From job one, I’ve had to deal with meetings by conference calls… long before travel became restricted due to tightening budgets and more technology. I recall attending a regularly-scheduled conference call meeting while working in the FAA.
I used the relay service to call in. It wasn’t easy. I felt sorry for the operator who got stuck with my call. The process didn’t last long. The people on the call knew each other, so there was little need to say your name before you spoke. The operator didn’t know, so I had to figure out for myself based on what the person said. Of course, the operator couldn’t type everything word for word as human conversation went too fast for their hands.
In my current position, I attend meetings involving people on the phone about an average of one or two every two weeks. One meeting as most of us in the room, so I just get the context from those in the room. If someone on the phone says something of interest, a coworker would let me know. I appreciate it, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling helpless though I know it can’t be helped… “disabled.” The fact, I have to be helped with a simple skill (listening).
We have a monthly meeting where a majority of the people are not in the room with me. In such cases, I sit next to someone kind enough to let me read her notes.
But the truth is… (don’t you love that phrase?) I miss out a lot, no matter what. It can be big things, little things… but when you put them all together, it tells a story, the true nature of what’s going on. That’s why I am always the last to know things. I think people see me as weak… maybe that’s not the right word. Like I don’t know what’s going on and that I’m not as smart as I really am.
It’s a struggle these days as I have a college education and over a decade of work experience behind me along with being involved with a few leadership programs. Some people that know me might laugh reading this, but whatever… if I could hear, I would’ve become a team leader a few years ago. Why aren’t I? Because I realize that team leaders and managers spend most of their days in meetings and on the phone (with one person AND conferences), the two areas that quickly drain my energy.
I like going to meetings (pick up your jaw off the floor) and I’m lucky if I attend two in a week. It’s a needed break from the computer and the chance to connect with others.
I don’t think many people realize this about me. That I may be smarter than they think. That I am aware of the politics and unspoken rules. That I am driven, an over-achiever, competitive. I can imagine the reactions of coworkers (past and present). I don’t like writing about work, but it can’t be avoided because it’s a big part of my life as a person, and this blog is about my life as a person who is deaf.