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And This Is Why We Have The Meetings

, , , , , | Working | January 7, 2022

Being dyslexic and growing up at a time where it wasn’t understood has really impacted my spelling. Still, today, as an adult what I write, read, and think don’t always tie up. Working from home, things get much harder, and what could have been a quick chat is now an email, which takes me so much longer.

Most people are understanding if I misspell something or use the wrong words… all apart from [Coworker], who seems to love pointing out little mistakes and telling people they should just “make more of an effort”. I’ve complained, but his boss seems to be completely detached from everything.

Out of the blue, the company starts to make a big thing about mental health and “wellness”. We are all invited to meetings to discuss the impact of working from home.

Host: “In conclusion, we need to be more alert and aware of the impacts work and life have on our mental health.”

Me: “And [Company] is taking mental health seriously?”

Host: “Yes, absolutely. This directive has come right from the top. We also have helplines and confidential mental health champions to talk to if you need to.”

Me: “So, if someone is causing mental health concerns in others, like belittling them constantly over minor details, then…?”

Host: “Oh, the company would certainly come down very hard on that individual.”

Coworker: “Well, there’s a limit, though, right? I mean, everyone has free speech.”

Host: “Sorry, I don’t understand.”

Coworker: “I mean, you can’t stop people from giving their opinion on others.”

Host: “I don’t think anyone is asking you to not have an opinion. But when that is needlessly aggressive, undermining, or just critical without due cause, we would need to speak to individuals on that.”

Coworker: “Well, I think it’s stupid. I should be able to give my opinion.”

Host: “Again, no one is stopping you from having an opinion. But I think it’s pretty clear what is appropriate and what isn’t. We need to be mindful that, at the moment, a lot of people are under additional strain and stress. Like I just presented.”

Coworker: “Well, I don’t agree.”

Host: “Perhaps we should talk afterward.”

It got very awkward. [Coworker] sat there with his arms folded until the session ended. I didn’t hear what was discussed, but I do know that [Coworker] was sent on several sensitivity and awareness courses. 

Very quickly, he stopped the snotty reply-all emails altogether. I’m still working on my spelling, but it certainly is nice not to have to worry about people ripping apart every email you send.

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