Lamenting this past weekend, I took liberties with Aaron Burr’s line in Hamilton and thought, “I can no longer be in the room where it happens.”  I found myself truly missing collaboration and interaction with my professional colleagues.  Yes, we zoom.  Yes, we call.  Yes, we text.  And no, it’s just not the same.

As a communication consultant and coach I don’t experience working with the same group of individuals every day over years – however, I have long enjoyed and benefitted from meeting with and working side-by-side with my clients and am lucky enough to often feel like a member of their team.

When the restrictions of the pandemic first hit I thought – I can handle this as I am used to working solo much of the time – but what I didn’t anticipate was how much I would miss the rituals of hopping on an airplane to spend a week at a client site or taking Chicago’s L for a meeting in downtown to work on a project.  I can admit to doing my fair share of complaining about the challenges of business travel but gosh, I miss it – and that’s because I miss my colleagues on the other side of that transportation.

I miss

  • Brainstorming ideas with a myriad of flip chart paper crowding the conference room walls
  • Debating the pros and cons of a project in the Boardroom
  • Commiserating with colleagues over a derailed initiative and strategizing how to fix it
  • Laughing with colleagues while reviewing weekend plans or misadventures
  • Taking a break in the action for lunch and discovering a new place no one else has caught on to yet
  • Sharing sorrows and joys in a hallway conversation
  • Letting off steam and sharing a drink and a bite after the workday
  • Celebrating victories – big and small

So, this is a bit of a love letter to those colleagues who I have had the pleasure of working with over the years.  While many of the folks we collaborate with professionally don’t always translate into social acquaintances outside of work, they are nonetheless, important relationships that are energizing, fulfilling, and rewarding.  I have learned a great deal from my professional cohorts, and they’ve helped me grow and be more effective.

I know I am not alone here.  Many of you are experiencing the exact same feeling of missing those you have worked side-by-side with for so long.  It’s not that we don’t see the upside in working remotely – we do – but there is still a gap that I would best describe as the energy-exchange that happens when you are in the room, together, where it all happens.

So, here’s to us all who are doing our very best to reach out and stay connected and get the business of the day done – even when we are no longer in the physical room where it happens.  Thank you, colleagues, for the inspiration and instigation to dream big, explore ideas, and make a contribution.  I miss you.