just one of those days. In an effort to take a load off of his hands, I stepped in and grabbed Gus. I let him color on my lap while I continued to listen to the call. Gus kept asking me to trace his hand or would scream with excitement to show me what he had just drawn. I know my child and I know he has my big personality, so I knew all-to-well that I needed to stay on mute until I needed to speak.
Towards the end of my call I came off mute to give my perspective and then immediately went back on mute. As soon as I hit the mute button, I heard a loud fart and Gus screamed with excitement, “I tooted, Mama! I tooted!”. My face turned a deep shade of crimson and my heart stopped as I thought to myself, “Oh my goodness, am I really on mute?”. I probably looked at that button 14 times before I was fully convinced that no one on the call had heard him.
You might be thinking to yourself, “He is a toddler, who cares?”. But think of the many situations where you might have experienced that heart pounding sensation thinking you accidentally sent a message to the wrong person or said something (while on mute) on a conference call and needed to double check your tracks.
I’m writing this blog post because of the many situations I have witnessed where I cringed thinking, “They must know they are not on mute.”. I wish I could go into detail about the time I heard a man pee while on a conference call or the many times I have heard someone sit on a call in their cubicle and speak to a colleague about how “stupid” the call is, complain about their boss, scream at their children, or exclaim that they would not be completing a specific deliverable. I also wish I could have witnessed the story I recently heard about a woman who had a virtual meeting with the C-Suite and, when her presentation was over, she called her veterinarian to make an appointment for her dog’s vaginal discharge - only she forgot to hit the mute button.
It is funny to hear about though. I mean, I am literally writing you a story about these real life happenings. So as we sit here and laugh, I am certain you do not want to be the one who forgot to hit that button. Even if you did hit that beautiful button, there are some inexplicable times where your computer or phone says F*** you! and magically takes you off mute. So I have devised a very simple process for you to follow:
1. Have to go to the bathroom
2. Need to blow your nose
3. Need to make a phone call
4. Want to complain about a coworker to your spouse
5. Do anything unrelated to the conference call you are on
1. Put your computer on mute
2. Write “BRB” in the chat
3. Walk far, far away
4. Do not take your meeting (i.e. phone or computer) with you
5. But seriously, do not take your meeting with you
If you ever listen to one thing that I say, let it be this. Why? Because these are the types of situations where you will magically come off mute. I think I speak for everyone when I say, we do not want to listen to you blow your nose or go to the bathroom or make a doctor’s appointment or listen to your complaints. Funny as it might be to hear similar stories, I have your best interests at heart when I say this. So just listen, ok?
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