Like so many of you, I’m working from home now, and it’s been a rough transition. We are a family of five, so the only room I could find in our house for zoom meetings wasn’t a room at all. It’s a closet. Sure, it’s a large closet and I tell people on Zoom it’s a home office, because it makes me look big time. But even with me trying to hold Zoom meetings with my coworkers in the belly of our home, my kids still make regular appearances to ask about snacks, or inform me that their siblings ripped a massive fart while watching Disney Plus.
All of these kid interruptions got me thinking: with most of the working world now having a lens into everyone’s home, there must be some pretty embarrassing moments going on right now. So I took to my blog Facebook page and asked this simple question: What embarrassing things have happened to you while using Zoom?
In less than 24 hours, I had nearly 150 comments, and let me tell you, my daughter telling my coworkers about my son’s fart was nothing. From cats pooping on tables where meetings are in progress, to intrusions from wasps, to frisky husbands not realizing the camera is on, folks are facing Zoom humiliation of all types.
The comments are tragic, really.
While in an online meeting, one poor mother’s six-year-old remembered “…not to shout at me when on a call so she really nicely did her best loud whisper directly into the mic of my headset (which was not on mute) ‘I really need a poo’.”
A father mentioned that he was on a conference call with his entire staff when his 16-year-old son stepped from the shower and into view behind him, giving the whole group “a show.”
It appears that many potty training parents are really struggling right now. It’s funny, giving your child encouragement is accepted during potty training, even expected. But when that same positivity finds its way into a work meeting, it can be pretty embarrassing, like what happened to poor Andrina’s mom: “My 2-year-old was potty training and apparently my 6-year-old had helped her on the potty. He then BURST into my room while I was in the middle of an important video conference and yelled at the top of his lungs “ANDRINA POOPED AND IT WAS HUGE!!”
But seriously, we are all proud of you, Andrina. Nice work.
And it doesn’t sound like random nasty comments from children are the only cringe-worthy things happening on Zoom. Apparently, unscheduled live haircuts are also a thing. “My daughter found scissors, thought I needed a trim, snuck up behind me … and [she] cut a chunk of my hair off.”
Now I don’t want to speak for everyone, but the last time I was in a meeting with upper management, it was just myself and management. However, now those meetings seem to be happening with mixed company, and sometimes that mixed company has a sour stomach, like what happened to this poor mother: “We were wrapping up and discussing what needed to be done next when my 8-year-old comes running into the room yelling to me she is sick and her tummy hurts. About 10 seconds into her rant she throws up on me. Right in front of them all! Worst part, my boss has a super gag reflex and I could hear him gagging.”
Wow. That. Is. The. Worst.
But naturally, I saved the most horrifying for last. For those of you who have not heard about the new troubling trend of Zoombombing, it’s when an uninvited guest finds their way into your Zoom meeting. Usually the goal of a Zoombomber is to disrupt everyone and everything by screaming, or sending people inappropriate pictures. But according to one mother, her PTO meeting got something extra that took Zoombombing to a whole new level.
“I was the one who let ‘Penny’ into the PTO zoom meeting thinking it was a new mom wanting to join,” she explained. But as it turns out “Penny” wasn’t a PTO mom. “Penny” was actually two men doing … things two consenting folks should only do with cameras off, unless they’re in the adult film industry.
I mean … wow. Just wow. Keep that in mind next time you are hosting a PTO meeting and someone named Penny asks to enter the conference call.
Please keep in mind that this really has to be the tip of the iceberg. This was a small but tragic sampling of what it’s like when we mix work and home. I have no doubt that there are many more, probably even more mortifying stories out there. So my suggestion is to turn this post into group therapy and share your own “Zoom-iliation” in the comments. Have a good laugh, and realize that while kids are obviously the worst, anyone named Penny can’t be trusted, and we are all in this together.