Career Services in the Time of Virtual Staff Meetings

By Catherine Neiner posted 04-28-2020 08:41


April 28, 2020

Week 1

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. by WebEx (link in the calendar item)  


(Please include technology and marketing needs) 

Strategies for Student Development 

Strategies for Employer Relations 

Strategies for Summer Internships 

Strategies for Events, Career Fairs, Interviews  


Present: All staff – most were in the meeting room on time or trying to be.   

The first 10 minutes was spent figuring out why some people could not log on.   

Reminder: The link will be in the calendar item. All you have to do is click it. If your internet signal is not strong enough, please let our business manager know so that she can figure out a way to circumvent policies that were definitely not written for remote work.   

The next 15 minutes was spent adjusting cameras. (What is that on your ceiling anyway, Charles? Sarah, please please keep your camera flipped toward you – we do not want to look at your bathroom. Joe, if you are going to use your phone rather than you university-issued laptop, please keep it upright and get a stand so that it does not give us all motion sickness.)   

Once everyone had their cameras pretty much adjusted, the next 10 minutes were spent going around saying hi to each person. Most people started with “Can you hear me?”   

Reminder: Unmute your mic. If it has a red line through the microphone icon, you are on mute, people! Susan complimented each person on how professional they looked and noted, with optimism, that everyone seems ready to face the challenges of this unproven way to work!   

Each team gave their overview. In short, every team had not had a chance to fully determine their plan because of various issues such as claiming a work space on the kitchen table where no one would constantly trip over the cords or figuring out how to get the children onto their online classrooms or, again, not fully figuring out how to log on. It became clear that this our tech people were going to have their hands full with us.  

The last five minutes of the meeting were spent explaining how to leave the meeting.   

Action Items: Please get with your team to complete your plan. We will pilot the plans next week and make adjustments as necessary. But before you do anything, get in the tech support queue! 


Week 2 

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. by WebEx (link in the calendar item)  

Agenda We will be joined by members of our corporate partners board. They will give us an overview of the near future recruiting outlook.  

Implementation Updates (please include technology and marketing plans) 

Student Development 

Employer Relations 

Summer Internships 

Events, Career Fairs, Interviews  


Present: All staff except for Lucy who had to be about 15 minutes late because her 85-year old mother needed to talk with her right now because no one will let her go out and she wants to have lunch at Chick Fil-A then go to an early matinee at the movies.    

Three-quarters of the staff were on camera although most had foregone makeup and shaving. One quarter refused to turn on their cameras using excuses such as “my hair does not look good” and “I am sitting on the floor.” General consensus was that no one really likes turning on their camera because that means they have to brush their hair and put on, at least, a shirt. They also prefer to stay on mute.   

Also present: three of our corporate partners. At first, we did not recognize them because they look so different on camera with headsets under baseball caps.   

After the sharing of the hilarious things everyone has had to do to transition to remote work, our recruiters gave their perspectives on the rest of spring recruiting. They assured us that virtual recruiting would still be robust.   

When the recruiters left the meeting, we debated whether it was sheer panic or despondent dread we saw on their faces.   

Implementation reports were brief. The recurring theme was, and I’m making this metaphor up, “We are building the plane while we are flying it.”  

Action Item: Get on the calendar of every virtual career fair vendor out there today! 


Week 3 

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. by WebEx (link in the calendar item) 

NOTE: Please plan to turn on your camera when you are speaking. And remember to unmute.  


Outcomes so far 

Student Development 

Employer Relations 

Summer Internships 

Events, Career Fairs, Interviews  


Present: All staff except Tom, Linda, and Jane because they had to complete their children’s homework assignments that were due this morning. Over the course of the first half hour Carol had to clean up a glass that one of her children broke, and Lucy had to answer her mother’s repeated calls because Lucy was not answering immediately, and mom was very worried.   

Most people turned their cameras on and now mostly remembered to unmute when they spoke. This gave us the opportunity to see a number of pets run through several work spaces, and most of them were barking or needed to be petted. As a result, along with the constantly diminishing staff, various reports were derailed. It was determined that it would be better to send in written reports to your supervisor who would then compile them and send them to the director.   

Action Items: Get reports to your supervisor by COB Wednesday. Extra credit: Use full sentences. 


Week 4 

11:00 a.m. – Noon by WebEx NOTE: change in time to accommodate some of our staff’s partners’ schedules (link in the calendar item)   


Status reports if possible 


Present: All staff eventually logged into the meeting. Several adorable though somewhat cranky children joined their parents during the meeting. They, obviously, were over homeschooling. The time was spent admiring pictures the children had drawn, asking about what was going on in the background, and listening to Lucy tell her mother to click the link, click the link! 

Brief reports: 

Graduating students: panicked 

Employers: scrambling 

First-Destination Survey: scary  

Action items: TBD 


Week 5 

Noon – 2:00 p.m. by WebEx NOTE: change in time AND change in length (link in the calendar item) 


Show off your funniest hat 

Scrounge around in your refrigerator for whatever food is still there 

“Have lunch together  


Present: All staff plus all staff children, all staff partners, some pets, and Lucy’s mother fully coiffed and elegantly dressed after she figured out how to click the link.  

Reports: Doing the best we can. No judgment. 



19 days ago

Thanks, Dear Friend!  As soon as this is over, I want to take you to lunch.  Or sooner.  



05-01-2020 10:01

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! We can all see ourselves in this!

Thank you, Catherine, for the best laugh I've had this week.

-- mimi

04-29-2020 17:17

Catherine Neiner! This is an example of why I love you so! You are the best!

04-28-2020 15:14

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing. NEW NORM. 

Michael Dutcher

04-28-2020 11:49

Ok that is the funniest thing i have ready in a while!!  Thank you for sharing!  Most interesting take-away is this is "spot on" description of what the NEW NORM actually looks like.  Thanks for sharing!

04-28-2020 10:44

Oh my, I'm dying of laughter lol. Lots to be said about "doing the best we can!"